Adobe After Effects is a powerful video editing & effects application. It includes a code expression engine, allowing you to write scripts to automate mundane and complex tasks. Discover how to use After Effects Expressions to quickly & easily create a countdown timer video.

How to Create a After Effects Expression

  1. Create a new After Effects composition, matching the exact duration of your countdown timer
  2. Create an empty text layer
  3. Expand the ‘Text’ options
  4. Hold down the ‘Alt’ key, and click on the stopwatch next to the ‘Text Source’ property
  5. Paste your expression code (seen below) into the code editor area

That’s it! You’re done! Scrub the playhead across the composition, and see your lovely countdown.

Expression Code: 60 Seconds

Expression Code: 5 Minutes


When creating a countdown, you may notice the numbers jumping around. You can try and avoid this by adjusting your text alignment. However, the best way to keep the numbers is a consistent position is to use a monospace font.

One reasonable monospace font is CMG Sans Mono Digits. This font, based on Montserrat has been specifically designed to make it easier to create church countdowns.