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Cinematic layer explosion

Blow minds by assembling your artboard's layers in an insane animation

In this experimental Rotato feature you can make beautiful exploded effects at the push of a button. Here’s a few examples.

What you'll need

  • Adobe XD or Sketch. We'll call the one you're using "your design app" from here.
  • An artboard the size of the device you'll use in Rotato. iPhoneX and the generic phone are 375x815.

How do it, at a glance

  1. In your design app, select the artboard you want to explode
  2. Go to Plugins > Rotato > Explode in Rotato or press option + cmd + e
  3. Switch to Rotato
  4. Adjust layer levitation in the Looks sidebar
  5. Rotate, animate and export

Installing the plugin

Go to Rotato's top menu and choose Install plugin for the design app you're using.

Understanding your layers in 3D space

Take a look at the layers in your artboard. The top-level layers are the ones that Rotato turns into floating 3D elements. Groups will appear as a single 3D element in Rotato. This is good for buttons with a glyph and a background, as an example.

These layers in your design app

Layer order, shown in a design app

... will look like this in Rotato

Layer order in design app, shown reflected in Rotato


Click the Snapshot button at any point and get a crisp 4K PNG of your exploded masterpiece. This is great for specifications for UIs that have a lot of elements. In presentations, but be prepared to hear people whisper "wooow."

A design spec showing an exploded UI with each layer hovering and callouts

Animate exploded artboards

You can animate your exploded artboard just like any other animation in Rotato. But with exploded layouts you can also animate the levitation of the floating 3D elements.

1. Go to the Animations sidebar

2. Position your 3D device and set your levitation in the Looks sidebar

3. In the Animations sidebar, click Add view

4. Position your 3D device again, and set your levitation

5. In the Animations sidebar, click Add view

You now have two keyframes. Click Play (▸) on one to animate to it. Click Render ( O ) to save that animation as a high-definition video in 60 frames per second.

Optional: Change the center of the rotation

By default, Rotato rotates around the center of the device scene. You can change this by holding down command and clicking on the device or one of the floating 3D layers at the position of your choosing.

Here's a few examples where we've set the rotation center on the red 24 date layer.