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Animating Opacity but with a Twist

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Don Smith
Animating Opacity but with a Twist
on Aug 19, 2010 at 12:00:22 pm

Creating a digital VU meter from scratch. I start by stacking shapes (rectangles laying horizontally) of different colors and stacking them. It's easy to group them, apply a mask and then animate the mask with an audio parameter attached to music to make that stack 'turn on' up and down as a meter would measuring volume. However, that simply reveals each colored block as the mask edge passes. The segments in real meters pop on, not fade on gradually. So, I would like to pop on segments going higher in a stack when responding to music volume. Once I accomplish this, I simply will duplicate the stack four more times and assign each stack to a different frequency range. But, stuck at making the segments pop on in their entirety.


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Don Smith
Re: Animating Opacity but with a Twist
on Aug 19, 2010 at 12:51:27 pm

I put my project up so you can see what I'm talking about:

http://www.NewsVideo.com/vu.mov

NewsVideo.com


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Anders Larsen
Re: Animating Opacity but with a Twist
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:26:57 pm

Try applying a Quantize behavior to the parameter of the mask that you are animating.


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Sacha Thomas
Re: Animating Opacity but with a Twist
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:47:14 pm

Looks good to me... In my opinion, fudging is ok as long as the message comes through and the result is not distracting. Unless this is for a client or public that would notice and get hung up on the "inaccuracy" I wouldn't worry about it too much. Of course, each challenge is a learning opportunity and, I can totally relate to wanting to get it perfect, but it just might not be worth it to your client. Just an opinion.
I recently did a "3d" spinning coin in Motion. I ran smack dab into the limitations of Motion (you know, planes in 3d) and I wasn't able or willing to start over with true 3d object. My workaround was to create the front and back faces of the coin and simulate the ridged edge with rectangular particles that I turned 90 degrees in relation to the faces. I duplicated the particles and played with the blend modes until I was pretty darn close. But you could see the edges of the far side of the coin through the closest side.
My workaround was as follows. I chose a fast rate of spin which slowed toward the end of the clip. The rate combined with choosing in and out points that did not make the lack of true 3d obvious, (and the fact that this was only 7 seconds long) made it possible to finish the project. In the future I will plan to work with a 3d object. Can someone who studies the clip closely tell that something is fishy? Sure. Will they? Maybe. But the spot is on the air now. And the message comes through despite the technical flaws. If I had been billing, I would have had to eat the time. But the client was happy in the end. And I learned in the process.


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Andy Neil
Re: Animating Opacity but with a Twist
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:57:18 pm

My suggestion would be to organize the project in a different fashion. Instead of using a mask, I would build the VU meters from a series of replicators, one for each frequency. Then apply the sequence replicator behavior and format for opacity. If you keep the spread at 0, then each "box" pops on instead of fading on.

To control the animation, change the Traversal to custom and animate the Location slider from 0 to 100 with an audio behavior or keyframes.

However, that said, I agree with Sacha. The current look of the animation certainly sells VU meter to me.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Don Smith
Re: Animating Opacity but with a Twist
on Aug 20, 2010 at 5:15:43 pm

Andy, thank you. My digital VU meter now works correctly. I was compelled to perfect it even though everyone here agrees that my prior version sold the effect. When people call me obsessive, I thank them for the compliment. Now, each segment appears as a whole instantly. I've posted a quickie movie of it and also took the opportunity to expose you heathens to Sue Palmer's Room Service Boogie:

http://newsvideo.com/vu.mov

NewsVideo.com


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Don Smith
Re: Animating Opacity but with a Twist
on Aug 20, 2010 at 5:41:51 pm

I put my final Motion Digital VU meter up for download as a .ZIP file if anyone is interested at:

http://www.NewsVideo.com/vu.zip

Don Smith
NewsVideo.com


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Don Smith
Re: Animating Opacity but with a Twist
on Sep 7, 2010 at 12:31:10 am

I put a tutorial on creating my 5-bar digital VU meter at:

http://newsvideo.com/5barvu/

The tutorial was created with Camtasia for the Mac.

Don Smith

NewsVideo.com


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