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The Wayward Arrow

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Don Smith
The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 26, 2010 at 1:03:05 pm

I created a short video to illustrate what I'm trying to do. If it shows up, please ignore the message that I sent last night without the video. It's the one suggesting that you imagine the St. Louis Arch. I used a term that was not naughty but it got caught in the naughty filter for this group anyway.

I'm trying to get an arrow to follow a path on its flat side and I just cant figure it out. Here's the short video explaining what I'm trying to do:

http://newsvideo.com/arrow.mp4

The video is iPad friendly.

I want an arrow that is similar to the photo on this website where the arrow is circling the globe and bending on its flat side:

http://www.123rf.com/photo_6223723_the-world-with-a-green-arrow-turning-aro...

Eventually, I want to animate the length of the arrow and have it curve around on its flat side.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Don Smith
NewsVideo.com


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Andy Neil
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 26, 2010 at 5:41:43 pm

Your problem has to do with a limitation with shapes and with the align with motion behaviors.

Despite being able to arrange shapes in 3D space, they are only 2D elements. Trying to make them behave as a 3D element as in 3D motion paths and such can be an incredible headache.

Also, the snap alignment to motion, and the align to motion behaviors are limited in that changing the axis of rotation and the axis will change the default orientation of the layer it's applied to. They work great in a 2D animation, but fall apart in a 3D one as you are noticing.

However, there is a simple way to approach your animation. It involves simply moving the anchor point of your arrow.

Once you have your arrow, adjust the Z position of your anchor point. Then apply a spin behavior with an X axis. The arrow will now orbit in a circle around whatever you want. If you want an elipse, then all you need to add is an oscilate behavior to the Y position of your arrow and adjust the speed so that the top of the oscillation coincides with the arrow's apex.

It's a lot simpler than dealing with the Motion path behavior and alignment behaviors.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Don Smith
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 28, 2010 at 11:43:10 pm

Thank you Andy...

You mean, I can't do this?

http://newsvideo.com/arrow2.mp4

Don Smith
NewsVideo.com

NewsVideo.com


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Andy Neil
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 12:28:19 am

I don't understand your last post. If you created a video of it, then it seems as if you CAN do that.

Plus, my post was showing how that particular animation might be accomplished by moving the arrow's anchor point and applying the spin and oscillate behaviors.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Don Smith
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 1:24:04 am

Sorry, I was relishing in accomplishing something in a way I was told it couldn't be done. I did the animation without moving the anchor point. Still, you were right about how it couldn't be done as far as I had gone, but then I created and added a secret sauce.

The video shows the arrow following the path that's perpendicular to the flat side of the arrow and the arrow tilts over the top of the curved path, thus doing what I wanted it to do when I started this thread.

I started the project the same way as before, creating the path and attaching the arrow and applying Motion Path and Snap Alignment to Motion behaviors and set the Snap Alignment to Motion behavior to Vertical and the Z-axis. That, of course, gave me an arrow that turned on its edge instead of on its flat side.

I sent the note of help to this forum and was told why it couldn't be done this way and you, Andy, offered a method that included setting the Center away from the arrow.

I thought on this a while and came up with an idea to create another arrow and LINK it's position parameters with the first, moving, arrow, then link the Z axis of the first arrow to the X axis of the new arrow. That gave me an arrow that followed the path except that at the peak of the curbved path it moved like a diver doing a backward summersault. I solved that by setting the Y position to 270 degrees.

It may be overkill since you could simply take the arrow and keyframe it to go up, over on its flat side, then down, but by developing this method I think I can get the arrow to follow more complicated paths turning on its flat side.

Don Smith
NewsVideo.com

NewsVideo.com


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Mark Spencer
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 2:08:42 am

Quite a creative solution, Don! I'm sure Andy will agree...

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Producer/Editor/Motion Graphics Artist
Apple-certified Master Trainer
Author, Motion 4 from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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Don Smith
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 1:14:13 pm

PROGRESS!

I figured out how to have my arrow moving and EXTENDING (curving) into 3D space!

I have one final problem as explained in this short video:

http://newsvideo.com/arrow.mp4

If interested, you can download my project at:

http://newsvideo.com/arrow.zip

Don Smith
NewsVideo.com

NewsVideo.com


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Mark Spencer
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 1:54:20 pm

Paint strokes that use an image as their source don't have to be colored by the paint stroke - they can use "original" to take the source image as the color. So your idea of two rectangles of different colors as a source *may* work - put them in a group and use the group as a source.

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Producer/Editor/Motion Graphics Artist
Apple-certified Master Trainer
Author, Motion 4 from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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Andy Neil
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 4:41:46 pm

Clever solution. Linking layers is often overlooked (even by myself). This definitely deserves more attention.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Don Smith
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 4:55:13 pm

Thank you Mark and Andy. I appreciate it.

My final touch would be to find a way for the 'back' color to reveal as the direction of the arrow reverses.

In the video I posted (link above) I commented that I didn't think I could put two colors back-to-back in a group and use that as the rectangle image source because I thought I was locked in to having the image source adopt the single color chosen for the path outline. Mark says I could use 'original' but doggone if I can find where I can do that.

Before you ask, yes, the two differently colored rectangles are in a 3D group and slightly separated in Z-space. I can spin the camera around the group and see red on one side and green on the other.

I really appreciate all this help.

Don Smith
NewsVideo.com

NewsVideo.com


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Mark Spencer
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 4:59:19 pm

In the Stroke section of the Shape Inspector, set the Stroke Color Mode to Use Brush Color.

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Producer/Editor/Motion Graphics Artist
Apple-certified Master Trainer
Author, Motion 4 from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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Mark Spencer
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 5:01:19 pm

Problem is, you'll still only see the color rectangle that is closer in z-space even when the arrow flips around. Using a particle emitter or replicator would solve the issue.

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Producer/Editor/Motion Graphics Artist
Apple-certified Master Trainer
Author, Motion 4 from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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Andy Neil
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 5:53:54 pm

Am I missing something here? Why not just go into the Stroke section of your paint stroke and change the Stroke Color Mode to Color over Stroke? Then you can have a gradient as soft or hard as you like where the back side of the stroke is red and the front of the stroke is green. Since you reveal the stroke by animating the last point offset, it'll appear as if the tail changes color.

Then, for the arrow head, you simply need to keyframe the color from the original green to red as it makes that turn. Looks fine when I did it with your project.

You have another problem however, one that's not easy to see when the arrow and the tail are the same color. Your 3D spin won't be possible with a paint stroke, because even though you have it looking 3D, it's still only 2D. That means that it obeys layer order over Z position.

As soon as you change the colors, the arrow head will appear to be on top of the front of the tail because it's positioned atop the stroke in the layers pane. You could move the stroke to the top of the group of course, but then if you spin the camera around to the back side, then you have the same problem.

The solution if you really want a 3D element that you can spin a camera around is to make the tail from a replicator. Or perhaps an emitter since particle emitters can use global 3D as opposed to local 3D.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Don Smith
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 29, 2010 at 6:57:56 pm

Thank you Andy! My project is complete!

Color over Stroke solved the front/back color of the tail nicely Andy!

You are correct, of course about the arrowhead appearing in front of the tail, but I solved that simply by looking at it from the opposite direction. The arrow now loops closer instead of looping away. therefore when it's in front, it's supposed to be in front.

If I had to illustrate, say, the flow of electricity in a circuit in the opposite direction, then I could apply the template in Final Cut and flip it vertically, horizontally, make it go left or right, or with the Mirror effect (Effects>Perspective) to make it originate in the middle and TWO arrows move out in opposite directions from the center!

The purist, of course, would go after the Replicator or Particle emitter route to solve the arrow problem, but this gives me the effect without hurting my brain any further. I'm at work or I would upload a short, silent movie showing the final results. I'll do that tonight and many thanks to you both for helping me across the finish line.

Don Smith
NewsVideo.com

NewsVideo.com


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Don Smith
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Nov 30, 2010 at 1:10:52 am

Here's the completed arrow movie:

http://newsvideo.com/arrow.mp4

Here's the project:

http://newsvideo.com/arrow.zip

Don Smith
NewsVideo.com

NewsVideo.com


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Pierre Loza
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Apr 23, 2011 at 2:49:55 pm

Hello Don, I'm trying to do the Wayward Arrow effect you succeeded in achieving after much discussion. However, I am interested in doing it through the simplest way possible or the replicator! I was able to get the line to expand and turn to point at an object. But I'm not sure how I can keep the arrow head attached to the line. If you can help I'm on this I would be very grateful.
Thanks

Is there a tutorial somewhere that explains how it is done? I'm under deadline and freaking out!


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Pierre Loza
Re: The Wayward Arrow
on Apr 23, 2011 at 2:33:44 pm

Hello there, I'm a new member in this community. I was wondering if someone could turn me to a tutorial of how to do the wayward arrow effect. A kind of one two three guide would realy help a novice like myself. Thank you very much.


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