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Split Flap Display (old style departure board)

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Tim West
Split Flap Display (old style departure board)
on Aug 17, 2015 at 9:29:40 am


I’m looking to create a ‘split flap display’ rig in AE (similar to the old style departure boards which flip through various ‘cards’ to create numbers & letters).

The rig ultimately needs to consist of a grid of ‘units’ (top & bottom flaps) which can transition between images covering the entire grid - through to individual images on each unit.
Ideally I would be able to customise the transitions too - for example a ‘cascade’ of flipping diagonally across the board, or a in a radial motion outwards from the centre.

This link illustrates the effect I’m looking to achieve:

I’ve done a bit of research & have found various tutorials which go some way to achieving have reached a bit of a dead end in terms of creating large single images with variety of transitions.

If anyone has any experience of creating something similar or knows of any techniques / plug-ins that might be useful, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for your time,


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Cassius Marques
Re: Split Flap Display (old style departure board)
on Aug 17, 2015 at 1:13:25 pm

I don't think AE is ideal in doing this sort of thing. You need a lot of masking, the front and back start to overlap...Its a hassle!

I mean, a split flap display that transitions between two images if fine.

On the other hand, a rigged one, that can hold several size images and have its transition chosen and that works in 3d is a little bit too much. You would have to do A LOT of pre comping and your largest resolution image comp must be inside every possible combination of a flip side.

I remember doing not even half you what you're going for and it was painfully slow for AE to handle.

My advise would be: go to a 3d application if you can. Avoid the overlapping and the pain of getting good shadows and the motion blur issues and the huge layer nesting.

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Tim West
Re: Split Flap Display (old style departure board)
on Aug 17, 2015 at 1:38:34 pm

Thanks for the reply - I'm gradually coming to the same conclusion!

Unless there is a way of 'faking' the effect using a looping animation to simulate the cards flipping through until they settle on an image, I think a 3D application (am thinking C4D) will be the way to go too.

Thanks for your input anyway! :)

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