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Creating a swarm of individual compositions

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Corrie Parks
Creating a swarm of individual compositions
on Oct 6, 2017 at 6:43:03 pm

Trying to wrap my head around this task and would appreciate any suggestion on the most efficient way to do this:

I have 300 unique compositions that loop.

Each composition needs to start and end at a specific spot. Each lifts off at a precise time in the timeline, flies around until all 300 are swarming in 3D space (like a flock of butterflies). Then each one settles back at its original spot until all have stopped moving and it loops back to the beginning.

Trying to figure out if there is a way through parenting, expressions or some other effect/plug-in I don't know about to get the swarming look without losing the ability to precisely control when and where each comp starts and ends.

Using most updated version of After Effect CC.

Thanks!


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Kevin Camp
Re: Creating a swarm of individual compositions
on Oct 6, 2017 at 7:43:04 pm

i would try the wiggle() expression and key frame the amount of wiggle...

first add a slider expression control (from the effects menu choose expression controls>slider).

then select the position property of the pre comp that you just added the slider to and choose animation>add expression and copy/past this expression:
amount = effect("Slider Control")("Slider");
freq = 10; // value in number of times per second
wiggle(freq, amount)

now you can key frame the slider amount to go from 0 to some larger value and back to 0. the value measured in pixels, so a value of 500 should allow the layer to 'wiggle' as much as 500 pixels in any direction.

you can modify the freq value as needed, it's measured in wiggle-per-second, the higher that value, the more often it will change directions.

Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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Corrie Parks
Re: Creating a swarm of individual compositions
on Oct 6, 2017 at 8:42:00 pm

Tried it out on a few of my comps and this seems like it has potential. Looks like I could copy and paste the slider and expression as well, so setting it up on 300 different comps shouldn't be too much trouble.

Is there are way to set a range limit for individual variables?

i.e. I would like the wiggle on the Z-axis to stay between 0-500, while the x value could be between -500, 500 and the y value between -300, 300.

Thanks!


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Kevin Camp
Re: Creating a swarm of individual compositions
on Oct 6, 2017 at 9:48:01 pm

apply the preset "separate xyz position", this will give you x, y, z controls in the effect controls.

then select the slider that you have and duplicate it 2 more times. (this will be for controlling the amount of wiggle for x, y and z).

copy/paste the original expression into the X Position property of Separate XYZ Position. this will use the first slider for the amount.

paste the same expression into the y position, but change the first line of the slider to this (note the '2' after the Slider Control name):
amount = effect("Slider Control 2")("Slider");
that property's wiggle amount is now controlled by Slider Control 2, just change the.

for the z position, copy/paste this expression:
amount = effect("Slider Control 3")("Slider");
freq = 10; // value in number of times per second
Math.abs( wiggle(freq, amount) )

z should now be controlled by the 3rd slider, and will be limited to only positive values.

Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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