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Complex motion along spaghetti-like lines

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Edward Tuttle
Complex motion along spaghetti-like lines
on Mar 20, 2018 at 2:41:58 pm

The attached image is part of a series of images that have been used in a PowerPoint presentation. The illustration has been created in Illustrator. My client is asking to create motion along each line (which I have done in the past with much simpler paths using Vegas Effect) from its source at the top down along the lines as they enter the funnel. I am also being asked to create little flashes at intersection points. Seems like a nightmare with my limited knowledge of AfterEffects. How can I create the effect without having to redraw each line as a separate layer in AE? Any resource/tutorial you can point me to would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Complex motion along spaghetti-like lines
on Mar 20, 2018 at 4:46:24 pm

[Edward Tuttle] "...I am also being asked to create little flashes at intersection points. Seems like a nightmare with my limited knowledge of AfterEffects."

Sorry, but that's a nightmare for ANYONE working in AE. Not just someone with a couple-three years experience. This is all hand work!

If you can get away with doing several -- but not all -- of the intersections near the top you might be able to pull it off in a couple-three days.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Edward Tuttle
Re: Complex motion along spaghetti-like lines
on Mar 20, 2018 at 5:56:14 pm

Thanks, Dave. I thought as much. I needed the response from a forum to prove to the client that it was more work than it was worth. Appreciate the quick feedback.


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Steve Bentley
Re: Complex motion along spaghetti-like lines
on Mar 20, 2018 at 6:15:58 pm

Make a separate comp with each line on a separate layer and make that comp as long as your final animation (all lines in the one comp) Then apply an effect on each layer to turn the color of the line to white - there's a bunch - you can try tint or any of the change colors etc - you can do one layer and then copy and paste the effect to them all. If you've kept them as splines you can just change the stroke color in the layer settings or use as stroke effect.
Set each layer to "difference" for its transfer/blend function (again select all and then just change one and they will all change). There should be no background layer in this comp.
This should net you a lot of little black dots where the lines cross (assuming your comp color is not set to black).
Now precomp all of that and call the precomped comp "Lines" , then apply an invert effect to the precomped "Lines" comp and slip a black solid underneath. Now you have a bunch of white dots on black. Lets call this comp "Dots".
Now in the Lines comp, vary which of the lines are transparent - you could do a random expression on the opacity attribute on each layer to automate this and clamp it to 0 or 100 or you could key frame each one with hold keyframes, or you could key frame one of the lines and then copy those key frames to other lines and offset the keyframes so it's more random - if you now look in the Dots comp you will get a a bunch of sparkling white dots over black as the animation runs.
Take the Dots comp and screen it over your master comp and the white dots will appear wherever the lines cross and they will sparkle on and off.



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