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What techniques should I use to make this shape-animation?

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Birgitte Nielsen
What techniques should I use to make this shape-animation?
on Aug 10, 2018 at 8:49:39 am

Hello out there ☺

I'm relatively new to After Effect, however I have been on courses with Adobe Certified Instructors in order to learn the basics, and I also have worked with a few projects in AE by now..

Still I'm pretty new to this animation-stuff, so bear with me if my request may seem stupid or really simple.

I have search for a long time in order to find a tutorial, an explanation etc. on how to do this specific animation I can't seem to wrap my head around. Can anyone in here explain to me how this animation is made or what kind of techniques are used in order to make it? Or maybe this type of animation is called something specific which I can search on in order to find a tutorial similar to this kind of animation ? ☺

The animation I'm trying to make/understand is this one you see as the first animation-pattern in this video (00:03 - 00:53):





My problem is on how to make the 'main animation'*, I have no idea of what to search for, in order to figure out which techniques are used in order to make it in AE ...

My focus is really on how the lines/shape is pulsing/jumping out the way it is?

*(I attached a photo of what I mean by the "main animation")


Kind regards Birgitte Nielsen (Denmark)


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Steve Bentley
Re: What techniques should I use to make this shape-animation?
on Aug 10, 2018 at 11:58:23 pm

If you make a pointed hourglass shape and don't fill it, and use the offset effect to move it up the screen endlessly (you have to position the end points perfectly in the right spot so the path is seamless when it's offset).
Pre comp that.
Then use CC cylinder to map multiple copies of that on a tube that you will look down the barrel at. Use a camera and not just the default view so that you get a real 3D view and so you can adjust the focal length - the longer the mm of the focal length the "flatter" the depth of the tube will appear.

Or you could just place copies of your precomp in 3D and angle them toward camera. They will be flat planes but with a little optical compensation effect and a lens distortion effect that might bow them out a bit.

You could also try doing a radial repeat in the hourglass precomp (the repeater is on the shape layer) so you get a sunburst look. then in the outer comp map that to either CC cynlinder or CC sphere, or use flowMotion or pinch, or many of the distortion effects to bend the outer edge toward camera or suck the middle to infinity.



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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: What techniques should I use to make this shape-animation?
on Aug 11, 2018 at 7:45:10 am

It seems to me the shape has been animated manually by keyframing two shape layer paths, since it is equal line width throughout. The main thing is that the motion needs to repeat seamlessly. Easiest to make the "main" animation perfectly horizontal. It might be as simple as three keyframes. There is a maximum of two shapes present at a given time, so that's all you need. In fact, since they are exact duplicates offset in time, the question becomes where and how do you make them match up seamlessly. I think the key to this is having the connecting point between the two shapes traveling at an even speed so that you can match up the pointy end points to it. You could use three evenly spaced and evenly moving nulls as a guideline as to where the end points are and one static null as a reference for where the overall shape starts from.

The bouncy effect may just be a side effect of the animation, not specifically intended. Or you may have to add a keyframe towards the beginning of the animation to widen the shape when it is growing.

If you want that exact look, you could use the video itself as a reference.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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Birgitte Nielsen
Re: What techniques should I use to make this shape-animation?
on Aug 13, 2018 at 8:24:40 am

Hey folk ☺

Sorry for the late reply, however thanks a lot for the suggestions !
Unfortunately the first procedure sounds a little too advanced for me @Steve Bentley. I think I'll try @Kalleheikki Kannisto's procedure and see if I understood it correctly ☺

Thanks again !


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: What techniques should I use to make this shape-animation?
on Aug 13, 2018 at 3:52:31 pm

Maybe I should clarify that it is really just ONE animated shape, duplicated and offset in time, so that two instances are visible at some points. So you just animate a single shape, duplicate it and then strategically place it on the timeline for seamless looping. Well, all you should need to do is offset the second copy so that the other end of the shape aligns with the null.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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