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Animate motionless church bells

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Steve Cornell
Animate motionless church bells
on Oct 9, 2018 at 5:12:43 pm
Last Edited By Steve Cornell on Oct 9, 2018 at 5:20:22 pm

I've got this static video clip of motionless church bells. I'd like to animate the bells so that they appear to be swinging along either access; back and forth.



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Blaise Douros
Re: Animate motionless church bells
on Oct 9, 2018 at 5:22:35 pm

After Effects is the wrong program. You need to use Cinema 4D or similar 3D animation software to build a 3D model, animate them, and replace the bells in the shot. You can't do it in AE, which is built for 2D compositing in 3D space.


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Animate motionless church bells
on Oct 12, 2018 at 3:49:46 pm

Keep in mind that Cinema 4D Lite comes for free with After Effects! You could make some bells using a lathe object and make them flat black and they may fit in with this shot pretty well.

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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: Animate motionless church bells
on Oct 9, 2018 at 6:38:17 pm

I'm afraid there's no easy solutions apart from getting a different piece of footage where the bells are swinging.

If you have to use that specific bell tower, my inclination would be to find a video clip with a similar-looking bell that is swinging and composite it with this. It may prove to be quite tricky.

Another, rather far-fetched, option would be to find a small bell that looks similar, film it yourself on green screen and composite it.

Then again, if the bells are as dark as they appear here, where you don't really see the interior shading, you might get away with faking the motion with a subtle warp in addition to scale and slant. Not that that's gonna be too easy either.

As Blaise points out, the best result will require a 3D plugin or program. And that's a whole subject in itself.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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Steve Cornell
Re: Animate motionless church bells
on Oct 9, 2018 at 6:50:27 pm

Thanks for the help. I was leaning towards sourcing bells and compositing them. I silhouetted the bells hoping that replacing or animating them would be dare I say, easier but the stock footage option for bells isn't looking to good.


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Max Haller
Re: Animate motionless church bells
on Oct 10, 2018 at 6:13:31 pm

Hey Steve

Have you tried duplicating the layer and painting out the bells. Then on the layer that still has the bells, mask them off and move the anchor point to the joint they should swing from.

If you only need to make it work from this angle I think you can get a passable result.

Turn on the motion blur, make the masked out bell a 3D layer and animate the X rotation. You can animate the hammer swinging inside in a similar fashion (dupe, paint it on on the bell, and animate).

If you play with the easing in the graph editor you can probably get a realistic movement. I had some success with the really quick attempt i tried. It won't really hold water if there's a lot of camera movement or anything that reveals it's not truly 3D.


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