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Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side

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Anne Green
Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side
on Feb 4, 2019 at 5:23:40 pm

Hi all! How are you?
I'm trying to create an unfolding motion, similar to the one seen in



. However, I'm dealing with triangles with not-so-convenient sides. I'm trying to get the lighter-shaded blue triangle to unfold along its long side, and in order to do that I've duplicated it. I would have to animate this duplicate now and make it unfold outwards, but in order to do that, I need one of the axis to be aligned with the long side along which it's meant to unfold. I'm trying to rotate the axis so that the Y-axis (green) aligns with this side, but I have no clue how to do that, try as I might.
Anyone's got any ideas? Thank you so much!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side
on Feb 4, 2019 at 5:45:38 pm

You need to move the triangle's Anchor Point. It will require some tweaking, and you will have to reposition the layer. But once you have the proper spot dialed in for the Anchor Point, you'll be good to go.

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


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Anne Green
Re: Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side
on Feb 4, 2019 at 6:01:12 pm

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I don't understand. Repositioning the anchor point only changes the triangle's "centre of rotation", so to speak. What I would like to do is basically rotate the axis' XY plane around the z axis so that the Y axis aligns to the triangle's long side.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side
on Feb 4, 2019 at 6:44:34 pm

The Anchor Point is the location around which rotation takes place. Thus, if you want the long side of the triangle to stay put and the rest of the triangle to move, the anchor point needs to be placed on the log side of the triangle.

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


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Anne Green
Re: Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side
on Feb 4, 2019 at 6:51:30 pm

Hi! Yes, I understand that. However, it is not just the anchor point that determines rotation: an axis around which the rotation occurs is also needed. If I do what you've described and rotate the light blue triangle around the y-axis (by changing the y degree value in the "rotation" field of the shape), this comprehensively happens: The centre of the rotation is the anchor point, and the shape rotates around the y axis, as it can be seen. I need the y axis to be aligned to the triangle's long side so that when I rotate the shape around this axis, it unfolds outwards. I hope this explains a little better my problem


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side
on Feb 4, 2019 at 8:13:59 pm
Last Edited By Kalleheikki Kannisto on Feb 4, 2019 at 8:21:01 pm

You will need to rotate the shape in 2D without rotating the axis, to make the long axis vertical. Then you can rotate it back in 3D to the original position with the z axis, and your y-axis will be along the edge.

To clarify, rotate the shape (or mask, whichever you are using) itself in the first step without changing the rotation values. Control-T should give you the transform box that you can do this with.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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Anne Green
Re: Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side
on Feb 4, 2019 at 8:43:55 pm

Hi Kalleheikki! What you say makes sense, but unfortunately I don't know how to rotate the shape in 2D without rotating the axis (or changing the rotation values). Control-T starts the text command for me.


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Emre Anil
Re: Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side
on Feb 5, 2019 at 2:21:19 pm

One quick workaround:

Align a 3D Null layer using it's "Orientation" rotation so that it's Y axis is parallel to the side of the triangle. Set the shape layer's parent to the Null layer. Then rotate the Null layer with "Y Rotation"



This will work but if you have 100's of triangles to rotate you might want to look for a trigonometric solution with expressions.


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Anne Green
Re: Rotating Y axis so that it aligns to a shape's side
on Feb 5, 2019 at 3:16:21 pm

Hi Emre! This works great, thank you so much!
I found another way that involved rotating the original shape until it's vertical, making a precomp, animating it, and precomping again and de-rotating it - such a headache, your solution seems like a godsend! : )


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