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Johannes Schwarz
Morphing word into complex shape
on Apr 15, 2009 at 8:01:13 pm

Hi there again,

I would like to morph the word "nations" into a world map (i.e. the continents on transparent bg). I've played around with the reshape plugin, but I don't get good results. I've broken up the word nations into 3 masks. I did the same for the continents (americas, eurasia+afrika, australia - skipping all islands, including england ;-) ). Then I was hoping that I could reshape the each part of the broken up word into one of the different continent sections. However it drags the whole word with it an messes up if I move on to the second part.
Also reshape is putting quite some load on my system. Is there any other way to do it?

Thanks for suggestions
Johannes


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Bob Root
Re: Morphing word into complex shape
on Apr 15, 2009 at 9:46:33 pm

One option (a bit tricky) would be to build your text in Adobe Illustrator.

After typing "NATIONS" select your text and choose Create Outlines in theType drop-down menu. This will convert your text to an editable vector path. Select All and Copy.

In After Effects you can paste your copied text into a color layer. This will create an editable mask for all of the letters in "NATIONS". You can keyframe and animate the individual mask points from there on.

There are two tricky things when doing this however...

First, your letter mask needs to have the same number of vertices of the shape you will be morphing to. If needed, you can add additional vertices within After Effects using the pen add vertex tool.

The other issue will be the inside vertices on the letters "A" and "O". Probably the best way to deal with this is keyframe your mask transparency from 100% to 0% at sometime during your morph. Otherwise you'll have some difficulty with vertices intersecting.

Hope this makes some sense. After you give it a quick try you'll see it a bit more clearly.








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Bob Root
Re: Morphing word into complex shape
on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:00:21 pm

Forgot to mention that you'll save alot of time and frustration if you work with each letter in its own layer. You can copy the individual letter paths from Illustrator to seven separate layers in AE.



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Bob Root
Re: Morphing word into complex shape
on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:53:49 pm



http://shorts.creativecow.net/film/australia-morph

Here's the letter "O" morphing to the Australian continent. I added and adjusted the additional vertices after moving the original "O" vertices to a rough shape of the continent.






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Johannes Schwarz
Re: Morphing word into complex shape
on Apr 16, 2009 at 4:15:27 pm

Wow, well done. Was this done with the reshape effect? Would you mind posting the project so I could sneak peak? Concerning your second reply: yep, after posting I realized that separate letters were a must to avoid the problem I described previously. Still sparing out the "Mediterranean" is giving me a headache :-)


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Kevin Camp
Re: Morphing word into complex shape
on Apr 16, 2009 at 7:08:02 pm

[Johannes Schwarz] "Was this done with the reshape effect?"

i don't believe so... i think he just keyframed the 'morph' in the mask path property of the mask.

if you have a mask for letter (or any shape) and a mask for a continent (or nya shape that is different than the first shape) handy you can do a quick and dirty example... select the layer for shape 1 and type 'mm' on the keyboard to see the mask properties. add a keyframe for the mask path property.

select the shape 2 layer, type 'mm' and select the mask path property and choose edit>copy.

go back to the shape 1 layer, move down the timeline a bit, select shape 1 layer's mask path property and choose edit>paste. the path should now morph from one shape to the other.

as bob mentioned, to get better control of the morph, you should try and have the same number of points in each mask shape. you can further refine the animation by pulling points around in between the first two keyframes.

this can also be applied to actual shape layers... so if you typed your text in ae, the created outlines (which creates a shape layer of the letters). you can actually comp and paste mask shapes into the shape layer's path in the same way, but i don't know the keyboard short cut for shape layer's paths, so you'd need to twirl down the contents to find it.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Bob Root
Re: Morphing word into complex shape
on Apr 16, 2009 at 10:31:41 pm

Kevin is correct. The effect was made by key-framing the mask.

If your continent shapes are already masked (with vertices), follow his instructions. One problem you may run into is the crossing of vertex paths. To try to correct this, select one of your original vertices on the letter mask. Right click (or ctrl click) your mouse and select Set First Vertex from the Mask menu... then try your animation again. You may have to try other points to set your first vertex to in order to get the right animation.

If you end up creating your own mask animation from a letter to a continent, you'll have a little more control over crossing paths. Don't worry to much about an equal number of vertices between the letter and continent. AE was pretty forgiving and did a nice interpolation when I tried the Australia morph. You can always check animation along the way as you add additional points to your second keyframe (the continent mask.

I'll try to upload my file. Step 1 moves the points of the "O" to a very rough shape of Australia. Step 2 is the addition of vertices to the second keyframe to get a more accurate Australia shape.

Remember to set your first (Mask Shape) keyframe before you start reshaping the "0". Then move down the timeline a couple of seconds to create the continent shape.

Best of luck and ask away if you have any questions,

Bob

26_australiaomorph.aep.zip


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