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# Laying picture on a 3D path to be followed by a camera

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 Laying picture on a 3D path to be followed by a camera on Jan 18, 2010 at 11:31:34 pm

I want to lay down several pictures on a large-radius ellipsis in 3D space, and have a camera follow that ellipsis clockwise, in the plane of the ellipsis, and "run through" the pictures very quickly. As the camera comes closer to a picture, it should fade rapidly and reveal the next picture behind it etc... The camera basically follows the elliptic path and the images are placed so that that path goes through their centers.

I figured out how to link the transparency of a picture to the distance to the camera, so that as the camera comes closer, the picture starts fading away, revealing the other picture behind it etc...

Where i am stumped is an effective way to place the pictures somewhat automatically. I have close to 100 pictures, and manually laying them out on a curve is just not something i contemplate doing. Is there a way that i can say: "place those 100 pictures on the path, at 500pt distance from one another" ?

The closest i have come to it is to use a naming convention for each layer (layer0, layer3.6, layer7.2 etc...) and use a standard math formula to compute a position on an ellipsis using the "number" part of the layer as the "angle" where the picture should be placed on the curve (100 pictures on 360degrees means one every 3.6 degrees).

This is still very time consuming as i am effectively managing each picture independently, and was wondering if there is a better way.

Thank you,
Laurent.

 Re: Laying picture on a 3D path to be followed by a cameraon Jan 19, 2010 at 12:08:08 am

I can think of a way to arrange them fairly quickly and simply without expressions:
• Animate ONE of the pictures along this motion path, at the speed the camera will eventually move. You now have a time duration, and you can divide that time duration by 100. We'll call that the Time Value.
• Copy the motion path, and paste it onto the other 99 layers. Don'
t worry, we'll stop these layers' motion later.
• Go to the first keyframe of the animation on the first picture that will be encountered. Trim the In Point of the layer, Option-[.
• Move the timeline cursor toward the end of the comp by the Time Value. Highlight the next picture and trim the In Point as above.
• Repeat this process of moving the timeline cursor by the Time Value, highlighting the next picture in the order, and trimming the in point until you're done.
• Return to the in point of the first picture the camera will encounter. Highlight the other 99 pictures and move all the layers to this point in time by hitting the [ key.
• Highlight all picture layers, reveal the Position property (hit the p key), and click on the stopwatches to get rid of all the position keyframes.

Your pictures are now arranged along the camera's motion path, they're all equidistant, and they won't move. You can trim in and out points at will.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

 Re: Laying picture on a 3D path to be followed by a cameraon Jan 19, 2010 at 4:10:20 pm

You might also look for the tutorial called "Circle of Cows" for a delightfully elegant way of laying out many objects along a form.

There was once a free plugin for AE called something like 3D Assistant Lite that would distribute objects along a path. I don't supose it still exists.

I need to ask another question: Is it absolutely necessary that all 100 still images be on screen? If not, your task can be simplified by creating a cycling composition into which you just drop new images as they are required using a script.

bogiesan

 Re: Laying picture on a 3D path to be followed by a cameraon Jan 19, 2010 at 6:36:35 pm

David, thanks. I'll look for that tutorial (sounds like what i want to do), and for that plugin if it's still available somewhere.

 Re: Laying picture on a 3D path to be followed by a cameraon Jan 19, 2010 at 6:32:20 pm

Dave, i'll look at your solution, but i have a feeling that you still need to do something for each of the pictures. The formula approach seems to me like it ends up being less manual work.

 Re: Laying picture on a 3D path to be followed by a cameraon Jan 19, 2010 at 6:42:59 pm

To tell you the truth, I forgot all about that Ring of Cows tutorial that Bogie mentioned. I've only given it the most cursory of looks, but I'd definitely start with it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA