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Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround

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Travis Simpson
Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround
on Dec 15, 2011 at 7:35:29 am

Hi Folks:

I'm putting together a simple 10 second open for a client that does circuit boards. I'm using paint strokes to flash electric pulses across a circuit board behind their logo. Problem is that I have over 100 separate layers, one for each paint stroke, and they all have to flash during the same few frames for the desired effect.

I was getting intermittent crashing while compositing but was able to adjust by turning some of the layers off. But now that I need to export Motion just won't spit it out and crashes right there at good old frame 160, right when the flash of the paint lines comes along.

I've looked at and tried the suggestions on the forum for trashing prefs and resetting P-RAM, etc. Any other good ideas? Is there a way to merge layers in Motion like you can in Photoshop, etc?

Thanks for any help.

Travis Simpson | Symbolscape Media | mobile: 510.858.1101 | office: 510.868.0540 | travis@symbolscape.com |



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Andy Neil
Re: Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround
on Dec 15, 2011 at 9:10:23 am

It's hard to say exactly without understanding just how the project is put together, but here are some ideas that might help.

Paint Strokes, depending on their complexity, can take up a ton of resources. You may be able to get better performance by simplifying the way the stroke is created, or by a workaround. I would need to see an example of the stroke to see if this is possible.

You can clone strokes instead of creating individual ones. Cloned strokes maintain some of the properties of the master layer which can be handy if you are doing the same animation on several layers (ie: flashing or moving)

There isn't a "merge" command per se, but you can build the animation in pieces, export a quicktime with alpha, and import that back into the project. This is typically my last resort because making changes to the work is more difficult if you're baking in elements.

Hope this helps.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Mark Spencer
Re: Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround
on Dec 15, 2011 at 1:46:02 pm

You could probably create the same effect by using a replicator animated with a sequence replicator behavior as the mask rather than paint strokes. Andy is right on - a lot of paint strokes will kill your project.

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Producer/Editor/Motion Graphics Artist
Apple-certified Master Trainer
Author, Motion 4 from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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Travis Simpson
Re: Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround
on Dec 15, 2011 at 7:47:23 pm

Andy and Mark, thanks for your replies and these ideas. I will see if I can make them work. Exporting a QT with alpha is something I have not tried before and, unless I'm missing something, I think will end up being my only option here.

The design I've built consists of each pulse tracing across a unique pattern on the circuit board that sits as an image file on the deepest layer, so not sure if a replicator or clone approach would work. If I clone/replicate can each paint stroke still have a unique pattern?

I'm using Paint Strokes pretty much as they are out of the box. I have turned off pen pressure but that's the only setting I've toggled. Is there any other setting that is a particular hog?

Thanks again, this helps a lot!

Cheers.

Travis Simpson | Symbolscape Media | mobile: 510.858.1101 | office: 510.868.0540 | travis@symbolscape.com |



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Mark Spencer
Re: Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround
on Dec 15, 2011 at 8:15:24 pm

You could export all your animated paint strokes out as a black and white movie (no alpha) (just turn off all your other layers), then bring that back in and use it as a luma matte (image mask) for your circuit board after turning off the original paint strokes.

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Producer/Editor/Motion Graphics Artist
Apple-certified Master Trainer
Author, Motion 4 from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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Andy Neil
Re: Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround
on Dec 15, 2011 at 9:38:10 pm

[Travis Simpson] "The design I've built consists of each pulse tracing across a unique pattern on the circuit board that sits as an image file on the deepest layer, so not sure if a replicator or clone approach would work."

I guess I was assuming that since you had over a hundred layers that you were creating a stroke for every straight line. Are you building the strokes with the bezier tool (B)? In other words, each singular stroke is a unique shape? If that's the case then you're correct the replicator or clones won't work. They require the elements to have uniformity. Marks idea sounds like it might work, but you may have to break it into a couple of pieces (ie: first 50 layers, then second 50).

Just out of curiosity, how are you animating the "pulses" with the stroke? Are you using the first point/last point offset? Perhaps there's something there that can be addressed.

Andy

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Travis Simpson
Re: Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround
on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:02:37 pm

Hey guys, thanks again for the feedback and tips.

"I guess I was assuming that since you had over a hundred layers that you were creating a stroke for every straight line."

Andy, yes, that is what I meant. The image file is a graphical outline of a circuit board. I'm "painting" the strokes across the traces on the image using a shape with its default first point/last point presets. So yes, I do have a unique layer for each stroke.

Here's a test I pushed out before I had too many paint stroke layers:



I now have paint strokes across the whole frame and in addition to this one burst when they all fire at once, I have some of them going back and forth randomly throughout the duration of the piece. It's just way too much for my machine to handle. (which begs another question -- I'm running a quad core 2.93 with only 8GB. I have been putting off a memory upgrade because I don't do a ton of processor intensive work, but maybe this would help?)

Also, Mark, if I use a luma mask, will I lose the color on the strokes?

Travis Simpson | Symbolscape Media | mobile: 510.858.1101 | office: 510.868.0540 | travis@symbolscape.com |



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Andy Neil
Re: Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround
on Dec 15, 2011 at 10:40:48 pm

Thanks for the visual. It helps a lot to see it. I'm going to suggest a completely different tactic for this effect. The stroke idea is overkill; there's a much simpler way to produce this affect.

All you need to do is create a black and white copy of the circuit board (perhaps even using the existing graphic). This will be used as an image mask for a single glowing rectangle (with the image mask set to luminance). Then you animate the rectangle across the frame, but the only part that is visible are the places in the mask that correspond to the circuits.

I hope that's not too confusing, but it can be done with only a few layers and not much cost to your machine.

Andy

PS: The graphics card is more important with regards to Motion performance in general than the memory and processor.

http://www.timesavertutorials.com


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Travis Simpson
Re: Motion crashing due to too many layers, need a workaround
on Dec 16, 2011 at 5:51:45 pm

Okay, thanks again for the feedback and advice, that design approach makes sense. I think I might be losing a bit of detail in the color gradient on the pulses this way, but it would certainly make the project work and make life a bit easier.

In regards to graphics cards, what are some recommended model? I have an ATI Radeon 4870 that came packaged on the machine. If you have an opinion, I will be upgrading the entire system soon, but if I upgraded the card to a newer unit with more V-RAM would I see a noticeable enough performance increase to justify the expense?

Travis Simpson | Symbolscape Media | mobile: 510.858.1101 | office: 510.868.0540 | travis@symbolscape.com |



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