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An Old Fashioned After Effects Brain Melter

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james simpsonAn Old Fashioned After Effects Brain Melter
by on Jul 2, 2011 at 11:56:51 am

Hello After Effects Genius,
So here's the question, in the vid linked below is some very slick animation:


I'm trying to work out how they did it!?!! And it's blowing my mind!!

So question 1:
At first I thought this was achieved by animating masks of pre-comps etc but here's the tricky bit.
If it is done using animated masks then how do they make sure the distance between the lines is consistent. Do you think this is a solid layer that has been masked and then used as a track matte?
If so is there an expression or technique where animated masks can be parented or linked?

Question 2:
If this was achieved by masks/solids/track mattes how do you get a solid shape that can be animated and then break of into 3d space as you can see between 0.16 and 0.21?

I can't tell you how much I would appreciate some help with this.
Thank you so much for reading and thinking about this conundrum.

Cheers,
Jim


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David JohnsonRe: An Old Fashioned After Effects Brain Melter
by on Jul 2, 2011 at 4:20:35 pm

I've done that exact style of effects many times, but forgive me as I struggle through trying to articulate what needs to be done ... when working in AE, I tend to do whatever needs to be done to get the result I want, rather than do things via formulaic tutorial-style methods ... that making it up as I go along approach seems to make it much harder to explain how I did something.

First, if I recall correctly, doing it with animated masks on the footage or with solid layer track mattes is a six / half dozen kind of thing ... the same unless I'm forgetting a gotcha that either method introduces.

[james simpson] "If it is done using animated masks then how do they make sure the distance between the lines is consistent"
I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at there, but perhaps this is it ... with either method the lines are on top of the masks or done via an edge effect so, if on top of the masks, they don't have to be exact ... just close enough to cover the splits. In other words, if the lines are 10 pixels wide, you have a range of 10 pixel accuracy for the edges of the masks. I hope the way I said that part makes sense outside of my brain. ;~)

Or, if you meant how do you get the timing of the various lines motion to match, there are several ways ... parent individual lines to each other, make several lines as one layer with the holes created by masks and move each set of lines as one, use precomps, or carefully time the movement manually ... which is best depends on the specific layout you want and your preference.

[james simpson] "how do you get a solid shape that can be animated and then break of into 3d space"
Simple ... precomp the solid and the footage it is a track matte for, then make the precomp layer a 3D layer and animate it in 3D space to your heart's content.

One more thing I forgot to mention since I always work with multiple viewer windows in AE ... that is essential for this type of design.

I hope my two pence is helpful ... I find it very hard to explain this kind of stuff in writing versus just showing someone who is sitting next to me, but that seems easier for some folks to do so, if nothing I've said makes sense to you, I hope someone else will do a better job of explaining it. Cheers.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: An Old Fashioned After Effects Brain Melter
by on Jul 2, 2011 at 8:27:44 pm

One tip is to work in reverse- design the final look of the slide after a transition and then break it apart. The rest is 3d AE layers, shapes, text and animated masks. Also there's some cool grading as well.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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