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Randomizing many, many dots

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Rosa JurjevicsRandomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 2:25:43 pm

Hello, all --

I need to make a large number of dots appear in at random at differing times. There should be about 20,000 of them, so making them individually is not much of an option. Any way to do this with particles? Not sure how to go about it and any advice would be appreciated.

-R


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Clint MilnerRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 2:28:11 pm

You could try CC Particle World... Pretty good and will render in a 3D space...

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Rosa JurjevicsRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 2:33:30 pm

Thanks for the reply! I'm looking into this. I'm not much of a particle user, so I'm wondering: How to make them APPEAR and then stay in one spot rather than explode or burst?

Thanks,
R


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Greg BurrusRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 2:54:45 pm

There are a bunch of effects in after effects that create dots or circles like, scatterize, starburst, ball action, etc... It just depends on how you want it too look and playing with the settings to get what you want.

If you used CC particle world you could set it up as a disc or lens convex and 0 out all of the physics. So they just explode out then you could just freeze the animation in a precomp. If you don't want it to explode just freeze them already out and mask them in or what ever way you want them to appear.

I know trapcode particular as a preset for a starfield which is just bunch of star like shapes in space you could adapt that to you needs as well.

If you want a lot of any one or multiple items your going to probably want to use some sort of effect or particle system other wise it will take a while to build.


hope that helps,


Greg

http://mogra.g2bproductions.com/ - Blog
http://g2bproductions.com/ - Portfolio


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Brian CharlesRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 2:57:33 pm

Under Physics set the Velocity to 0 and Gravity to 0.

Set the particle Longevity as long as you need it.



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Dave LaRondeRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 3:06:07 pm

Here are additional questions to clarify what you're doing:
  • 20,000 dots is a boatload of dots! What horizontal & vertical resolution will you work at in AE?
  • Are these dots all the same color? Random colors? A prescribed sequence of colors?
  • Are they making any kind of pattern?
  • Are they all the same size?
  • Do you intend to see them in 3D space?
  • Will they be animated in any way?
  • How do you envision making them appear: popping into existence? Dissolving in? Scaling up to size?


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


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Rosa JurjevicsRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 3:27:17 pm

I know, it's a ton of dots!

To (try) and answer your questions:

1) Not sure what res I will be working in...
2) The dots will be all one color
3) They are not making a pattern, but should appear in a line -- maybe there's a way I can make them appear on a motion path?
4) They can be all the same size -- they don't have to, though.
5) 3D space not needed.
6) Not animated (unless you count popping)
7) I would like them to pop into space and then freeze

Thanks!!


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Brian CharlesRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 11, 2011 at 5:57:36 pm

Dave's question about resolution is important since you want these dots to appear in a line.

I'm going to assume you want multiple lines, since 20,000 dots in one line would require at least 20,000 pixels in one dimension.

Particle systems may prove too difficult to control for the look you want. You could try using a repeater on a shape layer and animate the repeater value.

Resolution comes into play since the dots can't be smaller than a pixel, in fact you will need them larger if you're working interlaced.



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Rosa JurjevicsRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 2:43:31 pm

You make a great point. I didn't even think of that, which I probably should have. Let me amend. How about 100 dots? Even 2 dots at this point would be good :)


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Dave LaRondeRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 3:24:24 pm

I'm thinkin' you probably have an pretty well-defined image in your head of your completed work.
I'd put it down on paper (crude is okay) to get a good grasp of the precise requirements for this animation: screen aspect ratio, comparative size of dots, their pattern, how they move/grow/appear.

Such details help people suggest the proper route to take in AE.

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


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Rosa JurjevicsRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 4:10:47 pm

Okay, here is a picture. Please excuse the HORRIBLE scan...


The dots should appear at random and then stay put. Hopefully my drawing makes sense!

THANKS!!


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Dave LaRondeRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 12, 2011 at 5:21:22 pm

Thanks for the drawing! It really helps.

That's nowhere near 20-thousand dots, which is good news: this isn't tough at all! Here's how I'd approach it:
  • In a custom-sized, square-pixel comp, prerender an animating dot -- made of out a square solid with a circular mask applied -- as an alpha-channeled quicktime movie or an image sequence. You can dissolve it in. You can quickly scale it up from nothing to a little bit bigger than desired, then down to the intended size in about 10 frames. You can make the layer 3D and keyframe the X, Y & Z rotation in conjunction with scale to maker it kind of tumble into existence. Any number of things.
  • Import the prerendered, animated dot into AE (or just set AE to import the file file when it's done prerendering). Add it to the main comp.
  • Enable Time Remapping and extend the dot's out-point to the end of the comp. When you go past the last time remapping keyframe, you should still see the dot there. If not, set a time remapping keyframe one frame earlier than the last one, and delete the last one. You'll see the dot for sure now!
  • Position the dot as desired, duplicate it, reposition as desired, and put it BELOW the first dot in the timeline.
  • Repeat the process of duplicating, repositioning, and putting the layer at the bottom until you have all the dots you want. By doing this, you are determining the sequence in which the dots will appear.
  • Go to the uppermost dot layer in the timeline. Highlight it, and shift-click on the bottom-most dot layer. AE now knows you selected all the dots from top to bottom.
  • While all the dots are highlighted, find the Sequence Layers command (I think it's in the Layers menu at the top). Pick a value in frames and activate the command.
  • Zingo-Zango! AE moves all the dot layers in time so their in-points are are now spaced by the number of frames you determined when you used the Sequence Layers command.

That's not too tough, eh? If a RAM Preview reveals that the dot layers need to be closer together in time, you just line 'em all up in time again and do your Sequence Layers trick with a new value.

Someone may have a more elegant way of doing this utilizing expressions, scripts or Phases Of The Moon, but I think for as few dots as you're showing, it'll work just fine.

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


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Martti EkstrandRe: Randomizing many, many dots
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 5:16:47 pm

You could do this with 'type on a path' and chose a ding bat style font with a suitable dot. Then animate the opacity and set it to let the dots come on randomly. Add as many paths / text layers as needed to get the amount of dots you want. Edit the paths shape and position as you please as well.

check out my shorts: http://vimeo.com/marttiekstrand


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