I have a path with a stroke making a simple celtic style pattern and need to have it unravel as if made of string that's suddenly come apart on one side. I wondered what would be the most effective way as animating the path is a very awkward option, so is there something else that's possible? I thought about perhaps positioning Nulls instead of the path and chaining beams together to form the pattern, then using something like wiggle to unravel/move the beams, but I don't think you can bend the beam lines, can you?
Without looking at the pattern, its width and knowing how the string unravels, it's kinda hard to provide a definitive solution. But what I can suggest is that if you place the Anchor Point at the top of the 'string' and then QUICKLY scale it upwards, you'll get a decent unraveling effect.
Add Motion Blur and you'll be in even better surroundings. As for curves etc, you can add the Puppet Tool or one of the Distort effects into the mix.
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You may get the effect you're after if you build a path on the pattern and link a light to it. Animate a mask to hide the pattern starting at the point you want it to unravel. Animate the light to match the edge of the mask. Use Particular with the light as the Emitter to create a continuous flow of particles that simulate the thread/ line that is pulled away ( the principles of the light streak technique may be used).
Thank you for the suggestions, I eventually stuck with animating the path and adding a bit of mesh warping, which worked fine but was a little frustrating. It's a shame there's no way of isolating individual path points and giving them their own transform tools....
I'd like to try your method at some point though Ted, it sounds like it could work and save a lot of hassle.
Trying to do something very similar myself. It's for a chemistry video where something happens that straightens out a strand. The finished thing I'm trying to recreate is below.
Not a very hard image to bash out in illustrator. But I want to start with it all 'scrunched up' like the line in the image below. It would also be quite good if it had the 'matchsticks' on it all pointing in random directions.
The squirly pinkish line in the second image is the start 'position' for the yellow line in the first.
So can I set up the illustrator image as the finished (or even a perfect straight line version) and then distort it to a path I can key frame in AE
Any pointers will offset the grey hairs appearing on the head over this :o)