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non-precomp multi-layer TrkMat?

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Andy Engelkemiernon-precomp multi-layer TrkMat?
by on Apr 11, 2012 at 7:15:41 pm

I don't want to precomp this, but have multiple layers I need a mask for. Text needs to disappear near the middle when it's flying in, as if it's flying into a 3D box essentially.

I've got a bunch of text layers that do this, but I don't want to precomp them.

Any way I can use only 1 layer to mask them? Oh, and the text is 3D layers.

I think the best I can come up with is to precomp the Mask and use it as a TrkMat for every text layer. That way I can at least only edit one mask later for changes. But that still stacks up my layer count quite a bit. I'd rather not have that many layers. BTW, is there a limit? I haven't hit 100 yet, but I'll be getting close soon.

Any better ideas? I thought there was an effect I could do, but I'm not sure that will work on 3D layers, and masks travel with the layer in 3D. I need a 2D mask against a 3D layer.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: non-precomp multi-layer TrkMat?
by on Apr 11, 2012 at 7:51:06 pm

Why don't you want to precomp? If it's a matter of having access to the camera, you can always use a Null to control the camera (linked by expressions), duplicate the camera and precomp the text with the duplicated camera (you will have to relink to the Null in main comp).

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Andy EngelkemierRe: non-precomp multi-layer TrkMat?
by on Apr 11, 2012 at 8:03:38 pm

if I could precomp and just drop down the thing to see the contents that would be cool (can't wait till the next release. It looks like that's there), but there's something nice about seeing your layer's I/O points for the whole composition. Well, for each "scene" at least.

The main reason here though is I'm comping to audio. I've not got a good workflow yet for working with animation in a precomp, then changing it in there to match the audio. I like to actually see the waveforms to do that.

Also, markers aren't live in precomps. If I mark a layer on a precomp and go Into that layer, it should be on the top timeline. And if I mark a time there, it should come through to my main comp. That's a big one too.

So I only use precomps when i Have to.

I've got it going, but using quite a few layers. I precomped the mask since I'm not animating it. I've already changed it, so it's nice I thought ahead.


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Walter SoykaRe: non-precomp multi-layer TrkMat?
by on Apr 11, 2012 at 8:45:02 pm

[Andy Engelkemier] "if I could precomp and just drop down the thing to see the contents that would be cool (can't wait till the next release. It looks like that's there), but there's something nice about seeing your layer's I/O points for the whole composition. Well, for each "scene" at least."

You could ETLAT [link].

Also useful -- tearing the precomp's tab off to make two timeline panels, one over the other. Make sure "Synchronize time of related items" is checked in Preferences > General.

If you have the screen real estate, you could tear off a separate locked comp viewer for each comp, too.


[Andy Engelkemier] "The main reason here though is I'm comping to audio. I've not got a good workflow yet for working with animation in a precomp, then changing it in there to match the audio. I like to actually see the waveforms to do that. "

Copy the audio layer from the main comp into the precomp, then set it as a guide layer [link] to prevent yourself from accidentally rendering it.

Not that I've ever done that...


[Andy Engelkemier] "Also, markers aren't live in precomps. If I mark a layer on a precomp and go Into that layer, it should be on the top timeline."

They're not live, but they are updateable. Right-click a marker on your precomp layer in your main comp, then choose "Update all markers."

You have to have a marker in the precomp before you lay it into the containing comp. I think this is poor behavior, and I consider this a bug, so I've filed a bug report [link]. I'd encourage you to do the same.


[Andy Engelkemier] "And if I mark a time there, it should come through to my main comp. That's a big one too."

There's no way I can think of to do that directly, but the double-timeline window and synchronized time might help you work around it.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Andy EngelkemierRe: non-precomp multi-layer TrkMat?
by on Apr 11, 2012 at 9:01:03 pm

good tips. I appreciate it. Some of those will help.

I don't have the available screen space for a couple, but the rest should help quite a bit. Time for a couple monitors. lol


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Darby EdelenRe: non-precomp multi-layer TrkMat?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 1:03:48 am

You can do this with the Channel > Set Matte effect.

You'll need one Solid layer to define your matte. This layer will need to have continuously rasterize enabled. Then apply the Set Matte effect to your text and set the "Take Matte From Layer" property to your new matte layer.

If you want the text to disappear when it passes behind the matte then check "Invert Matte" in the effect.

Once you have the effect set up you can copy it and paste it on all the text layers.

You can turn your matte layer's visibility off to hide it. You can also make the matte a 3D layer if you want to orient the matte in 3D or have its position respond to the camera. One caveat is that it will matte the text even if the 3D layer is placed behind the text in the scene.

Darby Edelen


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