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Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?

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Kevin Camin
Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on May 2, 2012 at 8:31:53 pm

I'm exporting some 3D data from Cinema 4D. I basically created a light bulb wall and am generating a 3D null for each light bulb. I want to put an after effects light in each of the spots the generated nulls are in (and then I'll be using Video Co-Pilot Optical Flares plug-in to turn each of those after effects lights into a flickering flare).

Is there an easy way to assign the AE lights to the nulls? I'm trying to avoid parenting 200+ lights to each null or copy and pasting the positions.

Thanks.

Best regards,

Kevin Camin


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on May 2, 2012 at 8:47:36 pm

An AE 3D camera doesn't see the light shining at it from AE light layers. It only sees the light that shines on other layers. To pull off your trick, you'd want to get a plugin like Trapcode Lux. You can find out about it on the Red Giant Software web site.

But I have to tell you: 200 lights is a boatload! And if you have them casting shadows, AE rendering will slow way, Way, WAY down!

I'm not saying it's impossible, but I strongly recommend that you consider another method to achieve the look you want. We don't know all the details of the shot, so you might be okay.

And to answer your question, you'd want to create a Position expression, then pickwhip to the appropriate null's Position.

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


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Kevin Camin
Re: Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on May 3, 2012 at 6:04:21 am

@Kevin: Thank you, that is indeed an elegant solution. Is there a way to copy and paste an expression to multiple layers at a time?

@Dave: I'm creating AE lights in conjuction with the Video Co-Pilot Optical Flares effect. There is no actual light being generate from the lights, but it being used as a position coordinate for the flare effect to impose on. It works extremely well, and is fast. If you want to create a nuanced wall of light, this is a good way.

Thanks so much everyone.

Best regards,

Kevin Camin


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Kevin Camp
Re: Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on May 3, 2012 at 2:55:43 pm

[Kevin Camin] " Is there a way to copy and paste an expression to multiple layers at a time?"

yep, select the property of the layer that has the expression and choose edit>copy expression only. then select all the layers that you want to paste the expression onto and then 'paste'.

also, i had said that the lights should be at the bottom of the comp, however, that was assuming that the nulls were at the bottom of the comp to start with... since the expression is using the indexes of layers relative to itself, it would be more accurate to say the group of 200 lights should be bellow the group of 200 nulls, if you had a camera or other layers in there, they should be either above or bellow the nulls and lights, but not in between them... though the expression could be modified to account for that if needed.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Kevin Camin
Re: Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on May 4, 2012 at 5:22:46 am

Thanks, Kevin!

And thanks, Joseph for the link to the script. I unfortunately am still working off CS5. But this will come in hand in the future. Thanks, again.

Best regards,

Kevin Camin


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Kevin Camp
Re: Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on May 2, 2012 at 8:51:06 pm

you may be able to find a script that can do something like this...

you could try this using a simple expression for position of the light like this:

thisComp.layer(index-1).position

the light would then just look at the layer above it and use it's position. you would still need to re-order the layers so that a given light was position bellow it's corresponding null...

or you could add all the lights at the bottom of the comp and modify the expression like this to avoid having to move the change the layer orders:

thisComp.layer(index-200).position

this way you'd create one light, add the expression and duplicate it out 199 times, then you could shy/hide the nulls... or if you don't need the nulls, you could convert the expressions to keyframes and delete the nulls.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on May 2, 2012 at 8:57:14 pm

That's a neat idea on the expressions. Lots easier than a pickwhip.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on May 2, 2012 at 9:25:17 pm

That's a really elegant (and fast) solution, Kevin!

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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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on May 3, 2012 at 1:30:27 am

Kevin -

This may or may not help you. There's a free script called Null Swapper, that's made for more or less what you're looking to do. It only works, from what I understand, in CS5.5:

http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/motiongraphicsvizfx/story/null_swapp...

I hope that's what you've got - it could save a whole lot of time. Good luck!

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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James Poulakos
Re: Adding 200 lights to 200 Null objects?
on Apr 23, 2014 at 2:58:23 pm

thisComp.layer(index-200).position
Kevin Camp's answer just helped me, today, with After Effects CS6. I wanted to thank you all, for the question, the answer, and the forum where we can share them. Thanks! (and thanks to the site's sponsors and advertisers).

The workaround using layer index numbers really helps. Now that I've seen that snippet of code, I bet I'll find other uses for it, too.


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