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How to create a set of scales in After Effects

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Chris Elwyn
How to create a set of scales in After Effects
on Jul 12, 2012 at 2:11:18 pm

Here's the scene - a set of scales (the typical cross bar set up with two seperate saucers or dishes on either end, where the weights would be placed).

I have the elements brought into After Affects, with the stand on one layer, the cross piece on another, and the two dishes or saucers also on seperate layers.

Is there some kind of elegant solution that I could put together with scripts so that I could control the animation of the two saucers by controlling the rotation of the cross piece, or would it be better just to eyeball the animation and hand key it all?

I'm thinking if I can create a relationship between the X rotation on the cross piece, to the Y trans of the saucers, so that the whole assembly appears to be attached and moves correctly, that would be better than trying to eyeball the movements.

Any thoughts or suggestions here?

chris elwyn | sketchseven


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Brian Charles
Re: How to create a set of scales in After Effects
on Jul 12, 2012 at 3:02:40 pm

Sorry if I misunderstand, but wouldn't simple parenting work? Parent the saucers to the crossbar?



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Chris Elwyn
Re: How to create a set of scales in After Effects
on Jul 12, 2012 at 3:12:05 pm

I don't think parenting alone is going to be enough - if I parent the saucers to the crossbar, and then rotate the crossbar, that will also rotate the saucers as well - whereas I need them to appear to be being affecte by gravity and so be sort of pulled up or down based on the rotation of the crossbar.

If that makes any more sense.

chris elwyn | sketchseven


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Walter Soyka
Re: How to create a set of scales in After Effects
on Jul 12, 2012 at 3:43:32 pm

[Brian Charles] "Sorry if I misunderstand, but wouldn't simple parenting work? Parent the saucers to the crossbar?"

Yes -- each saucer should have its anchor set in its visual middle, then be parented to the crossbar.

Rotating the crossbar will then move both the saucers and the crossbar.

To keep the saucers from rotating with the crossbar, you'd need to add an expression to the rotation properties that negates the rotation of the crossbar:
-thisComp.layer("Crossbar").transform.rotation

See attached file:

4396_scale.aep.zip [file link]

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
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Chris Elwyn
Re: How to create a set of scales in After Effects
on Jul 12, 2012 at 6:49:44 pm

Ah thanks Walter and Brian for the responses - will give that a go with my image elements!

chris elwyn | sketchseven


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