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Add vertex: simple, right? wrong!

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Sean Cramer
Add vertex: simple, right? wrong!
on Dec 10, 2012 at 7:31:38 pm

I can't believe I'm actually having difficulty with something that should be SOOOO(!) simple.

1) activate Ellipse Tool
2) drag out ellipse (new Shape Layer is automatically created)
3) activate Add Vertex Tool
4) click with tool somewhere on the path of the ellipse just created
5) FAIL!... no new vertex is added

Okay, I know sometimes things work in quirky ways with software such as After Effects and the like. But I have tried all combination of things to get this to work. Double-clicking. Holding SHIFT, ALT, CTRL. I can't even select a vertex on the ellipse. Is that because they're under the little boxes that only allow me to scale/stretch the ellipse? Again, tried double-clicking, etc. to enter some secret mode in order to get at the vertices, but nope, can't get to them.

If I create a free form shape with the Pen Tool, I can add and select vertices. What gives? Basic editing is unavailable when starting with the preset shapes (rectangle, ellipse, etc)?!

Or am I the only one experiencing this? I have CS3.


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Darby Edelen
Re: Add vertex: simple, right? wrong!
on Dec 11, 2012 at 5:05:40 am

[Sean Cramer] "Basic editing is unavailable when starting with the preset shapes (rectangle, ellipse, etc)?!"

Yup, you nailed it. As far as I know there's no way to go from a parametric shape path to an editable path.

My workaround would be to add a new mask to a solid layer using the ellipse tool, copy the mask path property of the mask, add a new 'path' object to your shape layer and paste the path there. You can then edit the path as you would a standard mask path.

Darby Edelen


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Vishesh Arora
Re: Add vertex: simple, right? wrong!
on Dec 11, 2012 at 10:56:22 am

Darby

Great trick! I was puzzled at this point.

Vishesh Arora
3D and Motion Graphics Artist
Films Rajendra

Blog:
http://digieffects.wordpress.com

Demo Reel(3D):







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Sean Cramer
Re: Add vertex: simple, right? wrong!
on Dec 12, 2012 at 4:27:38 pm

Wow. We can do DOF and have complex particle systems, but we can't add a point to a circle.

I tried your workaround, Darby. If I create a Solid layer and draw an ellipse for a mask, and then try to copy that mask path as a shape path on a Shape Layer, it pastes it as a mask, not a shape--it knows/remembers that it was a mask and treats it as such. Since I can edit the vertices of a mask shape on a Solid layer, I guess that's what I'll be using instead of a Shape Layer if I want to start from a parametric shape first.

Thanks for taking the time to respond, Darby.

Eventually I'll sort out the idiosyncrasies of Solid layers and Shape Layers, but I think 'first use' is a good test of how well something has been implemented, and in this user's opinion, some things don't work like they should. Here's one idea... if you can't add vertices to a parametric shape on a Shape Layer, gray out the pen tool. Granted, that would still be frustrating, because it seems like you should be able to do that, but at least you wouldn't keep trying to use a tool that was never going to do anything.


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Darby Edelen
Re: Add vertex: simple, right? wrong!
on Dec 12, 2012 at 6:27:16 pm

You have to paste it onto a new Path object. Don't skip steps! :)

"add a new 'path' object to your shape layer and paste the path there"

Darby Edelen


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Darby Edelen
Re: Add vertex: simple, right? wrong!
on Dec 12, 2012 at 6:30:17 pm

[Sean Cramer] "Here's one idea... if you can't add vertices to a parametric shape on a Shape Layer, gray out the pen tool."

But you can still add new free form paths to the shape layer so it would be inaccurate to gray out the pen tool.

I agree that there should be an easier method to go to a freeform path from a parametric one. Cinema 4D allows you to simple "Convert to Editable" which I think is the cleanest option.

Darby Edelen


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Add vertex: simple, right? wrong!
on Dec 14, 2013 at 6:52:15 pm

The After Effects CC (12.2) update makes creating a Bezier path for a shape layer easier and more apparent.

option for creating shape layers based on Bezier paths:

When a shape tool (Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Polygon, Star, or Ellipse tool) is active, you can use the new Bezier Path option in the Tools panel to create a new shape based on a Bezier path, as opposed to the default of creating a new shape based on a parametric path. Holding the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key while drawing a shape causes the opposite behavior—i.e., if the Bezier Path option is enabled, holding the Alt or Option key causes the shape tool to create a parametric path; if the Bezier Path option is disabled, holding the Alt or Option key causes the shape tool to create a Bezier path.

command for converting a parametric shape layer path to a Bezier path:

You can convert a parametric path to a Bezier path after the parametric path has already been created by context-clicking (right-clicking or Control-clicking on Mac OS) the property group for the parametric path (e.g., Rectangle Path 1) and choosing the Convert To Bezier Path command from the context menu. If the parametric path is animated (keyframed), the converted Bezier path is a static path based on the parametric path at the current time; keyframes are lost.

IMPORTANT: When you use the Convert To Bezier Path command to convert a parametric shape path to a Bezier shape path, the Bezier path that is created does not animate well (i.e., interpolation between paths behaves strangely and unpredictably). This is related to path direction and how transformations are stored. For now, you should not use these converted paths for animated paths (interpolation between paths); but, if you do want to try, you may be able to work around the issues by reversing the path before conversion.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
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