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Pitch Tracker in AE?

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Ryan Penny
Pitch Tracker in AE?
on May 28, 2013 at 7:17:56 pm

Hello,
I've been looking for a way to create a comet/light trail effect in After Effects CS6 like the one in the YT example below which was made in Motion 5. The way that I created this one was to use the pen tool with no fill/only stroke, adjust the arc to match the pitch, add a write-on behavior and keyframe the last point offset to match the speed of the pitch. I have been able to replicate up to this point in AECS6 using a stroke mask on a solid layer and animating the end. Where I'm having trouble is how to keyframe the width of the "comet" to start small and get wider until the end and also how to create the yellow>orange effect. In AE, keyframing the brush width adjusts the entire length of the stroke (making the whole thing fatter). Anyone know how to do this? Thanks.







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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Pitch Tracker in AE?
on May 28, 2013 at 8:28:16 pm

3d Stroke may be better and easier touse for something like this:

http://www.redgiant.com/products/all/trapcode-3d-stroke/

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Ryan Penny
Re: Pitch Tracker in AE?
on May 29, 2013 at 1:18:51 am

Thanks for the reply, but I'm really looking for a non-plugin solution. I'm trying to do this at work and we don't use the Trapcode plugins. Any other ideas? I was thinking I may be able to use another program in the Suite, like Photoshop or Illustrator and then reveal it in AE with a mask, but I can't seem to figure out how to create the "comet" shape (pointy on end and bigger/rounded at the other end).


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Pitch Tracker in AE?
on May 29, 2013 at 6:27:59 am

you can draw a shape in Illustrator and use the gradient mesh to adjust the color inside- import in AE and reveal with mask.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Mato Kokotic
Re: Pitch Tracker in AE?
on May 29, 2013 at 6:34:29 am

Why don't you create mask (or shape)of your trail, and another opened mask (path) With Stroke/Reveal option?
Or make trail on one layer (shape of your trail) and use another layer as a Track Matte to reveal underlying layer. Use Glow with Alpha option for orange glow.



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Ryan Penny
Re: Pitch Tracker in AE?
on May 29, 2013 at 2:33:15 pm

Thanks guys, I was hoping I could do it inside AE since it's relatively easy in Motion, but I can't seem to figure out how to draw that kind of shape inside AE. I haven't really used Illustrator much at all but after trying it, I don't think I can import video (Need the reference of where the arc of the ball is). Is there any way to draw a line and then "pinch" one side (to make the point) and stretch the other (to make the rounded comet tip)?

We use this element at least once a day and once we make the switch from FCP/Motion to Adobe I'd like to figure out a solution. I'm gonna keep trying to find a way to draw it in AE but if anyone knows a quicker/more elegant way I'd love to hear it. Thanks for your help.


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Ryan Penny
Re: Pitch Tracker in AE?
on May 29, 2013 at 4:22:06 pm

I got it! As Mato suggested, I used two masks on a white solid layer (to use as my luma matte) and got the comet to taper, then put a layer with a ramp underneath to get the color right. Someone at work also showed me a method of using a null object with a particle system (on another layer) parented to it that also gives the same kind of effect (but even cooler). A little clunkier than Motion, but saving this as a template should work for us. Thanks for your help guys.


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