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Animating objects along a beam?

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Thea PilarczykAnimating objects along a beam?
by on Apr 21, 2014 at 5:33:07 pm

I know how to use the beam effect to connect two objects with a single solid line. What I'm curious about is if there is a way to use the beam effect to animate elements along that line, moving from one object to another?

For example, I would like to be able to have a series of elements (they can all be the same shape or sprite) that continually move from one object to another in a single direction.

If I didn't have a couple dozen beams to worry about in a single shot, I would do this by hand...but I'm hoping there is an easier/faster way to achieve this effect.


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Roland R. KahlenbergRe: Animating objects along a beam?
by on Apr 22, 2014 at 7:38:13 am

Instead of the Beam effect, you could also use a Mask and apply the Stroke effect to invoke the Mask Path. Then use the same mask as a position path by copying the mask path property and pasting into a position property.

HTH
RoRK
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Jason JantzenRe: Animating objects along a beam?
by on Apr 22, 2014 at 3:43:28 pm

I'd go with Roland's route. It's the most common way to do this and probably fastest/cheapest. You could alternatively try Mask Avenger on aescripts, but unless you can see more use out of it, probably not worth buying for this. That plugin has a control that allows you to animate along a mask path from 0%-100% and animate the path at the same time keeping the objects position with the path.

Jason Jantzen
vimeo.com/jasonj


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Thea PilarczykRe: Animating objects along a beam?
by on Apr 22, 2014 at 4:28:49 pm

My problem is that I'm editing an already-existing composition, which uses beams to connect a multitude of moving objects.

Is there a tutorial or something that would show me how to use the mask path? I've never tried that before.


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Roland R. KahlenbergRe: Animating objects along a beam?
by on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:36:27 am

It's really simple - you draw a mask path. To have beam-like structure, apply Effect>Generate>Stroke and set the Stroke Mask property to the mask that you drew earlier.

To translate/copy a mask path into a position property, you then select the Mask Path property and copy it to the clipboard (CTRL+C). Then you select a Transform>Position property and paste. The result is such that the mask vertices will be translated into position coordinates, with each mask vertex translated into a position keyframe.

You should take note that the default duration of the position keyframes created when pasting Mask Paths onto a position property is two seconds and that the type of keyframes created are known as Roving Keyframes. You can easily change the default 2-second by time-stretching the keyframes to suit your needs.

HTH
RoRK
Latest AE Workshop - MoGraph Intensity - Shapes & Text

Intensive mocha & AE Training in Singapore and Other Dangerous Locations

Adobe After Effects CC ACE/ACI
Imagineer Systems (mocha) Certified Instructor


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Thea PilarczykRe: Animating objects along a beam?
by on Apr 23, 2014 at 2:21:28 pm

So would my mask path be the actual shape that I want to have traveling between objects? For example, if I wanted to move the shape of a star from object 1 to object 2 in a continual stream, my mask path would be the star? Would I just make multiples and repeat them?


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