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Making the write-on effect smarter and more efficient.

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Raza AhmadMaking the write-on effect smarter and more efficient.
by on Sep 3, 2014 at 9:33:01 pm

I already bit the bullet and my machine is slowly trundling through this render, but in order to learn for next time, I'm wondering if any of you have found a mechanic to leverage the Write-On effect without kiling the machine.

Backstory:

I'm using write on to trace the path of moving nulls, about 30 nulls with about 3 minutes of movement, keyframed in 10 frame increments.

This kills the machine. Write on is extremely slow to process each following frame (which is perfectly understandable, really, given the amount of data it's crunching), but it also seems to be doing it stupidly.

What I mean by that is, it seems to re-calculate the entire write-on for each layer at each keyframe, rather than using the previously calculated frames intelligently and only calculating the change incurred at this current frame. So at frame 20, it's calculating 0-20. At frame 21, it's calculating 0-21 rather than using the work it just did at frame 20 + 1 new frame.

It's not scalable, working this way, especially in very large comps. (Think an airspace tracing over a major airport, 1000s of lines with a variety of movement patterns!)

Stoke or path animation is not possible here because it would mean manually/painstakingly analzing %age transition to movement that is not linear. (Null might move 20 pixels, then wait 200 frames, then move 50).

Any other alternatives to the write on effect (that use an identical mechanic, brush position and time) or any advice on how to make write-on be smarter with its render management?

For now, I did my best to leverage stroke distance and minimal keyframes to make this as renderable as possible, but it's still just a silly amount of processing per frame.

Thanks!


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Kevin CampRe: Making the write-on effect smarter and more efficient.
by on Sep 3, 2014 at 10:48:04 pm

you might try a particle system.

trapcode's particular can do this quite well, but you could use cc particle systems ii with an expression to have the producer position track a null and set the radius to 0.

you'd need to set the particle velocity and gravity to 0, and set the particle to 'lens' and the opacity to constant. then fiddle with the other settings to make the line that you need.

you can even link the birthrate to the speed of the null so it produces more particles when it moves faster and fewer when it moves slower to try and be more efficient. the expression would be something like this:

thisComp.layer("Null 1").transform.position.speed / 100

just set the 100 value as needed to produce a line and not a series of dots.

Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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Raza AhmadRe: Making the write-on effect smarter and more efficient.
by on Sep 4, 2014 at 1:04:04 am

Thanks for the tip, Kevin...

Going to experiment with this now...


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Raza AhmadRe: Making the write-on effect smarter and more efficient.
by on Sep 4, 2014 at 1:19:32 am

MUCH more render-efficient!

Thanks for the great tip, Kevin.


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