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Convert a motion path to curve

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Simon FrancoisConvert a motion path to curve
by on Oct 17, 2015 at 4:50:05 pm

Hi all.

I know the opposite is doable: to paste a Bezier curve to the Position field and thus convert that curve into motion, but I would be interested doing the opposite: having a motion, that I would like to convert into a curve to use in Illustrator, as I find it way easier to draw complex curves in After Effects than in Illustrator.

I've been looking around for that topic, but got no answer, and couldn't find either that question already asked.

There, here I am. Would any of you have an answer?

Thanks in advance for your help.
Greetings,
Simon


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Kalle KannistoRe: Convert a motion path to curve
by on Oct 17, 2015 at 7:03:11 pm

You can draw a Mask or Shape layer in AE, twirl down to the path, select it, copy and paste into Illustrator.

You can do that with a Motion Path as well, IF you first copy and paste it into a mask or shape in AE, then copy again from mask/shape in AE and paste in Illustrator. (Directly copying a Motion Path gives you Keyframe data in text form instead.)


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Simon FrancoisRe: Convert a motion path to curve
by on Oct 19, 2015 at 5:50:48 pm

Hello Kale, thanks for your answer, and sorry for my late thanking.

The problem is that the object that I want to convert the motion path of, is a child object, and doesn't own its movement. In other words, the path it follows comes from the rotation and the position movements of another one, as well as the rotation of another intermediary.

I would need to know then if there would be a way of generating a motion path out the movement it inherits?

I don't know if that's clear. If not, please don't hesitate to ask.
Regards,
Simon


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Simon FrancoisRe: Convert a motion path to curve
by on Oct 19, 2015 at 6:08:24 pm

Maybe a metaphore helps:
It is as if I had in my composition, an illustration of the Sun, of the Earth, and one of the Moon, and as if what I wanted was to get the drawing of the trajectory of the Moon in that global setting (turning around the Earth which turns around the Sun so to say).


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Kalle KannistoRe: Convert a motion path to curve
by on Oct 20, 2015 at 7:53:03 am
Last Edited By Kalle Kannisto on Oct 20, 2015 at 8:11:50 am

Ok, I see, you have a parented object that you want to create a motion path for so as to copy it to illustrator.

After some trial and error, I discovered a way to do so:

1) Make sure that the anchor point of the object you want to create the path for is in the center (or at the point you want the path to follow)

2) Create a null with the following expression for its position:

M =thisComp.layer("Layer to Follow here");
pos = M.toWorld(M.anchorPoint);
pos


(Now your null should follow the object.)

3) Use Animation > Keyframe Assistant > Convert Expressions to Keyframes for the Null's position

4) Delete expression from the Null

5) Copy position keyframes

6) Create a new solid with a mask

7) Paste position keyframes to mask

(You should now have a mask path of same shape)

8) Copy mask path

9) Paste in Illustrator (note: the path may be rather large initially, so you may have to zoom out to see it)

If all goes well, you'll now have a path in Illustrator that follows the object's motion exactly.

You'll have points at every keyframe, but the good news is that they are bezier paths. Interestingly enough, you can control the amount of points created by changing the frame rate. AE does a great job creating bezier curves between the keyframes.

This is a great idea, glad you asked. It opens up an interesting way of generating Illustrator art from motion.


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Kalle KannistoRe: Convert a motion path to curve
by on Oct 20, 2015 at 8:02:56 am
Last Edited By Kalle Kannisto on Oct 20, 2015 at 8:04:19 am

Here's how the test document I made looks in AE and AI. I used your moon example.

I created the paths at two different frame rates, 25fps and 5fps. Both paths are copied over to AI and you can see the resulting anchor points.



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Simon FrancoisRe: Convert a motion path to curve
by on Oct 20, 2015 at 12:44:47 pm

Wow, that's fantastic!
Well, let's call it a win-win situation because if you're glad I've asked, I'm really glad you solved it!
Indeed it enables many graphic possibilities, starting from the fact that I find it way easier to draw complex curved shapes in AE than in Ill.

Thanks a lot again! My very best regards,
Simon


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