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A genuinely confounding problem - timing issues with a stroke on a vector layer

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Kevin Freeny
A genuinely confounding problem - timing issues with a stroke on a vector layer
on Mar 28, 2016 at 5:48:09 pm

just to give you a sense of what this AE project looks like, it's an indiana jones style map with animated flags that pop up as the route line (a stroke) animates. very simple idea. I'm using 3d layers to add camera and light effects to give some sense of depth.

1) my pre-comp: Stroking Mask
I have a mask that strokes from 0% to 100% over a period of 5 minutes.
The mask is on a vector layer (a world map).
Also in this pre-comp are the flags that animate as the stroke hits the point. So when the stroke hits Miami, Florida, a flag animates with some information about Miami, Florida.
It is all timed-out in this composition. Timing is the important part.

2) my main composition for output: Camera with Stroking Mask
I have my pre-comp unmoving under the camera layer. It has a -45° X-axis rotation.

Here's where the weird stuff starts happening. By changing the x-axis rotation to -45° in my main composition, the stroke moves and my timing is off. The stroke still ends (reaches 100%) at 5 minutes, but the it ramps up or down and does not match the timing of the pre-comp.

So when the pre-comp layer has an x-axis rotation 0°, my stroke hits Miami, Florida at the right time in the composition (and the little flag is in sync with the animation). When I make a change to the x-axis rotation, even by -1°, the stroke moves a little bit and the timing of the stroke and the flag are no longer in sync. This timing lag increases with each x-axis degree change.

Similarly, my changing the z-axis of my camera's position (moving closer to or further from my pre-comp layer) affects the timing of my stroke. Again, it still reaches the end at 5 minutes, but the interpolated speed between 2 keyframes changes throughout).

My work-around
If I put the stroke on a different layer in the pre-comp--a non vector layer (Just a solid layer with the same mask). The timing works perfectly. But the actual stroke is low quality and looks unsharp because I cannot continuously rasterize. Changing this layer to bilinear, bicubic and draft doesn't help either.

I am really hopeful that there is some simple solution to what is ultimately a very simple composition.
Thanks in advance for any help.

-Kevin


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Kalle Kannisto
Re: A genuinely confounding problem - timing issues with a stroke on a vector layer
on Mar 28, 2016 at 6:49:36 pm
Last Edited By Kalle Kannisto on Mar 28, 2016 at 6:52:13 pm

Skipping the timing problem on the vector layer, which I have no clue on, I'll address the resolution issue on the solid instead. I gather the problem arises from zooming close and seeing individual pixels. Solution: Increase the size of the solid and the stroke effect, say 4X, then scale it to original size 25%. (Actual values depend on how close you are actually zooming into it.)


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Kevin Freeny
Re: A genuinely confounding problem - timing issues with a stroke on a vector layer
on Mar 28, 2016 at 8:13:31 pm

Kalle Kannisto: Clever and simple work around. Thanks so much. That did the trick.

Very much appreciated.
-kevin


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Walter Soyka
Re: A genuinely confounding problem - timing issues with a stroke on a vector layer
on Mar 28, 2016 at 7:04:51 pm

You might consider doing this as a shape layer, using Trim Paths to draw the stroke on a path from 0 to 100%. That will eliminate the Collapse Transformations issue (it's only "continuously rasterize" for vector layers) that you're seeing.

I think the timing issue is caused by the 3D rotation of the layer -- you're getting a different perspective view of the animation so it doesn't line up.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
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Kalle Kannisto
Re: A genuinely confounding problem - timing issues with a stroke on a vector layer
on Mar 30, 2016 at 11:57:41 am
Last Edited By Kalle Kannisto on Mar 30, 2016 at 11:59:05 am

Additional information on this issue came to light. I discovered that using "continuously rasterize / collapse tranformations" on a stroke effect causes the timing problem, as AE "collapses" the 3D mask path into 2D, so the Stroke effect "End" location based on mask path length no longer matches the original path shape, since it is now recalculated based on the "collapsed" (from 3D to 2D) path shape.


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