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How to animate an object on a motion path which STOPS every two seconds??

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Steven Seal
How to animate an object on a motion path which STOPS every two seconds??
on Sep 13, 2011 at 3:52:13 pm

Hi Everybody!

My first post, and yes it may be a bit hazy. OK, I am trying to animate a simple vector CATERPILLAR which walks around the inside of a mobile phone screen (including turning at corners). Very easy I thought.

I can get five circles (which look like they are joined) to follow a motion path around the screen and turn at comfortable right angles at the edge of the screen. No problems there. But this kind of looks like a millipede.

Two problems arose from this: The motion path does not allow me to stop the motion for 10 frames every second without putting all the roving frames out of sync from the previous section. Trying to get the caterpillar to do that "movement" where the head and the back come close together, then stretch out.

I can not work this out! Tried to manually animate one circle , then repeat, but when I get to the corners, it is difficult to get the speed the same, and when duplicated five times... messy.

Question? Is there a way I move an animated comp on a path, but instead of using the AUTO ORIENTATE when the caterpillar goes round the corner, which ends up looking like a bus, it actually follows and morphs around the actual path? Like a stroke or brush would in illustrator. This is what I really want.

God I need help.

Many thanks...


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to animate an object on a motion path which STOPS every two seconds??
on Sep 13, 2011 at 4:56:47 pm

Since you have the caterpillar motion the way you want it, here's a thought: precomp the caterpillar, moving all attributes into the precomp. There's a switch to do that when you precomp layers.
  • In this newly-precomped layer, enable time remapping. Find the spots where you want the motion to pause, and add markers to the layer -- it's the asterisk key on the numeric keypad-- and create time remapping keyframes.
  • Go back to the first time remapping keyframe. Go one more frame later in time, and make another one.
  • Go one frame back to the first time remapping keyframe, and right-click on it. Select the Easy Ease In keyframe assistant and THEN the Toggle Hold Keyframe keyframe assistant.
  • Go one frame to the next keyframe, right-click on it, and use the Easy Ease OUT keyframe assistant.
  • Repeat this process for the rest of the time remapping keyframes you set initially: they'll be at the layer markers you also set.
  • Now comes the tricky part. Go back to the first time remapping keyframe you set at the first layer marker. Select ALL the time remapping keyframes that follow it. Move them as many frames as you want the pause to last; in your case, it will be 10 frames.
  • Go to the next time remapping keyframe you initially set; it will be an Easy Ease In/Toggle Hold keyframe combo. Repeat the process of selecting all the keyframes that follow it, and moving them 10 frames.
  • Repeat this process of selecting and moving time remapping keyframes until you're done.

You will either have to lengthen the precomped layer by extending its out point. You may even have to make the comp duration longer. Both are easy to do.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Steven Seal
Re: How to animate an object on a motion path which STOPS every two seconds??
on Sep 13, 2011 at 8:44:03 pm

Many thanks Dave,

your answer to my question was both prompt and in depth! Complete star! I will work on this tomorrow and let you know how I get on. I have read a little more about time remapping and should be able to do this.

Any chance you could help with the second part of my animation?

The now animated caterpillar is seen side on and will need to walk from the top left of my screen, the caterpillar is upside down at this point, to the top right where it reaches the corner and starts to walk down the right hand side, this is repeated for all four corners. Using the auto orient does not work as it needs to follow the exact 90% right angle of the screen and therefore needs to "stick" to the side as if it was really stuck inside the screen.

In my head I see the caterpillar comp somehow being morphed or tweened along a vector path. Is this possible?

Dave? Anyone?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to animate an object on a motion path which STOPS every two seconds??
on Sep 13, 2011 at 8:49:47 pm

You might try using the Puppet tool on a pre-comped caterpillar to do all the arching & such, then animate the precomp's position & anchor point. Then precomp it again for the time remapping.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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