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How to create a 3D network with nodes?

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Carlos Zapater
How to create a 3D network with nodes?
on Mar 17, 2014 at 11:22:34 am

Hi!

This was a question explained in this other older post. The exact effect that I want to reproduce is the one you can see in this video after the first title (0m 4s)

The thing is that I tried the technique explained by Roland R. Kahlenberg in the post but I got stuck. I just don't understand how to develop this and I don't know a word about programming or expressions.

Any idea would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!



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John Cuevas
Re: How to create a 3D network with nodes?
on Mar 17, 2014 at 6:44:37 pm

First, that effect was created using Plexus, so using the beams effect is just a work around. If you have a lot of titles graphics and lines you want to animate, using Beams is going to take a real long time. What this expression does, is convert 3D space to 2D space, basically faking the position for AE(it's all fake anyway as it's a 2D monitor and 3D space is just forced perspecive...)

Here is how you would do this for 1 LINE with 3 points. First you need to create 3 points in space(in my example I use text, you could use nulls, solids, whatever). I would animate them first.

Next you would create a solid, name it beam 1. This will connect point 1 to point 2. Add the beam effect to the layer. "Alt+click" the "Starting point" to start the expression and type StartPointLayer= and using the pickwhip(looks like a little spiral) connect it to your first layer(just connect to the layer name), then type a ";"(semi-colon). Press Enter to start a new line and type "StartPointLayer.toComp([0,0,0])".

In my example my layer name is "position 1" so my expression is simply: StartPointLayer=thisComp.layer("Position 1");
StartPointLayer.toComp([0,0,0])


Now we need to do an ending point which will be the same but with a different variable. Alt click the "Ending Point" type "EndPointLayer=" and pickwhip to your 2nd layer, the type "EndPointLayer.toComp([0,0,0])". My example: EndPointLayer=thisComp.layer("Position 2");
EndPointLayer.toComp([0,0,0])


Now to connect that line to the next point, you would just duplicate the beam effect, and your startpoint will the endpoint of the first effect(position 2) and the end point will be Position 3. Finally check the setting "composite on original:

Check out my example project to and see if it helps you figure this out, I added a camera you can turn on an off too.: 7245_beamseffect.aep.zip

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Carlos Zapater
Re: How to create a 3D network with nodes?
on Mar 18, 2014 at 7:53:48 am

OOoook! Now it is clear! If you read the post I linked it is all about start points in the expression (not end points)and then talked about copiing the script to another layer (not the beam end point) that is being used to represent the End Point of the Beam. It wasn't understandable to me.

I don't want to do such complicated thing as the video and maybe I'll animate five or six nodes so this thechnique will do the trick.

I did it like you explained and it seems to work. What I still don't get is the "composite on original" checkbox. Since I have six nodes linked as a circle chain I don't know which layers have to have it checked.

Great! Thanks for your help, John!


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John Cuevas
Re: How to create a 3D network with nodes?
on Mar 18, 2014 at 11:38:22 am

If you looked at my example, I had both beam effects on the same solid. If you add another beam effect to that same solid, it overwrites the first one. That's why on every Beam after the first you have to tell it to "composite on original", that you can stack the effects together on one solid.

You could also just work with multiple solids and not worry about "composite on original", I just thinking working with one, keeps your project less cluttered.

Glad I could help.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Carlos Zapater
Re: How to create a 3D network with nodes?
on Mar 18, 2014 at 12:01:07 pm

Understood. Everything is working as intended now. Thanks for your useful guide!



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John Cuevas
Re: How to create a 3D network with nodes?
on Mar 25, 2014 at 1:02:59 am

Glad I could help

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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