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infinite pasteboard & squiggly stick figures

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Bob Coleinfinite pasteboard & squiggly stick figures
by on Mar 25, 2011 at 11:40:36 pm

Please forgive the simple questions. I'm primarily a live action producer, but there are two motion graphics techniques which I'd like to explore, for a personal project which has a budget of "me." Please help me get off the ground.

1. the "infinite pasteboard" The first scene evolves into the second scene, either through a zoom or a move, without ever cutting or dissolving. It is as though the pasteboard is many thousands of pixels wide and high, which I know is not the case. There are many variations on this, and while I think I have figured out some of them (the zooms, which must use nested comps), I haven't cracked the code on the moves, especially where a design element (e.g., a line that connects boxes) continues throughout the animation.

2. I'd like to start making primitive animations with stick figures, and would like to know how to make them "squiggly." This effect emulates primitive cel animation, showing slight, random movements in the stick figures, giving them a little bit more life even when they're not doing much of anything.

The only motion graphics program I know is After Effects, and it doesn't seem to be appropriate for this animation style. Or is it?


Bob C

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Michael SzalapskiRe: infinite pasteboard & squiggly stick figures
by on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:11:46 pm

1. There's no reason the elements in a composition wouldn't cover thousands of pixels in x and y.
However, it may not need to be the case. Take your line example, for instance: you may have it going "from one comp to another", but it's not really doing that. The two comps (probably one parented to the other) move while the line just sits there. Since it started drawing on and then we start passing from one comp to the other, it gives the illusion that we're following a growing line. Since everything is moving, the viewer assumes that it's looking through a camera that's following a moving line.

2. There's this [link] (here are some tutorials[link]) and there's this [link].
Another idea (this one from Leigh on VideoCopilot) is to add a stroke, add roughen edges then add a wiggle expression to the edges values.
Here are some other suggestions [link].
All of this was found with this Google search [link].

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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Cory PetkovsekRe: infinite pasteboard & squiggly stick figures
by on Mar 29, 2011 at 7:56:49 pm

Infinite pasteboard is easy in AE. First of all, it supports huge compositions. Second, the compositions only need to exist for a short time, so AE doesn't need to keep track of "infinity", only the section of infinity around the viewport. As the camera is moving, comps are being added just in front of the camera, and being removed just behind it.

I just did something like this on a credit roll where I have photos "laying" on a piece of fabric. The fabric is just a photo texture I made seamless. Then using the offset (IIRC), I told it to make my background texture really big. In this case I just made a big comp with all the photos present, but I could have also had only a limited number of them present at any given time.


Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video

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Mark SuszkoRe: infinite pasteboard & squiggly stick figures
by on Mar 30, 2011 at 4:46:15 pm

Bob, the other secret is, you do all this shooting comping in reverse, starting with the last scene, building backwards to the start. At least, that's how the very nice HP spots did it.

As to wobbly stick figures, you could apply a randomized wave effect using something they call the "wobbulator" in AE, I think it's called. The way I've seen and done this effect, it's really like an animated gif comprised of three or more hand-drawn frames, one roughly hand-traced traced over the next, and repeating in a loop. So, though I have no AE experience and am totally just talking out of my fundament, what I'd ask the AE guy to try would be to make a looping nested comp of three stick figure drawings for each figure in the project. I'd make the stick men in photoshop first. In fact, maybe that's the trick: layered photoshop file with at least three layers of stick man in them, each a little different but mostly in registration with each other, and have AE cycle thru which layers reveal.

How to make those sub-comps then move around and walk or move arms, I dunno. Maybe use the warping ability of the Puppeteer mesh tool? A hardcore guy would just hand-draw enough different keyframed poses for the job, I'd wager.

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