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New guy questions: sequential blinking and "mask-like" artifacts

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John EdwardsNew guy questions: sequential blinking and "mask-like" artifacts
by on Jul 21, 2012 at 9:37:08 am

Hello community!
I’m an After Effects newb, and merely a hobbyist, so please be gentle and use small words ;)

Now, what I have is:
After Effects
Digieffects Damage 2.5
This tutorial

What I am trying to achieve is the following

UI elements spinning and flying around, with parts blinking in and out sequentially (left triangle off, right triangle on -> wait 1 second -> left triangle on, right triangle off, etc.)

What I have achieved so far is "UI" stuff flying around, following the path correctly (YAY), but the sequential blinking eludes me.

I realize I could probably do this by hand via keyframes, but I would very much prefer doing it the expression route, cause I want a lot of those guys flying around, and animating "manually" will be quite a fuss

make boxes (a-la encoding artifact blocks) swarm at a specific region of the footage, and “follow” a feature around (via motion tracking) (I tried using Damage 2.5 for that, but I can't find a way to "concentrate" the artifact at a specific region - blocks swarm all over the footage)

The above mentioned "boxes" should behave a bit like “masks”, that is, each block, instead of being, well, black, actually should make the part of footage layer which it "obscures" completely transparent, exposing the underlying layer (which is a static image).

Again, I can't find a tweak in Damage 2.5 that would force the blocks to act as "transparency" of the image instead of being, well, "black/color/image chunk" boxes.

I realize I could probably create a huge amount of masks and move them around via keyframes, but that would be kind of inelegant. I wonder if a better way is available...

So, to sum up this long post, I want to learn relatively elegant ways to

1) make a pair of elements blink in and out at fixed intervals (Left on, right off -> 1 sec wait -> left off, right on...etc...)

2) make "artifact blocks" act as "transparency" for the affected layer (exposing the underlying layer where block happens)

3) make artifact blocks swarm in a specific region and follow a certain object around (does not seem feasible in Damage 2.5 but I may be missing something...)

Thank you very much for your time.

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.
-H.P. Lovecraft

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