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Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds

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Josh DekayReusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 19, 2014 at 9:14:06 pm

Hey there, newer to AE here.

I'm creating lower thirds graphics that will contain a build animation, persist, and execute an exit animation. They'll appear a number of times over a video calling out details of what is being shown. There are 3 dynamic pieces of content that will change each time the lower thirds graphic/animation is shown:

1. Heading
2. Subheading
3. Animated Icon

Right now I only have one instance of the lower thirds complete. I can definitely change how this is setup, however I have #1 and #2 precomped and then displayed in the maser comp. Reason being is that there are some 3D layers in there that I needed to set the camera to a specific angle on, and didn't want that angle messing with the rest of the elements in the master comp (I'm not sure if that's a normal approach or not, but that's what I ended up doing). The only other worthwhile detail to mention is that #1 and #2 have a Linear Wipe applied to them in the master comp as well. All other animation takes place in the master comp.

What I'd like is to create a system that allows me to make changes to the animation in a central location, and then efficiently yield those changes to each lower thirds graphic/animation.

There are going to be 7 instances of the lower thirds graphic, so I *can* create them all by hand individually, but that sounds like a mess if tweaks need to be made because I'll have to edit each of them and consistency will be difficult to achieve as well.

I'm trying to keep this message/question loosely defined so that I can receive suggestions on how to go about this without dictating answers much.

Any ideas on how I can achieve this? Also, please let me know if you'd like more information, etc.

General approaches/concepts or detailed answers much appreciated!

Thanks!


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Josh DekayRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 20, 2014 at 7:21:02 pm

Any suggestions/direction on this one, peeps?


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Dave LaRondeRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 20, 2014 at 7:38:47 pm

My opinion on animated lower-thirds is this: render out as much as you can, and do the text in the NLE: the only thing you should be changing is the main name, and the locator/job title/etc. on the second line.

If that means you render out seven different animated lower-third backgrounds, so be it. In the long run, it's faster.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Josh DekayRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 20, 2014 at 8:15:06 pm

Thanks Dave. Good advice as always.

My issue is that my heading and subheadings currently have a 3D transform on them (making the full titles flip down similar to an old flip clock). See in progress snippet of screenshot:

I might have shot myself in the foot here. :)

If anything I just might have to do the leg work in favor of the effect this time around.



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Dave LaRondeRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 20, 2014 at 8:34:45 pm

If the text 3D transform has an alpha channel on it. there's NOTHING that says you have to do it with a background, which adds to complexity & render times.

Render the background ONCE. Use it over & over. Render the stuff that changes separately. What is that, a single text layer? Sounds simple & speedy to me! Okay, not as fast as adding text in an NLR, but you get the idea.

And now you know why animated lower-thirds include the very simplest of text animations if there are any at all -- speed & convenience.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Josh DekayRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 20, 2014 at 9:06:36 pm

Thanks for the message.

I understand your principal. And I think that does make sense in a lot of ways and is something I need to think about more for future projects.

One issue that I can foresee (keeping in mind I am newer to this kind of thing). Animation changes are not likely on this project - I'm finishing it this week and it's editorial content so it's going to be over and done. But for the sake of conversation, and learning, lets *just say* I wanted to change the speed of the flip effect. I'd have to change the background flip, then render it out. I'd also have to change the 3D text flip animation as well (based on my understanding of the approach you mentioned). Otherwise the flips would be out of sync.

Here's one alternative approach that I was thinking about, for the sake of conversation, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts if you have time. If not, no worries, but I do value your input!

1. Animate the top and bottom background flips in a master comp.
2. Create heading and subheading text for each text set in that same master comp, and use expressions to tie each 3D transform to the top and bottom background flips. This way the text is always in sync with the background.
3. Toggle each heading and subheading set on/off for export unique background/text combos.

My thoughts are that if I do this, I could theoretically go in and change the flip speed for each background and the text flip would follow.

That might be over-engineered and I know your initial approach was more idealistic for speed, but given there are animations on the text, this approach might be reasonable, too?

I've learned a lot from you so far, so thanks for your convo/thoughts in general even if I take a different approach.

PS - I've excluded animated icon stuff from this post for simplification.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 21, 2014 at 6:50:34 pm

Hmmmm.... you're stuck making EVERY lower-third in AE. Tossing in your 3D animation scotched the notion of a fast 'n easy way to do it.

There's a reason why you've never seen animated supers quite like the ones you propose. You can't re-use them, and that's a Right Royal Pain in the body part of your choice.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Josh DekayRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 21, 2014 at 6:55:24 pm

Yep, you're right about that. It's a lot of work. :)

Thankfully I only have 5 of them so for this particular project I'm doing ok and almost wrapped up.

I guess there's a time and a place for each approach.

Thanks again for your advice and guidance. I really appreciate it!


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Josh DekayRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 21, 2014 at 6:59:41 pm

Oh btw, Dave. Here's where you'll really want to hit me over the head with a frying pan: I've created a custom animated icon unique to each lower third that's shown.

Haha!

I knew what I was getting into with that one though, and felt it was worth the effort.

:)


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Dave LaRondeRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 21, 2014 at 10:38:31 pm

Well, you learn by painting yourself into a corner, not just from success.

I bet you make a couple-three design changes before the next project.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Josh DekayRe: Reusable Animation for Lower Thirds
by on Nov 22, 2014 at 2:42:57 am

Oh you know it! I'm going to add a transform to each individual character on the next project. Haha - kidding. ;)


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