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write on-animation of shape layers with variable stroke width coming from illustrator

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philipp hahn
write on-animation of shape layers with variable stroke width coming from illustrator
on Sep 9, 2016 at 2:11:18 pm

hi everybody,
i researched this extensively and found a lot of related stuff but not really the solution to this:

the problem is getting a nice write-on effect with ai files using variable brush widths... my workflow is:
i have illustrations done in illustrator. i import the ai-file into after effects and then convert it to a shape layer (menu/layers/create shapes from vector layer). then i add the write on-effect by adding trim paths.
now, this works nicely as long as the stroke width used in illustrator is constant - because then in my shape layer, each group has a a path and a stroke.
however, if the illustrations where drawn using a variable stroke width, in after effects these are converted not to strokes but to paths with fills instead. which looks very weird when animating via trim paths.

is there an easy solution for this? i found an approach using "offset paths" instead of trim paths but this only seems to work with very simple shapes. also i know of the "old way" of doing this with masks and stroke effect but this approach has all sorts of other problems (eg. fills) so i really want to do it via shape layers.
last but not least, it has to be super-efficient since i'm designing a workflow which will be used in literally hundreds of films...

thanks a lot for any help with this!
p


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Roei Tzoref
Re: write on-animation of shape layers with variable stroke width coming from illustrator
on Sep 9, 2016 at 2:38:56 pm

the fact is that Ae shape do not support variable size strokes, and will convert anything but uniform width, basic brush Ai strokes to Fills. you should take those limitation into account when you prepare for revealing your stroke. so what you are left with is, in my opinion, is to use the variable stroke reveal Effect in Ae which is the Write-On Effect and reveal your variable stroke path with it. this makes the converting Ai to shapes not so useful.

to get the path for animating your stroke you can either paint the path on top of your shape yourself, or temporarily change your ai path to uniform stroke, copy the path, and past in Ae.


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philipp hahn
Re: write on-animation of shape layers with variable stroke width coming from illustrator
on Sep 14, 2016 at 8:52:35 am

hi roei,
thank you much for your input!
so ok, it really seems i should just stay away from variable stroke width... as said, i tried to solve this with masking/write on but there are a lot of other problems surfacing with this approach so i guess i'm better of just to stay with fixed stroke widths...
again, thanks for your help!
p


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Roei Tzoref
Re: write on-animation of shape layers with variable stroke width coming from illustrator
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:23:54 am

Glad to help :) of course don't jeopardize your creativity because of some technical difficulties. you can still use variable strokes when you make artwork in Ai, just know that if you want to reveal it, you can't use shapes but other methods.


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