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Rotating arrows around octagon shape

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Colin Wood
Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 10, 2017 at 11:30:15 am



Hi guys,

First post here, but I had a little problem that come up and the was the first place I thought of.

I'm racking my brain as to the best way of achieving this animation. Essentially, I need those arrows on the outside of the diagram to rotate around the shape and conform to the octagon shape as they rotate. I'm guessing there's no 'easy way' to do this, and imagine I will need to do some editing to the paths (everything has its own layer)?

It would be great if I didn't have to edit any paths for the animation to work, and could automate as much as possible. Even if I had to animate one path and automate the rest that would still be a bonus I guess.

There is also an added problem that each of those arrows will have a text label ... but i'm trying not think about that for now.

Thanks!


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 10, 2017 at 3:12:52 pm

Puppet Pin Tool? Make a straight line animation (that loops) and then make it the right shape with the Puppet Pin Tool.

Alternatively, use Mesh Warp/Bezier Warp, etc.

Bonus: text attached to the arrows will warp with them with either of these methods.

- 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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Colin Wood
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 11, 2017 at 10:45:01 am

Thanks for the help!

These two features are two of the (many) areas of AE I don't have much experience in to be honest, since I mainly use it for 3D compositing and basic motion. I played with the puppet pin tool and I could see how easy it was to form the basic shape from a straight arrow, but I struggled to process how I would turn that into a full blown animation.

It doesn't help atm that all my layers are pulled in from a vector file, so I may need to scrap the arrows that came with the diagram and redraw my own straight version for the purpose of animation?


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 11, 2017 at 5:14:16 pm

[Colin Wood] " may need to scrap the arrows that came with the diagram and redraw my own straight version for the purpose of animation?"

Yes. If you have your arrows going in a straight line inside a precomp, you can use offset-type effects to make them seamlessly loop and then bend it into any shape you would like with distortion effects. Might take a bit to get it set up, but quite powerful. The only hard part is the hard edges of the path. It's a lot easier to get smooth paths!

- 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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Richard Garabedain
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 10, 2017 at 4:09:00 pm

Heaing and air logo? If only they were square you could animate the stroke using dashes around the octagon..


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Colin Wood
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 11, 2017 at 10:37:26 am

Thanks for the response. That would be a great automated solution and something I considered experimenting with. A tricky situation that would have arose is that the colour of each arrow also alternated, and there would be text attacvhed to each arrow.

I wonder if there is some sort of option to 'bake' that stroke animation? Once I have that animated I could maybe do some manual editing afterwards.


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Roei Tzoref
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 10, 2017 at 5:01:51 pm
Last Edited By Roei Tzoref on Feb 10, 2017 at 5:03:49 pm

you might find these video series handy:
http://www.eyedesyn.com/tutorials/bend-2d-layers-along-paths-using-after-ef...

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Colin Wood
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 11, 2017 at 10:41:52 am

Thanks for the response. The Omino Snake plugin was the first thing I tried. It worked to an extent, but gave some problems that were proving hard to work around and it the result weren't too great.

For now my client has said that it isn't too important, and would prefer it quickly as opposed to going through any long drawn out processes. I decided to just rotate the arrows in a circular motion for now and just scale them out a bit so that they don't intersect the inner diagram.

I think it's something he will be asking me to revisit in the future however, so i'm still going to need to solve this eventually. It doesn't help that the vector file given to me isn't the cleanest, so i'm probably going to have to do a redraw and hopefully I can plan for this animation a bit better then.


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Roei Tzoref
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 11, 2017 at 6:51:31 pm

come back if you figure it out ☺

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Roei Tzoref
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 12, 2017 at 3:42:54 pm

so after going about this for a long time and producing semi good results, I asked long time Ae contributor Rick Gerard to have a look and I will write down his recipe that took him ten minutes to accomplish.



here's the project file:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5wyUt17-tu2QzBOYk5wejEwTTg/view?usp=drive...

here is the recipe:

The trick is using a stroke for the path, loopOut() and then a little track matte from a pre-comp.

Start by double clicking the Polygon tool, expose the properties, delete the fill if there is one, set the stroke to about 36, set the number of sides to 8 then the outer roundness to about 220%.

Now you have your basic shape. To preserve that for future tweaks duplicate it and then convert the Polygon to a Bezier path in the duplicate, reveal the path and set a keyframe and copy it.

Now it's time for the arrowhead. Enable the Grid so you can draw a > shaped path with the apex right on the anchor point. Set the stroke width to about 36 and delete the fill Make it plenty big to cover the entire stroke, press Alt/Option + p to create a position keyframe and paste, then drag out the keyframes to give the movement a little time and add a loopOut() expression to the arrow. The arrowhead should now continuously loop around the path.

Duplicate the converted octagon layer and name it matte. Apply Set Matte to the arrowhead and choose the matte layer. Duplicate the arrowhead 7 times so you have eight in total then select them all and press P to reveal the position keyframes.

Starting at the top select all of the position keyframes and then grab them and hold down the shift key as you drag to the left until you line up the second keyframe on the layer below with the last keyframe on the layer you are moving. Repeat until all of the arrowheads are distributed around the octagon and then precompose all of the arrowheads and the Matte layer.

Use the pre-comp as a track matte for the converted octagon. You should have 8 lines with pointy ends moving around the outside of the octagon.

To create the different colors reveal the stroke properties and add dashes until you have 4 dashed lines distributed around the octagon then set a keyframe for offset, move to the last frame of the completed arrowhead cycle and adjust the offset until the dashes make one complete loop around the octagon and check the timing. Add a loopOut() expression to the offset. If everything is good duplicate the stroke, change the color of the duplicate, then select all of the offset keyframes in the duplicate and move them to the left until you have two colored lines with pointy ends.

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Colin Wood
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 12, 2017 at 6:38:34 pm

That's pretty much perfect, thank you!

The example file you also put together is also very helpful. I've looked at everything and it really is simple to achieve. My only minor complaint if i'm being picky is that the animation is very smooth would benefit from being a little more linear. I'm guessing I can fix this by tightening up the corners on the bezier curve?

This is going to save me a massive headache when the client comes back to me for this. Thanks again!


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Roei Tzoref
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 12, 2017 at 7:47:37 pm

Adjusting the curve means redoing it from step 1. You will find that the motion around tight corners is not that great. I think that's the best you could do in Ae. I would then explore the spline wrap options in C4D for a better workflow.

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Kevin Camp
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 13, 2017 at 5:28:23 pm

when i first saw what you were trying to do, I thought the biggest issue would be getting smooth animated arrows around those hard corners. and (like Roei and Rick) the way i thought of to avoid that was to use a motion path wth rounded corners for the arrows.

i would propose keeping the smooth arrow movement (around the rounded corners), but then trying to use a octagon with hard corners to as a matte to get the hard corners back... this will mean increasing the thickness of the animated lines and arrows to fill in the hard corners of the matte.

Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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Roei Tzoref
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on Feb 13, 2017 at 10:22:52 pm

thanks Kevin. this makes sense to just adjust the basic octagon shape to be linear, leaving the movement of the arrows to be on a smoother octagon.


all this mess just to get an object to bend along a spline. if this is painful for you to watch, please submit a feature request:
http://www.adobe.com/products/wishform.html

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Colin Wood
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on May 6, 2017 at 8:10:59 am

Hi guys, me again! Thanks for all your help with this. As mentioned, I put it on hold as he client was happy with the circular rotation for the time being. Now the client has finally come back to me, so I thought before I jump back into thing i'd reach out on here again first.

Mainly, i'm now thinking of tackling the issue in Cinema 4D (as suggested here earlier). I've done a quick test with a n-sided spline and a cube with an Align to Spline tag, and it pretty much works flawlessly (i'm a 3D artist by trade so I don't know why I didn't go down this route when suggested originally).

What will be uncharted territory for me however, is bringing in the vector files, and projecting/rendering the C4D animation as a 2D animation ready to bring into After Effects. Any advice on how to approach this would be great, as well things to consider (having each of the 8 arrows as a separate layer in AE would be great for example. Ideally I want to keep some sort of link between the fully animate-able vector file and the animated arrows using C4D.

Thanks guys.


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Roei Tzoref
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on May 6, 2017 at 9:34:48 am

HOLD THE PRESS. our prayers have been answered! a new plugin than can warp along a spline like a mesh deformer in C4D. check it out:
http://aescripts.com/bao-boa/

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Colin Wood
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on May 6, 2017 at 10:02:00 am

Wow wow wow. Just tried the demo and that is perfect!

Unfortunately, I don't really have a budget for the project so I can't justify buying the plugin. If I did more AE work then maybe I could take the hit. I may have to stick with the C4D route but at least I know that if the client is pressing then I have a backup option.


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Roei Tzoref
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on May 6, 2017 at 10:15:39 am

[Colin Wood] " I don't really have a budget"

just so you know, there's still 25% off available (although it was due on Friday) so that means it's about 50 bucks.

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Rotating arrows around octagon shape
on May 6, 2017 at 3:35:58 pm

You can render it with alpha out of Cinema 4D. You can make the material have no color, no reflectance (or no specular, if you're using an older version of C4D), and just put whatever color(s) you want in the luminance channel. Than you'll have a very 2d/vector-looking animation even though it was made in a 3d app. You can easily recolor it in AE too. :)

- 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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