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How to achieve "hair braiding" animation in AE?? (hair detail not important)

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Rob Mason
How to achieve "hair braiding" animation in AE?? (hair detail not important)
on Jul 12, 2018 at 3:53:47 pm

I have a project that I need help with. I cannot find anything which helps me create a "braiding" animation with interweaving lines. I am thinking this would be possible in some way with either Trapcode Particular or the BAO Boa plugin, but I cannot figure it out.

I need to create a hair braid animation, with two strands of hair. The hair part does not have to be detailed and will be line-art style. So essentially, I could just use a Shape Layer's Stroke for the hair strands.

Any ideas? Even if the effects is not great, I still need to achieve the "interweaving" look.

I would like to avoid Cinema 4D as I only have the Lite version.

Thanks everyone!


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Steve Bentley
Re: How to achieve "hair braiding" animation in AE?? (hair detail not important)
on Jul 12, 2018 at 10:45:44 pm

With AE 2017 and later you now have control of each node along a path or mask. You can now animate each one (ok technically you animate nulls that drag the points around with them).
It might be as simple as putting a sin equation that diminishes over time in amplitude and position, or simply animating by hand.
However, because AE is only 2.5D and not full 3D, one layer can overlap the next but then that lower layer cannot now cover the upper layer, even with 3D layers.
It's messy, but you could do multiple copies of your strands and mask each one at the outer "curve" before it heads back in to overlap or underlap the one before. So get the animation right first for the whole braid, then duplicate your strands as many times as you have overlaps and mask each as it appears and is needed.

But even the lite version of C4D can do this with sweeps along splines.



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Rob Mason
Re: How to achieve "hair braiding" animation in AE?? (hair detail not important)
on Jul 12, 2018 at 11:11:19 pm

Thanks so much for this tip!

I will have to look up how to connect mask points with Nulls, not sure how to do that.

Yes, was also aware of the C4D option with Sweeps, but then I run into an issue with animating the strands unravelling because then I have to get the dynamics just right.


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Greg Gesch
Re: How to achieve "hair braiding" animation in AE?? (hair detail not important)
on Jul 12, 2018 at 11:41:16 pm

Hi, not sure but the Puppet Tool could be of use if the Puppet Overlap Tool is flexible enough!?


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Steve Bentley
Re: How to achieve "hair braiding" animation in AE?? (hair detail not important)
on Jul 13, 2018 at 12:09:41 am

That's a great idea Greg. The difficulty might be that you have to put the overlap pins on the original shape before it's been deformed so it might be tricky to get them in the right spots for the braid overlaps. But in theory you could just set each overlap pin to more and more depth. You can move the overlap pins after the fact and expand them as needed.
I think you would have to start with a shape that looks like a T so that its one big mesh (assuming a tri-braid). I don't think the overlap tool works with puppet pins on other layers.
I'm wondering if DUIK or one of the other IK tools would help with this (DUIK is free by the way). So you get a natural look to the later position pins affecting the earlier ones as you braid.



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Rob Mason
Re: How to achieve "hair braiding" animation in AE?? (hair detail not important)
on Jul 13, 2018 at 2:29:56 pm

These are all interesting suggestions and I will give both a try. Thanks everyone!


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