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Moving Train Scene

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Yaron Bar
Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 7:30:50 am

Hello,

I would like to create a scene in which a long train is slowly accelerating from standing still to travelling at such a high speed that it turns into a complete blur, over about 60 seconds.
To do this I imagine I should create a very wide picture and slowly accelerate its position along my scene.

But such a file that contains a train so long would probably weigh about 1GB, which is too heavy for AE to handle.

Does anyone have a suggestion how do I achieve this?

Thanks,
Y.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 3:05:01 pm

One basic little question: how do you intend to make this train? Does it need to look realistic? Cartoon-like? Does it need to be 3D?

And why can't you just shoot a train with a camera?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Yaron Bar
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 4:28:50 pm

I intend to draw maybe a few cabins, and then copy and paste them together in different variations so it doesn't look like they are all identical. It will not realistic, it's going to look like a pencil sketch.. but this pencil sketch will have to accelerate in one shot from zero speed to a complete motion blur.

What do you mean shoot a train with a camera? You mean a real one ? That wouldn't do it at all... I need the visual effect of the pencil sketch slowly speeding to a motion blur, and this scene will also include some animation, before the train speeds.

Thanks ,
Y.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 4:43:55 pm

I ask again: does this train have to look like it occupies 3D space in your pencil drawing? Do you see it very small in the background, and does it get bigger as it approaches the camera?

Or is it a simple 2D drawing, just moving horizontally across the screen?

How do you intend to create these railroad cars? With Photoshop, perhaps?

As you've noted, you don't have to create the entire train: just several different railroad cars, plus the locomotive and caboose. So the files you import into AE will be nowhere close to 1GB in size.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Yaron Bar
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 5:05:15 pm

Ah, I see what you mean.. yes, it is moving in 2d, moving horizontally across.
I create the drawing in photoshop, I see how I could create it from a few drawings each one consisting of a few railroad cars. But could AE handle so many layers ? I assume that to have it accelerate from zero to a motion blur over 60 seconds, with each layer consisting of about 8 carts, will require quite a lot of layers. Some hundreds I guess.

I could divide this scene to a few smaller ones.. but the motion should look continuous. So handling the keyframes from one scene to another while still needing to keep the look of one consistent acceleration seems to be another tricky part.

Thanks,
Y.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 5:19:50 pm

[Yaron Bar] " But could AE handle so many layers ? I assume that to have it accelerate from zero to a motion blur over 60 seconds, with each layer consisting of about 8 carts, will require quite a lot of layers. Some hundreds I guess. "

I recently read a thread where the poster ran into an upper limit for layers. I think he wrote that his AE comp could have no more than 1924 layers. Will that be enough? You will, of course, need to enable Motion Blur.

I would animate this using a null object. Parent the layers to the null. I think you would only need two keyframes, You can control the train's acceleration in the Graph Editor.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Yaron Bar
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 5:24:16 pm

I guess I could try getting this done with the 1924 layer limit..

I will give it a try in the next few days, and I will return to this forum if I run into any difficulties.

Thank you,
Y.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 5:39:51 pm

Don't forget: you can do this using precomps. If necessary, you can duplicate one comp, rename it, delete the already-used layers and continue. In the main comp, you can then adjust the out point on the first precomp and the in point on the second, and the image in the main comp will look like it's in continuous motion.

You will have to make sure that the train reaches a high enough speed. You may have to maintain that final speed for a few extra seconds, so animating the null object will be critical... and you may need to use THREE position keyframes.

Other than that, it's actually quite a simple animation.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tony Silva
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 7:15:44 pm

you could just create a set of 3 train cars and loop them using an offset, then just use a blur effect.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 7, 2009 at 7:26:47 pm

Oooh, I like that! Much simpler! For a little more visual variety, you could put more train cars in a precomp, then use Offset on the precomp.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Mark Hollis
Re: Moving Train Scene
on Oct 14, 2009 at 4:13:56 pm

I recently did a comp with 114 layers, mostly text over video backgrounds, but some moving video dissolved in. There were also some documents that were either scanned in or created by pulling PDF files into Photoshop, merging visible layers for the first page and saving as PSD files.

End result was pretty good.

All of the books tell you about precomping elements in AE. For example, the wheels on your train would need to rotate. If you create a layer with the wheel slowly turning, gaining speed and really cranking until it became a blurred spinning circle, you'd be able to use that for all of the wheels on the train, save an old-time steam locomotive (which has levers attached to wheels). Any element that is going to repeat in a scene can be precomped like that and then brought in as you will.

Passenger cars tend to look the same on trains, with an occasional viewing car (bi-level with a glass top) interspersed every so often. if you have a freight train, freight cars tend to be fairly similar, with just a few types.

I should mention that I have never seen a train gather such speed that it blurred in 60 seconds -- trains are really heavy and gather speed much more slowly. But we can pretty much alter any type of Physics we want when we animate.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?


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