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parenting ancherpoints to a null object

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Wolfgang Amri
parenting ancherpoints to a null object
on Jan 22, 2010 at 4:27:49 pm

Hi all,
I hope you can help me with a question.
I have three main advantages of a product - every one written in a rectangle. These rectangular boxes are connected with lines.

In order to not make it look too static I want to give the boxes a slight position wiggle. But how to I keep the lines connected to the boxes without losing touch?

I thought about parenting the anchor points to the boxes or to null objects but is that possible?

Any other input is greatly appreciated.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Parenting Anchor Points to a Null Object
on Jan 22, 2010 at 4:57:08 pm

You can use the Beam effect!
  • Apply wiggle to the boxes' position property.
  • On a comp-sized solid, apply as many instances of the Beam effect as you want. Turn off all instances of the effect except for the top one.
  • Option-click (Mac) on the Beam's start point to make an expression, and pick-whip to one box's position property.
  • Option-click on the end point, and pick-whip to another box.
  • Repeat as necessary.

I haven't played with Beam for a while. I think there's a "Paint on transparent/Paint on original" switch, and you'll need to play with that to get the other instances of the effect to show up. But you casnlook that up in AE Help.

But wait, there's more!
  • Copy the Box layers, and paste them into a new comp.
  • Make box-sized solids, position them to cover the boxes and parent them to the boxes.
  • Turn off the box layers so only the solids are visible.
  • Nest this comp in the main comp, and use the nested comp as a tack matte for the beam layer.

The lines formed by the beams now appear to follow the boxes' anchor points, and they disappear when they get to the box edges.

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

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Wolfgang Amri
Re: Parenting Anchor Points to a Null Object
on Jan 22, 2010 at 5:33:09 pm

Coool - lightning fast reply and right what I need!
Thanks a lot for your help, Dave and have a nice weekend!

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