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Animating masks smoothly

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Graham MacfarlaneAnimating masks smoothly
by on Jun 22, 2010 at 10:37:31 am

I'm trying to deform a mask shape over time to create the profile of waves crashing. The top of the wave rises and then falls as it crashes down.
I can't create a smooth spatial trajectory for the points in the mask without doing alot of keyframing because within the Keyframe interpolation dialogue for a selected mask point, the Spatial interpolation has all the bezier options greyed out.

Is this a limitation of the program?
Is there perhaps a plugin or script that might help?

I'm prepared to use other software to achieve the effect (eg 3Ds Max) but it's obviously best to keep the workflow within one app if possible.

I used to use Combustion many years ago, and I vaguely recal that animating mask points with spatial interpolation was possible. Am I dreaming?

Thanks for any advise,

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Bartek SkorupaRe: Animating masks smoothly
by on Jun 22, 2010 at 10:50:16 am

In After Effects we don't have built in possibility to animate points of the mask. We animate the shape as a whole, meaning that we set a keyframe for the whole mask shape, then another keyframe, and the program interpolates the rest, so there is no simple way to achieve what you want, but check out this little plugin:

Bartek Skorupa
Warszawa, Poland

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Gary HazenRe: Animating masks smoothly
by on Jun 22, 2010 at 12:56:27 pm

Have you tried using smart mask interpolation?

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Graham MacfarlaneRe: Animating masks smoothly
by on Jun 25, 2010 at 5:58:29 pm

Bartek, thanks for the link to tracker2mask. It looks very interesting and I think I should be able to use it for the wave by creating the red circle points demonstrated in the second tutorial video, one point for each wave top!


Gary, thanks for your suggestion. I had a good look at the smart mask interpolation. I tested it out on a simple square mask animated to move in a simple V motion. AE by default interpolates linearly so that at the bottom of the V movement there is a sharp linear change in direction (as expected)
I had hoped the smart mask interpolation could be applied to smooth this out but it doesn't change the motion much at all.

I found a decent tutorial on this tool here;

After reading through this I tried applying it to my animated wave mask but here also, I can't seem to get it to change the animation much. The jerky linear motion of the mask is still very much present.
Additionally, when instructed It adds extra vertices in-between those I made but they all stay in line so they have no effect on the masks shape.

Perhaps I am asking too much from the tool?
Anyway, thanks for all your help guys. Much appreciated.

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