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Animating floating ribons

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Pierre Paré-BlaisAnimating floating ribons
by on Jun 22, 2010 at 4:37:31 pm

I am trying to create an effect of ribbons floating around a character... the problem is the ribbons are actually floating strips of text (this is for a documentary), so they can't just be abstract strokes (which would make things so much easier). I was really hoping to avoid going into Maya and stay in after effects for this, I did some tests with Form, but while I get nice floating 3d strips of text, I'm having trouble doing the circling the character part of the animation, plus at the end of the animation the strips of text have to come and place themselves at the left of the character so I need precise controle of their movement...

anyone have suggestions, maybe I could draw inspiration from, or plug ins to look into... at my studio I have the full Trapcode suite already, and since this is an important shot of the movie I can justify investing in another plug-in, if necessary and within reason of course...


Pierre P. Blais
Multimedia performance and VFX artist
Pierre P. Blais Productions
Perception Films

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Steve RobertsRe: Animating floating ribons
by on Jun 22, 2010 at 6:46:48 pm

Ah, yes. You're running into the 3D limitations of AE. You may already know that, regarding 3D in AE:

- AE is made up of flat planes.
- anything that looks like real 3D is a live movie playing on a flat plane (e.g. Invig, CC sphere).
- the only paths that really exist in 3D space are motion paths.
- any other path or mask has to reside on a layer, and thus only has two dimensions.
- The path of a stroke made with Trapcode's 3D stroke is only controllable within two dimensions: the plane of the layer holding it. The other dimension is not as controllable, since it uses the 3D stroke controls.
- Unless Freeform has changed significantly, it uses a NURBS object to change its shape. This is nice, but still limited.
- going from "around something" to "not around something" can be hard, since effects often do just one thing, and switching requires connecting an effected layer to an unaffected layer. Yick.

You might be able to use Invig for this, but I haven't used it in so long, I'm no authority. You might also be able to use CC Cylinder (multiple times if necessary) -- Google "what the helix".

However, I found that when it comes to precise positioning and interaction between objects, real 3D (e.g. Maya) is the way to go.

Of course, I could be wrong. Anybody else?

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Michael SzalapskiRe: Animating floating ribons
by on Jun 22, 2010 at 9:36:53 pm

Here's a useful tutorial part one and part two.

- 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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Pierre Paré-BlaisRe: Animating floating ribons
by on Jun 23, 2010 at 2:33:52 pm

thank you both for your replies.

I had completely forgotten about that Tutorial which I now remember seeing when it was posted!
Eran also mentions this tutorial which I found also quite useful because I like working with expressions...

as it turns out, after making my post here, I decided to give Maya a shot and see what I could do without wasting to much time... and well I'm pretty satisfied with the result so far, but it's going to take a bit longer to render...

so I haven't decided what I'll do just yet, but most likely I will created a first draft version in AE so the editor can put it in his timeline, and also rough in the pacing of the shot, and then I'll probably make the final shot in Maya.

thanks again

Pierre P. Blais
Multimedia performance and VFX artist
Pierre P. Blais Productions
Perception Films

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