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Animating a conveyor belt in a 3d space

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Guyaume Robitaille
Animating a conveyor belt in a 3d space
on Aug 31, 2010 at 4:31:14 pm

Hi there!

I'm trying to achieve a relatively simple animation :

I need to make a "fake" 3d conveyor belt moving in an endless loop (well... just like a real conveyor belt moves).

My first move was to make a long Photoshop texture for the belt.
I imported that texture in After Effects and dragged it in a comp.

Using CC Cylinder Effect and rotation along with a camera, I thought I could do the job.The problem is that CC Cylinder can only do what its name says : cylinders. I can't bend or distort the cylinder to make it look more like a rounded rectangle (like a conveyor belt).

Do you have any tips to trick CC cylinder into getting that kind of shape? And if not, is there any other method to achieve my effect?

Thanks a lot!

Guyaume Robitaille


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Animating a conveyor belt in a 3d space
on Aug 31, 2010 at 7:02:11 pm

It depends a lot on how your conveyor belt looks and how much do you see from it. If the ends come in and go out from under some sort of boxes,then it's quite easy: take the image of the belt from PSD, import in a comp the length of what the belt should be in between the out and in points, animate to create a loop- render and import using the loop option set to a high number.
If you can see the ends, where the belt rolls under a rotor, that's a bit trickier. Use the same loop as above. If you have Zaxwerks Invigorator - texture 2 cylinders with belt. Move cylinders to the ends and animate rotation to match the movement of the horizontal part of the belt. Cover ends with rotating discs. I am not sure if you can create the same cylinders with CC Cylinder...?
Here's a tutorial using Zaxwerks Pro Animator that you can use:
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/hamad_serge/pa_pivot_point/video-tu...

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior Compositor/VFX Artist
Bucharest, Romania


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Guyaume Robitaille
Re: Animating a conveyor belt in a 3d space
on Aug 31, 2010 at 7:12:08 pm

Hey Thanks!

Well, yes, I need to see the belt going under the "box".

I have 3d invigorator, but never tried to do anything more than modeling illustrator files in 3d with it (texts, shapes, etc).

I will look into the Zaxwerks tutorial for sure.

Regards,

Guyaume


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Walter Soyka
Re: Animating a conveyor belt in a 3d space
on Aug 31, 2010 at 7:03:26 pm

AE is not really built for true 3D like this.

That said, FreeForm is now included with AE CS5 and ought to do what you need.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Guyaume Robitaille
Re: Animating a conveyor belt in a 3d space
on Aug 31, 2010 at 7:14:27 pm

Thank you for your reply, Walter.

I have the Creative Suite 4 Master Collection and can't buy the upgrade right now. As soon as I do, I will test this new plugin.

For now, I'll try to stick to Tudor's suggestions and make this whole project work.

Regards,

Guyaume


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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Animating a conveyor belt in a 3d space
on Sep 1, 2010 at 6:49:42 pm

As Walter says, Freeform is the way to go for this. But there is a limitation in that you won't be able to put objects onto the belt.

HTH
RoRK

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