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Loop a Bezier Distort Effect

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Christine Edwards
Loop a Bezier Distort Effect
on Mar 6, 2011 at 8:08:03 pm

I'm an AE intermediete and have only an old version (6.0 I'm planning on upgrading soon)! I'm making an animation of "flying" thru a forest with an active camera traveling thru various layers of trees (flat photoshop drawings). I want to add some wind movement by applying a simple bezier distort on the upper left and right vertex to some of my trees. But how can I loop this effect and apply it to each individual tree over time? I've done some time remapping looping with layers. Can I loop (add expression) to an effect keyframe within a layer? I can only time remap a layer not an effect right? Also I can't seem to time remap an adjustment layer. I can copy and paste keyframes but that would mean massive amounts of keyframes on multiple layers in a comp that is arnd 40 layers "deep" (as my camera passes thru it)and abt 2 min long. Is there a way to create a looped distort effect and sort of "nest it" so I can apply it to multiple layers?


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Erik Waluska
Re: Loop a Bezier Distort Effect
on Mar 6, 2011 at 10:57:33 pm

You can use the "loopOut" expression to loop the animation. Just create a few keyframes, however many you like and then to loop it just copy/paste the first keyframe to the end so the animation will return to the starting point, creating a loop. Then apply this expression to the animated parameter:

loopOut(Type="cycle")

Save the animation as an animation preset or copy/paste to the other layers. To vary the animation for the different layers you can slide the layers forward/backwards in the timeline so they're not all moving exactly the same. Also you can time reverse some of layers keyframes so the animation moves in the opposite direction. If you want to adjust the speed of the animation for individual layers just marquee select all of the keyframes, hold down Alt (option/mac) and click + drag the first or last keyframe to stretch or squeeze the animation. I would suggest making a few variations of the animation to mix it up too.

HTH

-E


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Eric Epstein
Re: Loop a Bezier Distort Effect
on Mar 8, 2011 at 7:51:09 am

You could have an effect animated on one 'master' layer, and then on another layer use the expression pickwhip to connect that layer's effect's values to the master. Then you can copy that 'slalve' effect (expressions and all) and paste it on as many other layers as you want, and they will all follow the keyframes from that one layer.

If the tree rustling animation isn't anything precise and you don't care if the trees move in unison, I might recommend a wiggle expression instead of keyframes. With that route, it would be still be advisable to set up some central control. You could put some 'Slider Control' effects on a null or something, and have the wiggle expressions in your effect look to those sliders for its amplitude and frequency.

Sorry if that was incomprehensible.


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Christine Edwards
Re: Loop a Bezier Distort Effect
on Mar 9, 2011 at 12:46:47 am

Thank you for the response! I've used null objects before and a little of the wiggler, but i've never used slider controls. So I need to do some research/help menu reading before I give this a go. Happy to know that there is a way to create a master effect and slave layers to it!


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Christine Edwards
Re: Loop a Bezier Distort Effect
on Mar 9, 2011 at 4:07:58 pm

Hello, well I've done some reading and experimenting but I'm not very familiar with expressions so I need some basic help. In order to simplify I've created a comp that's 20 frames long where I animated a solid square with my bezier distort. Then I dropped this comp into another one called "sway" with a duration of 3 sec where one of my trees is a layer. I need the distort movement to last the new duration so I used time remapping and a "loop out cycle" expression (the only expression I'm familiar with). All good so far. I add bezier distort to my tree layer with the intent of using the pickwick to link to the solid layers distort movement. Here's my first problem. I cannot add an expression to the whole Bezier property (it's grayed out). So I guess I have to add expressions to both the upper left vertex and upper right vertex independently? And if that's so what do I pickwick these vertexes to since my distort movement source is a precomp and has only time remapping?


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Erik Waluska
Re: Loop a Bezier Distort Effect
on Mar 9, 2011 at 6:17:54 pm

You have to have the precomp open in another timeline panel and just pickwhip fron one panel to the other.


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Eric Epstein
Re: Loop a Bezier Distort Effect
on Mar 9, 2011 at 6:27:22 pm

It is possible to have expressions connect attributes across different comps (made easier by opening two timeline tabs at once). But it's probably simpler to keep that animation all in the main comp.
In any case, you need to loop your animation keyframes if those are what you want to pass on, not time.
The loop expression that you used on time remapping should work the same on any property, so just apply it to the two vertexes.

Yes, whole effects are not connectable with the pickwhip. It needs to be used on individual properties.
When using the pickwhip, make sure you drag it to the name of the property and not one of it's numbers.
If you drag it to just the X value, it will make an expression that only transmits the X, but not the Y.


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Christine Edwards
Re: Loop a Bezier Distort Effect
on Mar 9, 2011 at 7:47:54 pm

ahh I never thought to apply the loop expression to anything but a nested comp. Now it seems so obvious!
I think I've got all your suggestions figured out (except slider control-but i'll worry about that later).
thanks for all the help.


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