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Generating ~1000 circles of varying sizes...without overlapping

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Josh PigfordGenerating ~1000 circles of varying sizes...without overlapping
by on Apr 15, 2011 at 4:05:01 am

I posted a similar question in the Cinema 4D forums, but someone suggested I might could pull it off in After Effects...so, here it is.

I have the following style frame I'm working from:


What I need to do is generate all those circles of varying size and have them appear a few at a time until the screen is full.

Then, I need to have some of the circles (the green ones in my example) act like some sort of attractor that pulls in nearby circles and gets bigger as it "eats" the nearby circles.

All of which needs to be done while leaving that blank area in the middle untouched and the circles shouldn't collide until that part where they are merging.

I've tried Trapcode Particular, Trapcode Form and Foam to make it happen, and can get fairly close to it except the circles overlap.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Generating ~1000 circles of varying sizes...without overlapping
by on Apr 15, 2011 at 8:46:30 am

Trapcode Echospace comes to mind when you need to replicate and animate many layers in 3D space.
Also, in this tutorial Eran Stern uses a technique for his discs tunnel that may help you for your discs background.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Josh PigfordRe: Generating ~1000 circles of varying sizes...without overlapping
by on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:14:43 am

Thanks Ted, I'll take a look at that.

For clarification, there's no 3D space here...everything just moves along X and Y.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Generating ~1000 circles of varying sizes...without overlapping
by on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:20:53 am

Echospace works in 3D space, so if you only need X, Y and Size as variables it can obviously do that. The technique in Eran Stern's tutorial may be best for you though. You end up with one layer and a lot of shapes instead of many layers.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Josh PigfordRe: Generating ~1000 circles of varying sizes...without overlapping
by on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:22:53 am

The problem I'm having with the Eran Stern tutorial (and some other methods) is that the end result looks so...generated. It's grid-heavy and doesn't feel organic, and if I try to go too organic, then all the shapes start overlapping (which is the problem I'm ultimately having with every method I've tried).


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Generating ~1000 circles of varying sizes...without overlapping
by on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:32:18 am

It may help you if you post this issue on the Expressions forum. I am sure that there is a way of using expressions to give a more random look to Eran's technique.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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