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720 Masks in AE

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Jimmy McCoy
720 Masks in AE
on Apr 29, 2011 at 4:47:24 am


I've been working on an effect lately in AE CS5 and need to find an easier and more precise means of doing it.

The Setup:

Here is an image of my timeline. Basically, I'm duplicating the layer over itself and offsetting it in time by about 2 frames. Each layer has on it a thin horizontal mask, masking out everything but that thin strip. So the end result is this.

My Question:

Is there anyway to set up an expression of some sort that can do all of this for me? I would love to find a way to have the layers be only a single pixel tall, but I'm not even going to try to do this manually. My knowledge on expressions and effect/script building is limited. Will be grateful for any advice.

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Walter Soyka
Re: 720 Masks in AE
on Apr 29, 2011 at 7:19:59 am

Check out GenArts Sapphire TimeSlice [link]. Peter Wiggins reviewed Sapphire here [link] some time ago, and his sample shots of TimeSlice are way better than the GenArts sample.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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Matthew Keane
Re: 720 Masks in AE
on Apr 29, 2011 at 1:16:59 pm


If you don't have, or want to buy, a plug-in for this, I wonder if you could achieve this using just standard AE stuff. I haven't tried any of this - it's just of the top of my head, but...

If you precomp your video clip and animate the slit with a thin mask moving from top to bottom, you now have an animation with, in each frame, a different slice of your video revealed.

Now, two ideas: First, if you drop your precomp into another comp, the echo effect should allow you to reveal previous/next frames of your slitscan anim. Although I seem to remember the echo effect is pretty slow to render, so maybe not a great idea.

Secondly, if you're up for a bit of scripting, you could create enough copies of your precomp to have enough slices to fill the screen vertically, then use a script to offset the layers in time.

Oh wait, what about the time displacement effect? If you create a grayscale ramp, you might be able to achieve the effect without making lots of duplicate layers.

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