Re: Animating a line drawing? by Dave LaRonde on Mar 24, 2008 at 6:48:15 pm
[Caitlin Folchman-Wagner]"I need to figure out how to animate a line drawing."
Okay, first things first: we need to establish how this artwork currently exists.
• If it's something like a hand-made drawing on paper, is it a photograph or a scan?
• Even better for your purposes, is it an adobe illustrator document that you could modify?
There are a few ways to do this. They're all variations on a theme: animating white-on-black (or opaque-on-transparent) lines, Which in turn reveal the lines of the artwork. The benefits of each depend on what you're comfy working with in AE, the timings you need to hit and how accurate the reveals have to be.
The image is a black and white pen drawing, but I can easily turn it into an Illustrator file if that would facilitate this process. I've never actually used After Effects before, so I'm looking for the simplest way to do this, if thats even possible. I would greatly appreciate any advice at all, because I don't even know where to begin.
Re: Animating a line drawing? by Mike Derk on Mar 26, 2008 at 1:18:32 pm
Aharon has a tutorial on "animating a signature" (look in the podcasts area) that might be useful.
I've also seen a video tutorial about growing vines. I can't find it right now, but it uses "Stroke" to reveal an image. Essentially, you import the entire image, cover it, and then reveal it using masks.
Hopefully someone else will be able to point you to it.
Re: Animating a line drawing? by Dave LaRonde on Mar 28, 2008 at 10:12:42 pm
[Caitlin Folchman-Wagner]"The image is a black and white pen drawing, but I can easily turn it into an Illustrator file if that would facilitate this process."
Excellent! By the way, I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. Here's what to do:
• Recreate the drawing in Illustrator, and make a separate layer for each line you want to animate. If lines have to cross one another as they animate, you'll definitely want to make them separate layers.
• Whatever you do, don't make it all one big layer or you'll drive youself bonkers later.
• I suggest 50% gray as a color. The reason: Illustrator documents come into AE with an automatic alpha (transparency) channel, and it defaults to black. Black-on-black is tough to see. You can change it later using the Fill effect on one layer, then copying the effect to the rest of the layers. Boom. Done.
• Import the AI file into AE as a composition (NOT Cropped Layers).
• Duplicate the resulting AE comp for safety, and open the comp.
Now you have several options. In my personal order of preference:
• You can animate masks to reveal the lines
• You can animate solids used as track mattes to reveal them
• You can animate the stroke effect on solids, using the strokes as track mattes
• You can try vector painting on solids to use them as track mattes
Those would be the most popular ways to do it.
It won't be fast, but you'll have a LOT of control using this method. You'll also avoid the agonizing and VERY time-consuming woes people usually have trying to animate lines on a complete single-layer drawing.
And as you progress through the project, you'll be VERY glad you didn't try this technique on something like a lithograph, with all its tiny little lines.
An interesting thing to try: for a background, import a picture of some textured paper, give your lines a color, then apply one of AE's transfer (aka blending) modes for a nice effect.