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Cursor writing and drawing endless amounts of drawings

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Søren Storm
Cursor writing and drawing endless amounts of drawings
on Dec 5, 2018 at 9:06:43 pm
Last Edited By Søren Storm on Dec 7, 2018 at 3:04:05 pm

UPDATE: Solved. See comment below.

Hi everyone!

Here´s a short clip of what I try to accomplish in a more effective way 🐮:

Basically it´s two cursors in a fake OS, that interacts and draws atoms, and loads of other stuff.

All the illustrations comes from illustrator vector files, and right now I have two ways of accomplishing the "drawing" (which are both very tedious and slow)

1) Copy Masks in from Illustrator into After effects in a shape layer
2) Copy each mask path from the shape layer, into the cursor controller, move timeline past the new position keyframes in the null layer, and going back to 1) until all masks have been copied.
3) Use the stroke effect on the shape layer, and timing the stroke percentage slider with the cursor keyframe position.

It is painfully slow. I tried to copy the mask path data to notepad, just to be able to see what´s in the data, but apparently that is only possible if it has keyframes. I guess AE does some tricks to convert from Mask Paths to positions behind the scene. I hoped it would be possible to pick the coordinates, and loop through all mask paths, moving the timeline automatically with a script, as this is very time consuming, when I have about 50 drawings with rarely below 20 masks.

I have found similar descriptions before - and have searched high and low for a script that could help me.

I have used the rd script MasksToShapes, combined with the script Waypointer, and ALMOST got the result I needed. Unfortunately in the spacing between masks, the expressions controlling the cursor movement, just blinked the cursor from path to path. If there was smooth movement, it would have been perfect.

Does anyone know of a script that could make any of the operations described above easier?
Any suggestions would be much appriciated!

(I tried (without luck) implementing the script by Xavier Gomez here hoping it could do the trick: )

PS - for others with only little experience with AE:
Another method I use, when the drawings have too many masks, that are separated, and therefore makes method 1 even slower, is to use the Draw-on effect. I accomplish that by either using the Motion sketch, and sketch out all lines directly on the drawing in after effects, and then use draw-on effect on the drawing itself, pickwhipping the motion from the cursor null, to the brush position. It works like a charm, but makes my computer lag so much it can only playback in 1/10 speed and quality set to quarter (even when the draw on dots spacing is set so high that the drawing is only truly visible when rendered).

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Søren Storm
Re: Cursor writing and drawing endless amounts of drawings
on Dec 7, 2018 at 3:04:17 pm

UPDATE: I solved the following. In short I found a script that makes coordinates from anchors in excel, took these coordinates into notepad++, made a macro that made the data readable in excel, in excel I calculated opacity to zero between strokes, copied both position data and opacity data back into notepad++, and from there, into the code needed for after effects to recognize both opacity and position data. I now takes 1/10 of the time to do the animations, an although its not completely automatic, I am satisfied with the result. BTW: In the beginning the letters were rotated 180 degrees and mirrored over the vertical axis. I just counterrotated and mirrored in illustrator before I exported with the anchor to coordinates script. If anyone need help doing this, feel free to ask about details, but if I´m the only one worried about this (-: then it´s all good with this. This just so no one spends a lot of time trying to solve my issue.

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