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Exact Placement of a Layer Map

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Alex KuzelickiExact Placement of a Layer Map
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:39:14 pm

Hi there,

I'm very much a novice at 3D Invigorator Pro and would love some advice from the experts out there. Basically I would just like to know how I can exactly place a Layer Map to fit within an Illustrator shape.

For example, say I made a cartoon head and I wanted to make the shape of the head in (3D) Invigorator and then 'paste' the face in the right dimensions onto that shape, with a Layer Map.

My attempts at this always end up stretched and goofy-looking.

Does anyone have a 'simple' (believe me, I need simple), step-by-step explanation of how to do this?

Are there some ideal settings for matching a texture to an object?

Thanks in advance,

ALEX



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Edward WuRe: Exact Placement of a Layer Map
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:15:34 pm

Hi Alex,

If you need a Layer Map to fit exactly onto your Illustrator shape, one of the best ways to do this is to trace the outline of the cartoon head inside of Illustrator. You can use either the pen tool or if the image has clear outlines, you can use the "Live Trace" feature to save some time. However, if you are using the Live Trace tool, make sure to clean up any unnecessary shapes or lines.

The key to having the layer map fit perfectly is to have the texture map (the cartoon head picture) be the same size as the Illustrator shape. Since the Illustrator outline was traced from the cartoon head picture, you know the outline is the same size as the picture. However, one thing to check is to make sure that the cartoon head image is cropped to the edges. If you leave margins on the cartoon head picture, the margins are being applied as well, which could be the reason you are seeing the layer map being stretched.

Below are the condensed steps to have your layer map fit onto the Illustrator shape:
1) In Illustrator, import the cartoon head picture
2) Trace the outline in Illustrator
3) Save the Illustrator file without compression
4) Open the cartoon head picture in Photoshop
5) Use the crop tool and crop the picture so that there are no margins on any side
6) Save the cartoon head picture
7) In After Effects, set up your Invigorator project (create a new Composition, Solid, and apply Invigorator to the Solid)
8) Import the the cartoon head picture, and apply it as Layer Map 1
9) In Invigorator, open the Illustrator file to get your 3D shape
10) Apply Layer Map 1 to a new material swatch, and apply the material to your 3D shape

If both files are the same size, the map should fit perfectly. Hope that helps. If you need an example project, you can leave your e-mail address and I will that over to you.

Best,
Edward







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Alex KuzelickiRe: Exact Placement of a Layer Map
by on Mar 10, 2009 at 3:28:37 am

Hey Edward,

Thanks so much for that info. Has helped me immensely! Like a kid getting a new toy :)

I followed your procedure and got the best results I ever have. The placement was still just a touch off but that may have something to do with my cropping - I'm guessing.

Eventually, I figured out that if I make a new Comp (the same size as my head layer) put the head layer into it and use that as the Layer Map, I can nudge it around/change size, etc until it fits properly on the 3D object.

So much appreciate your help, Edward. You rock!

Cheers for now,

ALEX





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Serge HamadRe: Exact Placement of a Layer Map
by on Mar 10, 2009 at 6:51:09 am

[Alex Kuzelicki] "Eventually, I figured out that if I make a new Comp (the same size as my head layer) put the head layer into it and use that as the Layer Map, I can nudge it around/change size, etc until it fits properly on the 3D object."

That's the beauty of layer mapping and what makes Invigorator so strong!

Keep your layer map at the correct aspect size/ratio as Edward and I explained in the previous posts to avoid loosing time tweaking stuff but also keep on playing around as it's the best way to understand how things work.

Salut.
Serge

Invigorator/Proanimator Training: http://library.creativecow.net/articles/hamad_serge/invig_training.php


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Serge HamadRe: Exact Placement of a Layer Map
by on Mar 10, 2009 at 6:23:10 am

Hi guys,

Just to make things clear, in order to get a perfect map (None stretched)The aspect ratio is important!

When you create a map at the same size then your object you are starting to do the right thing but let us imagine that your object was drawn in IL at 150 X 200 points, this means that if you create a map at this resolution (size) your map would look bad if you animate your object so it fills most of your comp.

To avoid this, respect the aspect ratio and then create your map at the size you need.

In other words if we follow the (150 X 200) example and you would be creating your map in AE using masks, plugs etc... You should create a layer map composition at (150 X 200), check the "Lock Aspect Ratio" Box in the composition settings window then alter the size of your composition to a higher resolution. AE will automatically keep the right aspect ratio for you when you alter the height or width(so will PS or IL...)

Now, whatever you will be creating inside of this layer map composition it will perfectly fit your object faces The edges are another story.

I explained mapping in details in the Invigorator/ProAnimator training DVD but will soon work on an online Creative Cow tutorial.

Salut.
Serge

Invigorator/Proanimator Training: http://library.creativecow.net/articles/hamad_serge/invig_training.php


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Alex KuzelickiRe: Exact Placement of a Layer Map
by on Mar 10, 2009 at 1:50:29 pm

Hey Serge,

Thanks for the extra info - it's all slowly adding up to my understanding of Invigorator.

As you say, the best way to learn is to just try things and see what happens.

I have a big problem with 'complex design' in software. I just can't see the point of having to press this and set that and check this box and allocate that, etc, etc, on and on, just to do a simple thing.

It's the reason why I shy away from 3D programs. Most just seem to sloooowwww down the creative process with endless settings. After Effects, on the other had, I LOVE! It's clear and intuitive. You 'just do it' as they say.

And Invigorator is a great compliment, especially for people who hate 'too many settings' like me.

Thanks again for the help and looking forward to any of your tutorials, Serge.

Cheers for now,

ALEX




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