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Fuxianer
02-08-2010, 09:43 PM
I'm trying to achive a number of effects that will require to fill the whole comp with a grid of repetitive elements, e.g. cross stitches on a canvas. All artwork for backgrounds and pattern elements will be made in Photoshop in separate layers for full control but I need also control through expressions to turn elements on and off, e.g. animated stitch pattern on canvas or a huge office building whose windows (50 by 40 windows) change colors, open and close etc, like a giant screen where each window is a pixel.
Has anyone an idea with expressions how to set this up so I still can access each element within the grid individually without having to built it manually with 200+ layers?
Thanks for any advice...
F

Iaenic
02-09-2010, 01:19 AM
Having lots of layers is probably unavoidable. You can definitly make things easier on yourself by using expressions and expression controllers, but if you want to keep everything editable there are few workarounds.

One thing you could do is create a smaller number of renders representing different states, and mask in between them.

For example, say your creating a building with 50x40 windows, and you want the windows to have open and closed, lit and dim states. You could render out four master renders. One with all the windows open and lit, one with all the windows closed and lit, one with all the windows open and dim etc. Then you can use masks and expressions to cut them up the way you need.

Mylenium
02-09-2010, 06:28 AM
Has anyone an idea with expressions how to set this up so I still can access each element within the grid individually without having to built it manually with 200+ layers?

I have plenty ideas all day, but the kind of complexity you request is way beyond simply posting a few code snippets on a forum... Projects of that kind can keep a coder busy for a week just to set it up. You won't get a "do it once, recycle a hundred times" solution, anyway. Turning things on an off is considerably different from showing different content at different times which would again be different from specific parameter ranges that effects applied to the grid elements may require. If you want a sincere opinion: Unless you know your way around these things, don't bother. Look into more conventional techniques using masking and effects like Card Dance, Motion Tile and so on.

Mylenium

Fuxianer
02-09-2010, 09:23 AM
I have plenty ideas all day, but the kind of complexity you request is way beyond simply posting a few code snippets on a forum...

I actually thought so, I couldn't find an easy way of approaching the problem either.
But I now discovered particle playground (after it has been with AE for how long???). I can see a lot of potential in its abbility to set up a grid of custom shapes, even with random time offset in a precomp to have variations of similar shapes, e.g. ech window looks slightly different, dirt, wear and tear etc. It also supports layer maps to control opacity, only thing missing, I can't get the rgb channel to affect the rgb of the custom shapes, but there are ways around it, so not a big problem.
I also did some motion tests with cross stitching on a canvas and went as far as adding the grid (with various blurs applied) also as a distortion map over top, so the canvas actually distorts slightly as soon as a stitch element appears and a second ditortion map stretches the canvas a bit, gives it a natural imperfection. Just the actual stitch elements need more work, they are just some crap ones I found on the www.
Check this out:
http://www.drivehq.com/file/df.aspx/shareID6810074/fileID472361653/pp_stitches_01.mov

Thanks guys,
F

Mylenium
02-09-2010, 03:49 PM
Yes, Playground has been around forever. v4.1, I believe. It's similar to what I suggested with Card Dance. If the render times don't kill you, it's of course a viable option.

Mylenium

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