View Full Version : Troop Movement Arrows

11 November 2003, 06:30 AM
Hey, how could I go about making some animated troop movement motion graphics? I want paths snaking across a map with arrows at the ends. The paths could be 2d or 3d. Something like:

but with the paths animated.

11 November 2003, 07:49 AM
I would use Flash.

11 November 2003, 08:30 AM
I want it to be all 3d and rockin though....

11 November 2003, 08:53 AM
You could use endomorphs to animate the growth of your arrow objects.

11 November 2003, 09:04 AM
Heh I have a way to approach this, but i imagine it won't be a lotta fun for ya.

Create a curve in the shape of an arrow.
Convert the curve to skelegons/bones. (You may need a plugin for this, I haven't done this trick since the 5.6 days.
Create the mesh of the arrow.
Create an endomorph where the arrowhead is moved up the length of the bones, a plugin that gets you the length of the curves should be sufficient.
Use bandsaw to slice the living heck out of the body of the arrow. Do this AFTER you've done the endomorph. You'll want a nicely subdivided model before trying this trick as we're going to bend the arrow around the bones.
Send the arrow object to Layout.
In Layout on a frame other than 0, rotate all the bones until they're in a straight line. It should be as simple as "set all the childs to 0,0,0" , but I've had varied mileage in that case. You may have to go one by one and do it by hand. (Or you can cheat and use IK...)
Rest all bones.
Go back to frame 0, delete the other keys you made, you don't need them anymore. Just make sure that frame 0 has the nicely bent bones.
Use morph mixer to animate going from the base morph to the extended morph. The result is the arrow will creep along down the path of the bones.

I may have missed a step or two. Sorry about that. Sleepy brain and I haven't done this in a while.

Facial Deluxe
11 November 2003, 09:44 AM
Shift Spline Transform
is your best friend :)

11 November 2003, 11:00 AM
This is from Michael Wolf, who also has a plug-in to allow you to animate this arrow over real terrain (imported from GIS packages) called Infinimap:

1. Make a standard arrow.
2. Subdivide the body of the arrow by making it into about a thousand triangular segments.
3. Make a weight map going from the end of the body of the arrow to the end of the head of the arrow (not the point of the arrow)
4. Set the arrow head to follow the path you've chosen and use the inertia plug-in on the arrow. This plug-in will make the rest of the body only gradually follow the head drawing it further and further out until the segments are all at full stretch and then the whole length of the arrow will follow the path.

You can find out more about Mike's plug-in and download it, it's free! at:


11 November 2003, 12:41 PM
A simple but effective way would be to UV-map your trail. Then make an animation of white "wiping" in then use that as a clip map. Then have your arrowhead following along.

11 November 2003, 02:16 PM
look at this thread:

and after that: - in the section tutorials /slug tutorial/

I think that`s what you need.

11 November 2003, 03:26 PM
I have to do something like this soon. I was either going to revisit the slug tutorial or here's something for AFX:
In PS make arrowhead on one layer and each arrow you need on their own layers
Animate a mask for each arrow in AFX to make it "grow"
Animate arrowhead at front of mask
Precomp the arrow and arrowhead
Now you can do things to this precomp like Stroke to put a border around it, Carve for a 3D look along with a drop shadow. Add a glow, use it as a mask for another layer, whatever.

11 November 2003, 07:56 PM
Wow, thanks a lot for the great suggestions guys. I'll see what works!

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