2 Replies Latest reply on Aug 12, 2015 10:46 AM by drspam

    is my shape path too large?


      i am using a very long shape in an animation. it's a simple idea: use a trim path to gradually reveal a line, while a camera pans along the length of it, zoomed in very closely so we only ever see a small section of the path.


      something like this (though i haven't set up the camera yet):

      Screenshot 2015-08-11 22.22.03.png


      the path itself is extremely large, probably in the neighborhood of 32k long. i know that's absurd, it's what came from photoshop and i was planning to adjust its size once i got the shape correct. i figured since it was a vector, the canvas size wasn't important during the first stage. that seems to be wrong.

      what happens is very strange: beyond a certain threshold, i can't modify any of the anchor points that make up the line. in the screenshot below, all the points to the left of the green line i can interact with normally. to the right of the line, however, they're somehow frozen or locked. i can't move them around, i can't adjust the handles. i thought maybe the points themselves had somehow gotten corrupt, so i figured i'd try to remove the troublesome ones, and add new points. i can successfully remove points, but if i add new ones, they immediately conform to the path as it exists, and cannot be modified. so i can remove complexity from the path, but i cannot add it. huzzah! the tide finally turns in my war on detail!


      Screenshot 2015-08-11 22.18.34.png


      some more symptoms:

      1) as you can kind of see in the first screenshot, it's hard to frame the entire object in the canvas. it's as if the canvas has invisible boundaries that i can't scroll past. i can zoom out far enough to see the entire path, which means it knows there's *something* beyond those boundaries, but i can't use the hand tool to explore those areas.

      2) if i try to move the "last" movable point beyond the threshold, it snaps back to a very strange place in the shape bounding box. the behavior is hard to describe, but this is what the result looks like:

      Screenshot 2015-08-12 03.44.45.png

      3) scaling down the path to a manageable size, using either the layer transform or free transform on all the points at once, doesn't seem to fix the problem.

      4) if i grab all my points and use the free transform to simply *move* them off to the left a little bit, THEN i can move those points around freely.


      this all suggests to me some sort of precision issue, or possibly someone hardcoded an arbitrary canvas size limit. frankly i suspect the latter, because precision issues would probably manifest differently (like, points snapping to a 10- or 100-pixel grid, rather than shooting way out to some other place). i'm really at a loss here, and stand to lose a day's worth of work if i can't figure this out. anybody have some ideas?

        • 1. Re: is my shape path too large?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Split up the path in more handle-able sub-segments. Even when split, you can simply set the Trim Paths to operate sequentially and retain the illusion without much hassle. That and of course it may make all sorts of sense to work with multiple layers/ shape layer groups and those smaller segments in the first place.



          • 2. Re: is my shape path too large?
            drspam Level 1

            this is a very helpful tip!  for... next time

            (only because i had completed about 90% of the shape and wanted to just bang out that last 10% without coming up with a new strategy)



            anyway, i think i figured this out. i'm more convinced now that this was a precision problem after all. not only was the shape very large, but it turns out --perhaps because the original path came from photoshop and was copied into this session-- the anchor points were all situated extremely far from the origin of the shape layer itself. so for me to even move the shape into the view of the composition, it had X translate values between 10,000 and 30,000 pixels. the numbers required to display not only the transform but the anchor point offsets FROM that transform, i believe, are what pushed me over the edge, and beyond the limits of precision.


            my solution was to select all the anchor points and drag them closer to the shape's origin (this explains observation #4, since the origin happened to be screen left). this allowed me to use less extreme corresponding translation values. between this and shrinking the size of the composition i was using for this scratch work, i can describe the same shape using numbers an order of magnitude smaller. i'm now well within the precision bounds, and can move the points freely once again.


            so it's not that my shape was too large, exactly. it's that it was too far from the origin, so the numbers required to describe it were too large. this doesn't mean the shape *can't* get too large, of course, which is why Mylenium's suggestion is a very good one that i'll try out next time.