And what exactly has this to do with AE? I mean, it screams "3D program" all over the place.
Well, I think that it would be better to use a 3D program, but I have no such access to one unfortunately. I need to find a solution to create a 3D strip, make it look like a filmstrip, then get it to fill the projector. It’s creating the strip as a 3D object, giving it the texture, then I can make it look like it’s filling up the projector without doing anything too complicated.
Good luck. Sorry, but this makes no sense. This wouldn't even be simple in a 3D program since you would have to animate the underlying path of a spline-based extrusion/ sweep or use deformers and morphing to transition from a flat strip to something that folows your complex curves. I'm afraid you are really in over your head here. The only "native" way in AE I could imagine would be Trapcode TAO, but even that is going to be extremely tricky due to how the plug-in works vs. the requirements of the project. You's probably end up fiddling a lot with the texture repeats and finding the right positions in 3D space. One way or another you have to use otehr tools. This is out of the league of a vanilla AE and the crippled Cinema 4D version that comes with AE CC isn't up to it, since the features you would need have been ripped out of it.
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You can create a straight filmstrip live a long thin comp, had your cropped movies to the frames, then make the whole thing a pre-comp that you turn into a 3-D later and layer and set it at an angle.
You can also use a third-party plug-in like Forge free-form to turn your pre-comp into a real 3-D layer.
You could also do the whole thing and C4D lite that comes with AE but you need to expect to spend several days learning how to use the program.
You could also use Blender, a free open source fully capable 3-D program with lots of great tutorials to create your animation. Go to www.blender.org to download and learn.
Whatever technique you choose there will be a learning curve. Creating the basic filmstrip is nothing more than a very long thin comp with layers for the frames and movies or images that will fill the frames. The long straight film script is really the easy part. Making it move and bend is the hard part.
Well, based on Rick's reply, I’ll just pre-comp the filmstrip, mask out the filmstrip inside the projector is, and just realign the filmstrip wherever the film in the projector goes. It’s a simple solution, and I’ll show it to you when it’s done.