if the illustrator file is heavily textured, and takes too long to calculate, you should split your graphics into segments. I have been making world maps for many years for news and documentaries, from showing the entire globe to zooming in to a country and a city. you should separate you graphics into segments. world map say 4000x4000 pixels for example. and costa rica at 4000x4000. now composite costa rica over your world map. my guess is that you have a few places to zoom into so just make these large size and place them on your map. so you have a high res file over a low res bigger file.
take for example this map I made. I have to get all the way zoomed in between morocco and spain, then all the way out to a part of the middle east.
so I have this master comp 1605x905px
you can see the layers boundaries. I carefully place one over the other and scale it down. so I have a map of just the area I am zooming into at 1313x922px scaled at 60%. now because I had to have even another map on top of these 2 and it had to be scaled at very low values which is harder to place, I created a precomp with collapse and inside there is another map at 2356x1493px at 7% scale.
this way I can place on over the other and not have too many pixels at the same time.
here's another more complex example because it contains more elements that need to be arranged differently to support a nice composition on both zoomed in and zoomed out map.
same idea. this type the map dissolves in as I crash zoom
this type it's a precomp with many elements that I can carefully place if the composition does not suit me perfectly.
Whenever I have a project like the map example above I prepare the artwork in Illustrator with the animation in mind. It tales a little pre-visualization but it can be pretty efficient. To recreate your Russia example I would probably set up this workflow:
- Open the original map file in Illustrator and check the dimensions of the artboard
- Resize the artboard to about 20% bigger than the master comp or about 2200 X 1400 if working in HD
- Select all of the artwork and group it so that it is on a single layer
- Use the path tools to clean up all of the paths and if necessary simplify paths
- Check the artwork for any Raster Effects and if you find any, remove them (if this kills the design then do some work arounds that do not require raster effects like Drop Shadow)
Note: I suspect that your original map may have drop shadow applied to all of the text layers and this will slow things way down and prevent you from using collapse transformations effectively)
- I would then resize the grouped artwork and position it on the artboard in it's starting hero position
- Duplicate the grouped map and make sure that they are both on separate layers
- Trim and delete everything on the second layer so that only the part of the map that you see is the end of the shot is on that layer something like this (The trimmed area is shown darker so you can see what I'm talking about. You can make this portion of the map any size you want. i have divided maps into eight or nine sections for many projects.)
- Add the other graphics for the cities and the airplane the train and make put them in their hero position at the size they will be in their final resting place
- Here comes the fun part - Save the .ai file and import it as a composition
- Make all layers 3D and collapse transformations
- Set the out point of the bottom layer to about 3 or 4 seconds and set the in point of the close up map layer at about 2 or 3 seconds to provide a little overlap for the camera move so you can adjust the timing.
- Precompose the two map layers and turn on collapse transformations
- Add your camera to the scene, set up a camera rig if you want to use one and then animate the camera so that it does the move you want to make
- Set the in and out point for the other layers and set a position keyframe at their resting place in the timeline.
- And add a 3D shape layer with a dotted line and trim paths applied for the path or if you drew the path in Illustrator on a separate layer then you can convert that vector path to a shape in AE
- Animate the position of the airplane and the train train and the other elements in the scene by working backwards from their ending position
- Add your drop shadows with a light and an offset in Z space for your layers or just use the Drop Shadow effect to put the drop shadows back in the scene.
That's about it. If you want to maintain the shadows on the text layers then you would group all of the text on the map on a separate layer. I think it's probably the drop shadows that are killing your performance. A half hour preparing the artwork will save you hours of production time.
Can anyone advise me on a way that i could work with a low res pixel based map of the whole world and then zoom into a small vector based map of the area I need to work in. Or any other ideas are welcome.
As the others said already, work with multiple graphics at different zoom levels and transition between them with whatever methods you prefer. You simply don't need a hyper-detailed huge map. The only caveat is obviously that you have to put in more work in Illustrator to prepare multiple pieces of imagery for every region instead of just one file.
Thanks folks, i figured that's what most would say but outlining the process definitely helps me move forward.