5 Replies Latest reply on Nov 25, 2008 8:52 PM by (Laer)

    Workaround for AE inability to swap layer?

      I'm wondering if there exists (either as an actual feature in AE or as a workaround technique) a way to switch between several stills on a single layer. Specifically, I'm wanting to have one layer as a 'Mouth' layer, and animate that layer jumping between several mouth positions (for lipsync).

      In Flash, you could animate a swap of the contents of the layer....

      Is there an existing feature that could do that? Or, has anyone developed a workaround for that?

      The only one I could think of offhand is to have a precomp with a single layer containing each of the mouths (1 frame each), then on the main comp, use time remapping (with Hold keyframes) to keyframe a jump to each of the frames in the precomp. Haven't tried it, but it seems like it might work. I'm wondering if there's a better method.

      Any comments?
        • 1. Re: Workaround for AE inability to swap layer?
          Todd_Kopriva Level 8
          Yes, you're on the right track with the time-remapping solution.

          Here is a Community Help search that should get you going in the right direction.

          I like the Aharon Rabinowitz video tutorial.
          • 2. Re: Workaround for AE inability to swap layer?
            Level 1
            Wow, looks like I guessed that one correct!

            I just thought of that solution yesterday, as previous to that I'd do separate layers for each mouth position, then use opacity to bring each one in (PAINFUL!)... or just animate the mouth with stretch (limited!).

            I actually just tried it for the first time right after posting the question, and ya, it seems to work really well... and with very little extra setup effort or fuss.

            Thanks for the link. I'll browse through them as well.
            • 3. Re: Workaround for AE inability to swap layer?
              Level 1
              Another good method I came up with (which apparently others have thought of too!) is using CCSplit for creating a mouth. That was a real gem of a find...

              But, in the link that you gave me, I noticed that people are using audio to drive the CCSplit... that's something I never thought of! I've used audio to control the vertical stretch of a generic mouth shape long ago in an earlier version of AE... but didn't know of the more precise controls you can get with current Expressions.

              So, I tried the audio driven CCSplit technique they go over, and it works nice. Only thing is, the Split effect needs to be stronger.

              The current expression I'm using (which is linked to a layer created by the Convert Audio To Keyframes feature) is:

              thisComp.layer("Audio Amplitude").effect("Both Channels")("Slider")

              What coding can I put in to amplify the effect of the Split? I'm not very familiar with Expressions, so I'm a little stuck. I tried putting things like *10 after the ("Slider"), but it wasn't correct syntax...

              Anyone able to help?

              [EDIT: Nevermind! I just got it... I just put the *10 right after the ("Slider"), and not inside the brackets. Excellent... That works!]
              • 4. Re: Workaround for AE inability to swap layer?
                A. Cobb Level 3
                Time remapping is how lip flap is typically done in AE. Back when I worked on character animation, we would do our track reads in Magpie Pro and export the mouth positions as time remap keyframes to copy and paste into AE.
                • 5. Re: Workaround for AE inability to swap layer?
                  Level 1
                  I just can't believe I didn't think of using time remapping for lipsync mouth shapes until a few days ago, just before posting about it here! I've been using AE for most of my career! I feel clever and stupid at the same time! Ah, well... Better late then never.