6 Replies Latest reply on Oct 1, 2008 9:24 PM by Adolfo Rozenfeld

    Interpolation of two Paths on Shape Layers

    Level 1
      I'm doing an animation that involves interpolating between two Paths on a
      Shape Layer. I'm having some problems getting it to animate the way I want.

      In the old days when doing this kind of thing I used Solids with Masks and
      when I had a problem I used the Smart Mask Interpolation panel to correct
      and smooth out the interpolation. It used to work fine. Now, with CS3, I use
      Shape Layers, which has always seemed a neater and faster to achieve the
      same results, but this is the first time I've had an issue with
      Interpolation.

      Am I being dumb, I can't see a way to do for two paths on Shape Layers, what
      the Smart Mask Interpolation does for two Mask Paths. The Smart Mask
      Interpolation doesn't want to work with Shapes (the clue is in the name I
      guess). I did check the manual but couldn't see an answer.

      My solution was to add a Mask on the Shape Layer, copy the Keyframes from
      the Shape Path to the Mask Path, link the Shape Path to the Mask Path via an
      expression using the Pickwhip [ mask("Mask 1").maskPath ], then run the
      Smart Mask Interpolation on the two Paths on the Mask Layer which gave me
      the animation I wanted.

      But is this really the only way of smoothing out Interpolation problems
      between two Paths on a Shape Layer?
        • 1. Re: Interpolation of two Paths on Shape Layers
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
          Yes, your procedures are correct. A more generic understanding of "Paths" in relation to shape layers is much requested, but unfortunately has not even been realized in CS4. So these little assistants, the Align panel and a few other things still don't work with shapes or things like Illustrator's shape blend are not there... Really a pity, but maybe in CS5 this finally gets the attention it deserves.

          Mylenium
          • 2. Re: Interpolation of two Paths on Shape Layers
            Level 1
            Thanks for that. Bit depressing that nothing is changing in CS4....

            I get the impression that the new suite has been rolled out to be sold as a
            package rather than allowing the individual applications to mature and
            advance, through consolidation of existing features and adding new ones, at
            their own rate of growth and need.

            I wonder if this won't have to change soon? The suite is a good deal for new
            customers but not so good for existing ones, too little for too much.
            • 3. Re: Interpolation of two Paths on Shape Layers
              Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
              Well, I doubt it will change back to the way it was. I also do not necessarily think that this is a matter of not letting the apps mature. In my view, Adobe has missed out on a few trends in those last few years and now they are trying hard to catch up, which consumes considerable resources. You know things like GPU acceleration, multicore processors and 64bit have been on the horizon for a while, but it always seemed Adobe had no intentions of following. If you will, it took them forever to figure out the core technology behind all that and only now it comes into play... A possible benefit of this approach is, that once it comes into the light, pretty much all programs will profit from it, but of course with varying degrees of "depth" and usefulness to the end user. Pixel Bender and in part also CS4's 3D stuff are the humble beginnings and we can only hope to see more of such generic implementations - along with finishing up some incomplete features. ;-)

              Mylenium
              • 4. Re: Interpolation of two Paths on Shape Layers
                Level 1
                There is a big production advantage in having cross-application
                compatibility and a common code base but it still feels that the push is
                coming from marketing and not software engineers or product managers.
                Perhaps if there was another 6 months on the development cycle we would have
                got the After Effects wanted and frankly we, as loyal customers, deserve as
                we've all parted with thousands and thousands in cash for Adobe products.
                The cost of going from CS3 to CS4 is not cheap - even more for me as I'm in
                the UK and it doesn't feel like value for money for new features compared to
                say the jump from 7 to CS3! I want better native particles and 3D without
                having to fork out another fortune for Trapcode or Photoshop Extended as
                plug-ins!
                • 5. Re: Interpolation of two Paths on Shape Layers
                  Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
                  >Perhaps if there was another 6 months on the development cycle we
                  >would have got the After Effects wanted and frankly we, as loyal
                  >customers, deserve as we've all parted with thousands and thousands
                  >in cash for Adobe products.

                  Doesn't work this way. Trust me, if you gave it another 6 months, there would just be as many loose ends. People never get enough.

                  Not meaning to play the bad guy again, but over those last few weeks I've pissed off quite a few people on various forums trying to explain some of the intricacies of software development and I'm still extremely frustrated/ aggravated/ puzzled/ angry 'cos one never seems to get through to them. In short: There ain't such a thing as a "simple switch/button/option" - it all requires someone to get his hands dirty in the code and a new feature has sometimes very deep repercussions on existing ones. Every developer must weigh these things carefully and even if some things seem to fall in place more or less inescapeably and logically, it does not necessarily mean that at a given point the developer/ company will be able to allocate resources and manpower to a specific task.

                  Specific to Adobe: Yes, I, too, sometimes think their plans for world conquest get in the way of doing "brilliant" software that excites you as opposed to "okay" software for your day to day business, but you have to understand their position. For example if one guy on the Photoshop makes a mistake and hoses up the file format spec, this will ripple like a shockwave through every product that also uses Photoshop files or components. Now count the apps in that category and imagine the chaos that would ensue if such a thing really happened... You could suddenly have a few hundred thousand or even million users with useless Master Collections screaming "bloody murder" on the streets. Therefore they have to be careful.

                  And let's be honest: the products are improving, even if a specific cycle may not provide any incentive to upgrade to a specific subset of users. That's just the way it is, but even then Adobe could be counted among the better guys. Unlike many other software vendors they don't force you to run every update just to be eligible the next time. You can upgrade older program versions if you skipped at the same cost as you would from the last version, and that's not the worst of ideas in my world, where I as (also) a 3D artist experience different procedures if I want to keep my tools on that end current...

                  Mylenium
                  • 6. Re: Interpolation of two Paths on Shape Layers
                    Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee
                    > Am I being dumb, I can't see a way to do for two paths on Shape Layers, what
                    the Smart Mask Interpolation does for two Mask Paths.

                    It is true that you can't use Smart Mask Interpolation on shape paths directly, but what you *can* do is: copy the shape path keyframes, paste them into a mask, use SMI, then link the shape path to this mask path and you will get the SMI behavior in the shape path (or you can copy and paste back into the shape path, but it won't update automatically if you adjust the mask path later).