23 Replies Latest reply on May 5, 2009 2:42 PM by dansch37

    Make a path into a motion path?

    dansch37 Level 2

      I know how to animate something by keyframing, moving in time, keyframe etc. no problem. But lets say I imported a path from illustrator (or just built one with the pen tool) and I want to animate any object along that path that is already built. I essentially dont care about the bezier nodes (they have nothing to do with the timing of my animation), just the start and stop nodes will directly relate to keyframes.

        • 1. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Copy the mask shape or whatever to the clipboard and paste it into the position property. Stretch the keyframes out in time after that, as they will only be 2 seconds in length. (select them, hold Alt while you drag them around)...

           

          Mylenium

          • 2. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
            dansch37 Level 2

            I selected the position property and hit paste, but it just pastes the path onto its own new layer.

            (also, just so I know, is a path the same thing as a mask shape?_

            • 3. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
              TimeRemapper Level 4

              Try setting a keyframe for position, then selecting either the keyframe, or the word "Position", then pasting.

              Also, in your Illustrator preferences, make sure that "Preserve Paths" is enabled (in the Files Handling sub-section).

              • 4. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

                dansch37 wrote:

                 

                I selected the position property and hit paste, but it just pastes the path onto its own new layer.

                (also, just so I know, is a path the same thing as a mask shape?_

                Mask shapes are paths, but not all paths are Mask shapes

                Confusing? I know.

                 

                In AE, and other Adobe applications, a "path" means a vector path without taking into account what it's used for.

                So, when you keyframe the position property you're creating a motion path. It's nearly identical to other paths but it's used to define the behavior of the position property.

                When you set a mask, you're creating a Mask Shape path. It's identical to other paths, but since it resides in the Mask Shape property, it's used to mask that layer.


                When you draw a shape with the pen tool, you're creating a shape path. It's identical to a motion or mask shape path, but it's used to draw objects with visual attributes (colored strokes and/or fills), not for masking or defining position.

                 

                Since they are identical, you can cut ot copy from one property, target the other property and paste it. That way, mask paths can be converted to motion paths or shape paths, and all possible combinations of that

                • 5. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                  dansch37 Level 2

                  I did that but same thing happened (adolfos advice too). Is there some kind of "paste into" that i am missing when I select the position property (with keyframes-and i tried without). I tried making a 2nd keyframe and selecting both, one at a time...

                   

                  maybe it has to do with the interpolation? http://help.adobe.com/en_US/AfterEffects/9.0/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103906c6dea-7d98a.htm l

                  • 6. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                    TimeRemapper Level 4

                    And your Illustrator preferences are set to "Preserve Paths" (you can have both AICB and PDF checked) in the "File Handling & Clipboard" preferece section prior to copying your vector?

                    Do you get the same behavior if you draw a mask on a layer using the pen tool, set a keyframe for mask shape, copy the keyframe, and paste it onto the position parameter of another layer?

                    Keyframe Interpolation should be a non-issue here (as far as preventing you from pasting a motion path is concerned).

                    • 7. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                      Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

                      No need for a "paste into". Selecting the target property (ie, click the property name in the timeline) before pasting is all you should need.

                      Once in a while, the Clipboard is in a bad mood.. Did you try relaunching the app, just in case?

                      • 8. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                        Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

                        Ahhhhh.

                        I think I know what's going on (and if it's not this... it'll happen to you eventually!)

                         

                        I think the artwork you're trying to copy from Illustrtator is or includes a compound path.

                        You see, there are some visual operations that are simply impossible to do with a single vector path (like the letter "a", for example). When Illustrator shows it as a single object, it's for your convenience. Internally, it's a compound path, ie it's made by combining two or more paths.

                         

                        As a consequence, when you try to paste it into AE, it pastes more than one path. And the other(s) path(s) are very likely to be the reason why you get those masks even if you target the position property.

                         

                        If you wanted to paste the AI paths into AE as masks, you would get two or more masks . But the problem is that you want a Motion Path, and a Motion Path is always a single path. Because of this, AE has to do "something" with that or those extra paths. So you would have to make sure you're copying only one path in AI.

                        Could this be it?

                        • 9. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                          dansch37 Level 2

                          I actually didn't bring it in from Illustrator, I built it with the pen tool. But I just wanted to communcate that it wasn't a motion path (and I may be using paths from ai in the future anyway). But let me play with "mask" shapes and their keyframes. I havent used Mask anything in AE yet.

                          • 10. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                            Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

                            And if this was the case, you would have to pick the direct selection tool in AI (the white arrow instead of the black one) and manually select the vector nodes for the single path you're interested in. Then paste that into your AE layer's position property. Cumbersome? Tell that to Pierre Bèzier

                            • 11. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                              Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

                              dansch37 wrote:

                               

                              But let me play with "mask" shapes and their keyframes. I havent used Mask anything in AE yet.

                              No problem!

                              • 12. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                TimeRemapper Level 4

                                If you're drawing the mask shape in AE, set a keyframe for the "Mask Path".

                                Copy that keyframe.

                                Select "Position" in the timeline on the layer that you want to inherit the motion.

                                Paste.

                                • 13. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                  dansch37 Level 2

                                  I see no "Direct Selection" tool just the solid selection. There is no triangle pulldown either. havent tried the masks yet, but can you tell me where the "Direct Selecton" tool is?

                                  • 14. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                    TimeRemapper Level 4

                                    Adolfo was referring to Illustrator in regards to the Direct Selection tool.

                                     

                                    In After Effects, you would use th arrow tool.

                                     

                                    You said you're drawing the mask in After Effects using the pen tool, correct?

                                    • 15. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                      dansch37 Level 2

                                      I was trying to avoid using "masks". I know they are cool but I am not masking anything. I just want to draw a path with the pen tool and animate an object along that path.

                                      • 16. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                        TimeRemapper Level 4

                                        As soon as you use the "pen" tool, you're creating a mask.

                                        You can't use the pen tool in After Effects without generating a mask (i.e. to "draw" the motion path).

                                        As soon as you use the pen tool on a layer, that layer will have the "mask" option in the timeline if you expand the triangle next to the layer name.

                                        You can draw your path as a mask (even though it won't be "masking" anything as long as the path remains open), and then copy your mask path keyframe, and paste it into the position property of the layer you want to animate.

                                         

                                        So...

                                         

                                        -Create a new layer

                                        -Use the pen tool on that layer to draw the shape of your desired motion

                                        -Expand the layer in the timeline

                                        -Expand the Mask section

                                        -Create a keyframe for the Mask Path

                                        -Copy the keyframe

                                        -Select the layer you want to animate along said path

                                        -Expand the layer (Expand "Transform") in the timeline (or have the layer selected in the timeline, and tap "p" on the keyboard)

                                        -Select the word "Position"

                                        -Paste

                                        • 17. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                          dansch37 Level 2

                                          As soon as you use the pen tool on a layer, that layer will have the "mask" option in the timeline if you expand the triangle next to the layer name.

                                           

                                          This did not happen on my machine. I did however r-click the layer and choose mask>new mask and then it appeared. So then I continued the directions but still no luck.

                                          • 18. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                            dansch37 Level 2

                                            OK, I figured it out. Basically I dont know what went wrong (or what went right) but I wound up having success cutting and pasting from the layers path--(contents/shape1/path1/path/make keyframe/copy keyframe) not making the copying layer, that has the path I want to use, a mask path, then pasting it onto the "to be animated" object's position (again, without making this final layer a mask layer). It's tricky that's all because if you don't miss a step, or use the wrong path or position to copy/paste from, it should work. (I didn't have to r-click either layer to excecute: mask/new mask)

                                             

                                            Thanks everyone big time!!!

                                             

                                            (how do I check that this question was answered? I saw that choice when I started this post but I can't find it now)

                                            • 19. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                              Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                              Instructions for this are in the "Create a motion path from a mask, shape, or paint path" section of After Effects Help. Let me know if those instructions aren't clear.

                                              • 20. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                                Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

                                                Dansch: When you use the pen tool and NO layer is selected, you're not creating a Mask (that requires an existing layer to be selected) but a shape group in a new Shape layer. This is why you had to dig deep inside that layer to find the shape path. But as you found out (and as the AE Help section posted by Tood explains much better) shape paths are just as compatible as mask shape paths in terms of pasting the data as a motion path.

                                                • 21. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                                  dansch37 Level 2

                                                  ahh. that explains alot.

                                                  • 22. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                                    dansch37 Level 2

                                                    I still can't tag this as 100% answered. I think I know what I am looking for but its just not here. Nevertheless, thanks to all for answering my question.

                                                    • 23. Re: Make a path into a motion path?
                                                      dansch37 Level 2

                                                      . ignore this, im just trying to get this back into "my discussions". it seems to not want to stay in there-this is just a test.