Any ideas, or even possible to do? Thanks. Cin
Text on a path won't work for this application. The easiest thing to do is to create your type in Illustrator, convert it to outlines, Un-Group the text and then release to layers, then attach each layer to a 3D motion path. If I get some time this evening I'll give you a better explanation but this should give you a start.
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Also, if you don't need these paths to be linked together organically, you can assemble the text on a circular path, think of a carousel, and place that path into your comp so, as the path layer revolves like a platter, the letters flow from behind the window into the front.
Let me see if I can offer up another possibility. Think of your 3D path as, say, an s-shaped line that starts outside your window and ends inside the room. You can set a layer to follow that path and you can set it to orient toward the camera or orient itself along the pathway. But that layer is flat; it's a postcard traveling on a s-shaped rail. You can create anything to be displayed on that postcard: a movie or animated words or characters.
You can make it into a 3D layer, a nested precomposition, that has 3D animation or 3D items in it. If you understand how to bring the 3D precomp into the main comp, the layers will be portrayed in 3D space.
Neither of these suggestions provide a way to realize your original concept.
I threw together a simple project using an Illustrator file for the text comp and one of Dan Ebbert's expressions for follow a null. You'll find more info on Dan's site here. The key to making this work and work well is manipulating the anchor points of the text layers so that they are all lined up on a baseline and spaced evenly to maintain kerning of the text layers. I threw this project together in about 5 minutes so only part of that work is done but you'll see the process.
You'll find the project HERE.
A little research will show you how to use the release to layers feature in Illustrator which is key. If you don't have illustrator you can use the type tool in AE, you'll just have to create a new type layer for each letter.
"Good luck"!?, "Good luck"!!?? Are you kidding me?? I don't need luck, I need an flipping aerospace engineering degree from NASA!!!! LOL I can't get the link to your project to work, but I did follow the other one. Which of the many versions on that page do you feel would work the best for me? I do have Illustrator, and took a class about 3 years ago, so I will see if I can shake off the cob webs and do as you suggested. I just had no idea how a relatively simple concept could be sooo difficult..........
Thank you Bogiesan for your explanation, and visual description. That really allowed me to see better, and understand how it works. .
PS. Rick, when I showed my class 'your' bouncing ball (which was the best, and I gave you credit for), my prof said 'nice work smart ***, now scale it like everyone else! Is that guy related to Einstein?' . I took HTML several years ago, and thought I was pretty good at it (not great). What would you recommend as the easiest, and most basic, and understandable way, or place, to get into understanding script? Is it a computer language that can be understood by other programs, or only AE.
Thank you both for all the help and effort. Cin
The link should work now. Forgot to upload the file. D'oh!
I just had no idea how a relatively simple concept could be sooo difficult..........
Not difficult really, just a procedure and understanding of how After Effects works in 3D.
The expression that I borrowed from Dan is the first one in the Follow the Null section. Expressions are just a modified Java. There are a few keywords that are unique to After Effects like anchorPoint, position, thisComp but if you understand java and java math you'll have a good start. Dan Ebberts is the resident expert on expressions.
The follow the null expression I used just looks at the position of the null as a value at time array then offsets and moves the tied layers around the null's 3D path. The reason that you have to adjust the anchor point so that they are evenly distributed and on a base line is that every layer's anchor point is at the center of the graphic and not the baseline or corner of the type. The reason for the even spacing is that the expression will only distribute each layer evenly.
There's a much more complicated way of tying the movement of the individual layers to the path of the null based on the original position of the layers but I can't do that kind of math in my head.
There may also be a way to do something really funky with a particle emitter, but, unfortunately, there is no way to directly tie Per Character 3D to a path or the path of a null and have each letter follow the path. They will either all move as one group of slide from the at rest to current position.