View Full Version : sticky alternative

wibly wobly
04-24-2010, 08:29 AM
Ok, I'm completely stuck. I have an effects shot that almost works using sticky but, ultimately fails and I have no idea how to get around it. So I'm hoping that someone might have an idea about what I can do. Basically, I have a strip of material / paper (I'll call it a ribbon for simplicity) where a bunch of small symbols, notes, happy faces etc need to follow along it's path, closely hugging and moving along it's surface. Each of these little objects needs to be slowly rolling around (I might be able to skip that part if I can get everything else to work) for movement. The small symbols almost need to follow along the ribbon like I'm moving the texture along it's x or z axis.

The problem is is that I need to be able to animate this long ribbon. I need some kind of displacement, either the old texture displacement or the normal map displacement plus, I have to bone the thing so I can animate the flag so that it can wrap around a character and lifts him off screen. Sticky works well enough until I bone the ribbon. It fails when the ribbon bends because it cannot resolve the turn.

I'd rather not but, the only thing I can think of that might work is if I make a long tile of these symbols on one layer, move them along one axis (so they follow the length of the ribbon) and duplicate the texture displacement from the ribbon and use the bones from the ribbon to somewhat match it's path. I don't really want to do this because I fear that the texture displacement will deform the little objects too much and they won't have any secondary movement. I'm more worried about the heavy displacement.

So, if anyone has any ideas, I could really use the help at the moment.

04-24-2010, 06:24 PM
For animating a ribbon theres several methods:
1. Shift Spline Transform. Its a free PC only plugin that allows you to move and defrom an object along a spline curve. The controll nodes of the spline are null objects and are used to animate the shape of the curve by translating, rotating and scaling them. Its quite powerful. It will also work with bones and weight maps.
2. DStorms free Trailer plugin. It allows an object to animate along a path and be deformed by the same path. The path can either be its own path or another objects.
3. Morph along a bone chain trick. Use IKBoost on the bones for control.
4. LWs curve conform plugin It can animate the ribbon along a spline curve.
For the symbols I would either animate them along the UVs of the ribbon as textures or mdscan the ribbon, duplicate and offset it from the first ribbon very slightly and animate the symbols along that one as clip maps.]
You could also setup the symbols as objects in one layer and metalink or hardlink them to the mdscanned ribbon object.

wibly wobly
04-24-2010, 07:27 PM
I'm not so much having a problem animating the ribbon but, making the 50+ objects follow along it's shape. I was initially thinking I was going to use that Trailer plugin again (I used it a while ago and it worked out really well) but, the origin point it fixed. The shift spline plugin looks pretty interesting, I'll have to check that out.

I'm leaning towards using the morph along the the bone chain trick. I've been hesitant to use it because it does deform the small objects quite a bit and I don't really have any control over them individually. It does get me mostly where I need to get though. I'll have to look into the metalink/hardlink idea you posted and see how that goes. I have about 15 shots of this to do and only one is actually going to be hard because I have to animate this thing pretty precisely and hand animating the small objects isn't something that I particularity want to do. I was planning on just using AE particles and replacing them with pre-rendered clips of the symbols or just FXlinking them until I saw that one shot. I think it's the first time I've been really stumped. Sticky was so darn close to what I needed to.

If I can get it nailed down to one or two rigs for the whole show, I'll be pretty happy. Thanks for the ideas.

04-24-2010, 08:38 PM
You might be able to still use the bone deform/morph trick but tie in dpkit's node motion plug-in.

Instead of morphing your object down the bone chain and seeing it deform just animate a single point. And then via DPKit's node motion tie the position of your button to the position of your point that's morphing down the bone chain.

04-24-2010, 09:46 PM
I think mdscanning the ribbon and using hardlink/metalink would be a good way to go.

wibly wobly
04-25-2010, 02:54 PM
So I messed around with the md scan and hardlink this afternoon. Of all the techniques that I've tried, I think that's going to get me the closest to where I need to be. It's a bit more fiddly and not as flexible as I was hoping for but, it seems to completely solve the distortion issues I was having.

Cheers for the tip.

04-25-2010, 03:00 PM
also see, http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108114 (notice #9 and #10)