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  • Posted by Paul Magee on August 24, 2005 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Everyone,
    I want to try and manipulate lines in 3D space within after effects is it possible? I essentailly want to bend them twist them etc then throw a camera down them. I know this is acheivable in 3d studio max I just wanted to save time and do everyhting in AFX.

    Thanks in advance

    Seth Taylor replied 18 years, 10 months ago 6 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Stone Reader

    August 24, 2005 at 3:00 pm

    Have you tried 3D Stroke plugin by Trapcode?

  • Jeff Dobrow

    August 24, 2005 at 3:34 pm

    Search for Ribbons on the cow. There is alot of info.
    This question gets asked every 5 days minimum.

    90% of that type of effect IS done in a 3D app.

  • Steve Roberts

    August 24, 2005 at 3:51 pm

    … because you can’t (yet) control the Z-space bendy shape of 3D stroke on a bend-by-bend basis and it resides on a flat layer in AE, which has its own limitations.

    It’s like asking a Ferrari to fly. Great car, drives well, just won’t fly.


  • Michael Powers

    August 24, 2005 at 3:54 pm

    As AE is a 2.5D environment (all flats), you can only put a line on 2 axis at a time.

    I would make your first line on a 3Dlayer.
    Then make a second layer/line with the anchorpoint at the start of the line.
    Parented to the first at the end of the 1st line. You can then rotate this second layer.
    repeat until you built up your line sculpture. Unparent them, then parent them all to a master null.

    To get the camera path, make a 3D null alinged with your starting line/layer. Parent this to the master null. This way all the rotations systems are the same for all the line/layers and the camera path null.

    Animate this down the 1st line. copy the rotation or the orientation from your next line/layer to the camera path null. Animate it along this line’s path (do this with the “v” tool in the window as the camera path null is aligned with the line whose path your matching)

    If you can’t see the line clearly you can reposition or rotate the entire rig with the master null.

    Repeat until you have your animation pathpath (it is quite quick once you get going)

    Set up a “path controller” on a “camera null” with the camera parented to it.
    Parent the “camera null” to the master null.

    The “path controller” is basically the camera dummy’s position linked to the animated path dummy’s position and an expression slider to control the “value_at_time” time of the position.


    t = effect(“Slider Control”)(“Slider”);
    t = t * thisComp.frameDuration;
    thisComp.layer(“Camera Path Null”).position.value_at_time(t)

    This way you can control the pace without changing the path dummy’s animation.
    You can also make a similar setup for the camera’s “point of interest” – or just offset the “value_at_time” slightly and/or the position.

    This is much clearer in an AE file 🙂

  • Seth Taylor

    August 24, 2005 at 4:39 pm

    If you need a really simple 3d looking line, you can try using cylinder and animate a solid layer

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