This was a quick test in Blender and Cycles. I am getting used to the Cycles way of doing things and GPU rendering is starting to feel like a friend. The new denoising features of 2.79 is looking good. Even though it is not optimised for animation, it is working well. I had to add in the shadow of the sphere in After Effects, as the ball did not produce enough of a shadow itself. It is features like selecting specific objects to recieve a lights effect, that I miss. I did find I had an issue trying to get the lighting to be the same at the beginning of the animation and the end. The physical nature of the lighting model might make looping a problem. More tests will be needed to find out for sure.
Coming from Cinema 4D, I am quite used to Mograph and what tools it gives to us motion graphics designers. I love it, we all do. So I was amazed to find there was similar system for Blender in the form of a plugin called Animation Nodes.
Authored by Jacques Lucke, this is a node based tool, much like expresso, another tool I love from Cinema 4D. I just had to give this a go. This is my first fumbling steps into this new world. It is a very complex system, that initially takes some getting used to, but it offers a huge amount of power to the user.
So step one was to make a grid of cloned boxes. This is the layout I eventually ended up with:
I added some random rotation and movement to the boxes with a couple of keyframes. Really elegant and powerful. It is going to take me a bit of time to get really comfortable with Animation Nodes, but it is going to be a fun ride.
While I was creating the end board templates for our eBotswana promos at e.tv, I had a problem that when I wanted to move a layer using numerical values in the time line, it would use global not local co-ordinates. The layers I wanted to modify were at an angle in 3D space, so the movement went in the wrong direction, as you can see below.
I needed the ability to change single axes in local space, specifically along the local x co-ordinates of the layer. If I could do that, then any manual changes while designing would be accurate and not affect the y or z position of the layer. Any animation or expressions would then also be easier to set up. Lastly, it would be easier to understand for my colleagues, who would be coming to the project with fresh eyes.
So I wrote a short expression in the position of the layer. I used a '3D point' effect to allow me to have an input to offset the current position.
The result was an animated layer that I could control very accurately via the 3D point control effect in the layers local space.
Here is the code if you want to use it in your projects.
/* Create variables */ var pos = thisComp.layer("Text placement 00").transform.position; /* current position of layer */ var offset = effect("Offset")("3D Point"); /* 3D point effect on layer */ /* Do the math */ lpos = fromWorldVec(pos); /* converting layer position from world to local space */ newpos = toWorldVec((lpos+offset)); /* adding converted local co-ordinates and offset. Then converting back to world space */ /* Result */ [newpos, newpos, newpos] /* final result pluged back into postion values of layer */