Bend a group along a path

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manberzil
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Bend a group along a path

Post by manberzil » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:56 pm

Hello,
I have a snake with masks included and I want it to follow a path but the tool just works the basic way and the snake keeps straight. When I use the tool with option in order to make it bend along the path it doesn't work at all. Is there a way to use this feature with a group?

Thanks!
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SuperSGL
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by SuperSGL » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:24 am

You'll probably have to add bones (pin bones might be best for a snake) or add some kind of point animation, never tried this on a path not sure it would work. Once you add bones you might need to re-do the follow path. Hope that will help.
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Greenlaw
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by Greenlaw » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:54 am

If you're using Moho 12 Pro, create a mesh that affects all the layers in the group. You'll need to select the individual layers, pick the mesh and click Apply. Sorry, I can't recall if you can do this all at once or just one at a time. Also, (and I might be wrong about this but) I think just clicking Okay won't do it, I think you need to click Apply for it to take. Then, deform the mesh along the path.

How well this works completely depends on how the artwork is constructed. If they are mostly vectors, you may need to divide the vectors to get nice deformations.

If the vectors continue to tear or have other issues when deforming, what works better for me is to render the vectors as bitmaps, import the renders, and then have the mesh deform the bitmaps. BTW, check out Hayasidist's Bake PNG script; it's made for this sort of situation. This script converts the vector layers to double-res bitmaps automatically and with proper scale applied.
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by Greenlaw » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:37 am

BTW, a quick way to make a selection bend along a path is to click on Follow Path, and then click on the path while holding Alt.
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by Greenlaw » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:07 am

Ugh! Sorry, I don't think the mesh trick described above will work. I just tried it and, when using Follow Path, the artwork slides out of the mesh.

Maybe there's a way to make this work but I'd have to play around with this a bit.
Last edited by Greenlaw on Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by Greenlaw » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:09 am

Oh, wait...now it's working...sort of. Interactivity is being 'chunky' though. I'll take another look at this later this evening.

Edit: no, I'm mistaken. It looked like it was working because I assigned my bitmap to the path...duh! It was probably being 'chunky' because of a conflict between the path and mesh both trying to deform the same bitmap. For now, I don't think this can be done the way I described.

I'll take a look again later.
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by Greenlaw » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:59 am

Ah! Now it works. Moho crashed earlier so maybe it was just acting funky then, and it's working correctly now.

Anyway, right now only the mesh is assigned to the path using Follow Path, but both layers, the mesh and image layers, are bending and moving along the path. It should work with other layers using the same mesh layer for deformation.

That's just how I thought it should work, so give it a try. :)
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by Greenlaw » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:51 pm

I wanted to be sure so I made a quick test this morning:

Image

The body is an image layer, and the eyes are three vector layers inside a separate group which has masking enabled. All the layers are using the same mesh, and the mesh is following the path. So, it works.

Here's the file if you'd like to pick it apart.

wormy.zip

Hope this helps. :)
Last edited by Greenlaw on Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by Greenlaw » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:26 pm

Oh, one more thing: You may have noticed the eyes are also deforming with the path. It's subtle but it's there if you look closely. This is a normal and expected result but it may not always be desireable.

I've run into this situation in the past, where I needed part of the group to bend and part of it to remain rigid. If this is a problem for you, what you need to do is make the part you wish to remain rigid have a separate and regular Follow Path (no bending enabled). Then copy the keyframes from the bending item to the non-bending item.

If this is a setup you'll be reanimating often, you may want to tie both animations to a single Smart Bone Dial.
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by Greenlaw » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:37 pm

Slight variation just for fun.

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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by SuperSGL » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:17 pm

If that doesn't answer his question I don't know what will :lol: Thanks for the file I'll have to check that out later. Thought of mesh but couldn't visualize how it would be implemented. Haven't used that feature much will have to re learn it. The mesh itself is becoming quite the tool for lots of stuff. I even saw a beta test on You Tube by Victor Paredes where he used a mesh over particles and used bones to change the mesh and of course changing the particles. Very cool. Anyway great example thanks again!
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Re: Bend a group along a path

Post by Greenlaw » Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:37 pm

Sure! I don't get to use SmartMesh often but each time I do, I'm surprised by what I can do with it. It's been a great feature.

I'm glad the custom mesh works with Follow Path and grouped files. I got a little worried when the 'slipping' error occurred but I haven't been able to reproduce the error. I'm guessing it was a random glitch. Since then, using a mesh with Follow Path and 'bending' enabled is working correctly and predictably for me.
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