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Old August 22nd, 2007, 11:32 AM   #1
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Wings in AE

I'm trying to come up with a way to create wings in AE that look real. Sadly, I'm inexperienced with AE, and only know the basics. Ideas (other than "take a class you bum!")?
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Old September 5th, 2007, 08:59 AM   #2
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Hi Alex,
Can you explain more? I cant figure out whats on your mind. You know, if you dont explain clearly the picture you have in your mind is really difficult to try to help.

cheers
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Old September 5th, 2007, 12:12 PM   #3
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Yeah, sorry. I've never created anything in AE from scratch, just edited footage I already had. I need to make wings for an angel and a demon, and I seriously don't even know where to begin. I mean, all I can think is to make a mask on a black layer in that shape. But how do I get them to transform, and be 3d and move blah blah blah?

Is this even possible in AE or should I start trying to learn Maya. I hope not. I don't have that kind of time
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Old September 6th, 2007, 05:23 AM   #4
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Hey

Take a class in it you bum!!!!......... hahaha just kidding! Animating Wings will be super hard if you have limited experience with AE. You can always comp in video of wings from stock footage or something.
You shoot the wing against Black then luma key it out. If you did know lightwave or maya you would be sweet. Its easy as to create a wing mesh then use bones to animate it. hhmmmm.... Depends on the shot i spose. I'm lost.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 09:21 PM   #5
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You've been vague describing it, and it's very hard in the first place.

If you limit your shots, you could do this entirely in 2D, but if you need lots of movement, especially anything from an angle or with a lot of camera movement (3D movement more than simple panning, etc.), then you will need to look for a 3D solution.

You should design the wings in Photoshop, etc., then duplicate one wing, flip it, and you have two.

In after effects, you will probably need to make these 3D layers (layer>3d layer-- check that). Then you can animate with rotation (3 dimensions now) and scale, as well as position.

I'd recommend creating a basic animation first, of the motion. Not exactly sure how it would work, depending on the bone structure, but you could do this fairly easily with moving 2D pieces around, as 3D layers. (think ahead when creating the images about what pieces should move independantly).
You could also use some of the effects, like liquify to add some realistic movement. Be warned, though, these effects, especially liquify, will increase render time.

Now, you have a basic animation. It should be approx. 10 frames long, or however long a flapping cycle is. However, the shorter you make it, the more realistic it can be by adding motion blur.

Once you have that, create a new composition, and just loop the other a few times. Make a 10 second loop of that other comp. (You could export the other and reimport it, but be sure to keep the alpha channel. This would save you render time.-- if you choose pre-render, you could always update this later.)

So... you've got wings.

Take that composition, and place it into your clip(s)'s compositions. Again make it a 3D layer. Then track and rotate as you see fit, this time based on the motion of the clip. Make use of the motion tracker, though I really only recommend that for the position, not for the scale/rotation (it doesn't track in 3D-- there are some more complex programs that can do this, but that gets into 3D motion tracking, which you might need, as you might need Maya/etc., if you need very complex shots.).

Last step will be integration. Be sure you'd have motion blur on the entire time, as this will really help. Then you'll probably be placing these wings behind someone. Duplicate the layer of the clip, then place the wings between. Rotoscope the actor(s) in front of the wings (yes, long and tedious, but that's the only way, unless you are able to shoot on a blue/greenscreen). Plus, don't forget about color correction to match the footage.

And... hopefully, you're done.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 06:58 AM   #6
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Puppet Tool in AE CS3? check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OwU5F76Reg

Cheers,
T
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Old October 10th, 2007, 06:20 AM   #7
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I think, for a semi-decent effect a true 3d modelling package is the only way to go here.

Maya, Lightwave, 3DS Max are all up to the job, but it's going to a be a long hard struggle.

Try and rig your footage to limit movement, this will make your job a tiny bit easier.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 08:10 PM   #8
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As I said above, it IS possible in 2D, but *ONLY* if the shots are limited in complexity and changes in angles.
CG is absolutely a 'better' solution, albeit harder (in some ways).
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Old October 12th, 2007, 12:02 PM   #9
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Just a thought - if you decide to go the 3D route there's a package called Carrara Basics that is pretty full function and under $100 - in fact it may be closer to $50 these days.

Like all 3D packages, there's a learning curve, but nothing like Cinema 4D or Maya - also about 3% of the price.

One other thought I had was scrounging up some wildlife videos showing birds flapping their wings (snowy owls???) and try to grab just the wing motion, then make your angels fly around the same path as the birds.

The other approach would be to draw really cartoon style wings and animate them rather than striving for realism, which you won't get out of a 3D package anyhow unless you use a hair module with wind interaction to simulate the feathers - very advanced and expensive and hard to learn stuff!

Sometimes these cartoon add-ons can be really quite effective.
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Old November 11th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #10
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Could try DAZ|Studio from www.daz3d.com

Best part of this program is it's FREE! (the content isn't though) but I know for a fact you can get poseable angel wings and other goodies because I have them. I'd set up a scene in D|S matching the camera angle of your footage and animate the wings how you want them to look; change your background colour to green and you have a chromakey to work with. Composite it onto your footage keying out the background and viola! Angel wings.

Good luck

Russ
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