Layer Properties> Alignment not updating Orientation/Rotation in console

This is the same in both Hitfilm 3 Pro and Hitfilm 2 Express.

Is this intended behaviour?

Set 2 points in 3D space (A and B) and set two keyframes and a small (200x200) 3D plane's position to that of Point A, then a few seconds later on the timeline: that of Point B.  Then set the Anchor point of the Plane to -100,100,0 so its top left corner is 'attached' to point A at the start.

Setting the plane's Layer Properties > Alignment to "Along Motion Path" (any of X, Y or Z), the alignment of the plane seems to rotate/orientate around a different position than the Anchor Point (presumably because it is not 0,0) and so the Anchor Point and that plane are offset from each other when it moves.

1) How do you make it rotate around the actual Anchor Point?

2) During the movement from point A to B, although the plane and the orientation arrows do face in the new direction, the angles are not updated on the console (neither Orientation or Rotation) to show what the new angles actually are, and once it moves past the second keyframe, rather than maintaining the last angle, it resets back to 'facing the camera/forward'. So it's like the alignment doesn't stick, although other rotations/orientations that do affect the console (such as keyframing between different values) does maintain the last angle.

So, trying to parent to this plane, so that something remains a set distance in front of the plane (3D text hovering in front of a wall) as it moves between the two points doesn't work, and it remains facing forward. How can I 'inherit' the plane's new orientation while is is moving to achieve this?

Adding a third 3D point after the 2nd is interesting as it follows a nice curved path though. :)

So, not sure if it's intended behaviour or not, but if it is: why is it better to work as it does than to update the angles as they change, and how do you 'get them out' for other objects to use?


  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator
    edited March 2015

    Interesting observations!

    1. In this example, changing the anchor point to 0.0 , 100.0 , -100.0 creates the desired effect. It would seem the anchor point's values work differently when aligned to motion. I'm not sure whether this is intended or a bug, and will check with the devs. Update: Having checked, I can confirm that this isn't a bug, and it works as intended, but it perhaps isn't desired behaviour. We'll add it to the internal tracker for future development, but changing it mid-lifecycle is tricky as it'd mess up existing projects.

    2. Again, I'm not sure whether the transform properties should update. The way it currently works is good for applying additional animation on top of the motion-generated angles. However, parented layers not reacting to the motion-angled layer doesn't seem right. Again, will flag this up to the devs. Update: Rob confirms this is intended behaviour. If you want a parented layer (as per your example) to align correctly, all you need to do is set that layer to also be aligned to motion (note that Text layers do not have alignment options, so will need to be embedded as a composite shot first).

    The other observation of the layer reverting back to Alignment=None when it passes the final keyframe seems like it might be an oversight. Again, will prod the devs. Update: Maintaining the motion vector even after the final keyframe seems like it'd be preferred behaviour. It's been logged and the devs will look into it.

  • edited March 2015

    Thanks for your detailed responses to all of the above.

    Re: Updated response to 1) Perhaps an (Old/New Method) tickbox to the Effect that defaulted to the current behaviour, wouldn't break existing projects. Although as no one else has noticed, it's only a 'Nice to Have'. :)

  • Yes, in chatting with Rob earlier we did consider that kind of old/new toggle. That does potentially open a can of worms, though, and 4 versions down the line your entire UI is covered in confusing old/new style options. :D

    For now, there does appear to be a workaround, you just have to treat the anchor point properties in a different XYZ order when using motion align.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Which order? 

  • edited March 2015

    @Triem23 Depends on which axis you align along the path I think, as the behaviour is different with each one.
    @SimonKJones Ah, the old 'slippery slope' objection will allow you to put things off indefinitely. :) 

    Just kidding! Having brought it to your attention I may never worry about it again, and if it's a hastle, then there are definitely more important things to worry about than this (hint: 3D Extrusion.... ;) )

    Rightio, off to see what else I can break ...

  • edited April 2015

    @SimonKJones @Triem23

    Just came back to this, as I hadn't actually tried Simon's suggestion of setting the anchor point to 0.0 , 100.0 , -100.0 and I realised I obviously didn't explain myself properly as that's not a solution to what I was talking about; as it's when you set any anchor point to anything other than 0,0,0 that it causes the interesting behaviour. Or that's a solution for one of the axes, but not sure which, because I tried it with X,Y and Z and it didn't help with any of them.

    So here's a video to explain what I meant.

    I added a few more points for fun and discovered the interesting side effect of the plane spiraling around the path; which might be useful for something if you could work out how to control it.

    Works the same way in HF2E as HF3P.

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