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Time-shifting clone strokes

From: After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet

Video: Time-shifting clone strokes

In this movie, I'll cover some of the options for shifting time. I already have one of my Clone strokes animating, and that's Clone Stroke 1. I will remove Clone 2 and the Eraser stroke just to simplify matters. If you don't have a Clone stroke that's animating, make sure your source is a movie or an animated element. I will start by selecting the Clone Stamp tool, and just so we can save our other presets, I will move ahead to preset number 4.

Time-shifting clone strokes

In this movie, I'll cover some of the options for shifting time. I already have one of my Clone strokes animating, and that's Clone Stroke 1. I will remove Clone 2 and the Eraser stroke just to simplify matters. If you don't have a Clone stroke that's animating, make sure your source is a movie or an animated element. I will start by selecting the Clone Stamp tool, and just so we can save our other presets, I will move ahead to preset number 4.

Notice that I can Option+click on the animated element and I can clone it elsewhere. Now as I scrub the timeline, both the elements animate in exactly the same way. So yes, you can clone the clone. Now you might not like the fact that the clone strokes are in sync, so let's look at Clone 2. We will twirl down Stroke Options and we will look at the option for Clone Time Shift. This allows me to shift the time so it's not showing me exactly the same image.

Let's try another option. Notice that Clone 2 is selected. I will press F2 to deselect. If I leave it selected, when I go to clone another stroke, I will replace this stroke that's selected, just like we saw with the Brush tool earlier. So let's say I like to Clone my animated stroke again. First, I will turn off the Aligned option. That way when I Option+click, I will always be using this element. You will notice right below the Source Position, is an option for Source Time Shift.

So if I know in advance, that I don't wanted to be in sync, I can change this value. Now when I go to add another clone stroke, I will press Option+Shift so I can see the frame I'm going to get. The first time you click, they will bring forward the Layer panel, and then click to get the Clone stroke. You can see that I'm using a different frame from the origin. Also notice that changing this after the fact won't update the existing stroke. But there is no reason why I can't twirl down Clone 3, twirl down Stroke Options and then continue to shift it in time.

So let's look at one more option. Again, I will press F2 to deselect that stroke, and let's clone that stroke again. Lock Source Time is not enabled, it says Source Time Shift. When you enable Lock Source Time, notice that it now says Source Time is 0. So this is an absolute frame. It's not an offset. It also means that even though this element I am cloning is animating. When I make a copy, that copy will not animate, because I'm cloning only Source Time 0.

Again, it doesn't mean that if I don't like that frame, I can't update the frame it's cloning from using Clone Time. But I will still only have one frame, unless, of course, I animate the Clone Time parameter. Finally, I will point out that even though you can change the clone time after the fact in the timeline, you cannot change whether or not the Lock Source Time is enabled. So if you want to clone from a single point in time, make sure you enable Lock Source Time before you clone, because you can't turn it on later in the timeline.

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