Sometimes you have a great idea, and then in practice it just doesn’t pan out. I seem to suffer from this quite a bit esp. when animated concepts come into play. This is one of those times as I thought a “Mr. Katz” moving line might add something nice to an otherwise simple animation. While it works at times for line drawn animation, and adds charm and secondary motion to an otherwise static element, on something with a more technical line and look, it plays out like an effect on meth. Not really what I was shooting for to be honest, and even if you slow it down…it just looks clunky.
Which leads me to my next idea for the tape: a more crudely drawn, less refined mesh and texture. I think this lends it a bit more of a personal feel while avoiding the attempt to “simulate” such a look. This is still a 3D object, just more of the detail has been drawn on (using 3D-Coat). There are however some issues with animating the textures (the spindles etc), that would seem straight forward, until you get down to actually doing it. I tried re-drawing the texture over three times to simulate the crawling line effect, but again it just felt too frenetic and distracting, still I like the look of it when it is not animated.
Experimenting with animating several texture sets (forward, reverse, fast forward etc.) in AE and then bringing them back in to SI using ICE to create a simple controller that would move the UVs along on the texture (all sets animated on one sheet) from one set to the next. This works well, as long as you have your textures precisely aligned! In the end I might try a more hybrid approach, where any moving parts get actual geometry while non moving parts are simple textures.