Convert To Mask
Bendio has a unique workflow for continuously rasterized layers. It uses masks, but not to mask things. Read on…
Shape layers are incredibly powerful because they contain live properties which you can animate over time, with all the controls right there in the timeline.
Unfortunately, After Effects treats shape layers (and other continuously rasterized layers) differently than normal when it comes to effects. Instead of the effect moving around when the layer is moved, the effect stays stuck in place, as if it were being rendered on to the comp instead of the layer.
The same .ai layer with continuous rasterization ON (left) and OFF (right)
For example: if you apply the CC Bend It effect to a continuously rasterized layer, it will distort weirdly as you move it around. That doesn't happen if you apply it to a bitmap layer.
You can fix this issue by pre-composing the layer - turning it into a bitmap layer with a limited pixel resolution and no accessible shape properties. But why should you have to do that? We figured out a neat solution so that you don't have to pre-compose if you don't want to.
By converting Bendio's Start, End and Attach Points into mask points, we can make it work correctly on continuously rasterized layers.
Apply Bendio and set the Start and End points, then click the Convert To Mask button and a new mask with two points will be added to your source layer, whilst some expressions are applied to the Start and End so that they follow this mask's points. The first point sets the Start of the bend, and the second point sets the End. If you want to alter the Start and End, you now need to click and drag the mask points instead of the effect point controls. At first, you'll probably need to click on the layer in the timeline to shift your selection from the effect, to the layer, where you can edit masks.
Converting to masks is a one-way process. AI, EPS, SWF, PDF files and precomps can either be continuously rasterized or not, depending on their 🔆 switch. You should plan ahead and decide if you are going to need these types of layers to have the switch on or off, and then use Bendio's mask workflow, or not.
There is also a button to convert Attach Points to masks. Select an attach point in the dropdown and click the Convert to Mask button underneath. Bendio will make a new mask with just a single point in it, and the attach point will now be driven by the mask point. These masks can be hard to see at first.
Once your points and attach points have been converted to masks, you should be able to transform your layer however you like and the bend and attach nulls will follow along as expected.