Annotation on a model - where best to do it?

I am trying to annotate maps similar to this:


Currently I am modeling on the surface to create my callout/text animations. But this is slow. I have been playing around with masks in compositing, and now I am wondering where I should focus my efforts?

Animating on the model is slow to render changes, but I have control, in the compostor I could mix my images and do the callouts/text in a different render. layer… My base image isnt moving much, if at all.

Whats a better direction to focus learning my skills on? I like how the call-outs look on the image above, but is there a better way?

I don’t understand your discription, anyway marking the spots with empties would make it easy to even animate a modelled lable in any design you wish. You can even add (with parent) a text object… easy…

Animating on the model is slow to render changes,

?? Why? (Well if this is a huge megavertex modell…, then try a lowpol proxy while editing) Maybe prerender background model and composite with animated labels.

This is what I’m asking, where is it better to do text callouts? Like in the attached screen shot, where the callouts are on the model (yes my surface is a DEM and has 7Mill vertices), or take a static image of the background and animate ontop of the static image in composite.

Since my goal is a animation, fixing the timing of callouts require rerending which on 10 frames or so isnt a big time consumption, but it is enough to be noticeable. Perhaps using smaller model or lower rendering settings is really where I should focus. But as a new user I would rather try to learn in a workflow that is more realistic to the “pro’s” workflow.

For a pro: time is money. If there are no shadows involved, render once and then composite…
Even if, the model for shadows could be decimated (with applied decimeter modifier) and maybe subdived (easier than using 7 million verts).

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Yes time I guess makes sense in what path you go down… but I think for real visual effects you would want the shadows and 3D feel.

Thats an image texture on a wireframe surface in my original post… so if I wanted to highlight a colour on the map I cant do that in 3D can I? I figured I would have to create masks in the compositor in order to get a simple glowing effect and bring the viewers attention(in this case geology) is there a better way?

OMG :scream: only now i see what your are doing (because your first image is so small).
Off course i thought you are make lable geometry as another (simple) object !!! Something like:

You are manipulating the landscape geometry to make labels…Now i understand why this is slow.

yes same thing, but I am using spheres and cubes for a more 3D shadows effect, and my scale is considerably bigger (country sized scale)