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Workaround for importing 3D files in CS6?

Apr 16, 2012 9:32 AM

One of my favorite features in AE CS5.5 is the ability to import 3D files created in one of my 3D programs without plugins. Basically, I just import my 3D model into Photoshop and save it as a PSD, then import the PSD file into AE. This is the ONLY way to import 3D files into AE without having to buy plug-ins, etc, since AE doesn't accept the most common 3D file types. However, everything I've read is that Adobe is eliminating this. Does anyone know how Adobe is going to address this problem in CS6?

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    Apr 16, 2012 9:37 AM   in reply to Bruce BFD

    Probably not before CS7 (or 6.5?). In the meantime simply buy Zaxwerks Invigorator/ Pro Animator or the up and coming Video Copilot Element plug-in or one of the possibly many other plug-ins that will surface... If that really is so important to you, springing those 150 bucks that Andrew promised Element will cost is a no-brainer, considering how it will enhance your workflows beyond anything Adobe currently can offer...

     

    Mylenium

     
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    Apr 18, 2012 3:58 PM   in reply to Bruce BFD

    > I'm not happy about this feature being removed

    Neither are we.

     

    Photoshop changed sooooo much in its 3D implementation (for the better) that it just wasn't possible to integrate all of the changes before it was time to release the new version.

     
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    May 13, 2012 7:00 PM   in reply to Todd_Kopriva

    I've been working on a project that involves animating a 3D model of a car as it maneuvers past a Photoshop created set in front of which some masked video activities are occurring (i.e. the video against the set are often seen as a point of view of a passenger in the car.) I have also been doing what Bruce describes, finding pre-made models on the internet and altering texture before bringing them into After Effects. My question is whether my better option now is simply to continue working in AE 5.5 or whether I will be more efficient creating the whole animation within PS CS 6. For example, would I be able to create the masked video segments within AE and bring those into PS, where I perhaps I could composite the animated model? This loss of the ability to manipulate 3D models in AE -- a workflow I was only just haltingly beginning to learn -- has set me back, confused me, and left me unsure how to proceed. Anyone have thoughts? Is this plug in from Video Copilot the solution and if so, can it interact with my AE project as is or do I go back to the model and reimport and animate it anew? Thanks for any ideas.

     
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    May 13, 2012 11:59 PM   in reply to mark2ain

    Element is just another custom 3D render plug-in and share's the same limitations as all 3D-ish plug-ins in AE have - like not natively obscuring with AE's 3D layers. That said, from your description it sounds like what you want would be perfectly doable in Element, though, inside this closed eco system, but of course it's a whole different approach. And not to spell out the obvious: It's not available to the public yet, so if you are on a deadline, that doesn't do you any good and you'll probably have to stick with PS CS6 animation capabilities for the tiem being.

     

    Mylenium

     
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    May 14, 2012 7:53 AM   in reply to Mylenium

    Thanks for your help. No deadline. Passion project. (I'm also no animator -- editor by trade). But the news I'm getting from you is I should plan to composite this in Photoshop. My workflow had been to create non-video elements in Photoshop and do video, composite, and animation work in After Effects. I think you're saying I can do the animation in Photoshop and should re-think my approach so my final project is created there. If Element shows up and can help -- although it may be too late in terms of my having gone too far down the road -- then I take a look at that. OK. I'm new enough to all of this that I think this only requires a brain reset.

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 2:07 AM   in reply to Todd_Kopriva

    When After Effects CS6 promised fully raytraced 3D and a 3D camera tracker, I expected 3D file import to come standard. What good is a 3D camera tracker if all I can use it for is text and flat images? Also, in one of the videos I saw on the After Effects webpage, I saw the person manipulating a hotwheels logo that was 3D extruded, then a 3D chair. Am I supposed to believe that someone modeled that 3D chair in after effects? Or was it imported?

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 3:41 AM   in reply to chuckdries

    What good is a 3D camera tracker if all I can use it for is text and flat images?

     

    Plenty. It's the single redeeming feature in all CS6, considering that most others do not work as advertised and make me wanna slap someone. Think of all those other 3D plug-ins that may benefit from it like partticle fountains integrated with your 3D scenery or such stuff... That part of the exercise is useful. i only wish it was actualyl fun to use CS6 for eve4rything else instead of being such a nerve wrecking experience....

     

    Mylenium

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 3:46 AM   in reply to Mylenium

    But my point was, it would be exponentially more useful if I could use the camera tracker to insert a 3D object into a scene. It is helpful for things like diplaying graphics on a blank screen, or replacing the contents of a sign and things of that nature. Still, I would like it let me put a 3D object on a flat plane (maybe a stool on an empty wooden floor, or a book on a desk.

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 8:15 AM   in reply to chuckdries

    You can do that already. It's called a 3D program. That stool is gonna look a million times better with global illumination, proper texturing and environment in your 3D program than it ever could in AE's renderer. Well, at least the current 1990s plastic version of it, anyway. If that really is your point, then you should abandon AE and learn Blender, which - come to think of it - even has its own camera tracker.

     

    Mylenium

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 12:48 PM   in reply to Mylenium

    I'd suggest another approach. I'd take your 3D elements and render them as multi pass plates with motion in your 3D app, then use AE to composite those elements in AE where you can add additional graphic elements, control the relationship between the various render passes (like reflections, specularity, diffusion).

     

    If you're on a budget look at Blender. It is free, open source, and will export camera animations to After Effects perfectly.

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 2:17 PM   in reply to Rick Gerard

    Ok. maybe I should have been more clear. Yes, I can do the camera tracking and 3D rendering in a 3rd party program, but it seemed to me that the inclusion of these features (raytraced 3D and camera tracker) was to offer you the convenience of doing it in after effects, rather than having to render the footage and bring it into blender (or, in my case, I use Cheetah 3D). It would be much easier to work with because then I can manipulate the 3D object with all the other elements in the comp.

     

    I'd much rather be able to do it all in after effects.

     

    Message was edited by: superchuckinator - added specifics

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 2:17 PM   in reply to Mylenium

    Although I thought the raytraced 3D looked pretty darn good in the demo videos adobe showed off

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 7:02 PM   in reply to chuckdries

    You'll get much better results using a 3D app. Maybe it's time to look at efficient workflows. AE is principally a compositing program. Bringing in Photoshop 3D objects works, barely, with huge render times for the results. GPU based ray tracing (if you don't have a compatible cuda card) is also horrendously slow compared to the GPU ray tracing available in Blender or any other dedicated 3D app.

     

    AE may eventually get there, but the basic structure of the pixel math AE uses will have to dramatically change to implement these changes.

     

    My normal 3D workflow is:

    1. Concept sketches and or animatics generated on paper or in AE
    2. 3D Motion and animation tests using very primitive models
    3. If the CGI is going to be used with live video now is the time to plan and shoot the background plates
    4. 3D motion tracking of video (if needed)
    5. Motion Tests in 3D app
    6. Final texturing and lighting / rendering multiple passes
    7. Import passes into AE and Composite

    This is for complex problems.

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 11:27 PM   in reply to chuckdries

    It's not necessarily meant to create complex geometry or render it ultra-realistic inside the program. Yes, it may be possible at some point to render your stool against a backplate and have it look like it was always there, but even then you wouldn't do some things in AE and the attainable level of complexity will be tied to specific rules and limits. Also you will stil lhave to weigh how sensible it will be to work in AE vs. a 3D program and consider some questions like whether there is more compositing than actual 3D or is it the other way around... It's about finding the most efficient workflow. As for the quality aspect - I've been doing 3D much longer than AE and I could tell you a thing or two about it, but let's just say that AE has a long way to go, if you want to go beyond all those reflective logos they always use in the demos...

     

    Mylenium

     
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    Jun 8, 2012 11:44 PM   in reply to Mylenium

    The stool was really just an example to get my point across. So what you're saying is that what program I use depends on what my needs are. Lets say I had 3D shiny logo that I created in a 3rd party application, would it still be practical to (if this feature existed) import it into after effects, or would it be better to redraw it in Illustrator then extrude it in AE.

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 6:31 AM   in reply to chuckdries

    This depends entirely on your shiny logo and how you want to have it interact with the scene. I do 80% of that kind of work in Blender (or another 3D app) using artwork I created in Illustrator. I create my motion in the 3D app and do final compositing and tweaking in AE. If reflections (ray tracing) are not necessary to place my shiny logo in a scene as if it were really there I'll import a 3D object into AE using Invigorator. If the object is really simple and the shot is not very long I'll extrude in AE. I've only done experiments with Photoshop 3D. The results were OK but the workflow was way too slow to be useful to me. If I can't turn out product in a very short amount of time I can't make a living in this business and still have time to enjoy my family or my life.

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 10:07 AM   in reply to Rick Gerard

    So for the project I described earlier in this thread -- which consists of a stock 3D car to which I applied texture in Photoshop (re-colored it and added a taxi logo) and a street set I'm constructing out of 2D material -- mostly also in Photoshop -- with my intention being to animate the car driving past the 2D material -- the part I had planned to do in After Effects -- should I take the above discussion to mean I ought to be doing this all in Blender? I have only just begun to learn Blender and it hasn't had my highest priority. Is it able to import stock 3D models and 2D sets created elsewhere and then let me combine them with interactive lights and animate them with perspective? Before I drop everything I've been doing to take the time to learn a whole new program, I'd love some support in knowing that at least for this project, the effort is going to lead me where I want to go. Thanks for thoughts.

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 10:57 AM   in reply to mark2ain

    You can do exactly what you have proposed in AE with plug-ins or using Photoshop 3d import in CS5.5, but it's not going to be very efficient. Blender will import most standard 3D models and texturing is easy and much more powerful than it is in Photoshop. Depending on the time you have to devote to the project I'd say that you should be able to spend a couple of hours going through some Blender tutorials and have enough knowledge to texture and animate your vehicle with lights and a camera move. It would then, if you're a little familiar with 3D apps, take another couple of hours to set up the blender scene and render out the passes. If you're a complete novice the process would take a couple of days. An AE project using third party plug-ins or CS5.5 and Photoshop 3D could also easily take a couple of days (20 hours) for a novice. So I guess it's a tossup. There's a fair amount of support for both workflows.

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 1:54 PM   in reply to Rick Gerard

    Thats exactly what I want: I want the logo to look like its in the scene, and I want to import it except instead of using invigorator, I want to be able to do it without shelling out a few hundred bucks for a plugin

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 2:03 PM   in reply to chuckdries

    Take a look at Zaxwerks Proanimator. Its great for 3D logos and text and it runs as a plug in for AE. A few hours of tutorials and you will be amazed at what you can create.

     

    http://zaxwerks.com/gallery/index.shtml

     

    http://zaxwerks.com/proanimator/index.shtml

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 2:08 PM   in reply to lasvideo

    But the whole reason I joined this thread is to try to get funcionality like proanimator or invigorator without plugins, adding them to after effects would save me from having to shell out money for plugins

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 2:11 PM   in reply to chuckdries

    Well, EXCUSE ME 

    It aint gonna happen at this time. If you are a pro making money from editing you buy the tools you need to get the job done. 

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 2:36 PM   in reply to chuckdries

    superchuckinator wrote:

     

    ...adding them to after effects would save me from having to shell out money for plugins

    See what Rick and Mylenium said: spend some time on learning Blender so as to avoid spending some money on plug-ins...

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 4:05 PM   in reply to lasvideo

    I know, I'm just discussing the hypothetical benefits of adding 3D model import

     
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    Jun 9, 2012 10:04 PM   in reply to Rick Gerard

    OK. Thanks Rick. I guess in my case I'll be plunging back into Blender. I had recently been making my way through a Roland Hess book, but that -- as I suppose most Blender tutorials do -- assumes I want to do my modeling from scratch. I like knowing how that works in theory, but I doubt I'll ever have the time and patience to become a professional modeler. I do, however, want to know enough to be able to modify stock ones. Ironically, it was the intro of CS 6 and all the changes to the way it works with 3D that caused me to stop my Blender education in order to figure out what was going on with Adobe's stuff. Time to pick Blender up again it seems.

     
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    Jul 11, 2012 3:04 PM   in reply to Mylenium

    I remember at the CS6 Roadshow, did they not import a full 3D model via 3DS Max or am I just crazy? Anyway, let's find out exactly how to do that because everything I'm doing right now to make AE work with 3D Models is failing me.

     
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    Jul 11, 2012 4:26 PM   in reply to andrewmartindodson

    Videocopilot.net have finally released Element 3D.  It's without doubt the most impressive looking 3D engine I've seen working within After Effects.  Speed-wise, it's incredible, if you have a decent GPU.

     
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    Jul 11, 2012 4:23 PM   in reply to andrewmartindodson

    AE CS6 will not import 3D models, unless you use Element 3D  from Video Copilot.. And it has limitations. I remember hearing at one point AE could import Photoshop 3D objects, but it doent do that anymore.

     

    I have no knowledge of any workflow with 3D Studio Max.

     
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    Jul 26, 2012 8:40 AM   in reply to andrewmartindodson

    OK there is a plugin to import from 3ds max to AE and it is created by Boomer Labs ... google search for it the  plugins called MaxtoAE LOL simple enough ...

     
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    Jul 26, 2012 8:44 AM   in reply to lasvideo

    Also ... the Zaxwerks plugin as far as I know only imports Illustrator files and extrudes them /...  kind of cool but has some major limitations.  For example I saved project then crashed ae 6 and when I opened it up again I no longer am in zaxwerks ... but I still have the model I can only manipulate with the camera ... so there is a ways to go ...  As you can also use primitives in Zaxwerks minor models are possible but leave much to be desired ...  

     
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    Jul 26, 2012 9:45 AM   in reply to chuckdries

    Hey Chuckinator ...   Looks like you are trying to get the best out of 3d and video FX  ....   To put it as simple as possible ... Learn the major 3d programs, modeling and sculpting programs and as well keep up on adobe products  ...  If you want to do this for a living then every bit you can learn will help your career. I swear I have learned 10 programs or more in the last 2 or 3 years ... I started in basic graphics 20 years ago now I model and sculpt in zbrush, 3ds max, maya ... have not gotten to C4d yet but will not be a long strectch from where I am at. Blender is the cheap alternative to these also as  well and I model in that too....    In this industry your workflow will contain many tools in the tool box and always a newer blade to play with. Shortcuts can be considered with  Time + Quality + Ease of Use + Money somewhere your workflow will lead you to this and always go for the best quality possible and be sure to leave your self plenty  time and money to achieve the best quality. As they say you have to spend money to make money.

     
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    Jul 31, 2012 8:40 AM   in reply to Bigbearinkpen

    While some of these answers are interesting and say just get a 3d software. Well thats all good and all. EVEN with a 3d program all your problems are not solved.

     

    You will always need to bring in your obj or texture to "FIX" in comp. That AE is stopping this progress is just silly.

    The rendering time it takes to fix or address an issue, rendering times in 3d can be extremely long, where as it can easily be resolved in comp. Using UV or normals as a texutre  is a better solution.

     

    Dont market a product that can only go half the distance, and then demo and create videos stating it can do 3d when in fact it can struggles along to do half of what CS5 did. DONT blame Photoshop not being compatible with CS6 THAT is just ridicolous and overall bad business. To state Photoshop is your go to solutions, that AE CS6 is unable to do on its own. CS6 requires plugin where as before it didnt is just bad marketing and bad business.  All its doing is stating it cant figure out its own RD and its making third party responsible for its lack of development. Sad.

     

    Abode products in the end are a low end tool for both film and television - however most companies us it as a start up. Since its so low in price point.

    If AE wants to compete - then they need to pick up there game and follow along with Nuke - or heaven forbid Digital Fusion for their intergation of 3d into composting package

     

    Considering most of the higher end compositing packages offers this, and AE did and now does not. Seems a drastic step down in it pipeline development for any studio

    trying to implement or upgrade. To rely on a 3 party to resolve Abode incompatibly when it sells itself on this seems silly.

     

    In the end Bad Marketing on CS6 part, claiming to resolve issues when in fact they made matters worse for 3d compositing in there own software..nice.

     

    .

     
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    Mar 21, 2013 7:07 AM   in reply to Mylenium

    Hi there i need help.

    I import a .dae file to photoshop cs6 and i dsave it as .psd.Then i import it in AE CS6 as a composition - crop layers enabling the LIVE 3D.

     

    SO i have a 3d image of a stadium which is getting imported in the composition but also i have one same image (smaller one) next to the original size image.

    That means that instead of having one image i get two.

    Propably i do something wrong during the import and i need to know all the correct steps.

     

    Thank you

     

    Lampros

     
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    Jun 13, 2013 2:28 PM   in reply to Bruce BFD

    This explains why I can't find anyhelp about importing 3D models in CS6.... Because CS6 doesn't support it....... Really don't see any point in the 3D tracking if I can't import my .obj file.....  Wasted Potenial....

     
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