If you can upload a video or image, you may get better luck with an answer. I'm not sure that I really understand the question without some more info...
It's really, REALLY tough to see all the pertinent settings in your first screen grab. But what you see in the top pic would indicate that you're not looking at the ACTIVE CAMERA view.
If you change from the custom camera to active camera view, you'd probably see the same thing as you see in the bottom screen grab.
Correct, I was looking at the "active camera" - I've been poring over the book here
(AECS6 in a Classroom), but not finding much help - sorry about the scr prns -
not something i do every day... and, yes, if I change to active camera, I see what
I exported....I simply want to output 3D look/view - hope i'm not too far over my head -
simple missing step?
Yup, you missed a step. The views other than Active Camera are helpers to get things arranged. You have to futz with the camera in the comp to actually see what AE will render.
Chris Meyer -- an AE Maven since version 1.0 -- has often written that 3D is called 3D in AE because it takes three times as long to get things looking right.
OOPS - correction, I was NOT looking at active camera....
so i guess the question then becomes "how to make the
AC view the same as Custom View 3" - after searching
through the links i could find, i see no reference to that -
the search i am using is "exporting a 3d image"...Ideas?
or this simply not available?
Add a camera to your composition.
Switch the view to Active Camera.
Reposition the camera to get the view you require.
The custom views are isometric (no perspective) views of the scene. You can move around in a custom view using the camera tools, but you can't render a custom view. Isometric views are handy for setting up relationships between 3D elements but do not blend well with the real world because of the lack of perspective. Your brain expects perspective. Perspective is controlled by camera position. As the camera moves farther from the subject the perspective shortens (becomes less apparent). A camera placed an infinite distance from a subject would give you an isometric view of the subject. It's not very practical.
The standard Custom View 1 is an isometric view from a 45º angle to on the vertical axis and moving up approximately ±35.264° on the horizontal. Moving the a camera to this position is an easy task if you go to Layer>Camera>Add Orbit Null, then rotate the null 45º in y and then raise the camera to an additional 70% of the Z position. The 70% is an approximation of the exact value calculated by arctan(sin 45°) and is plenty close for most applications. (.707106 is nearly exact. It's just basic trigonometry.)
The default camera Z position is equal to the zoom value in pixels. If you change the zoom value (aa) for the camera and then reset the position you'll see how this works.
Select 10000 pixels for a focal length then your default Z will be -10000. Rotating the Orbit null 45º and raising the camera to by subtracting 7000 pixels from the default y position will give you a good approximation of the standard isometric left view. If you have followed the procedure of attaching an orbit null you can simply copy the z position and then paste it to the Y position and then before clicking enter type in *.7 and AE will do the math for you. Use .707106 if you want to be more precise.
Looking at your screen shot tells me that your background image was shot with a slightly telephoto lens so picking a default setting of say 80mm should give you a nice perspective match. Using the above technique to set up your camera should give you a shot close to the default Custom View 1.
Here's a project file that you might like to play with. It may give you some more help understanding how to setup and animate the camera in AE.
Rick - thanks for the comments and particularly the project file - which i spent the weekend playing with - entertaining and educational. The AE classroom in a book and another publication by Chris Meyer, "Apprentice" both also contributed, although they seem to lack the "why" in the explanations, so thanks
again for the details!