4 Replies Latest reply on Jul 3, 2016 12:11 AM by Mylenium

    Massive After Effect Composition

    iodex Level 1

      So I have a bit of a problem/question. I was given an assignment to animate a presentation on a series of monitors 59 @ 1920x1080 to be exact.

      The monitors have been rotated 90 degrees so total width is 63,720 pixels wide. 


      The problem I am having is that After Effect comps only go to 30,000 pixel wide. I need my comp to go to 63,720px.


      The final output will play on the side of a building and is broken down into 6 sections (see image).

      I am using this tutorial  LINK that helped a great deal by nesting them into smaller comps and exporting as MP4, and that works great. See tutorial. 


      But making these sections seamlessly to play across all monitors has become a challenge. Any help from the community would be great.


      Thanks in advance 



        • 1. Re: Massive After Effect Composition
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          And what exaxctly is the problem? You've written a lot but not actually explained what you are having difficulty with. "Play seamlessly" is far too generic to make any sense of it, since we don't know what the requirements of the project are beyond the physical layout. What's going on in the comps?



          • 2. Re: Massive After Effect Composition
            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            If I was doing that kind of project I would never start by trying to build a composition that was 60,000 + pixels wide... Sorry but that's nuts... The tutorial lost me completely when the guy said "What I want to do is create a giant comp".... Sorry, that's crazy, your master comp should not be any bigger than a comp that you can preview smoothly on your system. You work the other way around and you divide the project up into shots that are as short as possible. They were using Photoshop files for masters for the screens, I would use a shape layer or an Illustrator file for the master layout because there is no need for AE to be calculating pixels at this point.


            I don't understand your illustration at all. Are the six sections the six colors or the six rows? How are the monitors laid out on the building? I don't know what you mean by "making these sections seamlessly to play across all monitors has become a challenge." I'mm going to assume you mean syncing the motion because if you have timed your animations correctly then playback in sync is a hardware problem caused by the hardware/software solution that is trying to playback 59 streams of video at the same time. At least your project involves 59 screens that are all the same size.


            I would start by creating a comp, maybe 4K at the most, that has a blueprint of the layout. You just need a plan view, even if the displays wrap around the building and go around corners. All of the perspective/corner pin/3D simulation can be done later, you just need Plan View. to start with. I always create my plan view with shape layers. I usually use repeaters. I start with a rectangle the size and orientation of my monitor. This is easy to do by just dragging out a shape, pressing the U key twice to reveal all modified properties, and in your case setting the size to 1080 X 1920 and make sure that the Rectangle 1 Transform Position is set to 0,0 so the anchor point of the shape layer is centered on the rectangle. U usually use repeaters to set up the rows and columns for the displays. When I'm done I have a single shape layer that is my Plan View. This layer is scaled to fit in the Master Comp. I use whole numbers so it's easy to do the calculations when you are ready to build your screen comps.


            Now the first shot animation is completed. I'll show you an example, just a couple of layers.

            Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 8.43.01 AM.png

            Once you complete your animation create a screen comp the size of your monitors (1080 X 1920) and the length of the master comp, then nest the Master Comp in Screen 1 comp, collapse transformations, scale up appropriately and adjust the position of the nested Master Comp. If you have used some basic math scaling and positioning should be a simple matter. Now just duplicate the Screen comp as many times as you need to and adjust the position of the nested Master as needed.


            If you have planned well, used vector art and appropriately sized your pixel based assets (images, videos) for final rendering this is all that is necessary. If you are using 3D layers, cameras and lights then you have to use some world space layer transformations expressions and copy the camera, any controllers and lights into the first Screen comp so things will work out. I am not giving that away because it's part of a package that I'm developing for sale, but if you are good with expressions you can work it out.


            When you are ready to render you just turn off the plan view in the master comp and go for it.


            Unless you are specifically rendering for a very large single panel display I can see no reason to build a huge comp. Every multi display system that I have ever seen wants individual movies for each screen that they can sync up so this method works perfectly.


            I show the client the master for approval of the animations. If the project is a long one I add each shot to my NLE and make my movie there. If they want a visualization projected on the building I'll do that with masking and corner pin from the rendered master. It's a lot faster than building huge comps and trying to move things around in individual comps.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Massive After Effect Composition
              iodex Level 1

              Hi Mylenium


              The requirement of the project are to created an animation that would travel across all the 59 monitors.

              And the dimensions are 63,720 x 1920



                   1. After Effects comp will not get bigger than 30,000px

                   2. Some of these monitors sections are not next to each other hence the image.



                   3.This is the image show how the monitors are stacked across and how ideally I would like to animate them at

                   63,720 x 1920.

                   Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 7.28.31 PM.png


                   4. This image show the sections. Between the sections are pilars or doors.

                   Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 7.40.07 PM.png



              Rick Gerard


              Thanks, this helps allot. I did  set up something similar to your examples you can download it here as well . But at full scale, I'll try using a 4K.


              Link to my After Effects Comp.

              Dropbox - MASTER-LARGE-FORMAT-AA_2.aep.zip




              Thanks for the help.

              • 4. Re: Massive After Effect Composition
                Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                I'm still not clear what you are having issues with. It simply seems to me that you are trying too bent to do everything in one sweep, which inevitably is bound to fail for a million reasons ranging from technical limits with formats and plug-ins to running out of hardware resources to simply losing track of stuff. There's just no way around having tons of duplicate comps, manually offsetting e.g. position values and positioning cameras and then stitching them together. It's even easy to explain on a rational level. If you were to e.g. create a particle stream, even those 60 million particles Particular could render would look like a thin strand of hair when spread out across your full width plus it would take them forever to travel from one point to another and you have totally no control over their behavior in teh meantime. I really think your biggest issue is that you must get away from thinking that any of this has anything to do with setting up a single consistent environment. This is as hacky as it gets and when in the past we were patching together standard TV resolutions to feed large screens, these days it's multiple 4k feeds for even more insane sizes. The resolutions have changed, but not the overall basic process...