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Check your project for layer styles. If they are based on Photoshop files, they may have some of that stuff attached, but as obviously pre-CS3 versions handled that differently and ignored it fór the most part, it may now interfere. Simply do a right-click with all lalyers selected and choose Layer Styles --> Remove all. If for some reason you need them, you may need to pre-compose. Other than that look whether you are using OpenGL or something...
Thanks for the tip. That's good to keep in mind for the future but It seems that's not the issue here, though. Open GL is also not on (I even tried to turn it on in preferences to see if the problem got better or worse, and didn't have the hardware support to to it).
I've got two different projects I can point to: 1 is all illustrator layers and the second is all photoshop layers. Both of them have MAJOR issues with flickering through layers in front of them as the camera moves. No effects and no styles from the application of origin.
It seems, also, that the further away the camera is from the layers, the more consistent the problem (about 5000-25000 away in Z).
Hopefully AFX CS4 fixes this, because as of now, AFX CS3 is completely unusable to me.
Mmh, what is the Z separation between the individual layers? AE has never been particularly good with anything that goes below ~10 pixels and very "flat" angles. Due to how AE's sorting works, it doesn't get the order right in such situations, so ideally the layers are decently separated and any angular intersections should have a certain minimum angle. Likewise, very small focal lengths can have side effects...
If you want a 3d layer to always stay behind another 3d layer, you can place a 2d layer inbetween it (try a 2d null).
Interesting David. I'll try that.
Mylenium sort of hit the nail on the head, I think, because lots of my layers are right on top of each other with very little, if any, z space in between. Useful for trying to fake volume in objects, but annoying to after effects I guess.
thanks for all the help.
^David's advice is good but, since CS3, no longer works with 2D null objects - it needs to be a solid or similar layer. I usually create a small solid and push it way out of view of the camera. (Don't know why they changed that Null behavior!) But the advice is right on - using 2D objects to separate 3D layers in space is a great tool.
Perhaps the change in your results from AE7-CS2 to AE8-CS3 is due to a change in render engines. AE 7 had two render options: Basic Renderer and Advanced 3D Renderer. The Basic Renderer didn't allow 3D objects to intersect accurately. AE8-CS3 no longer has the option: it always uses the Advanced Renderer.
Perhaps you were using the Basic Renderer in AE7, which would account for the more accurate CS3 results you're now seeing with layers that are very close together in Z space.