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Well, not to shatter your illusions, but a lot of that is probably done in a 3d program, partly to avoid to the awkwardness of AE's 3D space. Regarding your problems:
- to extend layers without making their sources larger, you can use Minimax or Motion Tile
- the rotation issue is probably a combination of your camera angle as well as your using the orientation rather than the Z rotation
- gaps between layers are inevitable. it is how AE's layer sampling works on edges. A simple trick to close gaps would be to again use Minimax on na adjustment layer on top of it.
Apart from that, a lot sounds like a workflow problem in structuring the comps and laying out 3D items with "neutral" coordinates. This would mean you build them in a pre-comp and then use collapse transformations on them in the containing comp to retain their 3D-ishness. It would definitely make it easier to rotate items as a compound unit.
You Just Shattered my illusions. When will this end....... another program to learn......... I dont have a good grasp of the Adobe products yet........
what would recommend as a good 3D program that intergrate well with AE. Easy to learn would be a good but not absolutely necessary criteria, I want something that gets the job done right, and I guess inexpensive is probably out of the question.
Oh well, no new coat this christmas, another program to buy.
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You forgot to mention if you were Windows or Mac.
My 3d program of choice is Autodesk Softimage. Windows only. There's a free version (designed for creating Game assets) called the ModTool. It's basically a trimmed down version of Softimage, with most of Mental Ray removed, so you can't render with it. But you can learn a good majority of the program. And did I mention it was Free? There's scripts to export to AE, but I've never really used them... There's so many features of this program that I wish AE (and others) would emulate! Biggest drawback would probably be the limited amount of training for it, whether it be DVDs, books, tutorials.
Cinema4D probably has the best integration with AE, allowing you to save a project as an AE file. Win/Mac
Maya also has good integration, allowing you to import .ma files. There's a steep learning curve for it.
Never used Blender, but that's also Free. I think I read they're starting to improve the UI, so you might also want to give that a try.
Without any exporting scripts, you can render passes/files from any 3d program and composite them in AE, just like any other footage. I highly suggest learning a 3d program; it can only benefit you. In addition to learning a new toolset, you will also start to use other features of AE that you've never used before. Find the program that you feel comfortable with; they all pretty much can do the same stuff, just different ways of going about it.
Thanks for the info.
by the way im on a mac so softimage is out, Maya at $3549 is ooouuuttttttt. but Blender is Free and works on a mac. I can't believe it --Free software from a manufacturer. Whats the catch. What ever the catch is I'm going to down load Blender and put it in my Learning Que. Aside from a 3D program is there anything else that I should be learning. Right now I'm doing the Adobe Creative suite which includes AE, Premeier pro for editing, Photoshop, Illustrator. It contains Flash but I haven't gotten around to touching that yet. My head is about to explode. I also downloaded google Sketch Up but haven't gotten around to learning that either, AfterEffects has been keeping me plenty busy.
Don't overdo. Let one program sink in a bit first before moving on to new pastures. the more you try to do at the same time, the more confusing it will get. Blender is of course a natural candidate, if you don't want to spend any money. Another very affordable choice would be Cheetah3D, which kinda mimics a lot of what Cinema4D does, at a fraction of the price. Definitely enough for mostly stylized output such as common in motion graphic pieces.
You're absolutely right. Sometimes I'm in Pre Pro looking for AE controls or forgetting which short cuts apply to which programs.
Thanks, I needed someone to tell me its ok to take it a little easy. It really did upset me to find out that the "simple" animation that I watched and thought was created totally in AE involved another tool that I planned on NOT learning.
Thank you again
thanks for the feedback, I willl definitely follow you advice and learn a 3D program