8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2009 9:40 AM by Cris is Bliss

    Help with an "easy" 3D movement

    Cris is Bliss Level 1

      I was looking a some STASH Media and I came across what I thought would be an EASY animation to practice reproducing, well at least the first half of it.


      It looked like the entire animation could be done in AE.


      It starts with a triangle, representing razor, revealing it self as it slits through the black background, cutting a slit in the screen to reveal a verticle white opening.  The knife retracts and the slit/opening widens as if it is an elevator door.  As it opens a shadow is cast from the door across the black background.  The door/shadow rotates a little and starts moving off screen to the left as new doors/shadows come on screen from the right.  The shadow has perspective.  Picture 5.png


      This as far as i got trying to figure this simple move out for 2 hours.


      As the doors/shadows continue the camera angle rotates and they become a like lamp posts, mirrored,  forming a tunnel.  The camera goes over top of these and it becomes the white markings on a highway.


      I had skipped doing the knife/razor part because I thought it looked very easy to recreate. Either a still image of the triangle revealed by a mask or creating it from a Grey solid and still changeing the mask shape to reveal it and hide it.


      The Slit I created by making a white, layer size, solid and creating a retangle mask.  The mask shape grows to increase the lenght of the slit,  then widens to make it like the door opening.


      I moved the anchor point to bottom of the rectangle, made the layer 3D, duplicated it and rotated it on its "Orientation" X by 90 degrees and Z by 56 degrees.  I don't think it was absolutely necessary to chang the anchor point. Also I don't understand why I the Z needed to be moved 56 degree is seems like the number should have been 60 degress but that leaves a little gap on the edge.  But when I tried to extend to shadow to the right side of the screen it didn't stretch.  So I had to increase the Shadow layer solid size--- alot.


      Made a 50 mm camera and a null object to be the parent of the Door and Shadow layers.  (And working with those camera tools is a TRIP all by itself !!!!!)


      Finally got the shadow over to the right lower corner but it wasn't doing the perspective on its own.  So I made the perspective by changing the mask shape.


      I dont know maybe this was created using a solid and a 3D light to create the shadow from the door.


      The movie is at :



      its in the 2nd column and its called "FLIMFEST HAMBURG 2005".  The screen shot looks like a train in space. Picture 4.png


      a link to a tutorial or anything will be most appreciated.






        • 1. Re: Help with an "easy" 3D movement
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          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.



          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Help with an "easy" 3D movement
            Cris is Bliss Level 1

            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.

            • 3. Re: Help with an "easy" 3D movement
              David Wigforss-Hv1BNN Level 2

              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.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Help with an "easy" 3D movement
                Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                There's some information about how After Effects integrates with various 3D applications on this page: "Importing and using 3D files from other applications" and other pages in this section.

                • 5. Re: Help with an "easy" 3D movement
                  Cris is Bliss Level 1

                  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.

                  • 6. Re: Help with an "easy" 3D movement
                    Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                    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.



                    • 7. Re: Help with an "easy" 3D movement
                      Cris is Bliss Level 1

                      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

                      • 8. Re: Help with an "easy" 3D movement
                        Cris is Bliss Level 1

                        thanks for the feedback,  I willl definitely follow you advice and learn a 3D program