20 Replies Latest reply on Apr 11, 2016 6:53 AM by JKunkel99999999

    Importing Blender to After Effects

    Bruce BFD Level 1

      Not that it much matters, but I'm running AECS3 on Win XP. Anyway, what I'm trying to do is find a way to import 3d files I created in Blender 2.5 into After Effects. I've spent quite some time trying to find a script or something that will work, but without much luck. The scripts I've found are for earlier versions of Blender and may not be compatible with 2.5.

      Does anyone know of a script that will either:

      • (from the Blender side) Export a Blender 2.5 scene/object in a format that AE will be able to import; OR
      • (from the AE side) Add a Blender export format* to AE's list of file types it can import?

      One other thing: Why can't AE import .obj files? That's an extremely common (from my experience since I also do some work in DAZ, and have played around with Cinema 4D which is way out of my budget) format for 3d....


      * The formats that Blender 2.5 exports are:

      • Collada .dac
      • 3D Studio Max .3ds
      • Autodesk .fbx
      • Lightwave .mdd
      • Wavefront.obj
      • Stanford .ply
      • X3D .x3d



        • 1. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Bruce BFD wrote:


          Why can't AE import .obj files?

          Because AE's not a 3d application.


          As far as integration between the two programs goes, see if this thread helps. Also this one (it's aimed at 2.5).


          Just in general, you will probobly find all of these helpful.

          • 2. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
            TimeRemapper Level 4

            After Effects is a composting, motion graphics, and 2-2.5D animation program. As such, you will not be able to import 3D scenes or models (such as .obj files) and be able to work with the scene natively. Instead, you should animate and model, texture and light, and then render (in one or several passes) in your 3D program (in this instance, Blender), and then import the rendered image sequence into After Effects for further animation, compositing or effects work.

            • 3. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Bruce BFD wrote:


              Why can't AE import .obj files?

              Because, as Time Remapper mentioned, AE's not a 3d application.


              As far as integration between the two programs goes, see if this thread helps. Also this one (it's aimed at 2.5).


              Just in general, you will probably find all of these helpful.

              • 4. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                David Wigforss

                If you have Photoshop Extended, you can import the obj into that, save it as a psd file, and then open the psd in AE (make sure it's set to Live).  You can then apply transforms on your 3d model (rotate, pan, scale).


                To me, it's a bit silly that AE can't open .obj, .fbx or .dae files.  They're more expensive, but Fusion and Nuke can....  AE would probably have to be completely rewritten......  Should have done that while converting to x64....


                PS, there might be a script for Blender that can export nulls, lights, cameras into AE...

                • 5. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                  Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
                  Why can't AE import .obj files? That's an extremely common


                  Well, if AE was a 3D program I'm sure it would, but as they otehrs said it isn't and you are expecting something from it that it cannot do. It may offer more 3D features in the future, but for the time being that entails the use of the described workarounds or the use of third-party plug-ins.



                  • 6. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                    Bruce BFD Level 1

                    You know, I'm starting to feel a bit like Peter in Office Space and dealing with TPS reports. I understand that AE is not a 3D program, I really do. I also understand the difference between a 3D program such as Blender or Maya and AE.


                    (Note: if your feelings get easily hurt, please stop reading here.)


                    However, the issue of being able to import obj files is the least of my worries, but everyone (except David) seemed to latch onto that and proceeded to pound me over the head with it. My issue was that I couldn't import 3D files I'd created in Blender so I can composite them. You can import files from Maya (a major 3D app) but not Blender, so that's why I'm wondering why you can't import .obj files which are a much more common file type for 3D. It's that simple. Not only is Maya listed in the acceptable files list in the Import dialog, but I've seen 3d files imported into AE in more than one online tutorial. That was ONE sentence out of a much larger post. And NO, I'm not looking to work with those files like I would in a 3D program where I'm doing modeling, changing textures, etc. All I'm looking to do is import a 3D file so I can composite it (sorry I wasn't that specific, but I'd figured people would understand that or at least ASK WHY I wanted to import if they weren't sure). Think about it, if I can do modeling in Blender, WHY would I want to do modeling in AE?


                    To me, it's amazing that someone with 13 posts to this forum can understand that better than people who have hundreds or thousands of posts. I'm not angry at anyone, just frustrated and aggravated that rather than post something helpful, some people on this forum would rather repeat the same point that addresses a minor issue. I really don't need to be told 5 times that AE is not a full fledged 3D program, as I understood that already and even if I didn't I would have understood that after the first reply addressing that minor question. Again, I'm not looking to hurt anyone's feelings, but try to get people to understand that if an issue is fairly simple, the same (perceived) answer doesn't have to be posted again and again and again. Doing so doesn't help the OP at all.

                    1 person found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                      TimeRemapper Level 4

                      Bruce BFD,


                      Sorry that you feel lambasted. That was no one's intention, I'm sure.


                      The reason that you see a filetype import for Maya is not that it can import Maya geometry directly, but it can read a Maya ascii file (not binary), and use that data to import camera and locator (aka "null") information into a matching composition. No geometry is imported in this process.


                      David gave you a workaround of being able to tumble, dolly, or track around geometry made in 3D. Still, you may find the results limiting in comparison to working natively in a 3D application.


                      I think your best route may still be to render out image sequences in one or more passes and then composite in AE.

                      Can you point to a link to one of the tutorials that you mentioned so we can see exactly how they tutor imported and worked natively with 3D geometry? Zaxwerk's Invigorator is the only third-party plug-in that I'm aware of that has some limited functionality for these means. However, being that it's a third-party plug-in, this is not a feature that ships with After Effects.

                      • 8. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                        Bruce BFD Level 1

                        Thanks Timeremapper. I know it was no one's intent to do so, but it's just really frustrating to be told the same thing over and over. Anyway, here are some links



                        • 9. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                          TimeRemapper Level 4



                          If you watch the first tutorial, at around 27 minutes and 25 seconds, you can see that an image (PNG) sequence in 3DSMax was rendered, and then imported into AE. I don't have time right now to watch the second tutorial, but I'll try later unless someone else can get to it first.


                          At the beginning of the tutorial, a reference for the 3DSMax scene was exported via a custom script from AE, but that's all it was. A reference.

                          • 10. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                            TimeRemapper Level 4

                            I briefly skimmed through the second tutorial, and you'll be able to see that in the very beginning of the tutorial, Andrew renders out a PNG sequence from 3DSMax. Again, he seems to be rendering image sequences as noted earlier, and compositing them in After Effects. FWIW, David has been posting on the After Effects User forums for years, despite his 13-post count. He's also the resident XSI advocate .

                            The forum format got switched over a while back, and a number of users got locked out of their old IDs and as such lost their post count.

                            • 11. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                              Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                              By definition, OBJ is a geometry-only format (ASCII formatted vertex and polygon lists) from the stone age of computer graphics. Asking for the ability to import it implies just that - you want to animate geometry. A Maya file on the other hand is a scene file that always contains a default camera, a default light and may optionally contain other items/ entities. That does, however, not mean that AE would/ should be able to translate them. It's no different with .blend files, MAX scene files, Collada files etc. - there are scripts that can convert entities that exist in AE and those programs, but neitehr provides a facility for translating geometry because AE simply can't render it in any way without external help. That's al lthere is to it. So ultimately, we fell victim to a misunderstanding because you may not have used the right terminology. That's all there is to it. And don't worry, David is just as much a veteran as some of us. He just prefers not to post that much, hence his low count (or did the black monster swallow his points during the forum transition?) Anyway, no hurt feelings on eitehr side, I hope.



                              • 12. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                                Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                Yes, as others have said, After Effects has many ways of importing 2D image files rendered out of 3D applications, and After Effects has many ways of importing camera data from 3D applications. That's great, because After Effects has internal representations of 2D layers and cameras.


                                But After Effects can't import 3D objects/models.


                                The closest that we come to an exception is that After Effects can import a PSD layer that includes a 3D object, and then use the internal Photoshop rendering engine to render that into a 2D image.


                                For information about what 3D information After Effects can import, see this section: "Preparing and importing 3D image files". There's even some Blender information here.

                                • 13. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                                  CaliPVP Level 1

                                  Has this changed with CS6 or is AE still considered a 2D app?

                                  • 14. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    Blender has good tools for importing rendered 3D objects and camera and null objects into AE but you cannot import a blender model inside and manipulate it as you do a C4D file.


                                    You can export your Blender model as an OBJ load it into C4D and then use that in AE CC

                                    • 15. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                                      blender to adobe effects Level 1

                                      Hi Me Bruce,

                                      My name is Anis & i have issues importing rendered images from Blender to AE.

                                      I've been trying to import rendered sequnce images from blender to ae. But the problem is when i try to separate the foreground & background in separate layers in blender, they still come out as one image & not separate images. I've used png & open EXR images so far. openEXR Multilayer doesn't seem to work in AE.

                                      Can you help me out here?

                                      • 16. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                                        fnordware Level 3

                                        AE can read multilayer EXR files using the EXtractoR effect. More information in the AE docs.


                                        If you're still having trouble, let us know.




                                        • 17. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                                          derrickm71011068 Level 1

                                          I know that this post is old, but now that AE is offering Cinema 4D lite, that is the way option to use for free.

                                          • 18. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects

                                            I'm not so sure. You don't get the full version of C4d (R-17); instead, u get C4d LITE. The latter is great, especially at the cost of $0, but it does have some serious limitations. There are likely some things a serious 3D artist would want to do that can be done in Blender, but not in C4d LITE.


                                            Don't ask me what those things are!

                                            • 19. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                                              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              You can export obj files from Blender and import them into C4D lite. You can render Blender Projects and export to AE lights, cameras, mattes and anything you can export from any other 3D app. When you use the Blender Export you end up with your rendered 3D files including all of the render passes, cameras and lights so you can add other 3D elements in AE and composite the render passes. I do this all the time. It works great. You cannot import a Blender project into AE. Even working with the full version of C4D, if you want to be efficient with complex projects you'll render the different passes that you want to use for your composite and do the final assembly in AE because it's far faster to make changes in things like specular values and color changes in AE than it is to do in a 3D app. This is a very complex process that requires a deep understanding of the different passes you can render and how to assemble them in a compositing app. Ever see anything from Pixar? They render passes, composite them (in their own software) and adjust color, depth of field and even framing, then render those shots to video and edit the video in a NLE to make the movie. That is much more efficient than deciding that you want Scully to be a different shade of green so you go back to the original 3D app you used to render the scene and re-render everything.


                                              Hope this helps. You are pushing into professional techniques that require a bunch of study and understanding to effectively use. Very little in the world if 3D and compositing is click and go magic.

                                              • 20. Re: Importing Blender to After Effects
                                                JKunkel99999999 Level 1

                                                Quite helpful info.




                                                Jack K.

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