The images look the same to me, but there's a lot going on there, so I may have missed something. If they don't look the same to you, please give us something more focused and narrow to look at that shows the problem.
BTW, you're not rendering with OpenGL, are you? If so, don't.
I circled the problem in this pic:
You can see that in the other picture those spots are covered with textures.
I'm probably rendering with OpenGL.. how do I disable it for exporting? It's enabled for previewing, but I don't see an option for exports. Disabling it in previews seems to have no effect on the previews.
OK, I have not been rendering with OpenGL so that's not the problem.
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I see nothing wrong there. In preview mode, PS 3D layers use no antialaiasing, which may suppress some lines from actually producing any visible pixels. When rendering for final output, quality is set to best, which may make those missing lines reappear and PS 3D's antialiasing being quite rubbish, it looks like the areas are filled. There's really no good way to avoid or circumvent it. however, you may get into reading up on how multipass rendering using material/surface/object IDs works in 3D programs and adapt the technique by using a duplicate of your 3D model set to "Unlit Texture" and derive masks for the regions. Articles is here.
What's a good starting point to learn 3D? What program should I start figuring out first? I think I' might be in over my head on this project.
There's no need to learn a 3D program to do any of that, but of course you can always try Blender, which is free, after all. For your specific project I was thinking that you might
- save a duplicate PSD
- replace the diffuse textures (bricks etc.) with solid, pure colors
- set the rendering mode of this to "Unlit Texture"
- import into AE
- link the camera of the resulting comp to the original comp
- use the techniques in the article to derive region mattes by using the second comp as a 2D layer in your otehr comp
- use the mattes as adjustment layers to control the aspects of the look of your scene
When doing so, you could e.g. apply a Matte Choker or Minimax effect to control the thickness of the wireframe lines in relation to the colored fills. The more you separate the workflow, i.e. also create the wireframe as a separate layer, the more you can control all aspects.
OK, this makes a lot more sense now after you de-lingo'd the article a bit. Pretty sure I'm getting the 2D layer matte concept, but I haven't finalized the camera keyframing so I can't do that until I'm 100% sure the movements are perfect. The other issue is that I already have a comp inside this comp with another copy of the 3D object, along with color corrections, glow, a moving ramp layer used as a stenciled alpha.. the list goes on. Even at one-third resolution, my PC is at its knees and exporting what I have now already takes 10 hours.
If anyone wants to donate a Mac Pro 8-core, get a hold of me Until that happens, I'm looking at massive amounts of time into a 15-second comp. That's just the nature of the beast, I suppose.
Thanks for your help, guys. I'll try the mattes if the problem persists.