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After Effects CS3 Dummy Test

I was still tossing up the idea of using Maya but now that I’m leaning towards cut-out animation I’ve decided on After Effects. AE has much better support for layers and my skills in Maya are just not up to speed at this point. I completed a dummy test using the artwork mock up as I’ve never used 3D/Cameras in AE before. IT IS VERY RUSTY but it gives a feel for what AE can do with a moving camera and 2D layers. I followed a tutorial from the Creative Cow website which provides an excellent recipe card for fly throughs. Probably the best advice I found was: “It’s always easier to move the camera and have the actors stay still, or keep the camera in the one spot and move the actors. It is not impossible to move both the actors at the same time, it just takes more planning”. I tried the last option in the dummy test, moving both the camera and the balloon – difficult to predict each frame this way, so I think I will just move the actors slightly and focus mostly on the camera. There is limited camera fly throughs planned in the animation – most angles will be static, with clouds and smoke doing the moving. It is good to know I have the option however you can’t do the complete wizz around, as the layers are actually flat. I will plan the animations so that the camera never hits the back plate, as is the case in the test. Seems all that farting around in Maya in week one will come in handy, as AE uses the same principles. It’s good to know I have X/Y/Z under control now that I’m going with a 2 ½ D effect!

I had some problems exporting the test file as After Effects kept crashing unexpectedly during the compression process. I expect this is because I used the original illustration scans, which have whooping file sizes, but I’ll keep an eye on it when I start running the real thing. Oddly, when I tried to get Photoshop open to compress the source files, the program also started to crash, and eventually refused to open, until I completely reset the computer. If AE persists with this consistent crashing I may have export to Premiere Pro and render the animation from there. When I was doing my initial refresher on AE, I recall a lot of complaints about unexpected crashing. I’ve really only used the program for two small projects in the past and never encountered the bug, and I’ve just upgraded to CS3, which you would presume is a better product than clunky old AE 4.0. I’m not overly concerned but I’ll run some test renders along the way in case the world ends at the 11th hour.

Some examples I had a look at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSggpJv3tBU&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP-DZomn2R4&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfFF4kkTYtI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QrPzqEADrI

Tutorials that were helpful:
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/sjostrom_bjorn/3d_ride.php
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/gerard_rick/AEWeekly1.php
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/gerard_rick/AEWeekly1/video-tutorial.php
http://www.creativecow.net/articles/gerard_rick/AEWeekly1/RecipeCard.pdf

2 1/2 D Explained:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2.5D
http://www.digitalvideoediting.com/2003/04_apr/tutorials/212d.htm

Paths in Illustrator to AE:
http://www.creativemac.com/2002/12_dec/tutorials/aeillustrator.htm

Some Forum conversations that got me on the way:
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2D to 3D by Matthew Exton on Mar 20, 2008 at 9:10:28 pm
Hi guys, Does anyone know of a tutorial or a simple way of turning a 2D layer into 3D by distorting the perspective when the camera moves around it? I have an image of a printing press and want to pan above it to show the paper coming out but am unsure how to do it. any suggestions? Thanks.

Re: 2D to 3D by Dave LaRonde on Mar 21, 2008 at 2:21:56 am
Sorry, but 2D layers don’t interact with AE’s 3D environment. When you think about it, what is an AE 3D layer? It’s a 2D object that you can manipulate in 3D space. You can build a 3D object by arranging layers in 3D space in an AE precomp, then using the Collapse Transformations in the main comp. It sounds like what you might want to try in this instance. Dave LaRonde Sr. Promotion Producer KCRG-TV

Re: Flying 3d camera ? by steve76 on Apr 17, 2007 at 10:25:22 pm
These tutorials will help:
http://forums.creativecow.net/cgi-bin/page_wrapper.cgi?forumid=2&page=http://www.creativecow.net/articles/oneil_bill/DOF/index.html http://forums.creativecow.net/cgi-bin/page_wrapper.cgi?forumid=2&page=http://www.creativecow.net/articles/sjostrom_bjorn/3d_ride/index.html Basically working with the Cam in 3D-Space need a bit of practise to get the whole motion nice and smooth. But the end product really can look great. good luck steve
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