Tag: ae

Export After Effects to C4D

Maxon just announced the availability of a new free plugin to export comps from After Effects (CS5 or CS5.5) directly to a .c4d file. There were some scripts that previously existed to get some 3D data out of After Effects. However, this plugin looks to be much more robust. According to the press release:

The CINEMA 4D export appears directly in the After Effects export menu and generates a .c4d file containing 3D layers, cameras, lights, solids, nulls and footage. Even nested compositions are supported. All major layer attributes including animations (rotation, position, parameter, anchor points, POI, etc.), expressions, layer parenting, layer locking and layer visibility are retained. Render and document settings in CINEMA 4D are adapted accordingly to the After Effects’ project settings.

We haven’t had a chance to thoroughly test this yet. But when we do, we’ll post the workflow, any potential pitfalls, and workarounds necessary. The plugin is free, so go grab it now!

Free AE Preset: Stop Motion Wiggle Type

Stop Motion Wiggle Type is a preset I developed a while ago for an animation. I’ve decided to share it here for anyone to use.

The usage is fairly simple:

  1. Apply the preset to a type layer.
  2. Adjust the settings as follows:
    • Random Seed: Changes the seed for the random position.
    • Wiggle ƒ: Frequency of the wiggle. Think of this as your stop motion FPS.
    • Wiggle A X: Amplitude of the x wiggle.
    • Wiggle A Y: Amplitude of the y wiggle.

That’s all there is to it. Have fun!

[Update: As pointed out below, the preset will not work in CS4. I’ve now uploaded a CS4 version of the preset as well.]

Quick Tip: Grain is good for you!

Film grain is one of those things that can really help sell your composite or graphics (or help reduce banding). But it can be a pain (and slow) to render on top of an already complicated effects stack. To make this much easier, here’s what I do in AE:

  1. Create a one second comp at the highest fps and largest size you’ll use—for me, that’s 2k (2048×1152, 60fps for safety).
  2. Place a 50% gray solid and add the Add Grain effect. (Effect>Noise & Grain>Add Grain)
  3. Chose your preset. I typically like to use Kodak Vision 320T for graphics1, but it will vary for composites as you’ll want to try and match camera grain/noise. You may also want to use the Match Grain effect instead.
  4. Render out an uncompressed image sequence or QuickTime.
  5. Import the render and change the frame rate to match your project (if necessary). Also set the looping to something that will cover your longer comps. I work in broadcast, so it’s mostly 15, 30, or 60. All of this is done under File>Interpret Footage>Main…
  6. When it’s needed, place this layer above your graphics, set the transfer mode to Overlay, and adjust opacity to vary the strength of the grain, or add a curves effect for more or less contrast.

By using such a large frame size for the grain render, you can use it on any smaller size comp by just keeping the scaling to 100%. I actually have a few different types (and sizes) of grain, and even just plain noise in my collection. The differences are subtle, but they make a difference.

You’ll now have a quick way to add grain to pretty much any size comp at any frame rate that won’t bog down your renders.

[box type=”info”]Note that using too much grain can really mess with compression of your final piece. Most compression works by looking for areas of the image with the most detail and attempting to retain that detail. By adding grain, you can confuse the compression algorithms into thinking there’s detail in areas where there really is none; other areas of high detail might suffer.[/box]

  1. This really has no technical reason behind it. It’s just my film school preferences coming into play.

AE Flame

No, it’s not going to turn your After Effects seat into an Autodesk Flame workstation, but the AE Flame plugin will let you create fractal flame images & animations within After Effects for free. This is actually a port from an older version of the plugin that was since open-sourced. There’s a lot of power behind this plugin, but it takes a while to get the hang of since everything is strictly based on mathematical formulas. So be sure to watch the tutorial by Victoria Nece. But once you do, you can create some interesting images.


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