Region of Interest: Adobe weblog about After Effects and related stuff from the After Effects team
Important: There have been few significant changes to the effect plug-in API for After Effects CC (12.0), so you shouldn’t need new versions of most plug-ins for After Effects CC (12.0), if you already have plug-ins that work for After Effects CS5, CS5.5, or CS6.
Separate from the issue of updates to the effect plug-ins themselves, there is the issue of their installers: Some plug-ins come with installers, and these installers may need to be updated to install plug-ins into the correct location.
One thing that I do that works for most plug-ins is to create a shortcut/alias in the new plug-in folder that points to old plug-in folder, so the new version of the application loads plug-ins from the old location. If you do this, you need to be careful to put the alias/shortcut at the right, lower level–i.e., not at the top level of the plug-ins folder–so that you’re only loading specific plug-ins from the old location; otherwise, you’ll get warnings about duplicate plug-ins.
Check the websites of the vendors of your plug-ins to see if you need an update for any reason.
Here are links to updates for several popular plug-ins:
- Red Giant plug-ins (more information about their update policy here)
- RE:Vision Effects plug-ins (Navigate to each plug-in’s Download section for updates.)
- ShapeShifter and FreeForm effect plug-ins from Mettle
See this page for a list of companies that provide plug-ins for After Effects: Adobe After Effects CC: In depth: Plug-ins
In addition to listing the plug-ins provided by each company, this page provides links to the companies’ websites, so that you can purchase these plug-ins or find how to contact them for technical support or customer service.
Another great place for information about plug-ins for Premiere Pro and After Effects is the Toolfarm website, which provides an online store as well as tutorials, a forum, and other supporting resources for using plug-ins. Toolfarm has been updating a list of plug-ins that have updates for After Effects CC (12.0).
The aescripts + aeplugins website also provides many plug-ins (and scripts) for After Effects.
If you want to develop plug-ins yourself, see the After Effects Developer Center, where you can download the After Effects SDK and supporting documentation.
(For a complete list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), see this page.)
In After Effects CC (12.0), we have made a couple of small but very useful improvements to the 3D Camera Tracker effect: the ability to delete track points to isolate the tracking to relevant image data and the ability to set a ground plane and origin.
ground plane and origin in 3D Camera Tracker effect
You can now define a ground plane (reference plane) and origin–i.e., the (0,0,0) point of the coordinate system–within the 3D Camera Tracker effect.
Use the 3D Camera Tracker effect as usual to analyze a scene, and then select a set of tracking points, which causes the bullseye target to appear, showing the plane defined by the selected tracking points. You can optionally drag the target by its center to reposition it along the plane; when the center is where you want the origin to be, right-click the target and choose Set Ground Plane And Origin. This will not have any visible result, but the reference plane and origin of the coordinate system will have been saved for this scene. After this, any items that you create from within this instance of the 3D Camera Tracker effect will be created using this plane and origin as their basis. This is especially useful when exporting the scene to Cinema 4D.
If you choose Set Ground Plane And Origin again, you’ll get a warning telling you that objects already created using a different ground plane and origin will not be updated to use the new ground plane and origin.
Auto-delete Points Across Time
In the Advanced section of the effect properties, there is a new option: Auto-delete Points Across Time.
If this option is on, when you delete track points in the Composition panel, corresponding track points (i.e., track points on the same feature/object) are deleted at other times on the layer, so you don’t need to delete the track points frame by frame to improve the quality of the track. For example, you can delete track points on a person running through the scene, whose motion should not be considered for the determination of how the camera was moving in the shot. This works for both 2D Source and 3D Solved track points.
You can delete selected track points with the Delete key or by context-clicking and choosing Delete Selected Points.
Note: Even with the new Auto-delete Points Across Time feature, you may instead or additionally define an alpha channel for the layer to prevent the 3D Camera Tracker effect from considering a specific part of the image for the purpose of determining a camera.
This feature is essentially identical to the feature of the same name in the Warp Stabilizer VFX effect.
(For a complete list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), see this page.)
One of the new features in After Effects CC (12.0) isn’t really new at all. The new Pixel Motion Blur effect is a simpler way of using technology built into the Timewarp effect to “fake” motion blur.
The Pixel Motion Blur effect analyzes a movie to determine what parts are in motion, creates a set of motion vectors, and then uses that information to add motion blur within the image.
Chris and Trish Meyer have a great overview video on the Provideo Coalition website that shows what this effect can do.
The controls of the Pixel Motion Blur effect are a subset of those in the Timewarp effect:
- Shutter Control: Choose Manual to set Shutter Angle and Shutter Samples for the effect independently. Choose Honor Layer Switch & Composition Settings to use the values set for the layer and composition.
- Shutter Angle: Determines the intensity of motion blur. The shutter angle is measured in degrees, simulating the exposure caused by a rotating shutter. Simulated exposure time is determined by dividing the shutter angle by the frame rate times 360°. For example, a shutter angle of 90° causes an exposure of 1/96 of a second per frame: 90° / (360° * 24 fps).
- Shutter Samples: Controls the quality of the motion blur. A higher value results in a smoother motion blur but longer rendering time.
- Vector Detail: Determines how many motion vectors are used during interpolation. The more vectors used, the longer the rendering time. A value of 100 produces one vector per pixel. Note that increasing this value doesn’t necessarily produce better results in all cases; sometimes, a lower value may look better.
One common use for an effect like this that fakes motion blur is to add motion blur to a rendered result from a 3D program, rather than process the motion blur in the 3D program. The Pixel Motion Blur effect can add motion blur much faster than rendering the motion blur in the 3D program, but sometimes at the expense of quality, since motion blur that is created from the actual source of the motion is always the most accurate.
new OpenEXR and DPX importers for After Effects CC (12.0): better performance and additional functionality
Two big areas of new and changed features in After Effects CC (12.0) are DPX and OpenEXR improvements.
improved performance with OpenEXR files, especially those with many channels
After Effects CC (12.0) includes version 1.8 of the OpenEXR importer plug-in from fnordware and version 1.8 of the ProEXR plug-ins, EXtractoR and IDentifier. (For details about how to use the ProEXR plug-ins to use 3D channels and other data in OpenEXR files in After Effects, see this section of After Effects Help.)
Among the improvements in these plug-ins is a new channel caching feature. You can enable this feature by opening the Interpret Footage dialog box for an EXR file, clicking the More Options button, and choosing Channel Cache. If you have an EXR file with many channels that you are extracting, you will want to turn this on. The more channels you have, the more things will speed up.
Brendan Bolles, the creator of the ProEXR plug-ins, has much more detail about the channel cache and how it speeds things up on his blog.
By the way, you can also use the new version 1.8 plug-ins with After Effects CS6. They’re forward- and backward-compatible.
improved performance with DPX files, and ability to import additional information from DPX files
The DPX importer in previous versions of After Effects only worked with 10-bpc color.
The DPX importer in this version can import 8-, 10-, 12-, and 16-bpc DPX files, including DPX files with an alpha channel and timecode.
workaround for known bug when exporting DPX files from a composition with under-range or over-range values
If you’re exporting DPX files from a composition that has under-range or over-range values (i.e., values outside the range 0.0-1.0) in a 32-bpc project, you may get bad image data. The workaround is to nest the composition into a new composition, and apply the Levels effect to the precomposition layer, with Clip To Output Black and Clip To Output White both set to On.
In our list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), we mentioned the addition of bicubic sampling for layer transformations, including scaling. Here’s more detail about this new feature.
This per-layer setting is in the Layer > Quality menu, and it is only relevant for layers with quality set to Best.
The default keyboard shortcuts for setting the sampling method for selected layers are Alt+B (Windows) and Option+B (Mac OS) for Best/Bilinear and Alt+Shift+B (Windows) and Option+Shift+B (Mac OS) for Best/Bicubic.
You can also switch to Draft, Best/Bilinear, and Best/Bicubic for selected layers by clicking the Quality switch in the Switches column of the Timeline panel. When the layer is set to Best quality, the icon shown in the Quality column indicates whether the resampling method is set to bilinear or bicubic.
The bicubic sampling in After Effects should perform better than the related option in Photoshop; the After Effects algorithm preserves over-range and under-range values more consistently and works better (with fewer quantization errors) at extreme scales.
Note that textures in the ray-traced 3D renderer do not use the new bicubic sampling; they always use bilinear sampling. Transformations within effects also still use bilinear sampling, unless the effect specifically implements another method (as with a dedicated scaling plug-in effect or distortion effect).
Bicubic sampling is somewhat more processor-intensive than bilinear sampling, and bicubic sampling is not the highest-quality choice in all cases, so don’t think that you should set it for every layer. It’s rather easy to see artifacts with bicubic sampling in some circumstances, such as ringing and overshoots at a hard transition from one color to another. Bicubic sampling tends to be the best option in cases where transitions from one color to another are more gradual, as is the case with nearly all real-world photographic images, but not necessarily for sharp-edged graphics. Bicubic sampling helps more for scaling up than it does for scaling down.
Here are some examples that show the difference, including one photorealistic example for which bicubic sampling is better and a couple of graphics examples with abrupt color transitions for which bilinear sampling is better:
bicubic sampling, scaled to 800%; better detail and fewer artifacts in pearls and skin
bilinear sampling, scaled to 800%; lost details and worse artifacts in pearls and skin
bicubic sampling of grid layer, camera viewing it edge-on from very close; overshoot artifacts at intersections
bilinear sampling of grid layer, camera viewing it edge-on from very close; with less severe artifacts at intersections
bicubic sampling of grid layer scaled to 1600%; with more severe ringing and overshoot artifacts
bilinear sampling of grid layer scaled to 1600%; with less severe artifacts
[Please, respond to this request for feedback on this forum thread. Don't respond in the comments on this blog.]
One of the top feature requests for After Effects is a keyboard shortcut for showing only properties with keyframes. The keyboard shortcut U shows all animated properties, which means properties with keyframes and/or expressions. There isn’t a shortcut for showing only properties with keyframes.
We’re working on improving this for a future version of After Effects, and we want your input. The After Effects keyboard is already very crowded, so we need to either find a keyboard shortcut that is not currently in use or reassign one. For reference, here’s the list of keyboard shortcuts that show properties in the Timeline panel.
One idea that we had is to change the U key to show only properties with keyframes, not properties with expressions but no keyframes. (You would still be able to show properties with expressions by pressing EE.)
Another idea that we had is to expand the use of the U key to three levels:
- U: Show properties with keyframes (new behavior).
- UU: Show properties with keyframes and/or expressions (currently assigned to U).
- UUU: Show all modified properties (currently assigned to UU).
The problem with either of these approaches is that they change how an existing feature in After Effects works, which means you may need to retrain yourself on how to use the keyboard shortcuts. It also will make some training materials and tutorials obsolete.
Please tell us what you think on this forum thread (not in the comments on this blog post). Do you like either of these ideas? Is there another keyboard shortcut that you want it to use? A single key or a key with modifiers? (ie., Shift, Control/Command, Opt/Alt)
Sync Settings features in After Effects CC (12.0) for sharing keyboard shortcuts, preferences, and other settings
The Sync Settings feature gives you the ability to upload settings files from your local computer to Creative Cloud and then download your settings files from Creative Cloud to any other computer from within After Effects. The Sync Settings features work very much the same in After Effects as the same features in Premiere Pro.
The settings files that can be synchronized in this way correspond to the entries in the Sync Settings category in the Preferences dialog box:
- synchronizable preferences (a subset of all preferences, excluding the ones that are machine-specific; details at the end of this article)
- keyboard shortcuts
- output module settings templates
- render settings templates
- composition settings presets
- interpretation rules
Do let us know with a feature request if there are other settings that you’d like to see synchronized.
basics of using Sync Settings features
When you start After Effects, the Welcome Screen gives you your first opportunity to synchronize settings. You have two options under the Sync Settings With Adobe Creative Cloud heading:
- Sync Settings Now: Click this to begin the synchronization process for the user with the Adobe ID shown.
- Use Settings From A Different Account: Click this to begin the process of switching to a different account and using its settings.
You have access to the same commands from the Edit menu (Windows) or the After Effects menu (Mac OS), from the menu entry directly beneath the Preferences menu entry. The menu name will either be Sync Settings or your Adobe ID, depending on whether you’ve enabled the feature by choosing to synchronize settings.
Also in that Sync Settings menu are a few other commands:
- Clear Settings: Restores all settings to their default values; also clears the user information from the application (if you chose the Use Settings From Different Account Feature). You can also choose to enable the Automatically Clear User Profiles On Quit preference in the Sync Settings category. This is a good idea if you are working temporarily on a shared computer.
- Manage Sync Settings: Opens the Sync Settings pane of the Preferences dialog box.
- Manage Creative Cloud Account: Takes you to the Creative Cloud web page.
The Sync Settings menu can also be opened by clicking the button to the left of the Workspace control in the Tools panel. The tooltip for this button is the most convenient way of seeing which account’s settings are in use.
Any time that you switch users or load settings from Creative Cloud, you must restart After Effects. This is in part because After Effects needs to restart to load preferences and other settings from the newly downloaded files. When you upload files from the local computer to Creative Cloud, a restart is not necessary.
When you choose to synchronize settings, you will either get a message telling you that “Settings are already in sync” or a Sync Settings dialog box. In the Sync Settings dialog box, you can choose whether to upload/save your current files from the computer to the Creative Cloud server (Upload Settings) or download and apply the files from the Creative Cloud server (Download Settings). If you know that you will always want to do one or the other, you can check the Remember My Preference box. A good example for using this setting is when you want to treat your primary office computer as the gold standard, so you only ever upload its settings to Creative Cloud, whereas the computers that you freelance at are only consuming those settings, so you only ever download to them. You can change your mind about this setting and choose a new value from the When Syncing menu in the Sync Settings category in the Preferences dialog box.
When you initiate a synchronization operation, you can see its progress in the Info panel, including how many files were modified and when.
details of Sync Settings features
By default, five of the six settings files are uploaded or downloaded during a synchronization operation: keyboard shortcuts, synchronizable preferences, composition settings presets, interpretation rules, and render settings templates. You can modify this in the Sync Settings category of the Preferences dialog box.
Tip: Because it is possible for collisions to occur between output modules of the same name (e.g., Lossless), be cautious of synchronizing output module settings between Mac OS and Windows unless you’ve renamed the output module templates to have distinctive names. This potential collision is the reason that the output module settings templates are not synchronized by default.
As mentioned above, only a subset of preferences are uploaded or downloaded when you use the Sync Settings feature and have chosen the Synchronizable Preferences option in the Sync Settings category of the Preferences dialog box.
The primary reason for most of the items that aren’t synchronized is that they are machine-specific or environment-specific, so they have a good chance of not behaving correctly when transferred to another computer that may have a different configuration or be on a different network.
Here is a complete list of the preferences, with indication of which are in the synchronizable preferences set:
- Levels Of Undo: yes, synchronized
- Path Point Size: yes, synchronized
- Show Tool Tips: yes, synchronized
- Create Layers At Composition Start Time: yes, synchronized
- Switches Affect Nested Comps: yes, synchronized
- Default Spatial Interpolation To Linear: yes, synchronized
- Preserve Constant Vertex Count When Editing Masks: yes, synchronized
- Pen Tool Shortcut Toggles Between Pen and Mask Feather Tools: yes, synchronized
- Synchronize Time Of All Related Items: yes, synchronized
- Expression Pick Whip Writes Compact English: yes, synchronized
- Create Split Layers Above Original Layer: yes, synchronized
- Allow Scripts To Write Files And Access Network: no, not synchronized
- Use System Color Picker: yes, synchronized
- Use System Shortcut Keys (Mac OS only): yes, synchronized
- Dynamic Link with After Effects Uses Project File Name with Highest Number: yes, synchronized
- Play Sound When Render Finishes: yes, synchronized
- Opening Layers With Double-Click: yes, synchronized
- Adaptive Resolution Limit: no, not synchronized
- Show Internal Wireframes: yes, synchronized
- Viewer Quality (Zoom Quality and Color Management Quality): yes, synchronized
- Alternate RAM Preview: yes, synchronized
- Audio Preview Duration: yes, synchronized
- Motion Path: no, not synchronized
- Disable Thumbnails In Project Panel: no, not synchronized
- Show Rendering Progress In Info Panel And Flowchart: no, not synchronized
- Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, And Footage Panels: yes, synchronized
- Show Both Timecode And Frames In Timeline Panel: no, not synchronized
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
- Segment Sequences At, Segment Movie Files At: no, not synchronized
- Use Default File Name And Folder: no, not synchronized
- Show Deprecated Formats In Output Module Settings: yes, synchronized
- Audio Block Duration: no, not synchronized
Grids & Guides preferences
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
Media & Disk Cache preferences
- Enable Disk Cache and Maximum Disk Cache Size: no, not synchronized
- Conformed Media Cache: no, not synchronized
- Write XMP IDs To Files On Import: no, not synchronized
- Create Layer Markers From Footage XMP Metadata: yes, synchronized
Video Preview preferences
- all settings in this category: no, not synchronized
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
- all settings in this category: yes, synchronized
Memory & Multiprocessing preferences
- all settings in this category: no, not synchronized
Audio Hardware and Audio Output Mapping preferences
- all settings in these categories: no, not synchronized
In our list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), we mentioned that there are several significant improvements to mocha AE, the version of the mocha planar tracker that is included with After Effects.
Here’s what’s new in mocha AE:
- ability to import and track RED Digital Cinema (.r3d) footage
- new layer tree system and layer groups for handling large groups of layers
- dope sheet for moving, copying, and pasting keyframes
- bounding boxes for splines
- multi-spline selection and modification
- enhanced link tool to join points of separate layers
- ability to customize color for mattes and splines
- ability to see individual pixels when zooming
- export of colored shapes based on layer color (mocha Shape effect)
- many bug fixes
Of course, you can get far more detail by reading the documentation accessible from the mocha AE application. Just choose Help > Online/Offline Help in the mocha AE application.
You can also learn much more about mocha with the videos on the Imagineer Systems website.
In our list of what’s new and changed in After Effects CC (12.0), we gave an overview of what’s included with regard to CINEMA 4D and its integration with After Effects. Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty details.
First, here’s a list of resources that demonstrate and discuss these features in even more detail than I’m going to provide here (as well as being much prettier than the current plain-text blog post from a words guy):
- beautiful graphical demonstration from Maxon
- Nick Campbell (Greyscale Gorilla) giving two overviews, one for After Effects folks and one for CINEMA 4D folks
- Nick Campbell’s FAQ list and video tutorial series about the new integration
- Rick Barrett’s two-hour video series on Cineversity, which is a great, simple introduction to CINEMA 4D, with the last video being about the After Effects CINEWARE features
- introduction to CINEMA 4D integration from Lynda.com in Chris & Trish Meyer’s overview of the new version
- Video Copilot’s Andrew Kramer talking about how amazing this all is, including reminding everyone that the Element 3D model and shader packs will work quite nicely with this new integration.
Now, on to the details.
inclusion of CINEMA 4D application in After Effects installer
CINEMA 4D is installed by the After Effects installer. The version of CINEMA 4D included with the After Effects installer is CINEMA 4D Lite R14, which is comparable to CINEMA 4D Prime R14; CINEMA 4D Lite has some features not in CINEMA 4D Prime, and vice versa. Here’s a comparison between all of the CINEMA 4D editions. (updated)
You open the version of CINEMA 4D that is installed with After Effects using the New > MAXON CINEMA 4D File command or the Edit Original command in After Effects. You will not see this version of CINEMA 4D installed in the Start menu on Windows or in the Applications directory on Mac OS. (If you have another version of CINEMA 4D installed in addition to the CINEMA 4D Lite version, these commands will open the other version.)
ability to open CINEMA 4D to create new CINEMA 4D scene layers from within After Effects
When you choose New > MAXON CINEMA 4D File from the File menu, the Layer menu, or from a context menu, CINEMA 4D opens and creates a new .c4d file. A new footage item is added to the project, based on the new .c4d file. When you save the .c4d file in CINEMA 4D and return to After Effects, the After Effects footage item is updated with the changes.
ability to use Edit Original on .c4d scene layer in After Effects to open and edit the file in CINEMA 4D
When you choose Edit > Edit Original with a .c4d footage item selected or with a layer with the CINEWARE effect selected, CINEMA 4D opens and loads the .c4d file.
When you are finished editing the file in CINEMA 4D, save the file and return to After Effects. If you have the preference set for automatic reloading of footage, the changes will appear automatically in After Effects.
Ability to import and render .c4d files (CINEMA 4D scene files) in After Effects
The new integration between CINEMA 4D and After Effects allows you to import a .c4d file from CINEMA 4D (version 12 or later) into After Effects and use the 3D scene and its elements directly within After Effects by using the new CINEWARE effect.
When you import a .c4d file into After Effects, the file appears as a footage item in the Project panel. When you add the footage item to a composition (e.g., by dragging the footage item to the Create A New Composition button at the bottom of the Project panel), a layer is created based on that footage item, and the CINEWARE effect is automatically applied to the layer. In the background, a CineRender renderer is started for CINEMA 4D scene data.
The CINEWARE effect on a layer is used to tell the background CineRender renderer what elements of the scene to render for the layer, and how to do so.
The Render Settings properties are largely a matter of trading off between speed and quality.
- Standard (Final) provides the highest-quality output, but takes the longest time. This option uses the settings for the Standard renderer as described in the .c4d file. You can open the .c4d file with CINEMA 4D by using Edit Original in After Effects. You can change the render settings in CINEMA 4D, save the file, and then switch back to After Effects to see the render changes.
- Standard (Draft) uses the same renderer as Standard (Final), but with some slower features disabled. For example, antialiasing and most of the options in the Render Settings – Options dialog box in CINEMA 4D are disabled. Standard (Draft) also reduces the level of MoGraph Cloner detail so that it renders faster; e.g., if you have a cloner object with a count set to 10, you’ll see only every other clone (5).
- Software enables the selection of Current Shading, Wireframe, or Box from the Display menu. Wireframe and Box modes are very fast, simplistic representations of the scene.
If the renderer is set to Standard (Draft), choosing the No Textures/Shader option causes the scene to be rendered as if the textures were disabled in the Render and View settings in CINEMA 4D. If the renderer is set to Software, this checkbox also disables shaders.
Choosing the No Pre Calculation option disables the pre-rolling in the CINEMA 4D animation system, which can give a very large speed improvement but should never be used in the final render (because particle systems, some MoGraph functions, Dynamics, and Cloth won´t be displayed correctly).
The Keep Textures In RAM option caches textures where they can be accessed more quickly, but this consumes memory. Enabling this option can greatly reduce final render time in some projects. If you edit textures in CINEMA 4D, they will not update in After Effects until you save the .c4d file or purge the RAM and disk cache in After Effects (Edit > Purge > All Memory & Disk Cache).
Click the Apply To All button to apply the settings in the current instance of the CINEWARE effect to all other instances of the effect in the composition for layers that refer to the same .c4d source.
Choose the CINEMA 4D Camera option to use the camera that is defined as the render view camera in CINEMA 4D, or the default camera if none has been explicitly defined. To instead choose a different camera from the CINEMA 4D scene, choose Select CINEMA 4D Camera, which enables the Set Camera button. Click that button and choose a camera from the dialog box that opens.
Choose the Comp Camera option to use the After Effects active camera (first enabled camera layer in the composition). Of course, you need to have an After Effects camera layer in the composition to use this option.
To use the After Effects camera and recalculate CINEMA 4D scene coordinates to adapt, choose Centered Comp Camera. Note that CINEMA 4D and After Effects use different origins (points from which transformations are calculated). An object modeled at the CINEMA 4D origin of 0,0,0 and then rendered using the After Effects camera may not render centered in the After Effects view, or the view may be blank. The Centered Comp Camera option offsets the After Effects camera used in CINEMA 4D so that the CINEMA 4D render is centered in the After Effects composition in these cases.
Use Centered Comp Camera when manually adding a camera to a composition (at composition center, by default); use Comp Camera after extracting CINEMA 4D cameras (since these cameras were created in a coordinate system with a different 0,0,0 reference).
CINEMA 4D Layers:
If you enable CINEMA 4D Layers and click the Set Layers button, you can choose which CINEMA 4D layers to render.
Note that the term ‘CINEMA 4D layer’ may be somewhat confusing to an After Effects user. In CINEMA 4D, the term ‘layer’ refers to a grouping of items into one element.
Click the Apply To All button to apply the camera and CINEMA 4D layer settings in the current instance of the CINEMA 4D Settings effect to all other instances of the effect in the composition for the same footage item. This can be very useful if you have several instances of the effect on multiple layers (such as when working with multiple passes) and you want to have settings match.
Multi-Pass (Linear Workflow):
The Multi-Pass features are only available when using the Standard renderer, not the Software renderer. For results to be correct, you must be working in a project in which colors are blended in linear light (either in a color-managed linear working space or with Blend Colors Using 1.0 Gamma set in the Project Settings dialog box).
If you enable CINEMA 4D Multi-pass and click the Set Multi-pass button, you can choose which pass to render, rather than rendering the entire image.
Click the Create Image Layers button to create a complete set of After Effects layers, one for each pass in the multi-pass set, to recreate the image. To specify the set of layers created to be those in the multi-pass set defined in the Multi-Pass Render Settings in CINEMA 4D for the scene, choose the Defined Multi-Passes option.
Comp Camera Into CINEMA 4D: Click the Merge button to modify the .c4d file to include the camera data from After Effects. For example, this is especially useful for transferring camera data created by the 3D Camera Tracker effect. Note that the active camera is merged with ‘AE’ prepended to the camera name. Merging the same camera again merges another copy of the camera; it does not update a previously merged camera.
CINEMA 4D Scene Data: Click the Extract button to create camera, light, and solid (or null) layers in After Effects corresponding to cameras, lights, and animated objects in CINEMA 4D. Before using this feature, enable the Save Polygons for Melange and Save Animation for Melange preferences in the Files section of the CINEMA 4D Preferences dialog box.
ability to export .c4d scene file from After Effects including cameras, null objects, and more
File > Export > MAXON CINEMA 4D Exporter
notes about CINEMA 4D features
In CINEMA 4D, ensure that the Linear Workflow option is selected (Edit > Project Settings) before saving a .c4d project. (This is the default since R12.)
In After Effects, enable color management by choosing a working color space (e.g., sRGB IEC61966-2.1) in the Color Settings section of the Project Settings dialog box. Select the Linearize Working Space option. Use a color bit depth of 16 bpc or 32 bpc to avoid banding.
TIP: If you change render settings or camera settings on some layers but not on others (i.e., don’t use the Apply To All commands), this can substantially increase render time, because each unique set of settings for a footage item will be treated as a separate CINEMA 4D render. You may also want to turn off CINEMA 4D layers you aren’t using for this same reason.
The current version of the CINEWARE effect in After Effects doesn’t use the OpenGL renderer.
Setting a region of interest (ROI) doesn’t limit the area of rendering for CINEMA 4D scene layers.
In the current implementation, a CINEMA 4D scene layer is expected to stay in place, without transforms and without the setting of the 3D switch. If such behavior is required, precompose the scene layer without collapsing transformations for the precomposition layer.
Collect Files does not collect items on which a .c4d file may depend, such as textures.
This version of the CINEWARE effect only uses the CINEMA 4D Standard render for final rendering (not Physical or Toon).
Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing is disabled when using .c4d layers.
Depending on your computer’s security settings, you may see some warnings about TCP communication; this is because After Effects and the background CINEMA 4D renderer are communicating using TCP, which some security software may interpret as dangerous malware communication. For example, Mac OS will ask you to confirm if you want to run this software “downloaded from the Internet”. Go ahead and accept the communication between these applications. If you can import a .c4d file, but it fails to render, check your security settings to see if Mac OS Gatekeeper or your firewall are blocking the background CINEMA 4D renderer from functioning and communicating with After Effects. In Mac OS, check the General tab of the Security & Privacy system preferences, and make sure that Allow Applications Downloaded From is set to Anywhere. (Note that the TCP port used is defined in the Options in the CINEMAWARE effect, and the choice is stored in the After Effects preferences file.)
If you only read one sentence in this post, let it be this one:
We’ve been going through our crash reporter information lately, and we’ve noticed many instances of crashes that shouldn’t be happening if folks were running with the most recent updates to Element 3D and After Effects. So, please install those updates, and let us know with a bug report if you continue to have problems.
When we talked with Sérgio and Andrew at VideoCopilot about the crashes that we were seeing in these reports, they also mentioned that many of them indicated that folks were trying to run Element 3D with settings higher than their card can handle or with overly complex scenes. They recommend that everyone read these suggestions about how to avoid such problems, as well as making sure that your computer meets the specifications for Element 3D. They have some good troubleshooting information here, too.
There are also some caching fixes for both Element 3D and for After Effects in general in the updates for Element 3D and updates for After Effects, which address problems with stale frames being stored and retrieved from the cache.