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Fast 2,5D flight to the earth's core - howto?

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Roger Maus
Fast 2,5D flight to the earth's core - howto?
on Sep 24, 2015 at 12:26:03 am


I am trying to make a clip that shows a trip to the Earth's core.
It is like a fast tracking shot through a very long tunnel.

I started this by building 2,5D topology in After Effects. This was obvious, since the different layers should have a different appearance. (I don't need to stick to AE-3D if there is a better option.)

I spread about 2000 objects ("stones") on a z-range of -31850 to +31850 pixel. This is the cloud of objects the camera flies through.

The problem is: the tracking shot is way too slow, because the camera moves way to little distances.

This is what I got so far:

to the Earth's core

So from the start to km5 it's only 50px. Of course no movements is visible. The ratio of 10px per kilometer sustains, but even the great leaps from km35 to km2900 doesn't feel like 2900km of travel.

So I actually would need the camera to move 10 times further; hence I need 10 times more objects in my scene to make the tunnel longer. Neither of them is viable.

What can I do?

So this is what National Geographic made out of this. This is just inspirational, since I can't use real 3D.

(at 23m59s) See clip also at 1h 01m 33s.

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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Fast 2,5D flight to the earth's core - howto?
on Sep 24, 2015 at 8:58:18 am

You can do 3D in AE using some 3rd party plugins.
It may be that instead of having the camera travel, you create tunnels that move over the camera.
Also, there's no need for all pieces of the travel to be in one comp. Use transitions (passing through a rock, a dust cloud, molten lava, etc) to connect separate elements of the journey which are animated and constructed separately in different comps. This will enable you to move faster in AE, avoid crashes and limitations and make changes a lot easier.
One great plugin to use for 3d tunnels is FreeForm Pro (Free Form V2 can be used as well). I have a couple of tutorials here on the COW on how to do that.
For the example you pointed at 23:59, I would use FF Pro with a couple of moving textures that rotate like a 2 parallel cylinders, point the camera right in the middle and animate extrusion to give depth. Using precomps you could animate flat textures that can blend from one to another, in another precomp where they are applied to cylinders that rotate to create the impression of movement, and precomp that to create a moving texture and depth map for the layers you use with FreeForm Pro.
For the second example (1:1:33) you can use animated FF Pro layers (2) and a particle system from AE to give the impression of movement. Still the camera would not move.

Hope this helps.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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