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Compositing live actor into Cinema4D setting

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Lindsay Penn
Compositing live actor into Cinema4D setting
on Aug 27, 2016 at 3:02:23 pm

Hello all,

I'm trying to teach myself how to composite a live actor into a Cinema4D setting. My first attempt was last night, and though it was really close, there's one element missing, and it seems to be scale.







While the camera movements applied to the actor clearly also appear to be applying to the setting, they appear to be moving faster (or spanning greater distance) than they are on the actor. At what point in the workflow to I correct that, and how do I correct that?

Here was my workflow on the above clip:

1. (AE) Key out actor
2. (AE) Convert shot of actor into a 3d object
3. (AE) Create camera and apply artificial camera movements to shot of actor
4. (AE) Export camera movements to C4D
5. (C4D) Import Camera information to C4D setting file
6. (C4D) Create null object, put camera in null object, move null object to desired location
7. (AE) Import C4D setting into AE, place C4D layer under keyed actor.

As you can see, the above workflow never really addresses scale. I know Cinema4D provide options to create some pretty precise measurements of camera movements, but it doesn't seem like I have options like that in AE.

If there are is a tutorial out there that could walk me through this process, I'm all ears. I've googled around and had no luck.

I'm using Cinema 4d Studio R17 and After Effects CC 2015.3.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Compositing live actor into Cinema4D setting
on Aug 28, 2016 at 2:56:32 am

You're right about the scale. It's worst when the camera's tightest on the subject. Since I have people who do 3D for me, I'm not the best person for an answer, I'm afraid.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Kalle Kannisto
Re: Compositing live actor into Cinema4D setting
on Aug 28, 2016 at 3:04:20 pm

In essence, you need to know where your ground plane is (zero on the Y axis is a safe general rule) and place both the model floor and the point where the actor's feet meet the ground on that plane. Putting the anchor point for the actor at that location, you can thereafter scale the actor to fit the scale of the scene, and move the actor on the X and Z axis and rest assured she stays on the ground plane.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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Lindsay Penn
Re: Compositing live actor into Cinema4D setting
on Aug 28, 2016 at 3:16:47 pm

Thanks! Is there any way to establish the actor's ground plane without using the 3D camera tracker? Because that's not the method I used here, I moved the camera manually.

Also, though your workflow makes perfect sense - place the actor on the ground plane and scale the actor to fit the scene - I don't understand where I would do that. What things are done in After Effects and what things are done in C4D? I'm going to take a wild ass guess below, tell me if this is accurate:

1. (AE) Key out actor
2. (AE) Convert shot of actor into a 3d object
- (AE) Establish ground plane for actor (How? Tutorial or link welcome)
3. (AE) Create camera and apply artificial camera movements to shot of actor
4. (AE) Export camera movements AND actor object to C4D
5. (C4D) Import Camera information and actor object (for reference) to C4D setting file
6. (C4D) Create null object, put camera+actor in null object, move null object to desired location
- (C4D) Scale camera using actor as reference to the desired size
- (C4D) Once at desired size, delete actor reference
7. (AE) Import C4D setting into AE, place C4D layer under keyed actor.

Is this right? THANK YOU!


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