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Casting Shape Layer Shadows onto an Element 3D Layer?

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Jackson Camarato
Casting Shape Layer Shadows onto an Element 3D Layer?
on Oct 26, 2016 at 2:22:42 am
Last Edited By Jackson Camarato on Oct 26, 2016 at 2:37:11 am

So here's a quick picture of what I'm trying to accomplish:

I have a shape layer with an Element 3D scene built in it, and I also have a few cameras and lights positioned throughout. One thing I love about Element is the fact that you can basically stick a bunch of lights everywhere to create a really good looking video. However, even though the lights are able to shine onto and within the set, 3D shape layers aren't able to cast shadows onto it.

Now, I understand that Element's 3D software works from a 2D layer, but I'm just sorta confused how outside lights are able to work, but not outside shadows. I know that 3D shape layers don't really mix in with Element's environments (you either have to put it on top or below the layer), but wouldn't a shadow be casted if you just slapped a 3D Shape layer on top of your Element layer? Or does Element ignore the 3D shape layers altogether and only render out the lighting, cause I'm starting to think that's the case.

I'm sorta wondering if it's even possible to incorporate shadows with Element. I know I could render the shape layer into Element itself, but I'm working with a set of animated objects, so doing that isn't really an option.

I'm gonna try to get a screenshot up in the future using that prnstcr website thingy, but I'm not too sure if this is something wrong with my current configuration. I haven't seen any other solutions to this issue, and to be honest, I haven't really seen this subject be brought up that much.

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Michael Szalapski
Re: Casting Shape Layer Shadows onto an Element 3D Layer?
on Oct 26, 2016 at 1:42:33 pm

How many of these animated shape layer elements do you plan to have? (I can't see your example image because Dropbox is blocked at work - if you upload directly to the COW, I could see it.)
You can do animated layers in Element.

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Jackson Camarato
Re: Casting Shape Layer Shadows onto an Element 3D Layer?
on Oct 26, 2016 at 2:23:53 pm

Thanks for the reply Michael. The example picture shows only one shape layer, but I'm planning on implementing many more. Since it's an animation, I have the animated layer playing out within the 3D layer. I have the whole thing set up to where the characters can interact with the environment and move forward / backwards in Z-space without the scale of the image changing. (This is done using an expression on the layer's scale). If I put the layer into Element, I won't be able to use the expression, which will basically throw off the entire scene.

I need to have the layer outside of Element. I've been looking at doing things with 3D shadow catchers, but doing that is fairly limiting. All I need is for a 3D layer's shadow to cast onto the Element Scene. If I wasn't too clear on what I'm working with, I'll try to get the image uploader to work and post the photo's here. (The image uploader is really buggy for some reason.) I can do that when I get back from school. Again, thanks for the reply.

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