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Proanimator and Camera's

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Joe Moya
Proanimator and Camera's
on Jan 9, 2010 at 7:36:14 am

There has got to be an easier way to work with composit camera's and Proanimator...

I set the original 3d object in Proanimator with the layer in After Effects while in AE's mode... and, set the original primative 3d object to a close as I can possibly get to a flat and square 3d object... but, I can not get it to center and square out to a flat 3d object... EVEN when I try to use the Object's Stats to manually place the x,y,z postion and rotation in the Object Tab... I can NOT get the 3d object to fit so that the camera rig in AE works. The key reason for this is because I can not get the 3d object to set square in Proanimator.

The biggest problem (among others) is that the 3d object tends to keystone shape and I can not get it to lay flat and square. It appears there is a slight perspective to the 3d object... and, there doesn't seem to be any way to elimenate the slightly narrow top compared to the wider base of the object (commonly called keystoning effect).

When offline camera box is checked... I can see what looks like the rotation that may be causing this problem... but, that doesn't help to change from this offline camera position since I am using the AE composit camera's. Adjusting the AE camera rig doesn't seem to be able to achieve the camera movement I need to compensate for this flakey Proanimator to AE camera difference.

Any tutorial or text that has detail explainations or can give insight as to how to use the AE's camera with ProAnimator? Is there anyway to eliminate the keystone-like shape look of the 3d primative object - a cube (cube dimensions are w1000 h140 d1000 a no scaling)? This is really frustrating.

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Joe Moya
Re: Proanimator and Camera's
on Jan 9, 2010 at 5:45:19 pm

Have up ever been working with AE's camera and ProAnimator and get completely lost and not able to find the 3d object because the camera position is totally out of whack? Well, I have many times and here is a solution I found to help get me back on track.

After MANY hours of struggling with this problem... I think I found a solution to effectively use an AE camera with Proanimator...a solution I have not found noted anywhere. Hopefully others can test it out more thoroughly and possibly avoid some of the major headaches I have always experienced when using ProAnimator with AE camera's.

How to approximate the center in ProAnimator and use camera's in AE:

I am assuming you are using Use Comp Camera, Use Comp Lights, Composite On Original (i.e., these boxes are checked in ProAnimator - Checking the ...Use Comp Lights and Composite on Original box is optional). AND (...VERY IMPORTANT...), the AE solid layer containing ProAnimator is NOT set to 3D.

First, you need to be using a camera Rig in AE.

I HIGHLY recommend you use Maltaannon's simple camera rig... is is an easy and seeminly BEST rig to use. A full explanation can be found in detailed at Maltaannon's site at The video tutorial is called Simple Camera Rig.

In this camera rig tutorial, there is a crucial expression calculation that uses with the camera focal point as the tracking benchmark for the calculations in the is RIG... this is VERY useful and important when wanting to use different camera's and/or video formats. I strongly suggest you look at this tutorial before you read on... take special note of how this rig uses the Camera ZOOM data entry for the rig. Plus, Also you need to have the Maltaannon rig in AE set up and built inside of a comp BEFORE you do the following (note: have camera rig layers on top of Proanimator Solid Layer).

The follow instruction will describe how to properly set a common centered position for a Proanimator 3d object using Maltaannon's rig in ProAnimator.

In should be in scene preview - then, select existing, import or create a primative object in the drop down menu in OBJECT MODE.

Open Object Tab for the 3D primative.

Find the STATS button located in the Object Tab... open the STATS box by clicking the STATS button. You will see the Object Stats for this object... located in this box are the numerical inputs for the XYZ locations for Position, Rotation and Scale.

You will be transferring x,y and zoom data from AE into these boxes. The following instructions will describe which numbers (from AE) to put into these Object Stats inputs boxes.

Side note: Make certain the camera settings in AE is reset to it's default setting - Camera>Transfor>(click)Reset.

In the camera layer open CAMERA OPTIONS take note of the ZOOM setting in pixels. For my camera setting is was 1866.7 pixels for a 35mm camera (54.4H). You will be using this ZOOM number in Proanimator Stats box - as Position Z input.

Now, take note of the AE CAMERA's numbers indicated for the Transform>Position for x and y. Do NOT use the Z setting for the camera position if you are using Maltannoon's camera rig (...his rig adjusts for issues that evolve around the tracking of a camera using the z position).

Side note: MAKE CERTAIN THE ProAnimator SOLID in not in 3D mode (i.e., the small box shaped icon in AE is not checked for this solid layer containing the ProAnimator effect)... as I noted earlier, you need to be in 2D mode in AE for the solid layer containing the ProAnimator effect.

Place the x,y position numbers in the Camera Layer AND the CAMERA OPTIONS ZOOM numbers in AE into the OBJECT STATS window...
...where X being the position number taken from AE for Proanimator's "X" Object stats position X 1.5,
...where MINUS (very important to put a minus sign) "Y" position mumber taken from AE Camer Position for Proanimator's Y Object Object Stat Position X 2.
...and (finally) "Z" is AE's CAMERA "ZOOM" number taken from AE camera Zoom (i.e., Z = Camera Zoom not camera Z positon). STATS Rotation settings should be all 0's and Scale should be all 1's.

Now apply these transferred X Y and Z numbers to ProAnimator. And, the object is centered OR ALMOST CENTERED... The multiplier numbers of 1.5 and 2 are only estimated center adjustment numbers. You will need to change the Object Stats to fit the size of comp setting you are using. I have found that the smaller the aspect ratio of the comp, the larger these adjustment numbers need to be... But,... the key is keeping the Z setting to the Camera Zoom setting the same and only adjust the X and Y position setting.

Shortened/Cliff Note version of aformentioned instructions below:

1)Build and Use Maltaannon's camera rig in AE. (see video tutorial)
2)Add solid and place Proanimator into new layer.
3)Import, create or select existing 3D object in Proanimator..
4)Select 3d object in Proanimator.
5)Open Object Tab for the 3D primative.
6)Find the STATS button located in the Object Tab and open.
7)Take the following information in AE and place these numbers into ProAnimator's STATS window (to be safe, reset camera defaults in AE):

STATS X Position = AE's Camera Transform X Position x 1.5
STATS Y Position = - AE's Camera Y Transform Position (add minus sign) x 2.
STATS Z Position = AE's Camera Options ZOOM (in pixels)
(Note: the 1.5 and 2 multipliers are approximate multipliers and the X and Y positions need to be changed to match your specific comp size - small aspect ratio numbers for the comp requires larger adjustment numbers). The key is keeping Z position constant.

Once the center is fine tuned in Proanimator, Click OK in ProAnimator... now you are free to move the camera using AE's camera rig.

Final Side note: You can only have one camera in AE when using this rig in conjunction with Proanimator... for some reason, when you have more than one camera... it sometimes confuses the camera rig and you get weird camera movements and you can screw up your common position between Proanimator and AE.

IMPORTANT FINAL NOTE: If for some reason you create a second camera or your center gets lost between AE and ProAnimator (...this has happen to me). Or, decide to change the comp size (which is a big problem for camera movements). Go back to Proanimators Object Stats Box and change the XY positions to equal the size of your comp. ... Where X = comps X bit size... Where Y = MINUS comp bit size... and, Where Z still equals the Camera ZOOM number in AE. Ex. - 1440x1080 size comp would have a ProAnimator Stats numbers of - X = 1440; Y = - (minus) 1080 and Z = 1866.7 (for 35mm camera) This should give you a decent starting point to find the 3d object in the comp. No matter the problem... The key is keeping the Z positon constant (i.e.= AE's Camera Option Zoom) and move the X and Y positions to center the 3d object.


I have not tried this out using a lot of different camera's or comp sizes... but, so far it has worked well for different camera movements and provides a close appoximation of center for most comp sizes.

Hopefully others can experiement with my solution and can find faults with my simplistic way of using AE camera's and proanimators 3d objects.


Joe Moya

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