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Maya camera import into AE for show intro. Help! I've tried everything.

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anodecathode
Maya camera import into AE for show intro. Help! I've tried everything.
on Mar 16, 2007 at 8:19:45 pm

I'm working on an intro for a BET religious broadcast, and I'm running into some problems importing my Maya camera into AE.

Basically I've created a 3d stage in Maya on which to place a tif sequence textured plane of the rotoscoped Pastor preaching. The camera follows the Pastor around, then pulls back to reveal the giant sea of crowd created via the particular plug-in in AE (thanks to the "belief" tutorial and my home made green screen.. hehe)
So obviously, I need to synchronize AE's camera movement with Maya's so as to seamlessly match the crowd plane into my 3d stage and Pastor scene. Here is a test render of the scene so as to better understand:

http://www.whittierproductions.com/TF/ETCROWDTEST.mov

So as you can see, the AE elements in the scene, (the particle crowd and the background mountains) start to drift killing any chance of making this technical nightmare look semi-photorealistic.

I've created a simple test scene so as to validate that the AE camera is drifting. Here are examples of that scene:

http://www.whittierproductions.com/TF/MAYA_SS1.jpg

http://www.whittierproductions.com/TF/AE_SS2.jpg

http://www.whittierproductions.com/TF/AECAMTESTMAYA.mov

Once again the AE created solid plane starts to drift from the imported Maya scene.

I've tried the Creative Cow, Maya to AE camera import tutorial and I've searched and searched for posts all over the Maya and After Effects CC forums as well as others.. and out of all of that information this is the camera export import process that I've derived:


Maya

1. Make sure the Maya frame rate is set to NTSC 30 (windows - settings - preferences)

2. Make sure the Camera filmback setting is set to "horizontal" and not "fill"

3. Export the tif sequence using CCIR 601 Quantel NTSC (720x486)

4. Create locators and make sure that they are named with the prefix "null_"

5. Clear the scene so that only the locators and camera are left.

6. Bake the camera (Edit - Keys - Bake Simulation)

7. Save the newly created Maya file as ____FORAEIMPORT (.ma)


AE

8. Start up AE and import the .ma file

9. Two comps are created.. A square comp with the camera and locators (648x486) And a non-square comp with the square comp as one of its layers(720x486)

10. Import the tif sequence into the non-square comp.

11. Check to make sure the locators and camera data in the square comp are lining up with the tif sequence in the non-square comp. (They are.)

Now here is where everything goes terribly wrong.

12. Create a solid plane in the non-square comp and make it a 3d layer.

13. Now position the plane in the scene near the locators and scrub the time line to check for a match.

14. Image plane appears to drift around in the scene instead of locking into its correct 3d placement.


Any ideas as to what I'm doing incorrectly? Any help will be overwhelmingly appreciated.


thanks!!!!
Scott





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Jon W.
Re: Maya camera import into AE for show intro. Help! I've tried everything.
on Mar 18, 2007 at 10:50:39 pm

I've had many problems w/ importing Maya camera data into AE as well. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, it's terribly fustrating. But in case it helps, random things I've noticed that can throw things off:

I think using different units in Maya can produce different results (mm vs. cm vs. inch, etc), same for using a non-standard camera setting in Maya (maybe try 35mm Acadamy?), and I'm not sure why you're even working in non-square in Maya/AE. I always render out 720x540 sq in Maya, interpret video footage and scale to square pixel in AE, the squish it back out to non-square when it's ready for delivery.

It's a shot in the dark but make sure your Maya and AE is updated to the newest versions, I know AE 7.0 had some problem w/ importing .iff files but the update fixed it. And finally you could try the MoCon script, I've used it for getting AE camera data into Maya (works great) but haven't tried the other way around.

http://toolfarm.stores.yahoo.net/3dmov2.html
http://www.3dmation.com/maya_to_ae.html

Let me know if you find a solution.


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mYthprod
Re: Maya camera import into AE for show intro. Help! I've tried everything.
on Apr 1, 2007 at 5:09:44 am

I've had a lot of problems with this too and admittedly I've never changed the filmback setting from fill to horizontal so maybe that's what I've been doing wrong.

It seems like I've always worked square too, though. I spit a square image sequence out of AE for use in maya, then render square out of maya and bring back into AE for its square comp. Then render out non-square out of AE for the final. I'm thinking of those steps from memory but I think that's how I've always done it ... not positive.



- MythProd
(John David Hutton)
_________________________________________
Digital Effects Artist, Support Technician
Kansas City, Kansas - United States
_________________________________________


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mYthprod
Re: Maya camera import into AE for show intro. Help! I've tried everything.
on Apr 1, 2007 at 5:51:34 am

The http://www.whittierproductions.com/TF/AECAMTESTMAYA.mov link sure looks like it does when you have a scene whose camera's keys are not baked. Did you click on the camera before you baked the keys?

Anyway, just did a test render after my first post - rendered out 720 x 540 out of maya, named nulls NULL_name, did the filmback to horizontal, clicked on camera (normal camera, can't be camera_aim or camera_aim_and_up, they won't import into AE correctly) and baked keys (I'm in the habit of unchecking "keep unbaked keys" but I tried both ways and they both seemed to turn out fine), then saved as a .ma. Imported 720x540 image sequence into AE along with ma file. They matched up perfectly as far as I can tell. I got pretty crazy with the camera. I didn't do much else, like changing measured units between the two packages or anything else. Did this with maya 8.5 and AE 7.0.1.



- MythProd
(John David Hutton)
_________________________________________
Digital Effects Artist, Support Technician
Kansas City, Kansas - United States
_________________________________________


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Jimmy Van Houdt
Re: Maya camera import into AE for show intro. Help! I've tried everything.
on May 3, 2007 at 12:15:20 pm

Hey,

Have you managed to import and work with it as mentionned in the tutorial. I've tried it in the past as well and couldn't get it to work either. What is best? Import maya data into ae composition or import ae data into maya? Which way is 'THE' way to go?
I'm also after the trick on how to synchronize camera movement in maya with camera movement in AE.

Anybody any luck?

Ciao
Jimmy


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