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rendering normal/reflection maps to enable remapping in After Effects

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Nick Hillrendering normal/reflection maps to enable remapping in After Effects
by on Jun 5, 2012 at 6:31:22 pm

I've got a scene with a load of reflective objects in it. I'd like to be able to render the scene out once, as a normal map (I think this is what I mean although I'm not 100% sure) so that I can change what's being reflected later in AE, using something like youveeliser. I've tried rendering multi-pass with a normal map, but as the reflective objects are basically composed of flat planes, each face comes out as one colour (which I suppose makes sense), meaning that rather than each one acting like a little mirror, it's sampling the reflection texture at a particular point.

This is what the render should look like, non-multipass:


This is the reflection map


and this is what I get when I render a normal map (this is 32-bit converted down to 8-bit)


I'm obviously doing something wrong but I'm not sure what!



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Jeremy AllenRe: rendering normal/reflection maps to enable remapping in After Effects
by on Jun 5, 2012 at 10:47:46 pm

I think what you want is a UV Pass instead of a Normal Pass. Once you Apply YouVeelizer or Re:Map to your reflection image using the UV pass, it should break up the reflection image and give the illusion of that image being reflected on your planes. I think.

Some things are just hard to communicate with written words :) Someone else may be able to confirm this idea or give another solution. Good luck!

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C4D 12
AE CS5 (10.0.2.4)
FCP 7.0.3
QT 7.6.4


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Darby EdelenRe: rendering normal/reflection maps to enable remapping in After Effects
by on Jun 6, 2012 at 10:07:32 pm

You probably don't want a regular UV pass, which would be used to re-texture the objects. If there's any motion (objects or camera) in the scene then a reflection will behave differently than a regularly applied texture. The application of the texture will actually be different than a reflection even if the scene is static, but it won't be as obvious :)

What you might try is a sky object with a UV ramp material and compositing tag ('seen by camera' off) applied to it. Then render your sequence with only the sky object and your reflective objects visible. Also make sure that your objects are 100% reflective across the entire surface (no fresnel) as any variation in color will affect the mapping of the reflected texture in after effects.

Darby Edelen


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Darby EdelenRe: rendering normal/reflection maps to enable remapping in After Effects
by on Jun 6, 2012 at 10:15:35 pm

Also if you want the best possible results after remapping your UVs in AE I'd recommend rendering out of C4D at 3-4x your final resolution with anti-aliasing set to "None." Then in AE you'll have the benefit of accurate UV mapping and you can scale your mapped layer down in order to get a nicely anti-aliased result.

Darby Edelen


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