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3D Shadows and Layer Order

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David Urbinati
3D Shadows and Layer Order
on Jul 14, 2011 at 3:44:17 am

CreativeCOW Forum,

I am having some baffling issues with 3D layers casting shadows and 3D layer order. I've spent several hours searching for solutions and have come across several common resources from Adobe documentation and other forum threads and have tried all of these but to no avail. I have several complicated 3D compositions nested inside of each other and in the "main comp" I want them to all interact with each other properly. Each of these layers have the collapse transformations option checked and all of the layers inside of them are 3D and the material options for lights and shadows are all on.

Here is a link to my project file:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/30607651/ArkPages%20Video.zip

As you can notice, the radio tower casts shadows properly (on itself and on the floor), but the dump truck to the right of it does not (it only cast shadows on itself. Also, the dump truck demonstrates the 3D layer issues I'm having. Not really sure what's going on here... There are no 2D layers.

Thanks for your help in advance!

-David


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Brian Charles
Re: 3D Shadows and Layer Order
on Jul 14, 2011 at 5:34:02 am

I dug through the nested comps for the truck and turned on Casts Shadows for each layer. The shadow is not obvious from the Active Camera view due to the position of the light. The layer casts a shadow beneath it. Look at this screen capture from a Custom View.






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David Urbinati
Re: 3D Shadows and Layer Order
on Jul 14, 2011 at 12:37:36 pm

Wow, I see. How did you get it to work for you? Which layers did I not have the cast shadows on for? I have them all on for the "most in depth" layers (i.e. the .ai and solids) but not their nested comps all the way through to the main comp. I did try turning cast shadows on for all of these comps but I didn't see any results even in the custom view or by changing the light position. AE's 3D abilities can be a little confusing sometimes...

Also, any idea on the 3D layer interactions with the truck and the clocks? That one has really baffled me... The layer order does matter even when the collapse transformations switch is turned on all the way through the comps. That's the comp labeled A6.

Thanks again!
-David

P.S. I'm having similar problems with other comps in the main shot but I'm hoping that if I find a solution to one of them, I'll be able to apply the concept to the rest. My results have been a little inconsistant as you may notice the radio tower (A2) and the map (A3&A4) do cast shadows, but the people in the A3&A4 comp do not.


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Brian Charles
Re: 3D Shadows and Layer Order
on Jul 14, 2011 at 6:13:11 pm

When I first looked at the project, I turned off all the other layers to eliminate any issues other than the one you mentioned with the truck. I had turned off the clocks layer and the shadow appeared. In fact reordering the A6 layers has the same effect.

Indeed the problem lies in the clock comp. There are some divider layers (not really sure what you're doing here) that are 2D which may be the issue, though moving them above all 3D layers did solve the shadow problem. I know that placing 2D layers between 3D layers can solve some rendering issues by separating the 3D world calculations.

I wish I could be more help, don't really have the time to troubleshoot this problem, which appears to be a layer order issue.



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David Urbinati
Re: 3D Shadows and Layer Order
on Jul 17, 2011 at 1:20:18 am

Thank you Brian. I understand.

For the sake of knowing how After Effects works, however, do you think the issue could be that layers just can't be nested as deep as I have them in my project? If you take a look at the A6 Comp in this modified project file (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/30607651/ArkPages%20Video.zip), I placed a "test floor and light" into the comp to see how they behaved. I was able to solve the layer issue by not collapsing transformations of the "A6 Clocks" in the "A6 Clocks Fall" comp. This is a compromise I am willing to deal with due to time (I don't prefer it, that's why I used illustrator for the vector sharpness). However, the shadows are still a problem. They don't appear in the active camera view in the main comp and only some layers cast them, not to mention the "tearing" I see because the shadows are just low resolution projections of which turning up the shadow size would kill the computer during render time. Maybe my goals in this video are too intense for what AE can handle.

Any suggestions? I know, this project is crazy. Do you know of anyone you can direct me to that I can talk to personally to help me with my specific problems in this project? I don't want to waste forum space with specific problems that might not be directly helpful to others. I'm just really struggling here...

Thanks
-David


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Todd Kopriva
Re: 3D Shadows and Layer Order
on Jul 14, 2011 at 5:39:27 am

There are several things other than 2D layers that can break shadow casting. The complete list is here.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
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Todd Kopriva
Re: 3D Shadows and Layer Order
on Jul 14, 2011 at 5:40:06 am

Oops. Ignore my answer. Brian helped you.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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