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3D-particles in After Effects

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Marjolein van Diejen
3D-particles in After Effects
on Nov 20, 2011 at 12:04:30 am

I'm working on a motion graphic in which I want to incorporate 3D-particles, to be specific, music notes. I want the notes to really have some body/depth, kind of like what you see here:

My idea is to make the particle in Cinema4D, then import it into After Effects en then use Particular. I am not quite sure if this is the best way to do it though (is it even possible?) or if it would be better to wait for Andrew Kramer's Element-plugin?

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Brian Charles
Re: 3D-particles in After Effects
on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:17:15 am

It's currently not possible to have particles with 3D extrusion in After Effects, you may need to wait for AK's Element.

You could use a plugin like ShapeShifter or Zaxwerks Invigorator to generate extruded 3D shapes in AE but they couldn't be used as particles.

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Chris Bobotis
Re: 3D-particles in After Effects
on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:00:31 pm

You could pre-render or pre-comp a sequence using ShapeShifter AE then use that as a particle (Sprite) in Particluar.

Or you could use ShapeShifter AE's built-in Generator to create instances and animate them depending on what your animation is like.

See: there are several examples of ShapeShifter AE using the built-in Generator.


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Erik Waluska
Re: 3D-particles in After Effects
on Nov 20, 2011 at 7:01:58 pm

You could render out the 3D music notes as movies and then use those as custom particles in particular. You may need to use several instances of particular depending on how many music notes you have. Also, check out this tutorial.

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Walter Soyka
Re: 3D-particles in After Effects
on Nov 21, 2011 at 2:48:51 pm

Here's an example showing how 3D custom particles look with Particular's different particle types.

In the two lower examples, I use an animation of a rotating asterisk as the custom particle. Particular's "Sprite" particle type always auto-orients the particle to the camera, so the illusion of depth is more or less preserved (though perspective is not proper). Particular's "Polygon" particle type allows free rotation of the texture on all axes, breaking the illusion of extruded depth.

If you need to have any x- or y-rotation, you must animate in and render it from C4D. Bring it into AE as a movie. Use the movie as the texture for Particular, and choose your time sampling accordingly. If you want to have multiple different notes, make them all movies of the same length, import them all into AE and precomp them together (head to tail), and use one of the Split Clip time sampling methods.

Using C4D's native particle tools is another option, too.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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