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Real Object to 3D Animation

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John Foster
Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 2:16:59 am

I need to take a toy helicopter that we have and make it fly in After Effects CS5 or CS6.Can After Effects do this?

Do I need to recreate the whole thing as an animation or can I cheat by taking high res photos?

Thank you

John


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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 11:20:52 am

It's not the resolution but the perspective changes that are the issue. If your sequence does not require perspective change then you're fine. Otherwise, it's largely an impossible task without more elaborate software.

HTH
RoRK

Intensive mocha & AE Training in Singapore and Other Dangerous Locations

Imagineer Systems (mocha) Certified Instructor
& Adobe After Effects ACE/ACI (version 7)


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Paul Roper
Re: Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 12:35:27 pm

There are one or two apps/websites out there that can magically transform a load (about 50-80 seems to be the norm) of photos you take of an object, and create a 3D model from it, such as:

http://www.123dapp.com/catch

I've never tried it out, but it's the kind of magic normally reserved for people in movies saying "enhance" to their computers when faced with a low res, blurry image.

The process seems to involve just moving around the object, snapping photos, then uploading them to the website, and voila! It creates a 3D object! How you actually convert the .stl file to something After Effects or a 3D program can work with is another matter which I haven't looked into. You can also order 3D "prints" of the models, so if you want another toy helicopter (probably costing far more than the original toy!) then you can get one made from your photos.

To have the helicopter fly around in 3D, you'd have to render it in a 3D program (anything from Maya or Cinema 4D if you've got a few thousand £ or $ to spend, to Google SketchUp which is free) then comp the rendered images onto a background in After Effects.

- Paul


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Tim Drage
Re: Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 1:54:12 pm

I have the iphone app of 123D Catch, it's pretty magical indeed tho the models it produces can be a bit blobby/mutated if you don't get great photos. Also it can't really manage anything shiney/reflective/transparent or very smoothly/plainly coloured at all. Really fun anyway and quite promising for ideas I have for future projects.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 2:21:44 pm

The .stl file is called a STereo Lithography file, or sometimes Standard Tesselation Language file. It's generally used for prototyping and computer aided manufacturing. I use 3DS Max, and it's one of the better CAD formats to import into Max. I'm sure there are other ways to go, but first you need to purchase Max (not cheap), and then you need to know what you're doing as far a texture mapping goes, or you'll have a plain grey model. I think the photo approach to the project makes more sense, unless you've got the budget.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Tim Drage
Re: Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 12:58:36 pm

If you don't need it super realistic in terms of perspective etc you could film/stop-motion a 360° rotation of the toy on a turntable against some kind of green or bluescreen, bring it into after effects, key out the greenscreen with Keylight, make the layer 3D and make it always face the camera using this expression - http://timdrage.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/orient-3d-layer-to-camera-properly.h... and then animate the 'rotation' of it with time remapping keyframes...

I've experimented with this kind of technique with interesting results, I also managed to connect the time-remapper fake rotation to the camera position, kind of works like the sprites in Doom or other old first person shooter games :)


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John Foster
Re: Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 6:06:43 pm

What about autodesk?


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John Foster
Re: Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 6:08:27 pm

And how would I create the effect of the propeller spinning?

John


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Paul Roper
Re: Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 9:36:31 pm

That's the easy bit (assuming you mean the rotor blades). Just draw a couple of long thin rectangles in a shape layer to form a thin cross (assuming you're after a 4-blade rotor setup). Making sure your anchor point is in the dead centre of the blades, make the layer 3D, and animate the z-rotation (or write an expression by option-clicking the Z Rotation and tpying in time*1000 into the expression field). Set the X Rotation to 90˚, parent this layer to the top of your helicopter layer, and wherever the helicopter goes, the blades will follow, spinning happily. Make sure you switch on motion blur for the layer.

You'll have to view it from a non-front angle to see the fun - maybe switch the view to Custom View 1.

If you really wanted to, with the new 3D features in CS6, you could control flexing of the blades and the amount of twist applied depending on how the pilot's controlling the collective!

- Paul


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John Foster
Re: Real Object to 3D Animation
on Nov 19, 2012 at 10:00:34 pm

Thanks a mil.

John


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