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Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6

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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6
on Jan 22, 2013 at 2:58:28 am

Hey all, hoping I can find some help with this issue.

I've created a relatively complex 3D image entirely with photoshop extrusions and textures and right now I'm trying to move that image into After Effects while maintaining the individual 3D meshes and perspective.

Basically, I have created a 3D film reel that is supposed to be resting on a globe stand. In an ideal world, the can would rotate and spin in the stand as if it were a globe. The idea behind it is to represent "global film" for a film festival that I am involved with.

The can is made up of three meshes that have all been merged into a single 3D layer. The two aluminum side panels are they're own extruded meshes and then the third is the film. All meshes were made from extruded cylinders. Then the stand is another three meshes where there is the arm that's made from a "C" and then one rectangle and one cylinder that make up the base. I have not merged the film reel and the base because I am worried that if I do merge them I will no longer be able to independently move the reel without moving the stand, i.e., be unable to rotate the reel within the stand. I wish that I could merge them though because as of now there is no shadow interaction between the two elements.

Right now when I open the .PSD in After Effects, I am losing all perspective and the layers are coming through as completely flat.

Attached is the image in Photoshop;



And in After Effects;



Thank you for all of your help!

Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
AJA IoXT
Adobe Production Premium CS6, Avid Symphony 6, Final Cut Pro Studio 3
The College of William and Mary


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Stefan Hinze
Re: Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6
on Jan 22, 2013 at 9:38:14 am

Hey,

first thing on my mind is: You should use a 3D Program.
If you want to have shadows...

Or use a plugin like Zachwerks or Element 3D.
(but then you need to find a workaround for the shadows)

I am not very experienced in the workflow of extruded PS Files --> How about you merge the sides an the film together?
(i am not shure if PS supports such a structure!)

I hope this is somehow helpfull!


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6
on Jan 22, 2013 at 2:07:27 pm

Matthew -

Here's a rundown on what you can and can't accomplish in AE with 3D from Photoshop:

http://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/3d-layers.html

In case you haven't heard, 3D support in PS has been dropped as of AE CS6 (it's explained in the link above). This could be why you're having problems with it. If you want "real" 3D in AE, you'll have to use 3D Element, Zaxwerks, or create and animate your 3D elements in a 3D package, then bring them in to AE via RPF or RLA, which can preserve much of their 3D information, and allow you lots of options when compositing.

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


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6
on Jan 22, 2013 at 5:24:42 pm

I'm really sorry to learn you went to all that trouble for nothing.
If you want real, manipulate-it-any-way-you-want 3D, a 3D application is the best route.

Photoshop doesn't cut it.

Personally, I think even attempting to implement 3D in Photoshop was one of Adobe's worst ideas EVER, and I think the Adobe marketing people misled the Photoshop user base into thinking it was in some way useful.

Okay, I'm stepping off my soapbox now....

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6
on Jan 22, 2013 at 6:29:43 pm

I'm with you to a certain extend, Dave. 3D in PS was pretty poorly implemented, and misleading to most - only those who were already doing 3D in a dedicated package saw the glimmer of capability in it.

Personally, I saw it as cool, because one of the 3D formats PS would output, was U3D, a format which allowed me to bring models in from 3D Studio Max, then save them out to U3D, which allowed me to create PDF files which had "live" 3D models in them, allowing the viewer to essentially hold the object in their hand. They could rotate the model in 3D space, view object specifications, and all sorts of cool things that my hi-tech clients wanted to do.

Now it's going to be more difficult, and probably involve several hundred dollars for a 3D translator package.

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


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6
on Jan 22, 2013 at 10:21:46 pm

Well, that's the benefit of having you around, Joe: you've worked in a lot of different file formats, and I haven't. When you're but a humble promo producer, you stick to video files.

I did not know that a pdf file could accommodate 3D. I learned something new today.

However, I think you'll agree that Adobe's marketing made Photoshop 3D seem like everything to everyone, which it clearly wasn't.

I guess you pays your money and takes your chance, eh?

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6
on Jan 23, 2013 at 2:27:52 am

Thank you everyone for all of your help!

So I obviously was not doing this in the right place to start. I definitely agree on that now. But as I don't really have to means to get a full dedicated 3D application at this point, let alone learn it to the point that I could do what I really wanted in any reasonable amount of time, is there any sort of workaround that you might know of? When it comes to plugins, which would you recommend to help me accomplish what I am looking to do?

Thanks again for everyone's help!

Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
AJA IoXT
Adobe Production Premium CS6, Avid Symphony 6, Final Cut Pro Studio 3
The College of William and Mary


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6
on Jan 23, 2013 at 2:59:11 am

Matthew -

I would take a close look at 3D Element. I've used both Zaxwerks and 3D Element, and I prefer 3D Element - I can't nail down the specifics of why I like it over Zaxwerks. I think it may be the interface. It's also been several years since I've used Zaxwerks, so there probably have been significant changes to the product.

But I would take a look at 3D Element before purchasing it, to make sure that you can make the moves you need to make. There are some limitiations to 3D Element as far as animation goes, but there are lots of workarounds. I believe 3D Element is less expensive than Zaxwerks, and I like the look of 3D Element's output better. That said, Zaxwerks now has 3D Invigorator Pro, which adds ray-tracing, and a number of other features, but it's about 3 times the price of 3D Element. You may want to jump on the demo of both, or at least go through the tutorials - 3D Element has a lot of great tutorials, and the forum will give you a handle on some of its limitations.

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


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Animate Multi-Mesh 3D File in AE CS6
on Jan 23, 2013 at 3:11:25 am

Dave -

Adobe's marketing of the 3D feature was confusing from the get go. I remember getting the first iteration (was it CS4?) which implemented it, and being horribly disappointed. Then when I found out about 3D PDF capabilities, it blew my mind!

Take a look at some examples of the 3D PDF:

http://www.adobe.com/manufacturing/3dpdfsamples/3dsolutions/

This has apparently been in use for some time, one example being at Ford Motor Company - their CAD jockies would embed new designs in PDFs, so that the marketing people wouldn't have to deal with all sorts of arcane CAD formats, all of which needed some sort of proprietary reader or file conversion. The PDF is universal, and it has had the 3D feature built in for some time. Here are some more examples, some of which just make you wonder why it isn't seeing wider use:

http://www.bentley.com/BentleyWebSite/Templates/ProductGeneric.aspx?NRMODE=...

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


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