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Workflow tips for After Effects & Cinema 4D

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Michael Wood
Workflow tips for After Effects & Cinema 4D
on Jul 27, 2016 at 11:17:48 pm

I work for a design and motion graphics agency which has only recently taken on animation. We have a really cool project which involves showcasing a range of products and services within a 3D room/environment, the products being shown in an abstract way via wireframe models, with the camera moving from point to point. I'm very much into the Cinema 4D side, while others focus more on After effects and compositing.

The problem we are facing is that none of us really know the best way to marry all these skills up, as they have all been used independently of each other up until now.

While I could create the 3D environment in Cinema 4D, would it be best to animate the camera in Cinema and take over to After Effects for adding bits to it, or do I create the environment in Cinema and animate the camera in After Effects using Cineware or pre-rendering (AE camera being a massive pain to work with, plus no realtime preview!) I'm much more comfortable with animating the camera in Cinema but the problem with this is when we have to make changes, the final composite is in After Effects (Text, callouts, particles etc) so these would essentially have to be re-timed if any major changes take place, plus I'm sure when you import the Cinema 4D camera into AE you get baked keyframes with no interpolation.

If we used post effects such as trap code particular, how do we get this to marry up with the cinema 4D scene and actually LOOK integrated (Particles behind stuff and infront etc). Plus matching depth of field in After Effects to that of Cinema 4D, would this be as simple as rendering out a depth pass from cinema? How would this be applied in After Effects.

I could go on, but I think this is more of a workflow question to be honest. If anyone has any experience with these types of animations, what is the best order in which to do things. Any tips would be great, even if it's not relevant to the camera question I would love any advice on the most streamlined way to pull this off.

Many thanks in advance.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Workflow tips for After Effects & Cinema 4D
on Jul 28, 2016 at 5:35:51 pm

[Michael Wood] "While I could create the 3D environment in Cinema 4D, would it be best to animate the camera in Cinema and take over to After Effects for adding bits to it, or do I create the environment in Cinema and animate the camera in After Effects using Cineware or pre-rendering"

I think this depends on where the bulk of the work will happen. I like to weigh whether a project leans more heavily on C4D or Ae, and choose a primary application accordingly.


[Michael Wood] "I'm much more comfortable with animating the camera in Cinema but the problem with this is when we have to make changes, the final composite is in After Effects (Text, callouts, particles etc) so these would essentially have to be re-timed if any major changes take place"

Re-timing elements in the "other" application, whichever the other is, may be inevitable.


[Michael Wood] "If we used post effects such as trap code particular, how do we get this to marry up with the cinema 4D scene and actually LOOK integrated (Particles behind stuff and infront etc). Plus matching depth of field in After Effects to that of Cinema 4D, would this be as simple as rendering out a depth pass from cinema? How would this be applied in After Effects."

You might consider X-Particles in C4D.

Otherwise, yes, render object buffers and depth passes. Effects like Camera Lens Blur and Frishluft Lenscare accept depth passes for controlling their blurs.


[Michael Wood] " If anyone has any experience with these types of animations, what is the best order in which to do things. Any tips would be great, even if it's not relevant to the camera question I would love any advice on the most streamlined way to pull this off. "

For projects with multiple artists and a more complex pipeline, developing storyboards and animatics (which are storyboards with animated camera moves that are timed and set to VO and soundtrack) and getting supervisor/client buy-in along the way is enormously helpful.

A timing tweak to an animatic is easy. A timing tweak to a complex, intertwined 2D/3D animation is hard! The idea is to improve the creative as much as possible while it's still cheap illustrations.

Couple this with a few style frames which are representative of what the final piece will look like, so the supervisor/client can keep the real look in mind through the storyboarding process.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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