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3D Path Extrusion -- complex shapes no longer display properly

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Matt Bacon
3D Path Extrusion -- complex shapes no longer display properly
on May 1, 2018 at 9:57:23 pm

TL;DR: merged paths invert when converted to 3D layer after updating After Effects.

Hello Everyone,

I just updated to After Effects CC 15.1.1 (Build 12) and discovered a frustrating change in a project created in a (recent) previous version--I cannot say exactly which version of AE I was using to originally create the project, but it was CC 2018 flavoured.

The project contains many (many) paths which were originally Adobe Illustrator compound paths. I converted these paths to shape layers by importing an AI file and using "Create Shapes from Vector Layer". The resulting shape layers have many paths and AE intelligently added a "Merge Paths" set to "Merge" where appropriate. Originally, I achieved the desired result: complex 3D shapes with the correct portions "knocked-out". One example is a house with windows and a door rendering as transparent "holes" in the house path.

I did not use any 3rd party plug-ins when creating this project and I am interested in alternative work-flows but I also want to solve my problem to avoid re-doing a bunch of work.

My problem: after updating AE to latest, all the merged paths render out incorrectly inverted, e.g. the house is an empty house silhouette with windows and door appearing as solid 3D extruded objects. I can easily re-create the problem, post-update any merged set of paths in any shape layer render correctly (house has transparent windows and door)... until I convert the layer to 3D... suddenly the paths all invert!

I hope I've explained this well enough. Thanks for reading,


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Ronny Wright
Re: 3D Path Extrusion -- complex shapes no longer display properly
on Dec 1, 2019 at 5:49:04 am

Hi Matt,

I don't know if you've already solved this, but I ran into the same issue with a logo I was trying to recreate in 3D.

I solved my problem by creating multiple merge path operators for different sets of paths. Code order is key to solving this complex path problem. I was watching the following youtube video when I got the idea:

Hope this helps, cheers.

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Max Haller
Re: 3D Path Extrusion -- complex shapes no longer display properly
on Dec 2, 2019 at 7:43:46 pm

I'd check the order the paths in the layer window. It sounds like maybe they got inverted somehow? Not sure what else would cause an issue like that. You've probably already checked that, but if not start there. It's usually set up like A minus B so order matters

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