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3D layer order problem

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peter burr
3D layer order problem
on Feb 2, 2008 at 6:16:42 am

When working with complicated 3D layer compositions (with more than a few dozen layers) the layer order sometimes switches around in the composition when my camera moves along the z axis (zooming in and out). The result is a 'pop' where image layers will jump or slide through each other.

I have been struggling with this 3D layer order problem for a few years now..... just recently switching to After Effects CS3 to hopefully fix it (thinking it was a bug) and it is still a problem. Is there a fix to this problem or does After Effects simply not handle really complicated 3D compositions?

I have noticed that I can sometimes change the layer order of the items in the composition to fix this problem (ie. putting background image layers below the foreground image layers in the timeline) but this seems illogical since all layers in my comp are 3D layers with the camera on the top layer. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. i haven't been able to find a thread that addresses this topic anywhere.


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Steve Morris
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Feb 2, 2008 at 3:29:20 pm

I have been getting this same problem. Someone asked the same question a few weeks back, and never really got an answer for it. This problem drives me crazy. The only way I have found to fix the problem is to do as you did; alter the order of the layers. It does seem to make sense, but it works. I have also got results by moving one of the layers back in Z space a few more pixels. But, this can cause some parallax in certain cases.



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Brian Charles
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Feb 2, 2008 at 7:35:22 pm

I've never experienced this and have 3 D comps that often have more than 100 layers.

The issue only occurs for me when I have a 2D layer (of any sort including nulls or adjustment layers) between my 3D layers. Could this be the issue? Some 3D effects must be applied to 2D layers in order to function correctly (shatter, CC particle world etc). Despite using the Comp camera these must not be between other 3D layers.

Placing a 2D layer between 3D layers creates 2 separate 3D spaces.



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peter burr
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Feb 2, 2008 at 10:56:27 pm

Hi Brian,
There are no 2D layers in this problematic comp. Additionally, there have been no effects added. It is simply 75 layers of .ai and .swf files with a single camera on the top layer. all files have the '3D layers' box and the 'continuously rasterize' box checked.

Do you have any other ideas? It seems to me that Adobe simply hasn't figured out their 3D render engine completely, but I don't want to give up hope yet.



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Brian Charles
Re: 3D layer order problem -- Sorry
on Feb 3, 2008 at 3:43:58 pm

Hi Peter;

I've haven't a clue. I've never experienced this problem. You may be right, Adobe needs to update their 3D engine.





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Steve Roberts
Re: 3D layer order problem -- Sorry
on Feb 3, 2008 at 7:06:54 pm

Just checking: your comp is set to "advanced render", right?



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peter burr
Re: 3D layer order problem -- Sorry
on Feb 4, 2008 at 9:49:08 pm

Hello Steve,
Under the advanced settings tab (within composition settings) I only have one render plug-in to choose from: Advanced 3D. Is this what you mean by "advanced render'?

Coincidentally, Since I updated to CS3 last week and started troubleshooting these 3D layer order issues I have run across an entirely new problem where After Effects goes into a frozen death pose citing 'Advanced 3D' as the culprit. Here's what happened in one example:

I had a stack of 20 .ai files (set to continuously rasterize AND to act as a 3D layer) seperated by 10 pixels each along the z axis. Each file is identical and has an identical mask that cuts a hole in the layer. As the camera passed through this hole an error message appeared that read:

After Effects error: crash occured while invoking plug-in "advanced 3D".

Perhaps this is an entirely different issue, but it does touch upon your thought that my render settings are off. I just don't know how to change them. From all the research I have done I can't find an alternative to this 'advanced 3D' render with CS3. Any suggestions?




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Steve Roberts
Re: 3D layer order problem -- Sorry
on Feb 5, 2008 at 12:56:38 am

Yep, that's what I was talking about, "advanced 3D". Though, sadly, I was going to ask you to switch it on, not off. Bugger.

Have you upgraded to AE 8.0.2?



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peter burr
Re: 3D layer order problem -- Sorry
on Feb 6, 2008 at 8:03:30 am

Steve,

Yes, I did update to AE VERSION 8.0.2.27 since I started having these problems. Nothing has seemed to help.
As I am working more with vector files (.ai and .swf files) I am noticing that there are many other bugs in After Effects CS3..... On top of all these 3D woes it seems that AE CS3 hasn't quite figured out how to work with vector movie files yet. My program is crashing many times a day simply from importing swf files. I don't know if this is related to the 3D popping/shifting, but it seems like there might be some correlation. One problem unearths another and another.....





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Steve Roberts
Re: 3D layer order problem -- Sorry
on Feb 6, 2008 at 2:27:23 pm

Hm. I think that losing the shadow casting or rasterizing the vectors is the only workaround right now. Regarding the lost time due to the rasterization, we might have to admit that time is being lost looking for another solution ...? :-)

Anyway, there's another workaround if you need to have the shadows. I'm not sure how you're set up, but you could figure out a way to make shadows on a plain subject by filling the subject with white, then rendering the shadows on the white subject. Then you import that render, and lay it over the normal object in multiply mode, with no shadow-casting on (to avoid the bad lines). The downside is, you have to do it over again if camera/subject/lighting changes. It's a thought.



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enrico Baumann
Re: 3D layer order problem -- Sorry
on May 4, 2008 at 10:25:36 pm

Hello everyone,

has anybody found a solution or good workaround for this, yet? I have the same problems. The depth sorting is just not working. I have made a kind of small forest and the depth of field is (of course) blurring out the back so it is not noticeable there. But in the foreground all the layers do seem to mix from time to time popping in the front and so on.
You can have a look here:
http://www.vimeo.com/973386
It is especially noticeable between 30-40 seconds.
I've spent so much time on creating, it's for my final/mayor work for my degree and it's very frustrating.
Most of the graphics are small single png files. No effects applied and they are static. Just differ in position and rotation.
Any ideas welcome.

non si male nunc, net olim sic erit


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Gabriel Souza
Re: 3D layer order problem -- Sorry
on May 22, 2008 at 11:53:54 pm

Hi,

Well, I was having the same problem here and tried different things to fix. In my case, I imported layers from photoshop and everything was fixed when I turned layer styles off.

So, if you have any layer style applied to those layers, switch it off. Find another way of applying the same effect. Even pre composing didn't help for me.

If it's not your case, try switching other stuff off to see what happens.

Hope it helps,

Cheers







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Denis Dvorin
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Jul 10, 2008 at 1:18:54 pm

Use "Merge Layer Styles into Footage" option while importing PSD file with effects to AE project.
I think that editable layer styles are working like an adjustment layers in 3D comps.
Another AE CS3 "bug".




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monica pena
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Jan 26, 2009 at 11:26:22 pm

I had the same problem and it was because i had two layers in the same z position, and one popped over the other, try to move one forward or backward



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Jesper Pedersen
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Mar 31, 2009 at 7:56:38 am

I have found a workaround that works for me! Perhaps it also works for you(?)
The workaround is extremely simple but also difficult:
All elements in the composition have to be unique.
So
-You CANT copy a composition or graphic andd paste it. Eg. if you have a chair and wants have 2 chairs
-You must not use an instance in the project menu more than once.
-You CANT import the same AEP file more than once.
-If say, you have a file with a chair and wants to import it into another AE project, you can only do this one time. If you want more chairs and dont want to design it again from scrach, you have to take the original AE project and copy it and give it new names such as Chair2.aep chair3.aep.

fulfilling these rules, have made me overcome the problem of z depth. Great!!!I hope it will also help you!
-
-
-


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vlad cohen
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Aug 16, 2010 at 12:50:48 pm

Hi, I'm having this same problem in CS5 and I don't know how to fix it. I have three sets of images rotating around a null object like a carousel, but they overlap each other based on layer order, not z-space.

I don't have any layer effects and I don't think I have any duplicated elements. Does anyone have any other suggestions to fix the z-order problem? Even with splitting layers, I'm not sure how I can fix it as I have objects rotating on an angle and the overlaps don't have clear frames between them.

Thanks so much in advance -- and let me know if I can offer more information to diagnose the problem.



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Jeremy Lyons
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Nov 12, 2010 at 12:45:48 am

tried turning off collapse transformations on any subcomps?


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Jared Isham
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Mar 14, 2011 at 7:23:00 pm

I'm having the same issue. I had this problem back in October and thought it was specific to that project. Had roughly 200 layers and the layer order was causing elements to peak through.

Now I have a simple set up: 4 layers creating a box (front, back, left side, right side) when I rotate the object to the back side using 3d null layer the front layer pops through, as well as the sides get messed up based on the camera position (I also tried using a camera to see if that changed things but had the same result).

I don't remember having this problem when I was doing work in CS3 and CS4 and strangely enough didn't have this problem back in October when I was dealing with the same kind of stuff.

Suggestions?

I'm running a fully up to date version of AE CS5.

Jared Isham
Stage Ham
http://www.stgham.com
film. video. web media


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Jared Isham
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Mar 14, 2011 at 9:05:56 pm

Here is a picture of the issue I'm having. I want the Back layer to be on top, but because I'm rotating the object around a lot and have a bunch of them to do I don't want to have to adjust the layer order every time the object is moved.



Jared Isham
Stage Ham
http://www.stgham.com
film. video. web media


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Rob McLendon
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Jan 31, 2013 at 7:43:22 am

This fixed the problem (layer order taking precedence over z-space) for me. Thanks!!!


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maha mohtaseb
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Sep 19, 2011 at 2:19:48 am

This used to kill me.. Hope this helps!

do not parent any 3d layers. either do without parenting or precompose the children and parent layers and collapse transformations of that precomp

another solution, in your active camera's settings, turn on "enable depth of field". and set blur level to any number over 20. makes no sense, but who cares, it works!


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Ahmed Akmal
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Nov 7, 2011 at 8:05:00 am

tried each and every possible solution stated above and nothing helps :s

my case is an adjustment layer, turning off its visibility restores all the 3D order right, turning it back on, messes everything ! that is really annoying


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Jared Isham
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Nov 7, 2011 at 9:23:27 am

So far what I've discovered is that an adjustment layer or any 2D layer will screw with your 3d layers, or any 3d layer positioned below it. My solution has been, and I know it is annoying, to re-order your layers depending on the position of the object to the camera.

I usually select the offending layers in the timeline. If they are popping through the top layer (in 3D space), then I splice them CTRL+SHIFT+D, then move the offending layers down in the stack order until the "pops" go away.

You would have to do this whenever it happens but it has proven to work for me. It sucks when you have 60+ layers like I often have.

Jared Isham
Stage Ham
http://www.stgham.com
http://www.jaredisham.com
film. video. web media


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Ahmed Akmal
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Nov 7, 2011 at 11:42:42 pm

mmmm, arranging the layers in 3D space and in the comp exactly the same is impossible in my case, there are 3 layers that shouldn't ever be affected by the adjustment layer, however, in the middle of the animation, one of the layers that should be affected by the adjustment, will come towards the camera in Z-space passing by the the layers on top of the adj layer... which never happens as long as the adjustment layer is not on top

as for the splicing, I can't seem to understand how to use it to resolve this issue :s


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Jared Isham
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Nov 8, 2011 at 12:30:44 am

It may be worth at least experimenting with. When the offending layer starts moving toward camera in Z space try splitting the layer there and moving down in layer order in your comp (maybe even move it to the bottom of the stack). If it works then you know that is what the issue is.

Another thing you may have to do is create a matte for the layers you don't want to have effected by your adjustment layer. The truth of the matter is After Effects is not quite ready for massive 3D modeling...they even call it a 2.5D program. You can make it work it is just a pain in the ass to get it to play nicely.

Hope that I am somewhat helpful. Good Luck.

Jared Isham
Stage Ham
http://www.stgham.com
http://www.jaredisham.com
film. video. web media


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Ahmed Akmal
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Nov 8, 2011 at 11:09:46 am

Jared, thanks for taking the time twice to help me out with this matter ;) as you said, AE is a real pain in the ass when it comes to 3D...

I'll try matting, it looks like a possible solution in my case, wish they will work this out in CS6

Thx again, have a gr8 day :)


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Tim Whalen
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Feb 3, 2012 at 7:38:47 pm

I'm having the same issue that everyone else seems to be having...

I have no 2D layers of any kind in my comp (unless you want to count some lights or the camera, which are on the top of the stacking order). It consists of a few pre-comps with collapse transformations on (to realize the 3D nature of each comp). I can give more details, but let's get to the real frustrating part...

When I move my camera around, everything looks like how I want it, with the 3D elements behaving the way I want, but when the window updates with the full-res preview, THAT's when layers pop out of place. Why is it that the low-res preview would be more accurate than the full-res one?

Oh, my comps are made up of JPGs, PNGs, and a few PSD layers with no adjustment layers...

The real interesting part is that I didn't notice any issues until my comp grew to the relatively massive size it is at now. I mean, I realize that 3D rendering isn't After Effects' true domain, but a lot of this just doesn't make sense to me! Any insights are truely appreciated.


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Tom Durham
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:56:12 pm

Same problems here. Ridiculous really.





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Jared Isham
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Feb 11, 2012 at 12:39:24 am

I have a work around, but it doesn't fix the fact that it does not work like other 3d software. I'll try to put together a really basic tutorial soon.

Jared Isham
Stage Ham
http://www.stgham.com
http://www.jaredisham.com
film. video. web media


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Tim Whalen
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:37:06 pm

Ooh! Please do!

BTW -- I cam across this little tidbit:
http://www.motionscript.com/design-guide/invisible-facing-away.html

I think this expression could be used to hide layers that are popping out of place, although I don't understand the code enough to modify it for my purposes. Your tutorial wouldn't happen to utilize anything like this, eh?


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Tom Durham
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Feb 13, 2012 at 4:56:16 pm

This thread has lots of great points on this topic:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/2/1014011





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YOU can help save TimeSpace. Join the Chronos Protectorate!

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Doog Vandi
Re: 3D layer order problem
on Mar 16, 2012 at 10:10:34 pm

Try @Mark Pyper suggestion about Layer Styles. Despite there being no layer styles, just turning off the "eye" next to layer style worked.


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shirin tag
Re: 3D layer order problem
on May 25, 2016 at 9:23:21 am

Hey everybody, I have a problem to import a obj file in After Effects.
The file has a lot off layers and importing it in After Effects, the layers join together and that means I can't give different texture to each element. Do you have any solution for it?
I search long for a solution but I still didn't find it. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks

Ps.I am using After Effects CC Version 13.7.0.124


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Jared Isham
Re: 3D layer order problem
on May 25, 2016 at 3:44:22 pm

To have access to layers of an obj file in After Effects I believe you need to open the file in Cinema4D Lite (bundled with AE now). You can apply your textures in there.

The other option, I believe, is to use Video Copilot's Element 3D.

Unfortunately, After Effects does not support 3D objects natively...as far as I know.

Jared Isham
Stage Ham
http://www.stgham.com
http://www.jaredisham.com
film. video. web media


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