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3D Layer Order

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Jared Isham3D Layer Order
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 7:36:54 pm

I know this topic has been discussed before but none of the solutions were working for me.

Here is my problem. I have built a ramp in After Effects (I know it would have been easier in a 3D program but they were not available to me). The ramp is build it 3d space and has the typical 4 sides like a box but to create the curve I used multiple layers and rotated them on the X-Axis in order to make it look like it was curving.

It looks great from some angles but when animating it the curved ramp likes to peak through the sides of the ramp and sometimes flicker. I added multiple layers to the side using the expression "position-[0,0,(index-1)*1]" to give it some 3d depth in an attempt to cover up the peaking layers.

That kind of worked when I placed the "extruded" layers at the bottom of the comp and 1 layer as a "cover layer" at the top of the comp. The big issue is that the ilayers still jump through each other and now the sides like to cut into the ramp surface.

Any suggestion would be fantastic.

Working in After Effects CS5 and all layers are "non-effect" PSD layers

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


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Kevin CampRe: 3D Layer Order
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 8:28:52 pm

i believe this technique still works, and may help you....

if you add a 2d layer in between two 3d layers, it should force ae to render the 3d layers based on layer order and not 3d space... meaning the upper 3d layer will render 'in front' of the lower 3d layer regardless of how they are positioned in 3d space. you can position the 2d layer offscreen, or set the opacity to zero, and it should have the same effect.

one other thing... if you are seeing this in preview, make sure you have opengl disabled in preferences>previews. opengl can often produce render issues that are not seen in the final render, so it's often best to disable it for previews...

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Jared IshamRe: 3D Layer Order
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 8:33:50 pm

thanks for the tip. the 2d layer helped me a few times but I am rotating 360 degrees around the ramp and that trick seems to only work on one side. I'll play around with it more but it has not been 100% successful. Maybe I have it between the wrong layers.

I unfortunately am working with 203 layers.

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


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Kevin CampRe: 3D Layer Order
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 8:58:59 pm

[Jared Isham] "I am rotating 360 degrees around the ramp and that trick seems to only work on one side."

you'd need to duplicate and trim layers, so the 'front' layer (layer that should look as if it were in front to the camera) was always on top of the layers it needed to be in front of... it starts to get a little tricky with a 360.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Jared IshamRe: 3D Layer Order
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 9:03:30 pm

oh fun, well I've deffinately got my work cut out for me today.

Another issue I was facing was the ramp is in a pre-comp and then I have elements that come out of the ramp that are in seperate pre-comps. With the 2d layer in the ramp pre-comp, the elements in their own pre-comps don't interact with the ramp as they did before and are peaking through layers. Do I need to do the same trick else where or turn off the 2d layer at that point?

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


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Kevin CampRe: 3D Layer Order
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 10:24:59 pm

you may need to do the same trick to the precomps, i haven't used this technique with 3d elements in a precomp (i assume collapse transformations is on for those)...

to avoid having to trim the layers, this expression in the opacity of the layer that needs to get trimmed may help:

if (toCompVec([0, 0, 1])[2] > 0 ) value else 0
it will just set the opacity to zero when the layer faces away from the camera (you can read about how the coed works on motionscript.com).

you would just need to reverse the greater-than symbol to be less-than if the layer needed to be visible if facing away form the camera (since i don't know exactly how your ramp is constructed).

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Jared IshamRe: 3D Layer Order
by on Nov 15, 2010 at 10:42:40 pm

im just gonna stick with splittig layers as Im half way through it already, but that expression is going in my archives for the next time I have to do this. Ill try the layer trick with my precomps and see if that works, thanks for the help

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


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