A newbie question: How do I "keyframe" transparency for a Zax 3D text title that I want to appear (fade in) about 7 seconds into my AFter Effects composition? Only way I can see right away is to perhaps use a transparency map, but you can't keyframe this. So, do I make a copy of the 3D title totally transparent in one comp, then place this on the timeline under the "original" comp?
The answer depends on what's going on in your Invigorator scene.
If the text is the only thing in it, you could pre-render the movie and keyframe the transparency of the movie. Doing this is likely faster and more flexible than putting the Invigorator project into a precomp and keyframing the transparency of the precomp.
If you have Invigorator objects passing in front of or behind the text you wish to make transparent, or if you want more options for how the tranparency happens, you may be better off using Invigorator's layermapping abilities. Essentially, layermapping means using any other AE layer in the timeline as a surface attribute for your Invigorator object.
In its simplest form, you could add a solid to the timeline. Make it totally black at 0 and totally white at 7. Assign this solid layer to one of the layermap numbers in Invigorator. Then use the material editor to apply that material (with the map active in the transparency channel) to the 3D text.
The beauty of this technique is flexibility. Consider this: If you're using different materials for different faces of your 3D text, you can use different transparency maps for each of them, so the transpareny happens at different rates. And how about this: Rather than a basic black-to-white transition in your transparency map, you could add grids, fractal noise or other patterns to the transparency map to make the transition more interesting.
>>In its simplest form, you could add a solid to the timeline. Make it totally
>> black at 0 and totally white at 7. Assign this solid layer to one of the
>>layermap numbers in Invigorator. Then use the material editor to apply that
>> material (with the map active in the transparency channel) to the 3D text.
I think this is what I am looking for. I was reading the book I got with invig and I did find the transparency map section. I have a still shot of our church on the timeline, with a cc snow effect (which looks beautiful, by the way)applied, with snow already painted on the roof and ground of the scene with the paint tool of AE. I wanted a simple "Merry Christmas" (frosty font) to appear 7 secs into the scene. I think I will try this route you mention.
But what exactly do you mean by "(with the map active in the transparency channel)"? Do you mean just clicking on the transparency map checkbox, and making sure I select the layer to map to?
Forget my last post - I thought I was replying to a question in another thread instead of this one.
Actually, leaving the keyframing in other AE layers is far more flexible and powerful than it would be to try to do it all inside of the invigorator plug-in. Think of all of the modifiers you can use to affect AE keyframing.. .from ease in and out to curve editing and lots of others. Once you get used to the concept, it opens a lot of doors.