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Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera

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pukkascott
Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on Apr 28, 2007 at 8:35:59 pm

Here's a brainteaser that I have spent 2 days struggling with.

I am creating a page-a-day calendar in 3D that peels off using the good old CC page turn. To cut a long story short I have had to nest comps within comps. Here is the order:

Comp 1 - JPEG of one page - say January 1st. No effects. I have to do this to make the page turn extend outside the stills boundary.
Comp 2 - Whole month of page turns - so 62 layers to give front and back with a drop shadow on each layer.
Comp 3 - All the months combined to make the whole calendar. The camera flies around this.

Here is the problem. The monthly comps will not react to the camera and stay riggidly in position. Other comps (a 3D desk in this case) respond to the camera fine.

All the comps are collapsed and there are no additional effects on the comps in the final layer.

So is there a limit to the amount of comps you can nest inside each other for 3D? If there is and I have to go back a stage, can AE handle over 730 layers in one comp?! I am not sure I can anyway.

I am sure someone has tried this before, so any help is really, really welcome!

By the way I am using v7 pro but it is the same in V6.5 too.


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pukkascott
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on Apr 28, 2007 at 8:40:32 pm

Sorry - wrong forum!

But if you know the answer please help me!

Scott


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Jon Okerstrom
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on Apr 28, 2007 at 9:26:17 pm

Do all of the nested layers and precomps have 3d enabled?

Jon



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pukkascott
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on Apr 29, 2007 at 12:00:29 am

Thanks for your reply.

I checked that everything was set to 3D - it was. I have stripped back the final composition to its smallest component and I think I have discovered the problem - it's the CC page turn.

For some reason it is corrupting the nested comp. Even if it is applied but switched off the 3D move does not show. The Page turn effect has to be removed for the camera move to be seen.

This is, of course, a disaster. I can make the move work by not collapsing the page turn layer, but then the pages that a being turned are cropped as they fly off.

Any ideas?

Scott


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pukkascott
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on Apr 29, 2007 at 12:17:31 am

OK. I should be fair about the poor old CC Page Turn. Further experimentation has shown that applying any effect to the second comp causes the 3D ability to fail.

There must be some rule here about what you can and can't do. Can someone please point me in the right direction?

Thanks

Scott


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Jon Okerstrom
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on Apr 29, 2007 at 12:48:32 am

Scott,

You could always get around it by prerendering movies with the page turn effect, right?

jon



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pukkascott
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on Apr 29, 2007 at 7:32:04 am

Hi Jon.

Unless I am doing something wrong with the pre-render, it doesn't work. The pre-render result again crops the edges of the page turn when I zoom out.

I will experiment with pre-render again in case this is a good solution.

Thanks for the advice - I need it!

Scott


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pukkascott
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on Apr 29, 2007 at 10:18:23 am

Hi Jon.

The pre-render idea might work since I think I have found a workaround:

If I don't collapse the final nested comp then it tracks the camera move OK and still produces the lighting shadows I need. The downside of this is that the page turn gets cut off beyond the original comps edges.

To get round this I reduced the size of the page in comp 2 so there was lots of space around it for the pages to fly off in to. I then quadrupled the resolution of this comp to keep the quality up when it goes back into the final 720x576 comp.

At the moment I need to keep the comps changeable but I could pre-render the final version before putting this in the comp as you suggest.

So far it is working fine with just two pages turning! I have the feeling I will lose depth when I add more.

I will post a link to the final version when it's done.

Thanks for your help.


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Speedyman
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on May 1, 2007 at 2:18:50 am

Hi,
I read this thread with interest, as it sounds like a idea I might use sometime. However, I came up with a slightly different solution which only uses three layers, and one null and a camera. I'm not sure if this is exactly what you are trying to achieve, but check out my example here:
http://www.fabiolite.com/_ae/

I put up a short WMV file and the project file so you can see what I did. But here's a summary:

In After Effects 7...

1) Create a NTSC DV comp; 10 sec. long.
2) Add a 400x300 brown solid named "desk" the calendar will sit on.
3) Create a 150x150 white solid named "text". This will be the calendar. On this layer, add the following effects, ordered from top to bottom in the effects controls stack:
a) Numbers
b) Grow Bounds
c) CC Page Turn
4) Add a 50mm camera
5) Add a null layer. Parent the camera to it.

Now...

At 0 sec., add keyframe for the null layer's rotation value.
At 10 sec., add another keyframe and set it for 360 degrees rotation.
Set the camera at a pleasing angle, pointed at the desk. I just pulled mine down about 30-40 degrees.

Back at 0 sec., on the "text" layer, open the Effects Controls. Look In the NUMBERS effect, "Format" section: set TYPE to "Short Date".

Set the FILL/STROKE as desired. Make sure that COMPOSITE ON ORIGINAL is checked.

Now right-click on "VALUE/OFFSET" property and select "Reveal in timeline". In the timeline ALT+CLICK the property stopwatch and add the following expression: "4383+time" (w/o the quotes). This will produce a start date of Jan 01, 2007; (you can change this later if you wish) and it will increment this date by one day once every second. Press the ENTER key on your keyboard's numeric keypad to close the expression box and accept your entry.

Back up in the effects controls, still on the "text" layer, open up the NUMBERS effect, and set the PIXELS property to about 400. This will "grow" the text layer's dimensions so that CC Page Curl will continue off the layer, instead of just being limited by the layer's size.

In the CC PAGE CURL effect, set and keyframe the fold positions; I used these values:
frame 0: 171, 161;
frame 29: -133, -109;
frame 30: 171, 161.
Now, in the timeline for these keyframes, add this expression: "loopOut(type = "cycle", numKeyframes = 0)" (w/o the quotes). This will loop these values for the entire animation. You could have also simply turned down the twirly for FOLD POSITION" property in the timeline, clicked on the little circle with the arrow, and in that pop-up, choose PROPERTY, then LOOP OUT.. This would do the typing for you. Press ENTER on the numeric keypad to finish.

Now duplicate this entire layer by selecting it and pressing CTRL+D. ename it "Stationary text"; this layer will not move from the desk. It will display the date one day later than the page page-turning off the desk calendar. Here's how to make the changes to enable this:
With the layer selected, press the "u" key to unfold all properties you have already altered. For the NUMBER's VALUE/OFFSET property, use the pickwhip and select the matching property on the "text" layer. This will type in the property for you; then add "+1" to the end of this new expression. This will use the "text" layer's date and add one day to it for the "stationary text" layer. Now delete the CC PAGE TURN and GROW BOUNDS effects from this duplicated layer.

That's about it. Now you can dress it up by using a realistic desk, adding a drop shadow to the "text" layer, coming up with a "stack" of pages for the calendar to make it look thicker. Invigorator would be nice to use for this. You might animate the "stack" to move down through the desk to appear to get smaller as pages are "removed" from the top of it. Use different camera moves, etc.

Let me know if this works for you. I think it would save a lot of rendering overhead by just using two layers and expressions to mimick the effect you're after.


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pukkascott
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on May 1, 2007 at 8:51:06 am

Speedyman - quite the best response to a post I have ever seen!

Looked at the WMV and downloaded the project. Expressions are an alien world to me at the moment so I appreciate your help.

My design has some variations that won't make this example possible. I need to insert video into the pages and write up different text. I also need to vary the peel off speed, although I think expressions could do that too.

However you have opened up a few new ideas. I want to investigate the grow bounds effect.

Also I am now sold on the Zaxwerks layer warp plug-in which gives (finally) a really nice page turn effect with "true" 3D. It also avoids using two layers for each page (front and back layers - to give a shadow) and therefore I don't need to worry about the switch point and where the camera is.

Once I get this right I will post a link to download the video. A million thanks for your help - I might get back and grill you further if that's OK?

Scott


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cow
Speedyman
Re: Nesting a comp in a comp in a comp stops camera
on May 1, 2007 at 4:04:59 pm

Hi Scott
I'm glad my thoughts were of some use.

Now, you really have me intrigued as to what your project looks like. Do you have a screen shot you could let me see? Here's my email addy: XXspeedman_55XX@XXhotmailXX.com (remove all the X's; trying to prevent spam).

All the points you bring up seem do-able in AE, if you wouldn't mind me taking a look at what you have accomplished so far.

Thanks


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