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Get up to speed quickly with the new features in After Effects CS6. Join veteran After Effects user Chris Meyer as he explores the key enhancements to this industry standard visual effects and motion graphics software. Chris shares creative ideas and important production advice while covering the strengths of features such as memory optimization with the new global performance cache, 3D motion tracking with the 3D Camera Tracker, and the new 3D rendering engine for ray-traced 3D rendering.
Before we leave the 3D Camera Tracker, I want to show you another capability this adds to your toolkit. If you work with a 3D program, like MAXON Cinema 4D, that allows you to export the camera data from After Effects into that application, that means you can export the results of the 3D Camera Tracker into those applications as well. For example, if you go to maxon.net--they are the folks who make Cinema 4D--go to Downloads > Updates > Plugins, you will see that they have plugins for After Effects CS3 through 5.5 to make it interchange, go back and forth, with Cinema 4D release 13.
I am recording this video before CS6 has been released to rest the world. That's why this only says 5.5, but this plug-in works fine with CS6 as was well. Download these plug-ins and as a result, you will get a folder that includes some simple documentation and versions of the plug-in for Windows and for OS X. In this case, I want to use a CS5 and 5.5 version of the plug-in, and you want to drag these plug-ins into the After Effects Plug-ins folder. The Cinema4DAE.plug-in allows you to export a project from Cinema and import it into After Effects.
The Cinema 4D Exporter plug-in allows you to export a composition from After Effects and import that into Cinema 4D. And as you can see, I've installed these plug-ins already in my copy of After Effects CS6. So back in After Effects, I have my footage that I have tracked, the camera it's created, a light that I created, a Shadow Catcher in this one layer, and you can also create some other elements such as null objects. Let's go ahead and create another quick layer based on the surface of this building to the right. Let's say Create a Null in this case, and there's my track null.
And with this composition forward, go to File > Export > Cinema 4D Exporter. And I will name this AE 3D CamTrack Export. Then in Cinema 4D, in release 13 or later, I can go ahead and open this AE Camera Export, which has been saved as a C4D file. It comes into Cinema 4D. I will press F2 just go to top view and press 2 to go ahead and zoom back on my world, and 1 to reposition it.
And here's my light, my camera, my solid, and my null object that I created in After Effects. I will expand them over here, so you can see each of them individually. There's the camera with its keyframes--I will drag its Current Time Indicator so you can see that camera's movement-- a Shadow Catcher I created, on building on the left, my null object for building on the right, and the light I had created earlier to go and cast shadows onto that building. Once you have this sort of data into a program like Cinema 4D, you can go ahead and create additional 3D objects inside this world, or since you now know the location of various objects, such as buildings, in the scene, you could add additional modeled elements on those buildings, such as a new facade, a gargoyle, whatever you like.
Then use your normal procedure to Render > Render Settings, go to Save, and export a compositing project file from this Cinema 4D project, make your renders, and brings those back into After Effects to composite these elements onto the footage you tracked originally back in After Effects. This is a very interesting workflow that I personally plan to explore later on. And overall, I think it makes the 3D Camera Tracker a particularly cool addition to After Effects CS6.
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