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There's an excellent workflow that exists in After Effects that gives you the ability to create true 3D elements and scenes. This is made possible by the integration of Maxon Cinema 4D. There are layers that can be created inside of After Effects called Maxon Cinema 4D files. Cinema 4D Lite comes bundled with After Effects or if you have a full version of Cinema 4D you can now import those projects directly into After Effects without the need to render. With Cinema 4D layers you have access to the Cinema 4D interface where you can create true 3D models. Access seen presets for lights and cameras and generate 3D materials like glass, wood and of course, a whole host of other materials that would just be too complicated to create inside of a 2D application. Once you've created your scene inside Cinema, you can insert markers to create placeholders for any more elements you'd like to add back into that scene once inside of After Effects.
Once back inside of After Effects, you can extract the 3D data created from Cinema to harness the full power of compositing inside of After Effects. And, of course, the pipeline can go both ways. If you track footage inside of After Effects to solve for a camera, you can then send that information directly to Cinema, where you can generate any 3D elements you'd like to integrate back into the scene. The integration between these two powerful applications is all made possible by the Cineware plug-in. This is where you can manage the transmission of data between both worlds, Adobe After Effects and Maxon's Cinema 4D.
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