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Intimidated by 3D modeling packages? Dip a toe in the water with CINEMA 4D (C4D) Lite, a slimmed down version of CINEMA 4D included with After Effects CC. Motion graphics designer Angie Taylor shows you how to build a complete sequence in C4D Lite, progressing from initial object modeling, to animation, lighting, camera rigging, texturing, and final render. Plus, learn to animate text, create random movement with wiggle expressions, track cameras in live-action footage to add new 3D elements, and light your scene. Angie also round-trips the project files to After Effects for visual effects and color correction. With over 100 videos, this course allows you to explore almost every aspect of 3D motion graphics creation, within this accessible introductory tool.
Proxies are low resolution images or movies that you can use as place holders for your layers in After Effects, to speed up your workflow. And when you are working with CINEWARE, things can get pretty slow. So, using proxies is a really good way of speeding up your workflow. I've included as part of this course the demo version of CINEWARE proxy, which is a script which will make proxies for CINEWARE layers. If you go into the footage folder, you'll find the CINEWARE proxy folder in there.
And what I want you to do is go into that folder and take out this file here CINEWAREproxy.jsx bin and put it into this folder. You need to go into Adobe After Effects CC folder which is in your applications folder, into Scripts, into Scripts UI Panel and place it in there. Now, if you're on Windows, it's slightly different. There are instructions here for both, and it will tell you where to place that on Windows.
It's in Application Support on Windows in the Scripts folder, and inside the Scripts UI Panels folder. Once you've done that, you need to, in After Effects, also set your preferences to allow scripts to write files and access networks. So make sure you have that selected, and the script installed in the After Effects folder before start this tutorial. Now, there's one more thing. I've actually created some templates for you.
And these help with rendering. So, if you go to Edit > Templates > Render Settings. And if you click on Load, you'll notice that in the chapter 13 folder, I have a Cineware Render Proxy ars file. That's After Effects render setting file. And if I click on Open, that will load the settings for you. I've already loaded them, so you don't need to do it. And then just click OK so you get access to those.
And also, go back to Templates and go to Output Modules. And you also need to load the output modules as well, Cineware Render Proxy.aom, After Effects output module. Again, I already have that on there, so it's not going to reload it. Once you've done that, click OK. If you haven't restarted After Effects, you'll need to restart After Effects to load the script, and then you're ready to go. Now, before we actually use the script, I'm going to explain how you normally use proxies in After Effects.
As you'll see, this is starting to really slow down this composition, and it's becoming quite difficult for me to work creatively within it. So, I need a way to speed up the workflow. I'm at the stage where I want to do color correction, and really, I don't need to have this live kind of rendering from CINEMA 4D to After Effects, whilst I'm doing this process. I just need to have a high resolution render of this file, which will run quicker. The other thing is, the videos are playing in the background, which is kind of taking up a bit of time to process as well.
So we'll start by creating proxies for the wall and the floor the traditional way, and then we'll have a look at the script for creating proxies from CINEWARE layers. So to create a proxy, you go to the original source file in the Project panel, right click on it and say Create Proxy. Now, for the video layers, I really only need a still image to represent them. I'm only really concerned about the color. I'm not really concerned about the movement in the video, because I'm aware of what that does and it's not going to to change. So, I'm going to say Create a Proxy > Still.
And that's going to create a proxy using the best settings, which is great. And also using Photoshop sequence. If I click on the Output module settings, you'll notice it's also got a post-render action, to set this file as a proxy automatically for me. So I don't need to do it. So I'm going to click OK. I can choose a save location if I want. I'm going to save it into the Chapter 13 folder, and I'm going to create a new folder called Proxies and save it in there.
Then all I need to do is click Render and watch what happens. Once I've finished rendering, you'll notice that my video layer in the Project panel is replaced by a PSD, a Photoshop file. And a little switch appears beside it. Now, if we come down here and just solo those layers, you'll notice they're also represented by a PSD down here in the timeline. And if I preview that, you'll notice that we just have a still frame from the video, playing throughout the animation. So that's great, it's a lot quicker than rendering the video.
And to prove that to you, I can use this switch to toggle the proxy on and off. So if I toggle the proxy off, we now have the videos again. And if I preview that, you'll notice that the frames just take a little bit longer to render. Once they're rendered, we can preview them at full screen. Now, the great thing is you can toggle between the two. And of course the persistent disk cache holds the frames so that once they're rendered once, we can just switch backwards and forwards between them.
So, we have proxies for those, what about the main robots in the shadows? Well, let's have a look at them, first for the shadows. Now really, I want my proxy to be high resolution, and this is only in draft quality. So, I'm going to up here and I'm going to say Standard Final as my render, I'm going to say pre-calculation and then apply to all. So, now, if we have a look at the main robots, they should be in high quality as well. And notice how long that is taking to render.
Now what we want to do is render them with alpha channel and at best quality. So, what I'm going to do is go up to the Project panel and watch what happens if I choose exactly the same technique as I did before. So I'm going to Set Proxy or Create Proxy rather, this time I'm going to create a Movie. It's going to default to draft settings, but even if I put that on best settings. And I am just going to change the frame rate to one frame a seconds, so it doesn't take too long to render is choosing QuickTime. It will also set proxy automatically, choosing Animation, Codec.
And it says our GBNL so it looks like we are okay. So, we shall create a proxy and we'll got to Render. Make sure that is going into the correct folder. Yup, click Render and that's going to render our scene for us. Now, it's changing fairly quickly which is surprising. You would think at best quality, it's going to take a long time to render those frames. But it crunches through the frames pretty quickly. And then when it's finished, it will replace the CINEWARE file (SOUND) with.
Hang on a minute. That's not best quality. So, you'll see it defaults to rendering it using the Software Render, which isn't good enough. It's not good enough for me to a composite with. So, this is why I am not really that keen on using the built in proxy feature for CINEWARE files. I could take the proxy off, so Set Proxy > None. Then what I could do is pre-compose each of these, and actually set a proxy for the pre-composition.
That's fine, it would work really well and that's probably what I would do if I didn't already a script installed. And this script is fantastic. It's specifically written to create proxies for CINEWARE, and it will basically do just how I explained. It will create a nest of compositions that contain the best quality settings for my CINEMA layers. And it will maintain the shadows on one and the other elements on the other. So all I need to do is select those elements in the timeline.
The ones that I want proxies for. Select them in the timeline. Go to Window > CINEWARE proxy. Now, it will ask you for a license code. You can use it in trial mode for 14 days, I think it is. If you want to buy it, then you can get a license. I've bought it because it's, I use it all the time. And for me it's really worthwhile. This scripts are not expensive, but just use it as a trial for now. And basically, all you'd want to do is say Create Comps, and then dialog will come up where it's going to add your files to the render queue.
You can then choose what settings it uses. Now, it will default to best settings, but I want you to choose CINEWARE proxy which is from the output module and render settings that I save for you. And on this one, we want you to choose CINEWARE and proxy. That will normally default to TIF sequence with alpha, but we're going to choose CINEWARE proxy with alpha. And this is basically creating QuickTime movies with alpha channel and with low frame rate. Click on OK.
It's just asking here, is it okay to create these folders for you. I'm going to say Yes. So it's created some folders for me in the background. It's placed the Elements in the Render queue. All I need to do now is click Render, and it's going to render my proxies for me with the correct settings. Now, obviously, this will take a little bit longer, because it's using the best quality for those layers. So, I'm going to leave that to render, and in the next tutorial, you'll see how we can do color correction on our layers using proxies.
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