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Importing assets and setting up the After Effects project for final compositing

From: CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo

Video: Importing assets and setting up the After Effects project for final compositing

All right, we've got all our renders done and we can finally begin the compositing process. Now I've organized the Chapter 11 project files a little bit to kind of clean up the folder and let me show you what I've done here. In the water footage folder are all of the QuickTime elements that were provided for us by iStock. In the psd elements folder I've got my animatic sketches and the brighter.psd, darker.psd and grain.psd files and we'll be using these inside of After Effects. In the c4d renders folder, I've got both the finanim-preview movies and the finished renders.

Importing assets and setting up the After Effects project for final compositing

All right, we've got all our renders done and we can finally begin the compositing process. Now I've organized the Chapter 11 project files a little bit to kind of clean up the folder and let me show you what I've done here. In the water footage folder are all of the QuickTime elements that were provided for us by iStock. In the psd elements folder I've got my animatic sketches and the brighter.psd, darker.psd and grain.psd files and we'll be using these inside of After Effects. In the c4d renders folder, I've got both the finanim-preview movies and the finished renders.

Now I move those here from the Chapter 10 folder and these are exactly the same things that were generated when we rendered out the batch. So if I open up shot001, you can see that I've got 1450 items here and if I scroll down, the very last thing in the file is the shot001.aec. This is the file we're going to be importing into After Effects and it contains all of our camera and multipass information inside of it. Now, I'm going to go up one level, right- click on the icon up here, and go to c4d renders, and so I've got a separate folder for the finished render for shot001 and then a folder for the finanim_ preview for shot001 and I've got that same situation for all of the shots.

So, I have everything I need inside the c4d renders folder. Let's go up one level to the audio folder and in the audio folder I have both the scratch VO read that I had done and that's what all of our timing has been done to, plus the finished Shark Zone mix, which we'll be adding in at the very end of the process. And at the top level, I've got the 11_01_AEstart file and this is where we'll begin the process. So here inside of After Effects, I want to make a couple more folders in here to organize things a little bit better and I'm going to make a new folder and call it CINEMA imports and I'm going to put this CINEMA imports into the Video and Audio folder.

Now all of my CINEMA 4D renders are going to go into this folder and let's organize this a little bit better as well. I'm going add another sub-folder and call this one previews and take all my preview renders and move them into this folder and then put this preview folder into the CINEMA imports folder. And now I've got a separate folder for previews and I'm going to end up with a separate folder for each of my shot renders as well. So let's import the first shot render. I double-clicked in the Project window to bring up the File Import screen and I'm going to navigate to my Chapter 11 and go to c4d renders and to go to shot001 and if I navigate all the way down to the bottom, there is my shot001.aec file.

I'll hit Open and it's going to import the selected item. If you try to import this file and it's grayed out, that's because you don't have the correct plug-in installed inside of Adobe After Effects. Now, to get this plug-in, we're going to first need to quit After Effects and I'm going to go to Maxon's web site. Now, this plug-in is free and ships with CINEMA 4D, but to make sure that you have the absolute latest version, we're going to pull it down off of Maxons web site. So I've gone to maxon.net and I'm going to go to the Downloads and then I'm going to go to Updates and then I'm going to go to Plugins and then I'm going to twirl open the After Effects plug- in and I'm going to take the plug-in for CS5 and download that.

Now, if you're working with CS4 or CS3, then you can take the appropriate plug-in. It is gone down to my Downloads folder. So I'll navigate out to my Downloads folder. I've got a choice between OS X and Windows. Now, the OS X file is zipped and I'm going to unzip that and this is the file that we're going to put into the After Effects plug-ins folder. So I'm going to open up a new Finder window and go to the Applications folder. In the Applications folder, I'm going to go to Adobe After Effects CS5 and Plug-ins and I'm going to drag that file right in to here.

Now, I already have it installed, so I'm not going to overwrite that file, but that is the place that you put the plug-in. When you relaunch After Effects and go to import your file, you should be good to go. Now on the PC, the pathway is you go to Program Files > Adobe > Adobe After Effects CS5 and then in the Support files there is another Plug-ins folder and that's where you put the AE plug-in and the file that you're going to be putting in that folder for Windows is this AEX file. So first, download the plug-in, quit After Effects, install the plug-in into the appropriate folder, then re-launch After Effects and begin the import process all over again, and you should be good to go.

Now, the length of that import process will depend entirely on how many keyframes you have in your scene. In a fairly long shot like this five seconds with lot of camera movement in it, will have quite a bit of keyframes and will take a little bit of time to import. Now, what's happened is it's imported some folders for us and in the Special Passes folder we've got our Object Buffer and the rgb pass. So let's double-click on this, and now you notice that the blue background of our water environment is missing. That's because After Effects when it imported the aec file is thinking that this rgb movie has an alpha channel, when in fact it doesn'tSo I'm going to right-click on this movie and go to Interpret Footage > Main and tell it to Ignore the Alpha Channel and when I hit OK, there is our file the way it's supposed to look.

And we'll be using this file for most of the shot001 footage, so we want to make sure that it looks great and it does. Now we can move the Special Passes into the shot-001-render_End folder and this has all of our multipass layers, plus the actual comp for our After Effects project. Let's move this folder now into our CINEMA imports and we'll repeat this process for the other files. Now that I've got everything imported, you can see I've organized things a little bit more and I have all of my shots inside the CINEMA imports folder.

Next thing I want to do is import the finished audio. We'll be needing that later on in the process. So I'll double-click again to get the import and I'll go to the Exercise Files and go to Chapter 11 and import from the audio folder the sharkzone finmix. Let's move that into the Audio- Video folder and close things up. The next element we want to import are the PSD files that we're going to be using to kind of texture and give some character to our screens. So I'm going to double-click again to Import and navigate out to my Chapter 11 folder and go to the psd elements folder and in here I've got my brighter.psd, darker.psd and grain.psd files.

Let's go ahead and hold down the Shift key and select all three of those and then just hit Open and those will import as merged PSD files and I'm going to drag those into the Production Elements folder and we'll just leave them right there. Normally I put these into another sub- folder, but since these are only PSDs we're going to be using I'll just leave them loose in the Production Elements. The last set of files I'd like to import are the video elements that we're going to be using and these were provided for us by iStockphoto.com. When I go to the Chapter 11 and import the water footage.

So if I'd click on this folder and select all the elements and hit Open and it imports them all in, I'm going to drag all these. You can see they're already selected. I'll drag them onto the New Folder icon and call this Water Footage, and put this into the Audio-Video folder, there we go. Now that we have all of our elements imported, let's save this file as 11_01_working. File > Save As and in the Chapter 11 folder, I'm going to call this one 11_01_working. Save.

With all of our assets imported and our project file organized, we're ready to begin the compositing process.

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This video is part of

Image for CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo
CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo

70 video lessons · 13487 viewers

Rob Garrott
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 8s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 24s
    3. Overview of the project template
      2m 37s
  2. 11m 12s
    1. Creative brief
      1m 57s
    2. Sketches and script
      3m 8s
    3. Understanding the graphic animation process
      6m 7s
  3. 25m 5s
    1. Understanding the animatic process
      2m 15s
    2. Importing sketches into After Effects
      6m 20s
    3. Timing out the animation
      10m 4s
    4. Adding onscreen timecode for reference
      6m 26s
  4. 40m 2s
    1. Creating text and logo elements in Adobe Illustrator
      6m 44s
    2. Importing Illustrator elements into Cinema 4D
      8m 24s
    3. Creating guide planes for modeling a rough shark
      6m 13s
    4. Creating a rough shark model
      12m 14s
    5. Preparing a dummy rig using a Spline Wrap object
      6m 27s
  5. 53m 17s
    1. Setting up a project file for the cameramatic
      6m 15s
    2. Animating the rough shark using the Spline Wrap object
      5m 14s
    3. Animating the camera
      6m 8s
    4. Duplicating an animated rough model to create a school of sharks
      11m 4s
    5. Creating a preview movie and importing it into After Effects
      5m 45s
    6. Assembling the cameramatic
      8m 34s
    7. Fine-tuning the cameramatic timing
      10m 17s
  6. 1h 9m
    1. Preparing for the modeling process
      6m 7s
    2. Outlining the shapes using the Knife tool
      9m 50s
    3. Creating the mouth using the Extrude tool
      10m 40s
    4. Adding eyes using the Symmetry object
      9m 57s
    5. Creating fins using the Extrude tool
      7m 11s
    6. Creating the tail and dorsal fins using the Extrude tool
      10m 38s
    7. Creating gums using the Symmetry object
      6m 45s
    8. Creating teeth and finalizing the model
      8m 6s
  7. 15m 5s
    1. Understanding the rigging process
      2m 0s
    2. Opening the shark mouth using the Morph tag
      5m 9s
    3. Using XPresso to link the jaw to the Morph animation
      7m 56s
  8. 33m 25s
    1. Using BodyPaint to prepare the model for texturing
      8m 22s
    2. Applying color to the shark using BodyPaint
      6m 45s
    3. Giving the shark character by painting in the diffusion channel
      5m 29s
    4. Roughing the surface using the bump channel
      4m 34s
    5. Texturing the eyes
      3m 51s
    6. Texturing the teeth and gums
      4m 24s
  9. 21m 24s
    1. Replacing the rough shark model in the intro shot with the finished model
      6m 47s
    2. Replacing the rough shark model in the transition shot
      3m 43s
    3. Replacing the rough shark model in the hero shot
      4m 28s
    4. Replacing the rough shark model in the end page shot
      3m 42s
    5. Updating the cameramatic with the final animation
      2m 44s
  10. 50m 27s
    1. Creating an underwater look using Global Illumination and atmosphere
      9m 47s
    2. Lighting the objects and creating shadows
      6m 54s
    3. Shading the text using materials
      6m 28s
    4. Creating a reflective floor for the underwater scene
      3m 58s
    5. Lighting shot 1: Copying and pasting a lighting setup from another project
      5m 49s
    6. Lighting shot 2: Pasting a lighting setup and making adjustments
      3m 57s
    7. Lighting shot 4: Separate elements in a shot (the shark)
      3m 13s
    8. Lighting shot 4: Separate elements in a shot (the text)
      10m 21s
  11. 22m 7s
    1. Preparing shot 1 for rendering to After Effects
      6m 20s
    2. Preparing shot 2 for rendering by saving and using render presets
      4m 45s
    3. Preparing shot 3 for rendering
      2m 37s
    4. Setting up shot 4 to render in two passes
      4m 4s
    5. Performing a preflight check to ensure clips are ready to render
      2m 9s
    6. Batch-rendering
      2m 12s
  12. 1h 13m
    1. Importing assets and setting up the After Effects project for final compositing
      6m 5s
    2. The intro shot: Using Photoshop elements and noise effects to add atmosphere
      8m 38s
    3. The intro shot: Compositing in stock video footage to add character
      4m 51s
    4. The intro shot: Adding text elements to the composite
      8m 32s
    5. The hero shot: Controlling the look using precomps
      7m 59s
    6. The hero shot: Using stock video footage to add character
      7m 19s
    7. The end page shot: Combining multiple passes to form a final composite shot
      2m 41s
    8. The end page shot: Adding text elements to the composite
      7m 44s
    9. Compositing the transition shots
      3m 47s
    10. Assembling the final composition
      9m 2s
    11. Adding the final audio to the composition and rendering
      7m 10s
  13. 21s
    1. Goodbye
      21s

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