Join Chris Meyer for an in-depth discussion in this video CINEMA 4D import, part of After Effects: Creative Cloud Updates .
As some of you know I am a huge fan of the combination of using the 3D program, CINEMA 4D by MAXON with After Effects. In the past they've been very tightly integrated and now they're even more closely tied together. Namely you can import a CINEMA project directly into After Effects and treat it like a Footage Layer. Let me show you that, I'm going to select a folder to import my new footage into, instead of selecting a Footage File, I'm going to select a C4D project, I'll click Open, it'll appear in my Project panel as if it was a .mov, you'll see I have its dimensions, it's frame rate, it is a 32-bit floating-point file and it prefers to be rendered in linear light mode, and we'll discuss that later.
You can then treat this as a normal footage item and drag it down to the Create a new Composition button at the bottom of the project panel. Now I have done that already to create this composition. The scene is rendering a bit dark initially, but again, I'll discuss that a couple of movies from now. With this layer selected, I'm going to press F3 to open up the Effect Controls panel and you'll see that what makes this magic possible is a CINEWARE plugin supplied by MAXON. they can bring in their project file and render it on the fly as pixels inside After Effects; even comes with its own Help file.
The first thing you want to pay attention to are the Render Settings, it defaults its software, because software is the fastest, but frankly it's the one you're going to use the least often. It does allow some alternative Shader such as Wireframe and Box and those can be cool graphical looks, but you also notice that some features, such as the entire multi-pass workflow that we'll talk about later, are disabled when you're using the software renderer. I have personally find myself using Standard (Draft) or Standard (Final) most of the time. Standard (Draft) is the CINEMA renderer with some of the slowest options disabled, for example, you'll notice there is no anti-aliasing, but again, I want to point out, as I click around the After Effects timeline, these frames are being rendered on the fly by the CINEWARE plugin.
I have not pre-rendered any movie out of that project. Beyond Standard (Draft) is Standard (Final) and that gives you the full monty when it comes to features, including really nice anti-aliasing depending how you have your CINEMA project setup. There's a couple of more options underneath render settings, pre-calculation has to do with whether or not you have something that requires prior thought, like a physic system, an explosion, etcetera. Enabling pre-calculation will make CINEWARE appear more snappy, since CINEMA is no longer pre-calculating all these physics. However, you should never have this enabled for a final render, because you definitely want it to calculate particle systems, dynamics, cloth, etcetera.
Keep Textures in RAM is another thing that can speed up your performance, but it will chew up more memory to do so. So the very least at a starting point, we now have a CINEMA project that someone else can provide you, inside After Effects, as if it was a footage layer. Note that it is a 2D footage layer, it needs to be rendered into pixels, it does not have 3D geometry of its own, but there's a lot of things you can do with this, including extracting its lights and camera, and that's what we are going to be diving into in the next several movies.
The September 2013 update brought the new Rigid Mask Tracker, as well as additional ways to scale up footage cleanly, while the highlight of the December 2013 update was the ability to convert parametric shape layers to Bézier paths, and Bézier paths into shape layers. The NAB 2014 update shows off important new integration with Adobe Premiere Pro and Typekit, as well major updates to effects. Smaller yet still important new and enhanced features in each release are also touched on throughout. As always, Chris doesn't just show you where these new features are, but how to apply them to your own projects, along with preferred working practices and potential gotchas.
Note: This course was created and produced by Chris and Trish Meyer. We are honored to host this content in our library.
- Integrating with CINEMA 4D
- Using the Refine Edge tool to fine-tune mattes
- Applying Reverse Stabilization
- Preserving scale while stabilizing
- Working with layer snapping
- Finding missing footage, fonts, and effects