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Chris Meyer—a long-time user of both programs—explains how to move 3D worlds from Maxon's CINEMA 4D into Adobe's After Effects and add additional 3D elements that blend perfectly. Chris shows how to transfer 3D cameras, lights, and position data from CINEMA 4D to After Effects; create track mattes to composite new elements into the middle of a scene; and take advantage of multi-pass rendering to quickly remix and even recolor lights, shadows, reflections, and more. Paced comfortably for beginners, this course also reveals numerous advanced tricks and techniques, such as the use of blending modes and how to cast shadows from new 3D layers in After Effects onto rendered 3D elements from CINEMA 4D. Exercise files accompany this course.
- Locating objects for export from CINEMA 4D
- Adding layers to a composition after importing into After Effects
- Separating lights in CINEMA 4D and remixing in After Effects
- Understanding the problems with shadows during integration
- Refining 3D shadows in After Effects
Skill Level Intermediate
If you have downloaded the project files that accompany this training, go ahead and go into Cinema and do File>Open. Move up a couple of levels to chapter 4, open the Cinema folder, and pick Videowall_4_starter. This is similar to the wall you've seen, but I've just gone ahead and done something a little more interesting with it, in terms of giving it some colored lights. I am going to render it quickly, so you can see what it looks like. Since I know I am going to be doing a multi-pass render, I've gone ahead and darkened my shadows more than I normally would. I've gone ahead and increased my reflections more than I normally would.
I'll go up to my Render settings and you'll see I've already added Diffuse, Specular, Shadow, Reflection, Object Buffer, and Ambient, just like we have for the previous passes. Now the next level of multi-pass rendering is playing around with the lights as individual objects, as individual layers and components inside After Effects. So, click on the Multi-pass header and set Separate Lights to one of these choices. I'll pick All of the lights to go ahead and separate them out. As you can see, you can also target lights if you'd like to.
Let's do all three lights in the scene. Underneath Mode, you have a few different choices. The first one, 1 Channel will give you one movie for each light. And that movie will contain the Diffuse and the Specular and the Shadow contributions of that light. Going a bit further, two channels, you'll get two movies per light. One that's Diffuse and Specular, one that's just a Shadow contribution to that light.
And then there is Three channels, three movies per light, where you break out Diffuse, Specular, and Shadow individually. Let's go ahead and take advantage of that. By the way, I tend to enable shadow correction since I have situations where like the video wall touches the floor, the Shadow correction helps to fill in things like that. Now since I am already rendering Diffuse, Specular and Shadow per light, I no longer need to render those in my multi-pass render. They'll just be black because I already have those qualities rendered per light.
I don't need it for the overall scene. So, I am going to go ahead and select Diffuse, delete it, Specular, delete it, and Shadow and delete that as well. I don't need those extra passes because I am getting them per light. The last thing, as always, is go to the Save dialog, make sure your paths are correct. I want to go ahead and go to my folder here, Cinema4D/Chapter 4, good. Make a new folder called something like Separate Light Renders, Create, and save my regular render, as well as my multi-pass render into that folder.
Make sure you Compositing file is indeed checked on, After Effects, Include 3D data. Life is good! Let's go ahead and render this to see what it looks like inside the render viewer. As we're going here, you'll see we have our Reflections as before, Ambient as before, the Overall Background Buffer, and the Object Buffer, but now I've got separated lights. There is a Top light, the Key light, which is mainly hitting the Face, and then the side fill, which is a different color light.
And inside those lights, I do have Shadow, Top light Specular, you don't really see it, since it is on top of the wall, and Diffuse for that light. These are all of the independent movies that Cinema is rendering for me. Now this is going to take a little while, I won't make you sit through it. Let's jump ahead and now see how all this comes into After Effects.