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c4d: getting 3d into AE CS3 - too many options

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i am quite confused by all the options in c4d for exporting to AE. under the save dialogue, we have the option of saving an animation as many file types (including RPF), followed by the "compositing project file" dropdown _ "3d data" checkbox, and "relative".

 

then there's the whole multipass tab with more options.

 

here is what i NEED:

 

• my RGB frames preferably in 32 bit

• alpha channel

• depth pass (for dof)

• motion vector pass (for post motion blur)

 

so it seams i need a multipass render for all this. but what of the save tab? do i need to check the AE composition and select RPF as file type or? RPF i have heard exports a bunch of handy stuff, so do i need that or not?

 

sorry if i am making no sense.

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Ignore the bottom of the 'Save' panel. Choose a 32bit format like tiff. Alpha channel is explained quite well in the c4d manual--I stick with 'straight' unless ordered otherwise. Depth and Motion Vector passes are done in the Multipass tab. Set up your file format for multipass in that tab--it can be different than your main rgba render, but all multipasses have to have the same bit depth and format (for now, hopefully this will change).

 

Depth and motion vectors require more work with the camera and with tabs. I'd be worried that if all of what you asked for is as simple as it is, that getting motion vectors and depth won't be biting off too much for a paying job. It really takes some experiments, and even then the motion vector thing isn't all that.

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thanks!

 

so if i hear you right, you are saying the depth and motion passes will be a lot of work for not a great result. true?

 

are there better options for dof and motion blur? i was planning on using RSMB in AE for moblur, and not sure about the dof.

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The easiest way for me to get depth values to work with AE's 3D Channel Effects like depth of field and fog 3D is to output to RPF files with depth information through the standard "Save" tab of the render settings and clicking on "Options" after I select RPF as the format. This seems to be the only way I can get AE to correctly read depth through the RPF.

 

I have never been able to get multipass depth rendering to work and import properly to AE with a useable depth pass (without multipassing as tiffs and using a homebrew DOF effect like a Compound Blur in AE)... Anyone else have this issue?

 

[rant]

It would be sooo much better if either A: NET render would support depth information for RPF files through the standard save tab (it currently does not) or B: if After Effects DOF 3D channel effect would let you use another luma layer for the depth info.

[/rant]

Edited by JonAndesign

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it's a bunch of crap. maxon and there damned net render is so ancient! not to mentioned advanced render aint so advanced anymore. DOF and moblur both suck.

 

i just bought zblur. hope that does the trick.

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That RPF problem, yeah, I just sidestep it by getting a depth pass from Zblur, which is much better than Cinema's built-in depth, partly but not only because Zblur reads alpha-mapped images. Like say you have trees on the horizon that are mapped to planes; C4D's depth will read them as planes (useless) while Zblur will recognize that there's an alpha in your textures there and give you your trees. Then I matte the depth pass with my RGB render to get my alphas in a precomp (slight possibility of fringe in doing so, might need to choke the matte, yuck), and then I put it on screen or lighten as a depth haze, using levels to move the fog in and out, maybe tint it. It's so cool how that looks by the way. Half the time I re-render the depth pass solo as 16-bit so that I don't get banding when I levels it. If I want it as a depth blur, I use Frischluft. All those AE 3d channel effects are beyond me--how does anyone use them? They must be glitchy on Macs because I never got my 'depth' number as it shows in the tutorials.

 

Motion blur on your c4d renders really going to be about either RSMB, which has a small range of values that work and a lot of values that don't, or using C4D's built-in scene motion blur, which is render hell, really requires a farm on big jobs. Vector motion blur works for spinning objects, at least, but that's a different beast than the multipass output known as 'motion vectors,' which have a bug--do a google or search on cgtalk to see what I'm talking about. In particular look for a post at cgtalk by Chris_b of Nakd Studios.

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That RPF problem, yeah, I just sidestep it by getting a depth pass from Zblur, which is much better than Cinema's built-in depth, partly but not only because Zblur reads alpha-mapped images. Like say you have trees on the horizon that are mapped to planes; C4D's depth will read them as planes (useless) while Zblur will recognize that there's an alpha in your textures there and give you your trees. Then I matte the depth pass with my RGB render to get my alphas in a precomp (slight possibility of fringe in doing so, might need to choke the matte, yuck), and then I put it on screen or lighten as a depth haze, using levels to move the fog in and out, maybe tint it. It's so cool how that looks by the way. Half the time I re-render the depth pass solo as 16-bit so that I don't get banding when I levels it. If I want it as a depth blur, I use Frischluft. All those AE 3d channel effects are beyond me--how does anyone use them? They must be glitchy on Macs because I never got my 'depth' number as it shows in the tutorials.

 

Motion blur on your c4d renders really going to be about either RSMB, which has a small range of values that work and a lot of values that don't, or using C4D's built-in scene motion blur, which is render hell, really requires a farm on big jobs. Vector motion blur works for spinning objects, at least, but that's a different beast than the multipass output known as 'motion vectors,' which have a bug--do a google or search on cgtalk to see what I'm talking about. In particular look for a post at cgtalk by Chris_b of Nakd Studios.

 

This is some good info. Although I've never used Frischluft, I can already tell I'm going to want to check that one out-just looking over their webpage!

 

As far as getting the 3D channel effects to work, it is actually really clutch! The only thing you need to do to set up C4D is select "RPF" for file type in Render Settings SAVE tab, click "Options" next to RPF and check the output "Z" data. This will work with ZBlur too, and you can specify 16 bit depth right off the bat. Then when you go into after effects, literally the only thing you have to do is apply Depth of Field to your RPF sequence. No extra special passes or anything. All the depth information is right there in the main RPF. Just up DOF's maximum radius to about 3-5 (or whatever your liking is), set the focal plane thickness to like 300-400, and drop the focal plane back to -100/-200.

 

This method has been working so well for me on a medical animation I've been working on at my day job. The only thing that sucks is, as I mentioned before, that the RPF's Z information is lost over NET render... So you have to either do all the rendering on one machine or manually split up the file into a MAN RENDER...

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If you dont have the frischluft plug, then going the RPF way works a charm (unless,like govinda said, you are dealing with alpha in your textures). If you DO have frischluft then definitely go with a separate depth map render. Just make sure it's 16 bit and NOT ANTIALIASED. The same thing goes with the vector pass. If it's 16 bit and not aliased the results are flawless.

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If you dont have the frischluft plug, then going the RPF way works a charm (unless,like govinda said, you are dealing with alpha in your textures). If you DO have frischluft then definitely go with a separate depth map render. Just make sure it's 16 bit and NOT ANTIALIASED. The same thing goes with the vector pass. If it's 16 bit and not aliased the results are flawless.

 

aliased? so set anitialiasing to "none" then?

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frick,

 

can't get this depth pass working. i have the zblur looking great in the preview window, then when i render multipass with post effects on, i get just a generic looking pass. maybe 3 shades of grey all the way into the horizon.

 

thanks

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Just make sure it's 16 bit and NOT ANTIALIASED. The same thing goes with the vector pass. If it's 16 bit and not aliased the results are flawless.
That's great news and awful news at the same time. It means a separate render for depth every time. What a nasty complication that is. But it's worth it to get rid of the fringe.

 

I can see that my workflow is going to be like this: render depth my usual way, as a part of my main render, 8-bit, regular AA. This is because Cinema won't give us different settings for each pass, nor are there different AA settings for multipass (Chinaski, are you hearing this? Are you considering this in your render plugin suite? :D ). Okay, so I use that normal method to get things right as a draft, banding be damned. Then as a last step, re-render depth as 16-bit no AA.

 

Oh my, that sucks. But depth is sooooo sweet, if it must be it must be.

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Yurp. It's a bitch and a half. Maybe there's a plug on the way for total control over each pass... My workaround is to set up a separate render for motion and depth with texures and lights turned off to speed up the render. Only works as long as there's no transparency involved tho...

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Frischluft Lenscare is AMAZING. My project looks better (it's as if I finally found that elusive sucks->rocks slider effect), and I will be able to fully utilize unlimited NET Render into my workflow now. My boss is ordering Lenscare for our AE stations as I type this.

 

Big, big thanks for the awesome suggestion guys! Good-bye crappy C4D/AE depth of field :)

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