Pixel Cloud has recently been updated to unify the licensing scheme with the AEScripts framework and it is compatible with After Effects CC 2015. Also, the plugin has been removed from the installer. It does require the user to manually install the plugin into the plug-ins folder, but it will make releasing updates easier and therefore will ultimately be better for the user.
If you have purchased a license before, you will need to uninstall the previous version of Pixel Cloud before installing the update. Mac users can simply move the plugin from the plug-ins folder into the trash. Windows users will need to uninstall the plugin from the Programs and Features category in the Control Panel. The plugin has been tested and is compatible After Effects CC 2015. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment on the product page‘s Comments section or submit a ticket and I will get back to you asap!
The Camera Instancer script is now available from AEScripts.com! Get it now! Camera Instancer will create a camera that instances the active camera from another composition. You can then cut and paste this camera into any other composition. The modifications that you make to the active camera in the first composition will be duplicated in the second composition. Even if you change the active camera!
Hey guys, just wanted to drop a note that the Pixel Cloud plugin has been updated to version 1.4! This update can be downloaded from AEScripts + Aeplugins. Following is a list of what the update does:
Added Adaptive Preview to speed up UI interactions
Fixed Position Pass Render Mode
Added Pixel Cloud presets for Maya, C4D, and Depth Matte
Added 3D Sampler Preset
Fixed Windows Installer for Multi-language
New Mac OS X Installer
Various optimizations and bug fixes
Removing support for AE versions CS4, CS5
The adaptive preview speeds up the way you interact with the plugin in After Effects by deferring full rendering when you are interacting with the composition window with your mouse and while After Effects’ own adaptive preview enables. This allows for faster interaction while moving lights, cameras and interacting with other layers. A preview mode without antialiasing and lower resolutions is used while performing these actions in the composition window. When you are finished interacting then the plugin will render a proper frame.
The position pass render mode now outputs a proper position pass so that one can convert things like a depth matte into a position pass. Also presets for Maya, C4D and depth mattes have been added! Support for CS5 and CS5 have been removed to quicken the pace of these updates as well as to take advantage of the falloff lighting parameters available since CS5.5!
Pixel Cloud version 1.0 has updated its installer for After Effects CC. The plugin itself is the same between CS6 and CC actually. However, since the file path conventions are different because it is “CC” and not “CS6” the installer was updated to accommodate this. You can download the new version from AEScripts.
In related news, I am currently working on version 2.0 of Pixel Cloud and will be happy show off what’s new with this update! Version 2.0 will be a free update for version 1.0 owners! A new tutorial video is in the works as well as some new scripts and other goodies. At some point in the near future these updates will be coming quick so stay tuned!
It’s been a while since I’ve updated you guys. A lot of goings ons in the Graphics world as of late. To get back into the swing of things I’m posting this tutorial on Fixing 32bpc Aliasing. Working in 32bpc has its advantages as well as gotchas you’ve got to watch out for. Sometimes aliasing or jagginess can enter into your composition when using colors that go beyond 1.0 in the channel values. *Watch the tutorial below.
*I apologize in advance for the occasional sound issue.
As requested by users, the Duplicate with Connections script has been updated to include using the property index while still using the layer name in the expressions. It can be downloaded at AEScripts + AEplugins. This update provides separate dialogs for using property indices and layer indices versus using property names and layer names.
The Duplicate with Connections script has been updated and be downloaded at AEScripts + AEplugins. This update adds an option to use the property index instead of the property name. This can be useful in which multiple properties may have the same name and therefore can confuse the expressions engine. I understand this could be of help with those of you using expressions in Element.
In other news, I have to apologize for the lack of communication for a while. It’s been a busy few months at work and with a new baby at home! But I’ve got a video tutorial I am working on and an update for the Pixel Cloud plugin as well as a brand new plugin on the horizon!
More and more, I am using Pixel Cloud as a visualization tool. Although, I may not have the need to relight a 3D render, I am compositing it with another pass or a background. In order to make sure the composite works, it helps to visualize how it may look within a 3D space. Pixel Cloud can help with that. Last night, I was experimenting with outputting a PPass and a Normal Pass as a UV texture from within Maya. Using this technique, you can create a point cloud not just from the view of the camera, but from all textured points on the model. Maya’s Batch Bake function allows you to do this, with it’s support for baking 32-bit texture maps. Although you cannot create image sequences in this way, you can create a working reference of the CG model from all angles. This reference could be useful when visualizing a composite.
The application of this technique is quite simple. Create and texture your position pass as normal and use Batch Bake t0 create 32-bit floating point tiffs for each pass. You need to make sure that UVs are completely unfolded and not flipped, otherwise the command may not work. Also set your options to output 32-bit. Import into After Effects and use these passes with Pixel Cloud as you normally would.
Creating the PPass texture in Maya will be the same as connecting the samplerInfo node’s pointWorld with the outColor of a surface shader. Creating the Normal Pass is a little different. One needs to connect the samplerInfo’s normalCamera to a vector product node. Then connect the rendering camera’s worldMatrix to the vector product node. Set the vector product node to matrix multiply and connect the output to the outColor of the surface shader. You can then use Batch Bake to create the texture map/passes. These were my settings.
Hey guys, this tutorial is a brief overview on how to use Maya to quickly create a position pass and normal pass to be used with the Pixel Cloud plugin for After Effects. The process is pretty much the same as in my previous tutorials but this is dedicated to exporting the passes from Maya and the adjustments necessary after importing into After Effects.
On a side note, I’ve started setting up a Forum for any questions regarding Pixel Cloud, Scripts and even just general graphics talk! If you have any technical questions please feel free to post here and for my customers feel free to email me at email@example.com I’ll get back to you! The forum is still in the beta stages but feel free to start using it!
The Pixel Cloud plugin for After Effects is a powerful compositing tool that allows you to relight a 3D generated image, make 3D aware selections or displace the pixels in 3D space. Combine the use of a Position Pass and a Normal Pass with the power of After Effects’ 3D lights and cameras and change the lighting of your composited 3D graphics. This native plugin for After Effects can use the coordinate information from a Position Pass or depth map to generate a Pixel Cloud in 3D space. This Pixel Cloud can be viewed from all angles using AE’s own cameras. With a Normal Pass, the Pixel Cloud can be relit using After Effects’ own lights or using an image as an Image Based Light. There are a number of uses from 3D compositing to motion graphics! Find it at AEScripts.com!
Relighting with 32-bit passes
Use AE Lights and Cameras
Image Based Lighting
Alpha Lights for matte generation
Support for falloff in CS5.5 and above
Pixel Cloud generation with 8bpc to 32bpc
Lo-res Preview modes
Generating the position pass can be done in various 3D software packages. In Cinema 4D you may use the PointPosition C4D from AEScripts.com. There is also a tutorial for doing this here: http://youtu.be/yfoT7bxbBwo
For Maya, you may use the Point World output of a samplerInfo node connected to a surface shader and render an EXR using mental ray and the 32-bit framebuffer. There are also a variety of tutorials available.
For 3DS Max, you may add the XYZ Generator shader to the surface slot of a mental ray material. Set it’s Coordinate System to 3 and render to an EXR using the floating point framebuffer.
The Pixel Cloud plugin effect for After Effects has several nifty features including the ability to relight a 3D rendered scene using separate passes. With this feature, you can drastically change the light source, direction of light and mood of a scene as well as the specularity and reflections in an image. Here is a demo/tutorial of how this can be achieved in After Effects with the Pixel Cloud plugin!
The upcoming Pixel Cloud plugin for After Effects can be used to relight a source image affecting the diffuse and specular properties. Coming soon I’ll be posting a revealing demo of how easy it is to take a static image from a 3D package and use Pixel Cloud and After Effects’ own 3D lights to create a dynamic and believable composite with moving lights, shadows, and reflections. Here’s an end product of what it will look like!
One of the nifty features in the upcoming Pixel Cloud plugin for After Effects is the ability to use After Effects own 3D lights to “relight” the alpha of an image according to its depth/position information. This can be done using an additional position pass or height map pass. Here is a quick little demo of how this can be achieved!
A recent post on FXGuide regarding Pointcloud9, a European company that provides high quality 3D scanning services to the film industry, has me fascinated with how this technology is being used today. LIDAR is basically the process of using a laser to get the 3D information of an object or environment similar to the way desktop 3D scanners operate and it ties in perfectly with my previous Recreality post, about the future of cinema. These laser-based range finding cameras are ultra accurate. No Kinect hack here. Perhaps this is the way it will be done in the future? Incidentally, this technology was used 4 years ago for Radiohead’s House of Cards music video.
Pixel Cloud has a robust set of relighting tools. These include relighting tools for diffuse, specularity, reflections and the ability to relight the “Alpha” of a 3D displaced image using After Effects own lights. In Pixel Cloud we can specify lights that only affect the alpha channel of an image. Since the image is a 3D displaced Pixel Cloud, this means we can easily separate parts of an image according to their depth information. This is a powerful tool and a normal map isn’t a prerequisite, meaning you can relight non-CG generated images like photos and video. The video isn’t up yet but as a taste here is a preview of what the upcoming demo/tutorial will show how we can utilize this tool to relight the alpha of Jack, our cute little dog from the previous demo!
I just received my Lytro and have been having a blast taking photos with it. It’s absolutely brilliant. If you’re unfamiliar with this camera, it allows you to focus the picture after it’s already been taken. The move from in-camera to in-post is certainly being lead by technology and economics. My Pixel Cloud plugin is also trying to bring more of those capabilities into After Effects. Just look at the Microsoft Kinect and how innovative pioneers are using its ranging features to recreate environments from recorded point clouds. And Samsung has developed a sensor that not only records RGB but Depth pixels as well! These are amazing innovations for effects artists.
Imagine a future where we can record whole rooms as animated environments. Think 3D scanners that scan whole rooms at one time and at 24fps. We could completely eliminate conventional camera motion control and create everything in-post. We could change the lighting setups, create digital camera rigs all after the video has already been shot. Not as CG but as recorded pixels in 3D space; An accurate representation of reality that we can manipulate to our choosing. This opens up possibilities for interactive story-telling, not to mention subjective 3D stereography. I could imagine a dozen more uses.
This isn’t just virtual reality but recreated reality, “Recreality.”
[CORRECTION] Although we use the term depth map, the correct term for usage should be height map. The main difference being that a height map denotes distance from a flat surface and a depth map denotes distance from the camera.
I’ve shown how we can use a CG render and a Position Pass in After Effects to animate and relight a 3D displaced Pixel Cloud. But not all 3D programs can produce a Position Pass and photographic sources obviously do not come with specialized passes. Pixel Cloud can still get around these limitations.
Although not yet released, this demo/tutorial gives a quick look at how simple it is to use the Pixel Cloud plugin to create a realistic camera animation with a simple photograph. Pixel Cloud can use not only Position Passes but Depth Map passes as well within an 8-bpc project.
So keep an eye out for more updates on how close we are getting to release Pixel Cloud!
After a brief hiatus from postings, we’ll soon be coming back with a demo/tutorial on how to use the upcoming Pixel Cloud plugin to animate a photograph using depth maps and 3D displacement! It really is an amazing difference from just using flat 3D layers to simulate parallax. We’ll also be coming out with a couple of new tutorials with integrating this with a camera projection workflow as well as tips on how to get the most out your composites!