I wanted to share this quick tip video for Maya’s Align Tool. There are many alignment options available in Maya so there are many different ways to achieve a similar outcome. When using the Align Tool with flat objects you may “lose” manipulators along particular axes such as the Y axis when you have a flat plane in the selection. I think most people would simply switch to one of the other alignment options in order to achieve the result they are looking for.
The Align Tool is actually functioning correctly, albeit not very user-friendly. Because the flat plane is so small the manipulator icons have “disappeared” into the corner. These manipulators are actually still available. You need to “zoom” into the corner of the selection to access them!
This is a project I am working on which will be a character based animated series for small children. This is a beginning render of an intro/establishing shot for the fantastical world which the series is based in. While working on the file, I noticed a strange effect when you import 32-bit EXRs into Adobe After Effects when the color space is set to “Linearized.”
Apparently when you set color management to a 32-bpc linearized working color space, adjustments do not get applied to the alpha channel of the EXR. The RGB channels do seem to output correctly but this is not the case for the alpha channel and it does cause a “halo” effect around the edges of an image with transparency. Look at the following examples. On the left is the non-linearized version and the alpha is seen correctly. The image on the right is the “linearized” version.
As you can see, the alpha on the right has a brighter gamma than the image on the left. This is probably a good thing since single channels are often used as “data” rather than as an image. But in this case, it does require that we add some adjustment. In order to return the alpha channel back to expected you need to add a levels effect (individual controls) to the layer and then adjust the Alpha Gamma correction to 0.45. Leave the RGB channels alone and it should return to an image matching the non-linearized version. So keep this in mind when using in a linearized color space in After Effects.
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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!
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!
[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!
Yeah! After some soul searching, I’ve moved all the blog videos onto YouTube! Our YouTube channel is at TheBlurrypixel. Of course all the videos are still embedded in the posts so no need to go directly to the channel but I will be posting some bonus extra videos on there that may not be on the blog so show us your support and Subscribe!
At school there were always teachers who in all honesty were experts in their field simply because they knew 10% more about it than 10% of the students they were teaching. But if I took the chance to look beyond my own “pretentiousness”, I would find there was always something invaluable to learn from them. It may not be what I was expecting and it may be completely different than what I was studying, but it was always beneficial and always unexpected. And that’s what learning is about, right?
So here is my first tutorial on Blurrypixel using an often overlooked particle effect in After Effects, Particle Playground. Which takes a bit of effort to learn compared to the plethora of turnkey particle generators out there, but I think it’s a good start for a tutorial since it encapsulates so much of digital compositing. So even though you might be saying, “I can make this effect happen in Particular in 5 minutes,” keep in mind there’s always another 90% out there.
It’s a video tutorial. I hope you find it invaluable. Please let me know how I did and if you have any tips or corrections please leave a note. I want to get better! So watch my first tutorial and let’s Learn at the Playground!
Before, if you wanted to do any http streaming you’d need expensive software or an even more expensive subscription to a streaming service. With a little work, you can get http streaming from your home computer.