I’m currently working on a plugin for Adobe Animate CC and Adobe After Effects which I have nicknamed “Play.on”. It will allow you to build interactive HTML5 based media using visual programming. This media can be used for things like playable ads, mini-games, interactive web apps, banner ads, the list goes on. You can choose from a library of templates and customize it to suit your needs. The cool thing about this workflow is that you will not need to be a computer programmer to create a robust interactive experience.
The concept is to use a node-based network to build and visualize an interactive experience. You design the experience using a series of nodes along with simple logic streamed together in a graph using Adobe Animate CC and Adobe After Effects.
And as the platform grows, you can extend the plugin by simply adding more nodes. I am also working on building a node for supporting dynamic content so that one can use third party data feeds for things like keyword contextual targeting, geolocation, and campaign data can be fetched and used to determine what kind of experience will be delivered on the fly.
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.
I’ve been using The Maya-AE Live Link feature that was recently added in Maya 2017 Update 3 and it is a marvelous solution for motion graphic artists and animators who use a Maya and After Effects workflow. Whereas you had to use a hacky workflow of scripts and baking keys to go back and forth between apps, this new workflow gives me just the right amount of control and ease of use.
Although it doesn’t give you 3D rendering inside AE, and honestly you don’t want to be rendering Maya scenes from After Effects, it gives you the ability to exchange cameras, lights and transforms with which you need to match your render sequences with the composite. I am currently developing Pixel Cloud 2.0 and using Maya-AE Live Link in the workflow. Hope to show it off real soon!
It’s been a while since my last post. Life happens. It’s been a busy year. So sorry for the extended hiatus and I promise to come around more often!
Recently, I’ve been challenging myself during the few chances I have for experimentation to create short 5 second visual typography clips. A colleague of mine mentioned a Reddit game identifying movies from a single word uttered in the movie (without uttering the title, of course).
I tried to do similar creating short clips designing around a single word and completing within an hour or two. Here are four examples of what I’ve done so far.
UPDATE: This issue has been fixed in the latest update to AE CC 2015. The version number is 13.5.1. So if you continue to have this issue, update!
After Effects CC 2015 previews are great. A noticeable improvement from CC 2014. However, there was a nagging issue for me with After Effects CC 2015 and DNG imports. With some Blackmagic footage I had taken, modifying the Camera Raw options after import would not update the image. Also, I would sometimes experience a Photoshop File Format Error 3415.
After experimentation, I did find a workaround which I thought would be of use for those of you who don’t want to downgrade to CC 2014 and continue to use the newest features of CC 2015.
After setting the Camera Raw options, right-click the footage and choose Replace Footage. Afterwards, Reload and it should update. If you receive the Photoshop error you will need to close and reopen After Effects and try again. Some combination of Replace and Reload seems to do the trick.
EDIT: I was notified of a better solution which is to use Edit Original from the Edit menu. This also forces an update of the DNG sequence.
For the time being this will allow you to continue working in CC 2015 until Adobe fixes the issue.
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!
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.
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 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 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!