few thoughts about Element....

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few thoughts about Element....

Postby Eyalster on 07/12/2012, 12:17 am

After a day or so of playing with Elements, and judging from my own narrow perspective of AE compositor with an extensive use of chroma key footage and matte painting composites, I have some thoughts and ideas that I would like to share with the VC forum and the VC team.

First of all, I must say that this is one amazing plug in, it is awesome, fast, hypnotizing and i'm happy to be an AE animator in this element 3d era ... now, I could stop here, press 'submit' and we will all go our ways happy and proud.

But there are some flaws .... more accurate to say , it's one basic flaw that kind of ruin the amazing party for me.
and that's the 3d objects in a 2d layer issue, and the overall element/AE layers integration.

If you gonna make a comp using only element, element objects and AE lights, you will get an outstanding results. But if you'll try to insert element objects in an AE 3d environment... you gonna have to admit thats almost impossible :(

Lets take for instance the black hawk model from the element animation tutorial, this is one impressive shot, the black hawk looks like part of the picture behind it.... but the thing is, that if you'll try to move a camera in such an environment, or you'll try to put a video of an actor as a pilot or gunner inside of the chopper,,, you'll get a frustrating result.

or we can take the firing gun example from the same tutorial, try to merge that gun with video layers or place it on a table of a police station video (what you could do easily with a picture of a gun and AE tracker)
element 3d is just dont built for that.

I can build an amazing street with element but I cant populate it with people, I can build a stage but there will be no band and no audience (if the camera moves)

The suggestion I have, and i'm in no way tech guy, just a creative dude, is to make an option of mapping a flat element object with an alpha video (like a texture)
then I could shot the black hawk pilot and gunner on green screen, map them on a flat object, and integrate the object in the black hawk model. so my actors will merge in the model and will react to the 'world transform' setting.

Again, i'm not a tech wiz, I have no idea how complicate that might be, but it would be very very helpful.

thanks
Eyal.
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Re: few thoughts about Element....

Postby martian100 on 07/12/2012, 12:21 am

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Re: few thoughts about Element....

Postby Eyalster on 07/12/2012, 2:42 am

I did
But the camera is almost stand still.

you can use element as marvelous backgrounds, but if you will try a more complex camera movements the illusion will break in a snap.
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Re: few thoughts about Element....

Postby martian100 on 07/12/2012, 3:20 am

A little move, a big move, I dont think it would have made a difference to the scene. He had to track the camera, as you would. So long as the camera track is accurate and you found the ground plane, I cant see why it would be an issue. I'm assuming Sam was roto'd to the foreground. ya that would be a pain. 3d draw order has always been painful. After Effects is after all said and done a 2d environment. Not a 3d environment. Mapping 3d and 2d objects into After Effects has never been a simple process.
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Re: few thoughts about Element....

Postby Glazarus on 07/12/2012, 3:49 am

We see AE go more and more into 3D territory. They do it very clumsy with a not so fast rendering engine. Just like Avid Media Composer introduced AMA (Avid Media Access) to link directly to original files which wasn't a part of the Avid workflow before (before it was always transcoding to native media). The AMA has never been very smooth, it has in most cases never been usable.

The AE 3D engine is very slow right now. It's better to do a 3D track then create 3D objects in let's say Cinema 4D, then composite them in AE. Until Adobe really smoothes AE up with a great 3D engine and native 3D support, Element 3D is the best we have and still, it's as Andrew says, it's built for speed. It's meant to be a particle system much more advanced then like Particular. Yes you CAN bring in a helicopter and composite it very nicely, but put it's capabilites compared to capabilites with Cinema 4D and that sort of stuff isn't really working very smoothely.

At least we can draw 2 layers of Element 3D "in front" and "behind" so you can put other stuff in there so it looks like it's all in 3D, that's the best we can do for now. Needs a little feather slider imo, but other then that it works for now.

And... as for speed, I did a 1080p render of thousands of shards of glass breaking of and slowing down in mid air with a footage that was 3D tracked. Total work time was about an hour, including filming the test. And this is for a guy that don't really know that very much about compositing and VFX, with no experience in Element 3D before. I'd say that compared to the negative complexity that other plug in developers put into their products, Andrew and his team really knows that it's people sitting here working with this stuff, not mathematicians.
-That philosophy alone is Steve Jobs-like
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