I was always intimidated by After Effects until I watched these tutorials. I downloaded an after Effects trial and then following these tutorials I mas able to make a 3D teaser trailer for a company (I also had help from my technical wizard of a boss. Who shows no fear when faced with new software) Anyway the client was very happy and afterwards my confidence soared!
If you have After Effects and want to make a 3D animation from 2D elements then this is the man for you…
Now whether you are impressed by 3D or not; we know that it is here to stay at least for the time being. Pixar and Disney say they will only make 3D films now to combat the ‘camcorder in a cinema’ piracy. More crucially, being able to make 3D impresses the hell out of potential employers.
When I make something stereoscopic 3D I have two options. Option one, mentioned in this post, is for live action and should be filmed 3D from the outset. Option two is to use Chris Keller’s After Effects Scripts to convert 2D media and graphics into 3D That will be in the next post.
You can hire a semi professional twin lens 3D camera such as the AG-3DA1 relatively cheaply. By pressing the ‘mix’ button on the camera; you super-impose one lens (or eye) over the other so that it creates a ‘double vision’ effect. By turning the convergence wheel at the base of the camera you can adjust the lens convergence (the position between the two lenses making them turn towards each other). So if you were filming a person standing still, you could set your convergence point on their chest (the image would be aligned and look normal when viewing it ‘mixed’) and then anything in front of that point would come out at you (negative parallax) such as outstretched arms and anything behind that point would be set back from the screen such as a house in the distance (Positive parallax).
Shameless promotion of an advert I was in for VMI camera hire company below:
The camera saves the left and right eye lens video files separately. Import only your left eye files into Final Cut Pro 7. I’ve not looked into Final Cut Pro X as I’m so appalled by it: ‘Mark clip as favourite’ ‘import imovie project’ ‘Import from iphoto’.. What a patronising joke!
You make your edit and once done you label your sequence as ‘Left Eye Only’ and export a quicktime labelling it as ‘Left Eye’.You then duplicate the sequence and copy it into a new project calling it ‘Right Eye’.
I’d close the left eye FCP project as when you reconnect, a bug may cause all sequences to reconnect to the wrong files. Then you highlight your newly labelled ‘Right Eye’ sequence, press reconnect, and re-link to all the right eye files instead of the left ones. You should see your clips shift in angle a little in your timeline. Now export a quicktime and label it ‘Right Eye’.
If you want to grade your clips, you can grade the left eye sequence and copy and paste the attributes onto your right eye sequence so that that the right eye is graded exactly the same as the left eye. Then export the quicktimes.
Once you have both your left and right eye quicktimes you then import them into your project and create a new sequence calling it ‘Side by Side’. You put your left eye QT on the first video layer on your sequence, click on it and then go to the motion tab:
You then put your ‘Right Eye’ quicktime on your second video layer and then highlight it and press the motion tab:
The left eye attributes are: Center: -480 ( a quarter of 1920 ) and distort Aspect Ratio: 100
The Right eye attributes are: Center: 480 ( a quarter of 1920 ) and distort Aspect Ratio: 100
You should now have a stereoscopic side by side 3D video, which if you have a DVI to HDMI adapter (available for about £25) you can then view in a 3D Television which is set to view ‘side by side’ 3D.
There are quicker methods emerging such as the Final Cut pro Dashwood Stereo Toolbox 3D and Cineform neo3d. All are quicker and allow you to change the 3D geometry. Something that you need for the broadcast market. But the above is the basic workflow that is good to know as it costs nothing. Lots of employers are loath to spend money on software especially in these dying days of Final cut Pro.
What I would do for broadcast would be to export an EDL (edit decision list) of the left and right eye sequences and give it to a high end Mistika / Smoke operator so that they can change the convergence shot by shot so that it is less stressful on the audiences’ eyes when watching your film over a period of time. There are very strict guidelines for Stereoscopic 3D broadcast on Sky etc..
Here is me on the left posing next to Ross a freelance Mistika Operator at Preditors Post Production.
I’m wearing 3D glasses on the left..