Concept for importing 3d models

Posted on 29. May, 2008 by in Blog

This idea has just struck me like a lightning. We all want 3d models in AE, right? What if we really could? I already took few attempts of expanding the range of 3d features in AE and it’s not up to me to say whether they are useful or not, but I feel theres much more to be done. Well… we all know that there is a lot to Tea Cups With Lids Amber Rings Wholesale Tea Trays Toddler Sleeping Bags be done, but I really think theres something that can be done while waiting for Adobe to introduce a 3d engine inside AE. But I will need your help to make our dream come true.

I already wrote a post about an experiment that I did that involved some [intlink id=”125″ type=”post” target=”_self”]new ways of creating 3d objects[/intlink], even importing them from any 3d package. I haven’t done a tutorial on that yet, but I assure you it’s coming. Aside that I believe I have found a new interesting way of importing 3d textured objects to AE, but I know it is a bit out of my league in terms of programming it and creating a tool for it, but I’m sure to give it a shot one day, unless of course someone will contact me to work on this.

Heres the big concept. Have you ever used vanishing point from Photoshop? If you have you probably know where this is going. One of Photoshop vanishing point features is creating a 3DS model for importing to 3d applications, or a VPE file for importing into AE. Here’s where the fun begins. What if we could reverse that process and create a VPE file from a 3DS or OBJ file?

VPE file is just a plain text file that looks a bit like XML, so it is very easy to understand it, and even create by hand. What you get after importing it to AE is a new composition with 3D layers and a camera. I use it from time to time to create panoramas, or buildings from a single photo so I could easily move the camera around.

Now just imagine that we have a tool for reading 3DS or OBJ or any other common 3d file format that creates a VPE file from it, extracting the textures and describing the geometry. Wouldn’t that be just cool? Of course there are some limitations, but still this have a chance to be far more useful than [intlink id=”125″ type=”post” target=”_self”]what I plan to show you[/intlink] in the next few weeks. The objects would have to be low-poly to keep AE running at reasonable speed. Also I think that the only objects that can be created from VPE in AE are rectangular solids, so to keep some parts of them transparent the PNG texture applied to them would have to be trimmed or modified in any other way to hide that the actual plane with the texture is a rectangle.

Above that there are already tools out there to export 3d data from 3d apps to frameworks like Papervision3D for flash. I haven’t looked into them yet, but if they can do this for flash, why not export it for AE in VPE format? This all sounds a bit crazy but I don’t think it’s that far in the “impossible” area.

Anyway… I just wanted to share that thought with you hoping that a maybe one of you my dear visitors is a programmer with to much free time that will be willing to give this idea a try. Don’t hesitate to contact me about this idea. Tell your friends about it. Maybe someone will come forward and together we can build a 3d objects importing tool that we’ve always wanted.

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9 Responses to “Concept for importing 3d models”

  1. UmairVFX

    29. May, 2008

    HAHA :D

    Yes dude you are crazy….!!!

    as i said you are the best overall under the surface and over the surface… ;)

    nice dude….

    thanks again for your amazing contribution… for whole community…


  2. Craig Hellen

    29. May, 2008

    if you manage to accomplish this, it could mean an animators revolution! Thankyou

  3. PhSn

    29. May, 2008

    It would be really great, if something like this will be possible in future. All the Re-Rendering in C4D or somethung would be unneccesary^^ If you manige it, you would get the Nobe prize in After Effects :D

  4. deiarpro

    02. Jun, 2008

    hi maltaannon thanks for the hint .. i think that we should talk about tow magor things .first of all is importing the 3d model from the 3d application , for that ,after effects has a great third party plugin , i think you know it , which is zaxwerks proanimator or zaxwerks 3dinvigator , in the import menue in this plugin you can import a 3d model , i belive that it supports (3ds) extention , and when you import this you can use the originl afer effects cammera that you are using in your comp , because as now proanimator can deal withe ae cameras..
    the secend thing witch is the animation , unfortunatly you cant animate the model parts in zaxwerks but can can break the model in the host application into a smaller parts and then animate them using the simole animation tools in zaxwerks , and in this way the way ,, zaxwerks will not import the tecture data for the models .. well its a handy techniqe ,, i’am using it a lot but ofcourse with a low polygynol data

  5. Maltaannon

    02. Jun, 2008

    yes, I know about zaxwerks, but I haven’t have a chance to use them yet, but I looked at it closely and I really hate the user interface that is still in the early 90′. besides I’m all about exploiting AE and doing things differently and without plugins. I believe that this technique could be better than zaxwerks in some cases. for example this supports AE camera and AE lights and shadows natively – zaxwerks doesn’t as far as I remember. but like I said… this is just an idea.

  6. Inerxia

    17. Jun, 2008

    Man, you are really into AE. I just love the fact that you dont like plugins so much, as I do.

    I agree with you about the user interface of all that 3D plugins. Buy I have to tell you something: if AE could work with 3D information, my whole life will be over. And thats because I love 3D max as well.

    Your resources are great, and I hope that you can take a look at the AE Presets I made in my blog


  7. CraigW

    26. Jun, 2008

    Zaxwerks Invigorator does support native AE lights and cameras.

  8. Maltaannon

    26. Jun, 2008

    I won’t argue, because honestly I don’t know. I’ve seen Zaxwerks using AE camera and lights, but for some reasons many professionals claim that it does not handle them the way you’d normally except. But like I said… it’s someone else’s opinion, not mine. Anyway… like said before… this is just an experiment.

  9. s del george

    06. Sep, 2009

    Have you tried contacting PolyTrans? The programming and familiarity with 3D formats parts, the parts you might need some help with, are their speciality.

    Also, they’re “3D” market is essentially saturated – so adding AE import/export of 3D could be a very desirable shot in their marketing arm.