Welcome! My name is Alan Shisko, and I'm a freelance motion graphics artist working out of Toronto, Canada. I've been very lucky in my career to have had many inspiring teachers, and decided to start this blog to give back to the community that has enriched me both technically and aesthetically. Perhaps my words and images will inspire you to do the same! If you wish, take a minute to view my demo reel at Shisko.com, or view a comprehensive gallery of my past work Here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

AE shadows on Rendered 3d Clips

Take a close look at the header image. Nothing too special about it, is there? There is some AE text, and it's in a composition above a "wood textured" AE bitmap layer with some rendered 3d imagery composited over it all. Right? Wrong. There are only TWO elements in the scene: The text, and a 'flat' 3d image sequence rendered out of 3dsMax.

So how is the text throwing a shadow on a 'flat' image rendered out of a 3d application, matching the scene, AE objects and camera moves perfectly? Can't After Effects only throw shadows onto it's own layers? Maybe, or maybe not!

Thanks to the opportunities afforded artists by Boomerlabs' "Max2AE" plugin and some tricky compositing, you CAN cast shadows from your After Effects layers 'onto' imagery rendered out of3dsMax. You can also use the same technique if you use Cinema4d, Maya and other popular 3d applications that have integration with After Effects.

Click HERE to view a Quicktime tutorial walking you through the technique (QT, h.264, 16:27, 19.7 mb).


evan said...

Great tutorial! And great blog too!
A stupid question: why create a new layer for shadows, when we already have the Max2AE helper layer in the comp, positioned, correctly and 3D?

Alan Shisko said...

Sure, could do. Out of habit, I use the imported 'helper layer' just as a reference, but that's just me :) I often go back to the layer to copy/paste for other subsequent layers, and having the 'native' positioning gives me a stable point of reference for further applications.

You'll have to change the opacity, make it white, make it 'invisible to lights' and probably re-name it to 'floor' or 'shadow catcher' or some such thing to keep the project clear.