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AE to C4D: A new (more comprehensive) solution

Some of you may be familiar with Paul Tuersley’s excellent scripts allowing for the importation of cameras and other objects from After Effects into Cinema 4D. But sometimes your workflow calls for a different approach.

Eric Henry has developed a clever process for importing the animation data of objects and/or cameras into Cinema 4D from After Effects. Here’s his introduction and overview of the process:

Here is an After Effects-centric workflow for translating animation in After Effects to Cinema 4D. It relies on XPresso to drive animation in C4D by referencing values in a text file containing AE keyframe data.

Essentially, this is an expanded version of the process described by Jamal “Nimpsy” Qutub for using AE tracking data to drive X and Y position in C4D:

http://maxon.digitalmedianet.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=42002

Nimpsy’s process, in turn, relies on Rui Mac’s Text Read node (and an XPresso network apparently described in a tutorial by Base 80. I never got my hands on the this tutorial, but Rui Mac was kind enough to supply me with his node, and I was able to replicate the network from the screenshot included in Nimpsy’s post). Long story short, I expanded Nimpsy’s process to include not just X and Y position, but all the AE transform properties.

So, once you have an animated mockup in AE, a corresponding model in C4D, and the finished template files (included here) the workflow goes something like this:

1. In AE, add a default expression to any animated properties
2. Convert the expression(s) to keyframes
3. Copy and paste keyframes into a blank Excel spreadsheet
4. Transfer values to their appropriate columns in Excel template file
5. Save as a space-delimited .prn text file
6. In C4D, configure your scene to match frame rate and size of AE mockup
7. Merge in appropriate C4D rig file
8. Zero out model position and rotation and parent to bottom of rig hierarchy
9. Locate the “Text Read by rui-mac” XPresso node and direct the “filename” parameter to .prn file
10. Repeat this process for each object in your scene, including camera
11. Select your camera as the Scene Camera. Scrub through your timeline. Your object(s) should move, scale, etc. as they did in your AE mockup.

A more detailed explanation of these steps is included in the ReadMe.

For the ReadMe, examples and template files, download Eric’s AEtoC4D .zip archive here.

NOTE: Because C4D uses absolute links for referencing files, the path to the .prn file in the example .c4d file will not work. You’ll need to manually re-link it.

Posted on 14 June 2007 |

5 thoughts on “AE to C4D: A new (more comprehensive) solution

  1. It’s great that someone finally found a way to do this. Still, for a more fluent workflow the guys over at Maxon should write an importer plugin for C4D. I mean, they wrote a plugin for AE, so it should be a piece of cake to do it the other way round. Especially with them knowing that most of their users are working in the AE and C4D realm this is overdue for a long time.
    Don’t get me wrong, the solution Eric came up with is very cool, but try doing this around 100 times during production (At least from my experience cameras tend to change a lot along the line).
    Not so much fun.

  2. Does this work with parented layers? I like to parent my camera to a null, and animate the null. Will I still get the same camera movement once inside C4D? Thanks for the help!

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