Import After Effects 3D Tracked Camera into Cheetah3D?!

#1
Is there any way to import a 3D Tracked Camera created in After Effects into Cheetah3D?

This feature has been requested for over a decade now, and I understand that Martin already has a lot of stuff going on with C3D, but match moving is such an essential part of any compositing workflow involving 3D these days. Just look at England for example: I have a colleague that recently came home to Sweden from a couple of years of working in England, and he explained to me that a lot of studios nowadays in England chooses to record whole movies in front of green screens and composite talents into CGI-worlds due to the expensive (and risky) costs of building real, physical sets and filming in public spaces. If C3D doesn't allow me to import a tracked 3D camera, it means that I'm limited to static shots, which is incredibly disappointing and really bad. The lack of this feature alone renders Cheetah3D useless for me; it's not worth spending time using this program if it lacks this feature. Personally, without knowing much about programming, I feel like this wouldn't be THAT hard to pull off. Sure - there is no way to export a 3D camera out of AE (except for exporting it as a C4D-file, which understandable is not readable by C3D); however, after tracking the clip and you've created a 3D camera from it you can manually copy the Position and Orientation (rotation) data from the new 3D camera in the composition and paste it into, for example, a text document. This results in something that looks like this:
After Effects 3D Tracker Camera Data Pasted.png

Full text document available for download here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2ghjclpp5g41hs4/After Effects 3D Tracker Camera Data Pasted.txt?dl=0

There's no doubt in my mind that there should be a way for Martin (or someone) to write a script or do SOMETHING that allows people to import these text files as keyframe data for a camera's position and rotation. Yes - After Effects doesn't use the same coordinate system but you should be able to fix this offset by placing the camera under a parent null/group and moving it, I'm only requesting some kind of solution that allows me to match move since it's such an essential part of compositing workflows nowadays.
 

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#2
With all due respect etc., I'm not sure how many Cheetah-users have After Effects and would use that feature. Could be possible that you're the only one.

It's certainly true what you write about movies, but somehow it's a bad example. There is not one movie studio around that does use Cheetah, nor will there ever be. Because Cheetah doesn't meet all professional demands. Don't get me wrong here. It's a great little app, and most of what it does, it does fairly well. I like Falcon's results better than most of what I have seen from Cycles for example. And some professionals are working with Cheetah because all what they need is in there. If not, they have other, more expensive, software to get the job done.

But there is a lot missing in Cheetah. There is no volumetrics, no sss and some other restrictions where you can't get always that of Cheetah what you would need. And there is no FX, no plugins you could buy etc. On it's own it's plain not enough for most professional needs.

And After Effects isn't as important as it was. Nuke took a very big peace of that cake. Probably your friend has told you about that, too.

Maybe you could ask somebody to create that script you need. Money is always a good motivator. If you find somebody else who want's this you could split the cost.

But be aware that it will not resolve all your problems. Camera matching isn't something easily done, nor is Cheetah well suited for it. There are different lenses and different backplates. This means 50 mm isn't always the same Field of view; you would have to calculate the right one yourself. But then you still have a problem. The distortion Cheetah produces is a 'perfect lens', something not existing in reality. The real lenses have distortions you can't reproduce in Cheetah's camera. For professional results you'd have to do exactly that.

So, you see, it's not as trivial as it seems. Martin would have to address all that and more to incorporate this function in Cheetah.

But I'm sure, somebody is willing to write that script for you. If the price is right (and no, I don't mean myself).
 

podperson

Active member
#3
It should be fairly easy to script this kind of thing if you’re so Inclined.

Frankly, for something like this i’d use blender. With 2.8 its rendering capabilities are pretty tough to beat — Falcon has better caustics but cycles and eevee are better for any kind of animation, and give you volumetrics and SSS.
 
#4
With all due respect etc., I'm not sure how many Cheetah-users have After Effects and would use that feature. Could be possible that you're the only one.

It's certainly true what you write about movies, but somehow it's a bad example. There is not one movie studio around that does use Cheetah, nor will there ever be. Because Cheetah doesn't meet all professional demands. Don't get me wrong here. It's a great little app, and most of what it does, it does fairly well. I like Falcon's results better than most of what I have seen from Cycles for example. And some professionals are working with Cheetah because all what they need is in there. If not, they have other, more expensive, software to get the job done.

But there is a lot missing in Cheetah. There is no volumetrics, no sss and some other restrictions where you can't get always that of Cheetah what you would need. And there is no FX, no plugins you could buy etc. On it's own it's plain not enough for most professional needs.

And After Effects isn't as important as it was. Nuke took a very big peace of that cake. Probably your friend has told you about that, too.

Maybe you could ask somebody to create that script you need. Money is always a good motivator. If you find somebody else who want's this you could split the cost.

But be aware that it will not resolve all your problems. Camera matching isn't something easily done, nor is Cheetah well suited for it. There are different lenses and different backplates. This means 50 mm isn't always the same Field of view; you would have to calculate the right one yourself. But then you still have a problem. The distortion Cheetah produces is a 'perfect lens', something not existing in reality. The real lenses have distortions you can't reproduce in Cheetah's camera. For professional results you'd have to do exactly that.

So, you see, it's not as trivial as it seems. Martin would have to address all that and more to incorporate this function in Cheetah.

But I'm sure, somebody is willing to write that script for you. If the price is right (and no, I don't mean myself).
I agree with some of what you said, but not all of it; I don't think it's a good idea for Martin to take a "well, Cheetah3D is not going to be used by movie studios, so it's not worth trying"-approach. C3D is an incredible powerful tool if you just know how to use it properly. I usually prefer to work in C3D over Cinema4D since I'm usually able to complete tasks faster in C3D than C4D, due to the more simplistic design of C3D. If things like match moving would get incorporated into Cheetah, obvisoly more people (and studios) would start using Cheetah as a professional option. "On it's own it's plain not enough for most professional needs." Yes, that's why I'm suggesting that we make it better!

"And After Effects isn't as important as it was. Nuke took a very big peace of that cake." Here in Sweden we pretty much only use After Effects. I've never heard of any studio that uses Nuke in Sweden. For example, Sweden's largest TV studio only uses After Effects.

"This means 50 mm isn't always the same Field of view; you would have to calculate the right one yourself." I'm aware of this. But using Cheetah's built-in camera tools and some distortion effects in AE you'll be able to achieve a good-enough look. Trust me, this is an issue inside Cinema4D too, but the "if you can't make it: fake it"-approach works well here. So no, I'm only asking for a way to import the movement (position and rotation) of a camera.

I don't know how to write scripts, and I don't have time to learn it either. If Martin wants C3D to be interesting for the VFX and compositing market of professionals too he'll have to make this a part of the program, even if it means raising the price or something, since the application is already too cheap for it's own good.
 
#5
"well, Cheetah3D is not going to be used by movie studios, so it's not worth trying"-approach. C3D is an incredible powerful tool if you just know how to use it properly."
No, I didn't mean it like this. But as good as Cheetah is in some parts, it would be virtually worthless for such work, because there is still so much missing. As soon as that is there (which will take a while), it may be or may not be a good idea to incorporate such things.

And no, to know how to use it, doesn't give you sss.

I don't know how to write scripts, and I don't have time to learn it either. If Martin wants C3D to be interesting for the VFX and compositing market of professionals too he'll have to make this a part of the program, even if it means raising the price or something, since the application is already too cheap for it's own good.
Yes, but first he has to bring volumetrics in, sss, maybe some special effects, overhaul the whole light system (like correct spots and so on), volumetric lights, overhaul the animation process and, as podperson pointed out already several times: the modeler. Not to forget the material system and especially displacement. A lot of work to do just to compete in the existing customer market.

I don't think it's so easy for Cheetah to compete with all the other apps, especially as there are no plugins available, for example other renderers. Maybe a bridge to DAZ Studio would in all probability bring in more new customers at the moment, as would fx and so on. I sincerely don't believe that adding After Effects support would bring one new customer.

I could be wrong. So find somebody who is willing to write the script or some kind of plug, and who knows, you could sell it to all the vfx studios in the world which are waiting for just this to happen to switch to Cheetah.

I don't think you would be getting rich this way, because apart from all that, what professionals need from 3d apps and that's not here yet, there are two other problems. One: MacOS only. In the last years Apple lost a ton of professionals to windows, because the hardware just gave much more bang for the buck. They simply neglected the professionals for to long, and only with the iMac Pro slowly started to get them back (in reality: losing less customers). The Mac Pro seems great, but it costs big money compared to what you can get for the same price from somebody else. I think they are now, finally, on a good path. And I sincerely wish them all the best, but it will not be that easy to get all the lost professionals back. At the moment, a lot of them are a bit distrusting, and to be honest, rightly so. It's actually cheaper to buy expensive software and use Windows than the other way around.

And the other: There is nothing wrong with using Cheetah as part of a workflow in a pipeline of several apps. One for modeling, one for texturing, and so on. To use it as main app in a production environment would be ... say, a bit dangerous. Cheetah stays and falls with Martin. If something would happen to him (may the gods bless him), or he just plain wants to do something else, Cheetah would be dead. And then you'd have to retrain your people in something else.

Yes, that's why I'm suggesting that we make it better!
We don't do anything except pay the software. All the work is Martin's, as it is his vision. I think he knows very well what he does, which kind of customers he can win over and so on. To me he seems to have a sound approach at this.

Here in Sweden we pretty much only use After Effects
That may be so. Only it doesn't make Nuke any less successful elsewhere.


Don't get me wrong here. I like Cheetah, and I understand what you mean and what you need. It's just not that easy for Cheetah to break fully out of the amateur-corner. And I don't really know if that is what Martin wants to achieve.

But like I said. Get somebody to write that script for you.
 
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