NAB 2016 Rewind - Jesse Vartanian: Cineware 3.0 Enhancements for After Effects

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Jesse Vartanian shows the power of Cineware for After Effects in a 3D compositing pipeline. In a promo for the MLB network, Jesse placed keyed greenscreen footage in a 3D warehouse environment.

Jesse Vartanian shows the power of Cineware for After Effects in a 3D compositing pipeline. In a promo for the MLB network, Jesse placed keyed greenscreen footage in a 3D warehouse environment. Using Cineware made it easy to composite the footage into the final environment. In a project promoting the release of Cineware 3, Jesse used Cinema 4D’s Takes system to manage multiple variations of the same promo. Jesse shows how individual takes can be referenced while compositing the final animation in After Effects using the Cineware Live 3D pipeline.

07:08Keying Footage
17:00MLB Cineware Composite
22:56Cineware 3 Project
27:49Take System
34:43Takes & Cineware

Recorded Live from NAB 2016 in Las Vegas.



- [Jesse Vartanian] The title of my presentation is leveraging 3D techniques to help build strong brands. So what do I mean by that? Let's try to dive into these applications that we use on an everyday basis to help us with the technology and utilize them to our full potential. So for me I use Cinema 4D every day in all of my projects mostly and since we're here at the Cinema 4D booth, that's what we're going to be talking about. So I brought two projects with me in order to kind of help explain that. I tried to bring five but obviously that's going to go way too long. So the first one I want to discuss is one for Major League Baseball. And I want to get into how to key out green screen footage within after effects. Probably you guys have done that before. We're not going to focus on that too much. What we want to do is bring it into Cinema 4D as a working material to help us build out our scene in Cinema 4D that way we can help save time on the back end especially during client changes which we all probably know about. The second thing I want to talk about is camera compositions so we're going to talk about focal length, depth of field, things like that in order to set up your scene properly and not waste time building out all of this geometry that you're never going to see. You don't want to waste that time and of course, Cineware. I know I spoke to you guys, some of you guys about the new Cineware feature and we're going to discuss how that goes back into After Effects as well. The second project we're going to get into is one we actually did for Maxon Germany. It was a teaser last month. And we want to discuss the new take system both in Cinema 4D and After Effects. You guys may have heard about the take system. Definitely stick around for that. It's really powerful. And again, saves you time with client changes. Time is money. So before I get into it too much I should probably introduce myself. Getting ahead of myself. My name is Jesse Vartanian. Again, thank you guys for coming. I also go by JVarta as you saw on the first screen. I do everything from design, animation composite, through production and here's some samples, still samples of my work. And just to give you a little run down I started at an ad agency working on, I was lucky enough to work on really cool projects like the HBO Feature Presentation, HBO redesign, Showtime Network stuff, History Channel stuff, Travel Channel promos, NBC Sports, you get the idea. Like every artist likes to do end up going out on their own and trying to see if that works so I started a brand: JVarta a couple of years ago and I've been lucky enough again to work with big brands like Major League Baseball, Under Armour, Bleacher Report, YES Network, and GenArts. GenArts is here. If you guys don't know who that is it's a visual effects plugin for After Effects and Premier Pro. They're right over there. Definitely check them out. And I'm just going to show you my reel so you kind of know what I do then we're just going to jump right into the projects. - All right. Thank you guys. Appreciate that. You don't get that at the end of a project so that's nice. Thank you. Okay so I promised the first project I brought with me was Major League Baseball promo. Just give you a little run down on it. Again we're going to be talking about thank you the green screen importing. Importing green screen material as a working footage. We're going to discuss camera compositions and also Cineware. So what did I do in this project? Basically Major League Baseball came to me and said we have all of this green screen footage that we need to shoot in two locations across the country and we have like thirty Major League all stars that need to be in one roof. So we ended up kind of concepting about three or four different looks and ended up going with one and that's pretty much what you see here. So I'll play this promo for you so kind of get a rundown of what we're talking about and then we'll get into Cinema 4D. Okay. So here are some of the style frames that I ended up presenting to Major League Baseball. As you can see some are 3D, some are 2D. I always like to give my clients and option to choose from so they're not really locked into one particular look. We ended up both deciding on the middle one which we though would work really well. Build this big warehouse. Rustic warehouse. It seems to be pretty trendy right now. And it gives the ability to house all of these green screen players within it. Okay I did bring some green screen footage with me just to kind of show you what kind of things you get from clients when you're working in this kind of stuff. So here's an example of green screen footage. You never know what you're going to get. Some can be vertically shot, horizontally shot, 720p, 1080p, if you're lucky you'll get 4K which will be amazing to key with but that's not generally the case. And then you also have examples of let's see here, some people kind of fooling around on this long day, you never really know what you're going to get. Luckily we ended up getting a great take out of him and everything worked really well. I think everybody can kind of relate to this at the end of the day. Okay, let's just get into After Effects. So I'm going to use the take that I think we can use here which is this Prince Fielder shot. Let's see. So what we want to do is basically just key it out. I'm going to key it out really quick. I'm sure you guys have done this before. Just to show you how we're going to do this. Just go into keying key light. Bring this up. Just go ahead and select this here and I'm going to clip the black a little bit. And just mask this out. We don't need any of this stuff. Okay. That's like the worst key I've ever done. But it's okay. Just to show you guys kind of how this works. There you go so we kind of have him on an alpha channel. So that's what we want. When we bring this footage into Cinema 4D as a texture. We basically want the alpha channel and the color channel. So basically where we would end up rendering this with an alpha channel and then we'll jump into Cinema4D. Now this is one of the scenes I was working with. As you can see kind of the warehouse set up. There we go. And I have a bunch of instances over here and if you can see as I turn them off we're kind of left with one main chunk of it. And this is actually what I ended up designing the style frames with so I started with that. I really put my camera in there and that's what I was talking about utilizing your camera angle in order to not build out the entire scene. If I had during the design phase wasted all that geometry you would never see it and the client would say you know we don't want to go with this design then I'd be kind of screwed. So with these instances you can really save a lot of time. As you can see I'm turning them on and lets going back to that polygon count I think I can talk to you guys about it without putting you to sleep. Polygon. So 713,900 that's what we have currently. And if I go ahead and delete these instances and look at it again we have 713,900. So it's the same and basically what I want to hammer home is if you've never used instances is the fact that it's using a proxy. Right? So it's using my main first chunk there and it's basically just duplicating it and not adding geometry. Why is this important? It's important because you're not bogging down your system with unnecessary geometry. Otherwise we'd be well into the millions and we'd probably crash already. Okay, so we'll turn that back on and start to zoom in here. All right, so now what I want to go over is the camera compositions that I promised you so as we kind of get in here and start spinning around this thing if we drop in a camera...there we go. Focal length is one of my best friends when I do any project. What focal length allows you to do when you adjust it is add drama to your scene and it really opens everything up so that you can get a really nice perspective. So when you have your camera selected if under the focal length option here if we just kind of pull this back, we're not zooming back we're just opening up the focal length. So let's just bring this down to20. Make it an even number. And now we can...let's see There we go. Now we can zoom in and we can start rotating around this and even drop it all the way down to the floor which we never would've been able to do if it was on a thirty-six millimeter. So the next time you're working with a project try to you know explore different focal lengths and different camera compositions in order to add interest and depth to your scene rather than just going with the regular 36 millimeter. Obviously that is good for certain situations and I'm going to show you kind of how I use that too. So this would be great if we weren't working with green screen footage that was shot flat. So if you can imagine, if I throw in a flat piece of footage here it's going to you're going to see that it's flat. Unless it was shot you know on a beam properly with perspective and we knew that this shot was going to exist then I think that would work. So you really need to also be careful and mindful of your green screen footage and try to talk to the production team in advance if you can and try to coordinate so that you guys are on the same page. So now let's go ahead and import that green screen footage into our scene. And I'm going to just go ahead and click this camera here that I already have. This was the working camera that I was using for this project so if I go ahead and scroll through you can kind of see I set this up. I'm bouncing around the scene a little bit and as you can imagine the players would be in here. Let's see if I have some of them. There we go. So there's one of them. Now let's go back to the first one. I'm going to show you how to actually import this. So what I usually do is just import a plane. I can bring it up rotate it around. And what we want to do is actually import that keyed out green screen footage. So I'm just going to double click down here in my materials manager and in the color channel we're going to go ahead and find that. Let's see.... I already rendered it out and keyed it obviously and then we don't need the reflectance channel so we can turn that off and under alpha let's just go ahead and find that again. And there we go. You see the alpha channel is already been applied to it. We can see its working. That's great. And you can also see that the resolution is 1920 by 1080 which is what we want. That's how we rendered it out. So in order to have the aspect ratio correct on the plane we also need to change this from four hundred to 1920 by 1080. That way we won't have any weird stretching or anything. We also don't need any segments on this. And now we can just go ahead and drag and drop it right on the plane. And we can uniformly scale it down into scene so the proportions are staying correct again. And we'll just slide it over there. Okay so now we have our guy in our scene and we can start setting everything up. So if we click on the material I didn't know this for a while and I'm kind of embarrassed but I'm going to tell you guys anyways just in case you don't know it. Under the editor tab you can actually change the texture preview size. Yeah, you're shaking your head you know that. This is a while ago I didn't know this and when I found it I was pretty excited. So you can actually up the resolution obviously of your textures. This works across the board with whatever you're working with. You can go as high as you want. Obviously the higher you go the more bogged down your system is going to go but this systems now a days are pretty go so it should be fine. And then if we go ahead and scrub through notice he's frozen. But in reality we rendered out a working footage right? An MOV so right above that all we have to do is click animate preview and now when we scroll through we have our footage animating. And why is this important? Why am I showing you this? This is a really interesting workflow because you can actually set up your scene and start thinking about green screen footage when you're producing your Cinema4D files so rather than trying to guess where everything is going to go once you get into After Effects this is pretty concrete right? So you're bouncing around your scene right? So if I go to I think sixty frames I cut. There we go. Now I cut. Now I know that that sixty frames that it works right so now I can make sure that this scene works then the following scene works and with that fifteen hour render you don't wake up in the morning and you say geez what is going on? This whole night was ruined because nothing lines up. So okay we have our material in here. It's all lined up and now what we want to do is save this out get into After Effects and we're going to launch Cineware. So again, if you guys don't know anything about Cineware now's the time to take a look. Now in order to bring this plane of the geometry into After Effects what we want to do is apply a tag to it. So in order to do that just go into Cinema4D tags and click external compositing tag. Now what this is going to do is allow us to bring a camera and also the coordinates of this plane into After Effects. So essentially what it's doing I suppose you could say is that it's tracking something for you already. It's going to bring in all the key frames if this plane was animated and we had key frames on the timeline that would also translate over. So it basically allows us to bring the camera in bring the footage in and let's just go ahead and check it out. So we need to save this. And we'll jump right into After Effects. So we still have our green screen footage which is what we want and in order to actually launch Cineware if you guys haven't used it yet. We can go into our Cinema 4D file that we just saved out. I saved it as two. So go ahead and import that. Let it think a little bit. And basically we just launched Cineware. So if you guys were ever nervous about Cineware or didn't know really what it was that was it. We didn't do anything other than import our Cinema 4D file. That's basically what it does. It allows us to import out Cinema 4D file and work with it seamlessly. So now that we have it as a layer we can go ahead and apply it to a comp. And we should see our scene. There we go. We start a scene just like we see it there. And as we go through everything is animated. There we go. And you see it's a software render so it's pretty low res so we can actually work in it. Now the new thing in Cineware 3.0 plug is the open GL and the open GL is a really fast renderer that actually didn't exist I believe like two months ago so this is brand new and actually gives you a much higher render preview and it actually it still allows you to work really fast. So if we kind of go through here you can see how that works. There we go. So now we have our Cinema $d scene in here and how do we get that stuff that we just applied in Cinema 4D? We just hit extract and you see it's going to bring in all the lights in my scene the camera and nulls that we have so we don't need any of these lights. It's a little crazy. A lot of lights. And what you can do with these lights too is you can track in flares such as optical flares if you guys use that and that works really well too. So now we're just left with a plane if you can see here and the camera and I'm just going to jump in and Cinema 4D real quick. And we don't need him on. We just needed it for the positioning and the timing. So now turning him off we'll save it. Jump back into After Effects he should go away. There we go. He goes away. And now what we're going to do is replace this null here with the keyed out footage that we have. So we have it right here and what we want to do is on a mac hit option click and replace that. And my orientation is at ninety so I can go ahead and zero that out. By default whenever you bring anything in this way it's defaults the opacity to zero so we can go ahead and bring that up to a hundred. Now we see him in our scene and we can scale him down. There we go. So now we basically what we have and why we did that is we set everything up in Cinema 4D. We have all of our green screen footage placed exactly where we want it. We rendered everything out that we needed to and now we can work with our footage within After Effects and that's important because when the client comes and says which they did we need a different take from this player. We need to swap him out because he's no longer on Texas. We need him on a different team you don't have to go back into Cinema 4D and rework everything. What you can do is simply go in here and now you can start slipping the footage if there's a different take that you want. Obviously this is like a ten minute take so you can go through that or you can key out another player put him in here and everything works well. And so that's everything I wanted to go over for Cineware and the camera compositions and keying the green screen footage so I hope you guys have a better understanding of at least Cineware right now and now what I want to do is jump back into my presentation. And I'm going to go ahead and play that promo again so you have it fresh in your head and you remember kind of how everything works. That guy's voice is awesome by the way. I got to look at the raw takes and that was really cool. So the next project I want to talk about is the Maxon Cineware three teaser. And we just talked about Cineware and the new updates how you can change the render. There's a couple new things in it also which is the take system. That's fairly new to Cinema 4D and its brand new to Cineware 3.0 which was an update released in January. And so what we want to do is talk about the new take system in both Cinema 4D and After Effects to address client changes and make your life a lot easier. And these are some behind the scene shots of the project. And to give you a little run down Maxon Germany came to me and kind of wanted to guys can relate to this.... Wanted to figure out a way for us to show off the new take system and how it really allows us to make client changes easily. And they knew they wanted like a beer product or something like really slick motion graphics--y kind of. And the way we ended up doing it was kind of clever where we would bring in this beer can slide in really motion graphics--esque and clients would kind of on iChat pop up and ask us for changes. Ultimately we would go through a series of changes. We would end up going back to the very first revision like the very first thing we showed the client and it was approved and they loved it. So that's usually what happens in design and animation. Hopefully you guys can relate. I'll go ahead and show this to you and they we'll jump into Cinema 4D. Thanks guys. Appreciate it. Okay so here's some of the designs. I like to show style frames behind the scene stuff because sometimes I like the behind the scenes and style frames more than the finished project. I like seeing people's thought processes and stuff. I think it's really important in terms of inspiration and where people find it and kind of ultimately how they get there. So again I kind of mentioned in the other one that I tend to build out my design my style frames in Cinema 4D. The reason I do that is because I'm usually the one to design it. I'm usually the one to animate it so if I go ahead and stitch up a Photoshop file and flatten it out and the client loves it I need to go in and actually build everything essentially all over again and I'm setting myself up for failure before the project even starts so never want to do that. I tend to work pretty quick in Cinema 4D so that's kind of why I started that way and as you can see these frames are what I pitched to Maxon Germany and it's essentially what we ended up with the final product. Obviously we had more time to refine and fine tune everything. In terms of inspiration I think there's kind of interesting. After the phone call I was in my kitchen and I was trying to figure out. I knew we needed like three different scenes. Right? I knew maybe we discussed a kitchen scene. And I'm sitting there in my kitchen. The light's coming through. It's kind of a nice morning. And you know I thought it would be kind of an interesting way to create a scene so I grabbed a soda can and put it on my table and I took my iPhone. Took a photo of it and framed it up exactly how I saw it working in my motion graphics piece. Went into my office and this is my kitchen. Like that's what my kitchen looks like. And it got approved and went all the way through which is kind of cool. So and the same thing with this kind of rustic scene. I was downstairs at a coffee shop and I was sitting there with my... I was brainstorming. I had my coffee in front of me on the desk or on the rustic table there. And again I took a photo of it. Framed it up exactly how I saw it in my mind. And that's my neighborhood coffee shop you're seeing there pretty much so. Again inspiration is important especially when you're traveling or wherever you are make sure to try to incorporate that in projects if you can. All right so that was kind of the brainstorm process the style frame process and let's go ahead and figure out this take system here.silence Okay cool. So here is my working file for the Cineware 3 promo. Let's see. It's a little heavy. I have a lot of kind of a lot of stuff going on here. If I scrub through you can see how everything kind of animates in and out. And notice the can always stays in the same place and that's something that I needed to do decide very early and that's why I kind of built all of these scenes within itself. Within one project. I thought it would be really interesting to just have the can stay in one spot and everything else around it kind of animates in and animates out. Okay so let's go ahead and talk about the take system. I'm going to go to frame zero and this is that motion graphics scene. I think I can turn off all of these here. I'm also going to delete all these key frames. We don't need these. We're going to do it from scratch here. And I'll bring this down to ninety. Okay. I can zoom in. And you can see I actually made the condensation out of mograph so if you guys are familiar with mograph that's we were kind of on a time sensitive schedule so I didn't have time to do this in real flow and I think it's important to understand work arounds and try to figure out additional ways to do things especially with client changes you can't really say you're not ready. You have to deliver it and you have to find ways to make it work which is what we did and it ended up working out really well. So I'd say that works out good. I'm going to go ahead and turn this off for the purpose of this demo though. All right cool. So we have no key frames here. The can is just sitting here. Lonely. Bored. What we want to do is so the client came and says you know what I think the can should kind of slide in from off camera into the center of the screen. Really slick motion graphics. You know. It's what everybody wants. Right? So we'll go to frame say twenty. I'm going to add in a key frame. And if we go to zero we'll slide this guy all the way off. There we go. And we can have it spin in if we want. Let's do like one rotation. And I don't know if you guys are familiar with the principles of animation but I'm kind of a stickler when it comes to that. So I kind of need to do it on every project I work with even though this is horrible. I'm sorry. Don't judge this. Here we go. Okay. So the can slides in from off camera lands in place. There we go. We have our great motion graphics scene. We'll put it over the sike. The lightings coming in and looks great. So now with the take system we want to project what our clients going to say right? So we have this great animation. We spent hours on it. Looks great. What we want to do is save it because the client just called and said you know what we want this can dropping in from the top now. We want it slamming down in place so okay. Knowing how client changes can be we want to save this one because we never know if we're going to need it again. So in order to do that that's where the take system comes in and hopefully you can start to think about this in your projects maybe you have one right now. Maybe you'll have one next week and hopefully you can kind of start to figure out how you can use this in your own projects. So we have this new take icon here. I'm going to go ahead and just click it. And automatically we see new take. So I'm going to go ahead and rename this to Can Animation one. Okay. Cool. So now we'll go back into our object and we're going to select the soda can. And if you guys use layers this kind of works in similar sense to layers. You can see I have layers here and I can assign it to layers try to stay organized but we don't want to do that we actually want to assign it to a take. So we're going to go ahead and click this can animation one we just created. There we go. Now we see our animation working there. Cool. So now what we can do is go in here and we can go ahead and duplicate can animation one and we're going to rename it Can Animation Two. Okay with that selected we can go in. I'm going to go ahead and delete these key frames and try to address that client change right? So we know we want it there and it has to slam down dramatically from off camera. Again principles of animation sorry. And we just copy this key frame and make sure it goes back in the same spot. There we go. Obviously if we had more time I would get in the curve editor and make it ease in and all that fun stuff. So for the purpose of this demo now we have this second animation. And if we go into this takes tab under can animation two we can see that's selected. Now we can go ahead and assign this can animation two just like we assigned can animation one. All right. That's that. And if we click on can animation one you see automatically our key frames jump in the timeline because those are different key frames. These are the key frames that represent the first client change. So now that we have our second animation we address the client change. They came back and said you know what we actually want that first animation so we're not entirely screwed I guess because we can go back. And this is great. You can brain storm this way. You know if you're just doing motion tests and you don't want to save out multiple files you can have everything organized in here. You can have 15 different takes. You can have a hundred different takes. You can cycle through. You can render them out. Kind of show them for approval. And kind of choose pick and choose that way. So this is just the way that you can use the take manager within Cinema 4D but with the new update in Cineware you can now select your takes in After Effects as well. So I'm going to go ahead and show you how to do that too. All we have to do is save this out. Make sure you always have to save your progress within Cinema 4D in order for it to update in After Effects. Okay. And we can delete all this stuff. We don't need this anymore. Okay so again Cineware launches automatically when we import our Cinema 4D file. So again I renamed it two I believe. There we go. So I'll just double click that import it into After Effects. There we go. It's going to load a little bit. And I can change this again from software to OpenGL. And you just get a little bit better render here. And notice now if again if you've ever used the Cineware in After Effects we have a new option here called set take. So hopefully if we hit this set take button we're going to see two animations that we created. And if we do we see can animation one and we do see can animation two which is good. That means I'm not lying to you. Okay. So we have can animation one going right now. And again we render everything out. We set up our scene everything's perfect we're in Cinema 4D working with Cineware. Compositing. We're like a day before the deadline and the client comes back and says you know what we actually like that first animation better so we're going to change it again if that's okay. And of course it's okay. Because we have our takes so we can go in and set take go to can animation well I said one but it's two right? And hopefully it's going to jump here. You see automatically update and now we have our second take working in After Effects. So hopefully between the Major League Baseball project and the Maxon project you can really see the power behind Cineware and some of the new features within the update. I'm going to go ahead and jump back into my presentation and we're going to go ahead and show that promo again now that you have that kind of fresh in your mind. So I don't think I actually told anybody this so this is a perfect place to do it. At the Maxon booth at NAB that Bosco brew. Bosco's my dog or was my childhood dog. So again that inspiration where ever you can kind of fit it in if it's left open it gets approved makes it all the way. You know it can kind of hit home. Those Easter eggs that mean something to you when you work on something for such a long time sometimes it kind of eases the production process and something like that is always nice. So to tie up again the title of my presentation Leveraging 3D Techniques to Help Build Strong Brands. My whole talk here is based around real work real world workflows, relationships with clients, client changes. Something that is actually going to help you when you walk away from here. Hopefully like you know you walk away with one thing that you learned at least and you're starting to think about your next project maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week but honestly when I work with my projects my number one thing is time because we don't have much of it. And you always want to do the best job that you can so whenever there is a moment where you can save time you're saving money. Obviously you're saving yourself money. You're saving the client money but you're also saving your energy and you're also able to make a better product. So again I think you for coming out to see this presentation. I know you guys have so many other options. This place is crazy. Definitely shoot me an email if you have any questions at You can also find me on Behance, LinkedIn, Vimeo, Twitter, Instagram and you can see some of the travels. Thanks again.
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