AE2Blend

by sam598 in Scripts and Addons

2nd Place Winner in CG Cookie's 2014 Blender Add-on Contest!

AE2Blend v1.1

AE2Blend is an add-on that lets users quickly copy and paste keyframe data from After Effects directly into Blender.

Any transform value whether animated or static can be applied to an existing Blender object. New empty, plane and camera objects can also be created with AE2Blend, with all data instantly applied.

This also enables a powerful new matchmoving workflow with After Effect’s camera tracker, letting users bring camera data right in to Blender. This also allows real world scale to After Effects arbitrary camera space.

Features

  • Simply copy and click! In After Effects select the desired transform data and copy it to the clipboard. Then in Blender select whether to paste the data or create a new object. AE2Blend will automatically parse through the keyframe data, conforming it to Blender’s 3D space.
  • Supports both static and animated Position, Scale, Rotation and Orientation data.
  • Scale tools gives users control over how the data is translated, and can automatically calculate real world scale based on known points.
  • Set keyframe data and origin points as a one-to-one match with After Effects, or use the playhead and 3D cursor for quick placement.

Video tutorial coming soon!

How to use:

Once AE2Blend.py is downloaded, installed and enabled, the panel can be found in the Animation tab in Blender's 3D View. Inside After Effects the user selects one or more transform channels (position, scale, rotation and orientation), and copies them to the clipboard by holding control or command and pressing "c", or Edit > Copy. Then using the AE2Blend panel the user simply pastes the transform data to a selected object using the "Paste Keyframes" button, or uses one of the "Create..." buttons to create a new object with the transform data.

 

Settings:

[Scale]

The value position and scale keyframes are divided by. The coordinate system in After Effects is based on pixels, so values can often be in the hundreds to thousands. A higher Scale value creates smaller position and scale values. 100 is default because most position values will be placed within Blender's default view, and a 100% scale in After Effects will translate to 1.0 scale in Blender.

[Delta Rotation]

After Effects provides two sets of rotation values for each 3D object; individual xyz angles and orientation. This setting lets the user determine which of these values is assigned to the object's delta rotation in Blender (if either is selected to begin with).

[Starting Position]

Because the coordinate system in After Effects uses the top left corner of the screen as the origin point, all position values are inverted. This means most objects will be placed beneath the groundplane. If the user wants they can have objects in Blender begin their animation from wherever the 3D Cursor is placed. However multiple objects from the same After Effects composition will be placed relative to eachother.

[Starting Frame]

Choose whether to match all keyframes with their corresponding frames in After Effects, or to treat Blender's playhead as the zero frame.

[Create Empty]

Creates a new empty object with all of the After Effects keyframe data applied.

[Create Plane]

Creates a new plane mesh with the same porportional width and height as the After Effects object. The plane is parented to an empty object which has the keyframe data applied. This is ideal for rectangular solids created in After Effects. Other objects may cause unexpected results.

[Create Camera]

Creates a new camera object parented to an empty object which has the keyframe data applied. The camera field of view must be manually entered. The horizontal field of view of a camera in After Effects can be found in the timeline by opening the Camera Settings attributes.

[Paste Keyframes]

Pastes all After Effects keyframe data to all currently selected objects in Blender.

 

Tips and Tricks

Users may select as many or as few transform channels from After Effects as they want. AE2Blend will only apply whichever transforms are copied from After Effects. Both 2D and 3D data can be imported into Blender. 2D data will simply remain flat along Blender's Y axis. Static transform values (animation channels without any keyframes) can also be copied into Blender. The new or existing object will simply be set to that position, scale or rotation, with no keyframes set. After Effects does not provide animation curve or interpolation data. Curves and interpolation must be manually set in Blender, or baked down in After Effects. A cheat to "baking down" keyframes in After Effects is to use the Wiggler tool. Select each channel individually, set the Wiggler's frequency to your composition's frame rate (remember to add decimals with frame rates such as 23.976), set the magnitude to zero and press apply. When copied into Blender all of the curves and interpolation will be preserved, albiet much harder to edit.

 

New in Version 1.2

[Keyframes to Pointcloud]

New tool creates a vertex mesh of position keyframes.

[Bug Fix]

Orientation bug fixed when camera rotation starts with a rotation of negative zero.

New in Version 1.1

[Scale tools]

If you do not know what your scale should be, AE2Blend can set it for you based on the distance between two After Effects objects. Lets say you two objects in After Effects to end up one Blender unit apart. Select the position of the first object in After Effects. If there are keyframes only the first keyframe will be used. In Blender press “Marker 1” below the scale value. Then copy the position of the second object in After Effects and press “Marker 2” in Blender. Then press “Set Scale” and AE2Blend will automatically set the Scale value. When these two objects are brought into Blender they will now be exactly 1 Blender unit apart. This is especially useful with the camera tracker, as the camera scale in After Effects is completely arbitrary.

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Item Rating

This item has an average rating of 5 from 2 ratings by the community.

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  • James Romesburg 10 months ago

    Amazing workflow from AE to Blender and back to AE for compositing! Highly recommend!

  • tleedz about 1 year ago

    Quickest tool to track camera and add 3d model elements! Great job!

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