Skip to main content

After Effects for the Rest of Us - Reallusion Release Cartoon Animator 4.3 with Game Changing Export Modes

Now you can add 'After Effects' to your Cartoon Animator 4.3 projects in any video application.
Now you can add 'After Effects' to your
Cartoon Animator 4.3 projects in any
video application. This blur and halftone
effect was applied in Shotcut Video Editor.
Reallusion released Cartoon Animator Update 4.3 with much fanfare about its new Adobe After Effects plugin which is a game changer all on its own. 

The ability to export a CA4 project with its layers intact into AE for additional video compositing should be a head turner for industry pros looking to take advantage of some of CA4's more unique features and reduced workflows.

For those of us not in the Adobe ecosystem (and there are a lot of you out there) Reallusion did not leave you without something to get excited about.

Also in the 4.3 update is the ability to export your project as an Object Based Sequence. Essentially this exports each element of your project to its own folder, audio included. If an object has any animation on it at all it will be exported as sequentially numbered, transparent PNG files.

This is pretty much what the AE Export plugin does but that plugin also includes much more information like animation and camera keys, z-plane spacing and more. As well the AE plugin creates a JSON script file that tells AE how to reconstruct your project in AE so it very closely matches the layer order (and Z plane) of your original CA4 project. Elegant and seamless transfer.

Object Based Sequence Export - Keep these figures handy for setting up your video application's project file.
Object Based Sequence Export - Keep
these figures handy for setting up your
video application's project file.
For the rest of us, not using AE, we're going to have to get our hands dirty (metaphorically), spending some time reconstructing our scene in our preferred video application. I'm okay with that. Not every application works the same, and it leaves the way open for third parties to develop a CA plugin for those apps that support plugins.

Armed with the settings of your CA4 project (Frame rate, and video dimensions), you can set up a project in your favorite video editor (so long as it supports multiple video and audio tracks and can stitch together image sequences) and export each object sequence into its own video or audio track. Most video editors don't usually support Z planes so you'll be reconstructing a flat video image but you'll now be able to apply video effects to individual elements within the scene.

Applying Additional Effects to my Cow's Tail Animated Short in Shotcut.
Applying Additional Blur and Halftone Effects
to my Cow's Tail Animated Short in Shotcut.
You can see each element has its own track
on the timeline across the bottom.
The most obvious effect, not achievable in CA4 is depth of field. Now you can have blurred backgrounds without having to import pre-blurred images into CA4. You'll be able to experiment with how blurry your background should be and adjust the blurriness of individual objects within a scene.

Whatever effect your video editor can apply to video, you'll now be able to apply to individual object sequences within your scene. 

Once you're done simply export your video for a final render or, since you're in your video editor anyway, add all your titles etc. first, then export your finished production.

Natron

If you want to take your CA4 video compositing to the next level, I recently discovered Natron, a free,  open source video composition tool for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Natron uses a node graph to do some very powerful video compositing on par with Adobe After Effects.

Natron - Take your video compositing to the next level.
Natron - Take your video compositing
to the next level.
I literally, only just discovered Natron the day before writing this article because the AE plugin so impressed me I started looking for AE alternatives.

Initially you'll look at Natron and, if you've never seen this kind of app before, you'll think WTF, this looks way too complicated, I don't have the time to learn this!

However, set aside a couple of hours to complete the first seven short video tutorials (each around 10-11 minutes) of this Youtube playlist and you'll have that lightbulb moment of realizing it's not as complex as it looks. Plus it's a tool you may want to add into other video projects, not just CA4 animation projects. It has plenty of applications.

I plan to do a more indepth look at Natron in a future article (I've only completed the first seven video tutorials myself as I write this), specifically how to import/reconstruct your exported CA4 Object based Sequence.

However, I'm loving Natron and I wish I'd discovered it sooner (it's been around since 2018). 

---o ---o--- o---

Hopefully you've found this article helpful and enlightening if you're like me about Adobe subscriptions being a hard no thanks. While the CA4.3 update may have been all about the AE Export plugin, it's good to see Reallusion continue to give the rest of us options beyond the Adobe ecosystem.

While Object Based Sequence Exporting doesn't quite have all the bells and whistles of the AE Export plugin it's still a massive leap forward for CA4's flexibility and workflow for the rest of us.


Related Udemy Affiliate Links


Natron - Compositing, Keying and Rotoscoping using Natron


NATRON: The FREE robust alternative to NUKE & AFTER EFFECTS

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for you insight. I also am not a fan of Adobe rentals.
    I will give this Natron a look over.
    Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

This blog is monitored by a real human. Generic or unrelated spam comments with links to sites of dubious relativity may be DELETED.

I welcome, read, and respond to genuine comments relating to each post. If your comment isn't that save me some time by not posting it.

Popular posts from this blog

Inochi2D - Free Open Source 2D VTuber Avatar Rigging and Puppeteering Software (Part 1)

Inochi2D Creator - Free Open Source VTuber Software. If you've been looking for a way to live perform as a 2D cartoon avatar on camera, whether it be for a live stream or for pre-recorded content like educational videos, then VTuber software is a low cost (or even no cost) option worth looking into. In my previous post, How to Become a VTuber - 2D and 3D Software for Creating and Controlling Your Avatar , I took a brief look at the relatively new but completely free and open source Inochi2D  which I thought showed great potential for my own needs of creating a live performance character rig for my own TET Avatar that I use for all my promotional materials. While it is possible to live perform my character using Cartoon Animator itself, Reallusion's MotionLive2D capture system isn't great - with lip sync in particular. More importantly though, I can't exactly teach people how to use Cartoon Animator if I'm using Cartoon Animator to control my Avatar. What is Inochi2D

Wonder Unit Storyboarder - Free Storyboarding Software for People Who Can (or Can't) Draw

Wonder Unit Storyboarder.  As an independent and solo animator I'm always tempted to try and skip storyboarding my animated shorts because they're usually only single scene sketch comedy type jokes. As a result I have many unfinished projects that kind of petered out due to having no clear finishing line. Storyboarding your productions, no matter how small, gives you a step by step guide of every shot that needs to be completed (no planning shots as you animate). It also allows you to create an animatic that gives you a rough preview of the finished production. In short, you shouldn't skip storyboards as they, generally, increase the chance of the project being completed. Disclaimer - I'm Not a Fan of Storyboarder Upfront, Wonder Unit's Storyboarder  is not my preferred storyboarding software. However it's completely free, has a number of very compelling featu

Daz 3D Launches Daz AI Studio - AI Art Generation Made Easy?

Daz AI Studio uses 3D content to influence 2D text to image generations. B etter known for their completely free, 3D animation studio, Daz 3D have launched their own browser based, AI text to image generator, Daz AI Studio . All you need is a Daz 3D account to get started for free. Upgrade to a Premium plan for a small monthly fee for additional features.  At the time of writing Daz AI Studio is still in Beta so there are some features, yet to be released, that are standard on other dedicated AI image generator sites. While Daz AI Studio only produces 2D images, what makes it unique is that it has been trained on 3D content that helps guide the output. In particular you can select actual 3D character models as part of your settings and get fairly consistent images of that character every time. The About page suggests you'll also be able to select 3D environments and lighting settings to further influence your generations but these options were currently not available, as shown in t

Dollars Mocap: Full Body Webcam Motion Capture (Including Hands and Fingers) For iClone and Cartoon Animator

Even though I should be further away from the camera Dollars Mocap MONO still does a good job of  tracking my arms, hands and fingers. Ever since I wrote my series on becoming a VTuber , discovering it was possible to do full body motion capture, including hands and fingers, with just software and a webcam, I've been on the look out for any motion capture software that can bring that functionality to Cartoon Animator. Dollars Mocap is a low cost motion capture application with a free trial that I learned about through the YouTube Channel Digital Puppets  and their test video . It can record full body, upper body, arms and hands, and facial mocap from a live video source or pre-recorded video. Investigating further, I discovered not only does Dollars Mocap have a free iClone7, iClone8 character profile file download (look for it at the bottom of the main program download page), so you can use the saved motions with iClone8, they've also got a demo video for how to convert your

Prome AI Sketch Render Tool - Your Tradigital Clean Up and Colorist Artist for Character and Background Design

Random character head, Biro sketches drawn by TET (left). Render by PromeAI (right) using Prome's Sketch Render tool set to 'Comon:Cartoon, Render Mode: Outline'. W hile I don't do New Year Resolutions, one of my plans for the year ahead is to do more of my own art. Specifically character design drawn in an actual, physical sketchbook.  To that end, I have been spending the last half hour of most days drawing a page or two of random biro sketches in my sketchbook and posting the pages to my Instagram account  (this link will take you to one of my posts). These sketches are mostly practicing my skills because I don't really draw regularly anymore. Here is a tip, if you do this kind of sketching, and push yourself to keep doing it, you will see many drawings that could be taken further, even if you don't have anything they're suited for just at the moment. Which is where my second favorite AI Image Tool (after Leonardo.ai )  PromeAI comes into play. PromeAI

Moho 14 Released - Still the Best 2D Animation Software for Indy Animators on a Budget

Moho 14 Released. Regular readers know I am a Reallusion, Cartoon Animator advocate through and through. Hands down I would recommend Cartoon Animator 5 first over Lost Marble's Moho 14 to anyone who is just starting in 2D animation, is a team of one, or just needs to animate as quickly as possible. However, feature for feature, Moho is, arguably, the best 2D animation software for the rest of us who can't justify a Toon Boom Harmony , or Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (and even with their applications Moho is very competitive on features). You can get started with Moho Debut for just USD$59.99 which is a cut down version of Moho Pro but it still has the most essential features needed for 2D animation. While Moho Pro is a whopping USD$399.99 (Cartoon Animator, which only has one version, is just USD$149.00) upgrades to new version numbers come down to a quarter of the price at USD$99.00. Even though Reallusion just released features like Motion Pilot Puppet Animation and

Featured Artist: Zack Buchman, Furry Puppet Studio - Bringing Awesome Back to Puppetry

Straight Outta Oregon: Old Man Puppet Design. P uppetry is, perhaps, one of the original forms of character animation. In many ways we've come full circle with both 2D and 3D computer based animation making use of digital 'puppet rigs' in order to animate characters more efficiently and allowing computers to do more of the grunt work of 'tweening'. In this feature interview I take a look over the fence into modern, real world, puppet design and creation with Zack Buchman, the Creative Director and founder of Furry Puppet Studio , based in SoHo, New York. The studio, specializes in designing and fabricating custom puppets for the entertainment industry. TET: Hi Zack, tell me a little bit about Furry Puppet Studio? What does the studio do?  Zack Buchman. Creative Director and Founder Furry Puppet Studio. We design and produce custom puppets primarily for clients across various industries like television, advertising, and the music industry.  Alongside conceptualizing