Integrating Layers into imported 3D Scene (text orbiting around globe)

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  11 November 2012
Integrating Layers into imported 3D Scene (text orbiting around globe)

I have created an animation of satellites orbiting around the earth in Maya. I wanted to add animated text near the satellites as they hit certain areas. I exported the camera and orbit nulls from Maya and they work fine within After Effects. I am able to create a text layer, copy the null orbit animation and the text orbits correctly.

The thing that I'm struggling with is to figure out the best way to use the rendered earth sequence (with alpha) as a 3D matte within AE so the text orbits in front and behind the earth as it should. I sort of got it to work by making the Earth sequence a 3D layer and parenting it to an earth null I created in Maya. The text/nulls "orbit" around the footage properly. The problem is I have to scale the footage by hand and that can lead to inaccurate results.

Are there any other tricks to get this to work? I've read about importing 3D objects via Photoshop but all I really wanted was an alpha in 3D space. Or is that really my only other option?
  11 November 2012
Depends. I would probably simply use the sequence as a duplicate and set the mode to Stencil Alpha on top of the entire comp/ the text layers to clean things up. If you have a deptha pass, you might also use luma mattes or the gradient wipe effect to generate depth-based clipping.

[Pour Mylène, ange sur terre]

  11 November 2012
Thanks.. I thought about trying the zDepth thing after I posted this question. I'll try both out and see what I come up with. Thanks again!.
  11 November 2012
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