After Effects camera to Cinema 4d


Has anyone tried exporting a camera in After Effects and importing it into Cinema 4d?

I’ve tried and am having some success, but some annoying things are keeping it from being perfect.

Basically I’m “baking” my AE keyframes and then formatting the keyframe data so it imports into C4D as tracks with the ASCII animation import plugin. Then I’m using Simon Wicker’s template file for importing Maya cameras into C4D. It converts degrees to radians for the rotation. I modified it a bit and it seems to work alright with the AE data. Here’s how I modified the setup. Mind you, I don’t really know what doing.

It works perfectly for position. But when I have a camera rotating in AE, the sync begins to slip. Here’s an example. The green solid is made in AE and the grey object was made in c4d. For very small rotation values, it seems to work. But they’re larger, it does this.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to fix this, that would be awesome.


how did you BAKE the keyframe in After Effects??
for the rotation problem…don’t you think it can depend on difference between comp in AE and render settings in C4D…for the export from cinema to AE I used to output at 720*540 resolution from CINEMA to match everything after.
sorry for my english… :wink:


If it is any help. +Y in Cinema is -Y in AE



To bake the keyframes you can enable expressions on the layer, then go to keyframe assistant -> convert expressions to keyframes. Or you can use a script like MoCon that exports a data file with keyframes each frame. That’s how I’ve been doing it. I tweaked the Mocon script so everything is formatted correctly for import into C4D.

As for the size of the comps I’m working in 720 x 540 square pixels in both AE and C4D. So I don’t think that’s the problem.


To bake keyframes in AE do the following:

  • Make a 3d null and (Alt click and) Pick-whip position and orientation from the 3d null parameters
    to the coresponding Camera parameters.
  • Then you choose the position parameter of the 3d null and choose:
    Animation -> Keyframe assistance -> Convert Expressions to Keyframes.
    Then copy these to the clipboard.
  • Do the same for orientation.

If you dont do this nothing will sync because the keyframe interpolation is different
in AE and C4d.



Tcastudios, ya I’ve taken the -Y thing into consideration. I think it’s something more tricky that’s making it screw up.

bonsak, have you tried exporting a camera from AE that uses rotation keyframes on the camera? That’s where my main problem (see the movie I posted). When I export a Point of Interest camera from AE and use no rotation keyframes (with the exception of Z), it seems to work perfect.

I did notice when you make an .aec file FROM Cinema 4d, it creates a Point of Interest camera in AE, whether you use a targeted camera in c4d or not. And it creates no rotation keyframes. Not sure what that means…

Any ideas on how to get the rotation to work?

I’m guessing that you’re doing the rest of it like I am… using that Xpresso setup? (or something like it?)


If possible I think you’ll have to bake the AE camera’s POI position and transfer that to the target of a Cinema target light.



Ya, I’ve done that and it works well. But sometimes in AE it’s easier to animate something without a POI (with auto-orientation OFF). So that’s why I’m asking about the AE camera’s rotation keyframes.


locking onto this thread . . .


Anyone have any ideas?

Hey robotbob, I like your work a lot. Someone posted it over at, my usual hangout.


yes I have send me the file


Thanks for taking a look at it base80. I’m posting it here if anyone else wants to check it out.

 So in this .zip I've included:
 - After Effect project file that contains the original camera move
 - .csv file containing the camera data from After Effects
 - c4d file with the .csv already imported and set up. The Xpresso on the Main group
is modified from Simon Wicker's file. This would be what to look at to get it to work I think.
 - .mov I rendered out of c4d (which I brought back into AE to compare it with the original camera move.) You'll see that it's off and that's my problem.
 * To get the .csv file to import into c4d, I had format it in Excel and then save it out as CSV (Windows).
 * I've done this with C4D 9.5 and OS X, don't know if that matters.
 Thanks for your help!


You can animate in AE without POI and then turn it on before you do the baking.
As long as you have orentation keyframes for the camera.
The only thing you have to do is to enable expressions for POI
and enter this txt: position + [0,0,3000].
This forces the POI to always stay in line with the camera at 3000
uints along Z. THis can be any positive number of course.
Hope this helps.




So have you ever tried to covert a camera that has rotation XYZ keyframes from ae to c4d???


I havnt tried that, only done it with orientational keyframes from AE.
I havnt realy understud the difference until i read the AE manual this morning.
Heres what it says:

[i]You can adjust 3D rotation two ways: by changing a layer’s Orientation values or changing its X, Y, and Z Rotation values. You can use the rotation tool to change Orientation or X, Y, or Z Rotation values.

When you animate any of a 3D layer’s Orientation values, the layer moves along the shortest possible rotational path in 3D space, creating natural and predictable rotations. You can smooth this path by changing the spatial keyframe interpolation to Auto Bezier. (See “Changing the interpolation method” on page 187.)

When you animate any of a 3D layer’s X, Y, or Z Rotation values, the layer rotates along each individual axis. You can adjust the number of rotations, as well as the angle of rotation. You can also add keyframes to the layer’s rotation on each axis individually. Animating using these properties allows for more keyframing options than the Orientation property does, but also may result in motion that is less predictable. This property is useful for creating rotations with multiple revolutions along a single axis. [/i]

Im not shure how you can convert your rotation keys to orientation keys.
Maybe someone here can help.



I’ve found that I have the same “slipping” problem with orientation keyframes as I do with rotation keyframes.

When I export an .aec file from C4D to AE, I noticed that it comes in as a POI camera with POI, position, z-orientation and zoom keyframes. So I’m thinking if I can convert rotation/orientation keyframes to POI keyframes (and z-orientation) that will work out. I’ve posted the question over at and even talked to Dan Ebberts (AE expressions guru) about it and still can’t figure it out. I’m still not sure if the problem has to do with the difference between Euler and Quaternion… in that case it gets pretty confusing.

This is from one of Chris and Trish’s AE books:

“The X, Y, and Z Rotation properties empoly what is known as Euler rotation, which means they each do their own thing, regardless of what the other dimensions are doing. Orientation employs Quaternion rotation, which means the three axes coordinate to take the shortest path from value A to value B.”

I’ve also talked to Helge Mathee (who’s developed camera conversion scripts between XSI and AE) and he said that proper rotation order is important…

“I am not sure how cinema handles it, but AE does x,z and then y (which is the roll)”.

I’m not sure how to incorporate that into my workflow here. I’ve looked into “rotation order” in C4D and it looks like you can’t really change it (like you can in Maya) since it uses the HPB system. This is confusing.

If I do get this figured out I’ll be sure to post files and detailed instructions here…


Base80 is gonna crack this, I can tell already. I also imagine that someone like Jim Tierney (Marconius of’s boss btw) has some solutions–I’d hit him up.

This is one of the 800lb gorillas that’s been sitting there waiting to be shaved, dressed and prettied up for the gorilla beauty pageant. It needs to happen.


Hey Govinda!

You found me out…had to take my business away from mograph for this one.
Thanks for the tip about Jim Tierney, I’ll bug him too. Base80 had a look at my files and nothing jumped out at him as far as a solution. I’ve also talked Barry Berman that made the Mocon scripts. He’s going to take a look at adding C4D support to his scripts. I’ll let you if I hear anything about that.

I’ve been slightly obsessing about getting this to work for the past week and have just about given up. I’ve got questions posted at creativecow and ae enhancers about trying to convert a 1-point camera with rotational keyframes to a 2-point camera with no rotational keyframes and z-orientation keyframes. This is the same way that cameras appear when you use the AE camera export from C4D. I figure if you export them in that way, it should work…ehh… I’ve gotten closer, but still can’t figure out how to get that done.

I’ll keep you guys posted…


May I ask why you need to get a AE camera into Cinema? Just curious.



For those of us who use AE as our primary tool, it’d be useful to be able to easily add a 3d element to an already animated comp. So the idea would be to take the render from C4D and put it back into AE…