Blender to After Effects

Not sure if this has been discussed before, and the search function is not working for me. I’m a video compositor and I am wondering if it is possible to export blenders camera data to After Effects? So I can match up my effects in AE with what the camera is doing in blender. thanks

AFAIK, blender compatibility to other softwares focused on 3D applications, currently. So far I haven’t seen any exporter to compositing softwares yet. So the best thing to do is do what you need to do in after effect then match it on blender.

Thanks for your reply, wondering if you know if there are any plans in the future to integrate with After Effects. Unfortunately this will be a deciding factor weather I stick with blender or move to C4D. thanks.

I think AFX 6+ reads Maya ascii camera format,

Surely it can’t be hard to write a parsing plugin to convert blender camera data into the .ma format.

.ma format is really easy to use and write. It’s designed for that purpose exactly…

gotta be better than shelling out for a c4D seat, especially as the good modules cost almost as much as Maya anyway.


I think the integrated compositor in 2.42 will make AfterFX obselete for 80% of compositor based functions. When IPO support is added to compositor nodes in the release after that, it will push it up to 95% obselete.

Sorry to disagree with you FishB8, but that’s not a good point.
Let’s say I’m using After Effects for my job: do you think that the integrated compositor will make some differences to me? Of course I couldn’t discard After Effects … let’s think to workgroups where other members need 3D stuff to bring into their After Effects (or whatevere else).

I have to agree with dsp_418, I have been a compositor and video editor for about seven years now, and I could never relinquish my after effects it is the staple on which all my effects are built. I have takin on learning 3D because a lot of the people in mograph or motion graphics are incorporating 3D into there tv commercial, etc. I know that C4D integrates very well with After Effects and therefore most of my trade is using C4D. But I think it’s would be a natural evolution for Blender, if you render a still frame you do post in Photoshop, if you render video you would do post in after effects.

Deep_Thought you are correct After Effects will import Maya, XSI, and it looks like 3DS Max camera data, I am not a coder, will never be, would you happen to know how I could accomplish getting this idea to become a reality.

i also must agree that after effects is not going to become obsolete once the compositor is in place, realtime masking and effects plus an unmentionable amount of other features and workflow issues are indespensible to me as a filmmaker and animator… i have been trying to get help to implement an export solution for ages. the closest ive got is just recently zanqudo produced an exporter to lightwave motion file that with a bit of tweaking would probably do the job … anybody want to join me in the campaign?

christian krupa

I will absolutely join you in this endeavor. With a good export to After Effects I would implement Blender into my daily workflow, as I’m sure many others would also, bringing more exposure to the software. Sign me up.

Diddo, at work I used After Effects. That was the industry standard and the easiest to find solutions for and even find plug-ins etc. on our small to medium scale productions.

Our in house 3D app was Lightwave. We played with blender some too and the bosses raised an eyebrow at free vs. $1700 per seat (the price at the time).

My area was compositing, we did a lot of video green screen work for commercials and training videos, and for that I used Shake. Fortunately AE and shake played well together so creating effects in AE and then importing them into Shake wasn’t too bad most of the time.

At home, I’ve started using the FXhome Pro (composite lab Pro & Effects Lab Pro) and frankly I’m impressed. With Apple Shake now $500 for mac, I’m going to have to seriously consider whether or not to continue with composite lab. It’s not a true professional quality software (the FXHome stuff), but for the hobbiest, particularrly Sci-Fi/Fanatasy, it’s a very nice tool for the money.

Recently, there’s been a push I think to try and make Blender the Jack of all trades. That being said, adding features like playing nicely with After Effects would go along way towards production houses adopting Blender.

Industry standards don’t mean much here. I’m sure you like AfterFX, and other companies you colaborate with like AfterFX, but blender is not owned by Adobe. :stuck_out_tongue:

Just because it’s an industry standard, does not mean it’s an open standard. Blender devs are not going to waste time trying to reverse engineer Adobe’s formats unless Adobe opens them up. (Like they’ve done with PDF and TIFF)

Now if there are open documented formats for exporting this type of data, and AfterFX can import them, then cool. Raise a little hell on the devs mailing lists and see if anybody is interested in implementing it.

But I stand by my statement that blender will probably make AfterFX obselete for most users. Most blender users are do-it-yourself-ers or small independent 3D shops who aren’t going to spend money on AfterFX when they have a built in compositor. My statement was in the context of the general blender community, not the 3D industry.

As for the professional side of the compositing world, it is beyond me why people like AfterFX. Using a video editing timeline layout for the interface is absolute hell. It’s only salvation is that it is the “Industry Standard”. Using a node layout system coupled with an IPO control system is such a better work flow. Seriously, give Houdini a try sometime. :wink:

I would give Houdini a try but where I work is not a big budget shop and can’t afford $17,000 for the master copy. From the looks of it Houdini is also geared more towards the 3D side of the business where AE is geared more to video. But I’m not writing this to try and compare what software is better, After Effects will import many forms of camera data from multiple 3D programs, I don’t know if that makes it open enough for a dev to program for. That’s what I’m trying to find out, if you could give me the dev mailing list or point me in the direction of where I could ask some devs if this is even possible I would greatly appreciate it. I enjoy using blender, I enjoy the community, but if I am to use blender on a daily basis I need to have it incorporate into my current workflow. If it’s not possible to achieve this, or no one is willing to give it a shot, I can easily move to a 3D software that already does it. Hopefully it won’t come to that, because of the enjoyment I take in using blender and the open source community.

Hi all

I don’t think that blender can replace After FX by itself, but there are cheap or free apps which together can acheive most of the functionality.

I also dispute that After FX is any industry standard compositor. Adobe beat it up alot, and it has got alot better than it was (espcecially V7), and I also think that it is the best adobe app out there.

Combustion is cheaper, has a pseude-node interface and builds on the technology of the best compositors in existence (flame etc…). And now, shake is only $500usd I think alot of mac users will dump afx and change to it. Plus, ALL of the colour tools, keying tools and most of the other correction fiolters can be done with blenders nodes, and the morphing, editing, masking and 3D compositing can be done with Wax, both of which are free.

However, Maya IS industry standard (this is not disputable), and all the above compositing apps can access maya camera and animation data in the form of a maya ascii. This format is Totally open, can be written with notepad if need be, and documentation is everywhere.

If there was an effort to porvide a translator from Blender to .ma format, this would make all compositing software able to access blender camera data, be a more equitable and sustainable solution long-term and should be quite easy.

I am studying programming, but wouldn’t rate myself as good enough to produce such a exporter. I would however fully support and assist in any way I could anyione who was willing to help.

I have a supreme interest in Blender as a high-level VFX tool, which it so nearly is…

Just my $0.02 (translate to local currency using applicable exchange rates…)


That’s what I’m trying to find out, if you could give me the dev mailing list or point me in the direction of where I could ask some devs if this is even possible I would greatly appreciate it.

You can subscribe here:

Good luck!

From the looks of it Houdini is also geared more towards the 3D side of the business where AE is geared more to video.

Houdini is similar to what blender is trying to do as far as incorporating the compositor and sequencer. It’s compositor is very nice BTW. Look closely at this page and you will see that also uses a node based system.

Just to be clear, never thought to make a comparison between AE and Blender or whatever.
This is not the point to me.
What one prefer to use for his compositing job is his own matter.
The thing is when you’ve to work with other people those using something different then Blender and they need to import the 3D data into their compositing app, doesn’t matter if one day Blender could beat AE or whatever else. It sound weird to me why keep Blender far from this opportunity: I mean, make possible to use Blender not only for custom production or for open project.
What it would need is only the way to export some other datas: camera position, lights, and so on …
With the support for OpenExr we’ve just get a good step forward in that direction.
Just my humble opinion.

You’re absolutely correct: different people use different software for different reasons. I had to do a logo conversion for someone because they needed it in a specific format for his client because that was what the printer required, and the client supplied it in a different format - my client had no clue how to convert it nor even understand what format the printer wanted it!

The “problem” with Blender having that conversion though, is that since Blender is 99.99% volunteer, somebody has to feel its worth his/her while to write the converter. The A/FX plug-in writers are (they hope) selling their products, or else usually are using A/FX and product X, and need it themselves. Same with Blender. When somebody (or enough of them) has the interest, need and ability, it will happen, until then it won’t.

A few people with a strong need, but not the ability, offer “bounties” to anyone willing to program it for them, and then release it back to the community. Others just love the challenge and for things that seem to be of interest to a lot of people, will take up the glove. As mentioned, check with those on the developer mailing list and somebody may be able to help.

I can make this After Effects exporter but I need help, I need an example camera motion file first, so please paste here :slight_smile:

Just subscribing here, love to Blend have to AE.


I woiuld love to have a blender to maya ascii exporter, if thats what you mean, and it appears to me that that is the best way to get data into AFX and many other apps.

The best way to get an example of a motion file in Maya ascii format, amd MaxScript and XsiScript (and others to I think), and a comparison in .Blend format, is to download Voodoo camera tracker, load some images, do a track (can be a nonsense dummy track), and export the solution in all the different formats.

Just my input, and I’m glad to help if I can. I have voodoo and can do the tracking that I mentioned if you want. Just say so…


Zanqudo, ive sent you an example after effects camera motion data file that i used a couple of years ago to composite into a lightwave scene… its quite a simple readable layout produced by a script plugin…

let me know if you need anything else,