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Forums Adobe After Effects upsampling an existing 3D layer 720×480 composition to HD

  • upsampling an existing 3D layer 720×480 composition to HD

  • Chris Orcfilm

    July 9, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    OK, so this is a toughie (for me) but someone may have already done the footwork.

    I have a finished short film composed entirely of 3D layers and a camera that moves through these layers as an animation.

    Thing is I created it in 720×480 resolution and it has become popular, so now I am being encouraged to submit to festivals and would therefore like to output it in HD or 2k (the layers are of a high enough resolution to benefit the upsampling.)

    When I increase the composition resolution, would it be better to somehow increase the layers in size exponentially (physical size and distance between layers) using some kind of expression maybe or manipulate the camera resolution/position/zoom somehow, or is there a simpler way I am overlooking?

    This composition includes complicated camera paths, carefully key-framed DoF and some expressions already, so I expect the answer will be complicated, but I also may be over-complicating things myself already, so I am asking you, have you any suggestions?

    Thanks for your time.


  • Erik Waluska

    July 9, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Hey Paul,
    The easiest way I know to go from SD to HD is to nest the SD comp inside of an HD sized comp and scale it up so the top and bottom edges of the SD comp are aligned with the top and bottom edges of the HD comp. So, if you are using a HDTV 1080 sized comp then set the scale of your nested SD comp to 225%. Then click the “collapse transformations” switch on your nested SD comp so that the comp layers are sampled at their full resolution and will inherit the size of the HD comp, not the nested SD comp.

    If any of your SD layers in your original comp are 0.9 pixel aspect, then change them to square pixels so they will show up correctly in your HD comp.

    I’ve done this many times and it works pretty good and it’s very easy. But you will likely still have to spend some time tweaking things so that everything works in the 16:9 aspect ratio. Since you’ll have some extra screen area that wasn’t in your original animation you may end up with things you don’t want in the frame or maybe blank spots that need to be filled in, etc.

    Obviously, do all of this with a copy of your original project in case something goes horribly wrong.

    Hope that helps.


  • Chris Orcfilm

    July 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks Erik! You got me all excited, and tried it but unfortunately no luck. Problem is the comp has a camera in it, so when you collapse transformations, the layers become flat (albeit full resolution). So I then copied the camera out of the source/nested comp and placed it in the new comp, but the camera’s path did not coincide with the resized nested comp (so the camera bounced around only about 50% of the composition.

    Of course your idea, without collapsing transformations resamples the original comps resolution up to HD or 2K but is just an antialiased version of the original 720×480 resolution.

    So looking at the advanced comp settings (in CS4 by the way), tried to preserve resolution in nested comps and increasing the Shadow map in either and both the nested comp and the new comp, but seems to make no difference.

    I ran another test using the zoom idea from Dave below just to confirm the resolution in my layers was in fact there (when not proxied) and indeed if I can increase the nested composition’s stage and related camera paths, I can effectively get 2k resolution from this project.

    If I could only get a nested composition to pass through it’s layer’s full resolution (and camera) regardless of the nested compositions actual resolution that would be great, otherwise, I think I need to somehow increase the physical 3D stage and camera in whole in the original comp to achieve what I need.

    …Shoulda built it in 2K to begin with, I know.

    Thanks for the input though!


  • Chris Orcfilm

    July 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks Dave! That was my first thought too, trouble is when changing the focal length, you are also changing the field of view, so when using a virtual camera move like a crab, parts of the layers become visible, or the layers are no longer large enough to fill the screen.

    Still unless someone else besides you and Erik has an idea, this appears to be the way to go to retain resolution detail and to somehow increase the layers as a group and the path that the camera takes. I’m expecting an expression of some kind but…

    Getting there is the fun part right?

    Thanks again for the input!


  • Erik Waluska

    July 10, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Yeah, I see what you mean. I didn’t think about the camera animation. Well, sorry, I don’t know how to get around that. The only other thing I can think of is to copy all of the layers into your HD comp and parent them all to a null and try to scale them up that way. You may have to work with smaller groups of layers at a time until you’ve got them all scaled up and positioned correctly. But it would still be easier than redoing everything from scratch. Just remember that your null will act as the anchor point for whatever child layers you are scaling so position the null accordingly before parenting. You may get away with just sticking it in the middle of the scene, parenting everything to it and scaling it all up at once. Then use the null to reposition as needed.

    Of course, this won’t work for your camera animation, you’ll probably still have to do that manually. But since you’ve already established the animation and the keyframes and everything it shouldn’t be too hard to reposition the new keyframes to work in the larger HD scene – depending on how complicated the animation is.

    Best of luck!


  • Erik Waluska

    August 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Hey Paul,
    I’m sure you’ve long since finished or abandoned this project but I saw this post today and it seems to answer your original question:

    I am script-o-phobic so I never used the DemoPalette.jsx panel before but there are some very useful utilities in there, which are very easy to use, including a script that scales an entire comp including cameras, layers, keyframes, etc. Just go to File > Scripts > DemoPalette.jsx. Click on the “?” button for a brief explanation of the scripts.

    I tried running the “Scale Comp” script on a simple comp with a camera just to see if it worked and it seems to work pretty well. The only catch is that it will only scale in the original aspect ratio of the comp. So if you’re scaling a standard 4:3 720×480 DV size comp up to 16:9 1920×1080 HD, then the script will only allow you to enter values that maintain the original aspect of 4:3. So if you enter 1920w and then enter 1080h it will automatically change the width back to 1620.

    The way around this may be to just enter the width value and then after you’ve scaled the comp just go into your comp settings and change your comp height to 1080, which will crop the extra space on the top and bottom. Or you could let the script resize the comp to 1620×1080 and then expand the comp width to 1920 and fill in the extra area on the sides as needed. It just depends on your needs.

    Also, don’t forget to change the pixel aspect ratio to “square” in the comp settings and for all of your layers as well. I’m sure there’s probably a script out there to automate that process as well.


  • Chris Orcfilm

    October 23, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Exactly what I needed Erik!

    Albeit you were correct, I had already, unfortunately finished (manually :-p) resizing everything by the time you posted this. BUT for the next time or anyone else encountering this need, the Demo Palette script (File > Scripts > Demo Pallette.jsx) resized the comps in whole exactly as I needed them. The only thing I had to tweak was the DoF of the virtual camera.

    Thanks for taking the time to post this solution to this thread and adding Demo Palette to my mental toolbox!


  • Tiffany Pippin

    January 3, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    I am so happy to find someone else who has encountered this issue and find a solution. Mine came years later of course, so I’m hoping the script will work with AE CC. Can’t find many other solutions especially working with 3D layers, so I will post my results after I try it out. Thanks guys!

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