How to Export Your Scene From Cinema 4D to After Effects

October 27, 2009

I made this tutorial to show you how to prepare your renders in Cinema 4D for export into After Effects. Then, I go though the process of importing your render into After Effects using Multi Pass, compositing tags and object buffers. I also show you how to change lights and add textures in AE to finish compositing your 3D scene.

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  • Thank you thank you THANK you sir. I’ve been looking for a tutorial like this. Perfect timing too, I’ve got a project due which I’ve decided to do in 3D.

  • Hey there
    lovely tutorial, very helpful.

    We saw that the cameras were also imported into after effects, but what does that mean? How much can you play around with those? Surely you can’t move them around the 3d environment in after effects, can you? So what’s the point of importing them?

    thanks again!

    • You can add additional 3D layers/elements in after effects and they’ll be in the right position in 3D space relative to the scene..

    • Hi all

      Does anybody know how to link ex. a tekst layer to the camera data imported from C4D?
      I tried different options but my text layers is bouncing around the screen. I have done it before but I’m so tired from trying to reach a deadline, that I can’t remember… please help :o) Mich.

      And Nick, THANK YOU. you bring joy to tons of people! Your tutorials are at the same level as a certain “Dr. Cramer” (And thats high)

  • The reason you import them is so that everything lines up in AE. Now, you can add even more elements to the scene and everything stays in the right position because we have camera data in there.

    • Nick,

      You hear it all the time- BUT thank you for being so generous with your knowledge!
      I have C4D version 11…not 11.5
      What about the procedure & effects in this tutorial can version 11 NOT do? Thanks again!


    • Addendum-

      I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention! I know next to nothing about C4D, so I please bear with me :/ Is there a work-around to the new feature you pointed out where you can modify the “external compositing” tag’s properties by creating a solid that becomes an alpha matte or luma matte in AE? Is multi-pass rendering my only option in C4D v.11?

    • Hi Raivan Did you find any solution to your problem? because i am stuck with the same problem as you…Please help!

    • Another method of exporting an alpha matte is to create a plane using whatever dimensions, and give it a unique object buffer with a “Cinema 4D compositing tag”.

      This works in older versions too.

    • Great tutorial, but if i wanted to make a logo in cinema 4d and then motion track in to a video in after effects. How can i do it; example given here. Please help

  • Thank you mister GoRilla!
    for taking the time to create this.

  • I never could use the “export After Effects” thingy…The proyect file doesn´t open on After CS4…has anyone experienced this yet?

    It is a CS3-only proyect file?

    Cause if it´s like that…It really sucks…!

    Great tutorial man!

    Keep em coming!

    greetings from Argentina!


  • Seriously Nick thanks a whole bunch for this tutorial, I’ve been piecing how to do this from multiple tutorials of lower quality. This one really brings everything together.


  • Very well explained workflow, i think i watched it on Maxon, but maybe it was a shorter version.Thanks man.

  • Thanks, Nick! Spot on as usual!!

  • All of a sudden the Flash videos aren’t playing for me anymore. Anyone else seeing this? Not seeing it elsewhere. The only thing I can think of is that I have a QT X player open in the background but not sure why that should matter.

  • @brandon Thank you very much!! I´ll try just that.

  • Is it me or did you already post this?

  • Thank you, I really like your cinema 4D tutorials.


  • Thanks for the tips Nick !
    About the ” external compositing ” I don’t see these option, and I can’t create a solid, is there only in 11.5 ?

  • Brand new to the site and C4D, looking forward to learning, thanks Nick!

  • Cheers Nick, always wondered the best way of doing multipasses from C4D into AE – never released that’s what object buffers were for!
    Cheers once again dude!

  • Nice !
    You should post more of these compositing tuts, because imo they’re the most difficult to get right.

    Thanks !!

  • Nice and very usefull tutorial as always.

    Thank you.

  • WOW. That was great, thank you Nick. Does anyone know if something similar is possible in Maya? I’m sure it is, but it seems like Cinema 4D works much better with AE than Maya does. I’ve considered ditching Maya and making Cinema 4D my main 3D program. If anyone has any opinions on that to offer it would be great, because I’m having a hard time deciding if it’s worth putting the time and money into learning C4D. Thanks!

  • Would I be correct in thinking that all this can be achieved with C4D version 11 (or 10, in fact). Also, in your example it’s unlikely to be an issue, but if you don’t separate the faces of the cube and attach the external compositing tag to the ‘front’ face, the solid or null object in AE will actually be in the equivalent of inbetween the front and back faces. If your screen had more thickness that would cause drift…

  • Good tutorial! Thanks a lot for the work! Quick question: how do we export simple “nulls” from C4D into AE, if we want references for positioning AE (2.5D) elements in a scene?

    • You can export the 3D data of any object by adding the “external compositing” C4D tag to it. Check “3D data” in the render settings, and hit save… that’s it!
      The best part is you don’t even have to render to export all of this data out, it creates the AE file instantly.

    • Wow ! That’s great ! I was sure that External compositing tag wasn’t that useless before 11.5 ! Chris you are my today god !

  • woaw! Nice piece Nick!
    If only you we’re a Softimage user! I think I could learn a lot of things. 🙂

    Anybody knows how can I do this with Softimage?
    (I mean exporting camera data)

  • I like it….

  • Tried to open the .aec file (that cinema4d had exported) into After Effects CS3. But it gave an “After Effects error: Can’t import file: unsupported filetype or extension”.

    Anyone else have the same problem?

  • Wow just what I needed/asked for! Haven’t watched it yet but it seems to be exactly what I was looking for!
    Thanks alot Gorilla!

  • Thanks Nick- i love how you were able to explain object buffers in 15 minutes.

  • Thanks!! this is very helpfull!.
    But i have a question…
    i want to do the same but with a cube faces.
    i want put video on a cube face….
    how can i impot each faces of the cube for replace a diferent video on after effects .

    Thanks 😀

    • For a cube, you can offset the solid so that it matches up to the face of the cube. You may have to do some measuring, but It should work.

      • I did this. I offset a new solid and parented it to my original geometry and the animation looks great in c4d. BUT when I open the after effects file the new solid is behaving so strangely like it’s on a completely different axis! Any ideas?

    • I’m not sure but could you also duplicate the cube, make the copy editable and separate the faces and give each one a compositing tag? Might give it a try later, if it works it should work with any C4D version.

    • Tanks 😀

  • yo nick love the tutoial but just one problem, this external composite tag is it only for r11..

  • Thanks a lot Nick! Thats absolutely what I needed to know!My work is going to be a lot cooler now!

  • finally! ive been waiting for this

  • Hi the tutorial is great,,,
    I am new in C4d and have some question
    1) why if in the render setteng if I switch the Relative to on ,,and the I save,,,then after effects seems not importing nothing,, If i Switch to on then i can import my files
    2) why the red solid create in c4d in after effects appear rotated of 90 on Y?
    thank M

    • Not sure about those issues. Anyone else having problems?

    • I have been having this same issue for some time and have not been able to fix it in C4D. The solution is simple in Ae just rotate it 90 degrees and it is corrected. It does get a little frustrating when you have a few of them in your comp.

      Will let you know if I figure it out!

    • I’m also wondering this. How do you fix this rotating problem?

    • Christopher Scott Kn December 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      I realize I’m posting an answer to this 2 yrs after the first post but, yes… rotating the planes +90º on the Y axis fixed this issue for me when I was working with 7 separate planes (and 7 separate object buffers).
      The rotated planes were happening whether I had ‘relative’ selected on the exported AE file in C4D or not.
      Nick, are you still monitoring this thread?
      Christopher in Burbank.

      • Thanks for that, Chris! One thing to keep in mind is that the planes are always angled in the Z axis. So when you make your scene, make sure you align it so that Z is facing away from you.

  • Awesome tutorial Nick. You just made me wana to stop learning 3d Studio Max and start learning C4D. Can’t wait for Thursday U-Stream chat. 🙂

  • Dude you rock, thanks again!

  • Hola, agradezco este TUTORIAL, estoy comenzando en Cinema4d, y no habia podido lograr trasladar desde Cinema a After Effects, muchas gracias

    saludos desde Chile

  • Hi Gorilla a super great site,i see how did your renders in Cinema 4D for export into After Effects can you tell me how to do it for final cut 7 and motion 3

  • I’ve got a small problem while trying to export project as Quick Time Movie, Cinema says that it is “Unable to write file”. Works fine with Avi Movie Uncompressed frames. I am using R11.5 on win7 x64. Maybe someone knows how to fix this?

  • Thank you very much, this tutorial will make a lot of lives easier. One question though,I only have C4D R10.5 , and the External compositing tags only has a Name and Layer field and nothing else, is there a way to work around this or should i just get R11? anyway, salamat from manila, philippines!

  • Hello! I have a simple question, i have cinema 4d version 11, and in the external compositing tag, i don´t have the option of create solid, i just exported the 3d data and the nulls objects, but my picture or footage doesn´t match exactly with the screen, please help.

    • im having the exact same problem
      whats up with that?

    • Creating a solid is only 11.5. Nulls should work though.

    • Hi there nick! about the nulls i can´t get it right, i don´t know, but somehow, my footage doesn´t match with the 3d screen i´ve made…is there anyway that you could explain us (cinema 4d version 11 owners) how can we achieve this same effect with out the create solid option on the external composite tag??? Make us happy, please help nick.

    • Make sure you’re opening up the .aec compositing file from scratch, using the correct camera, and replace the 3D data null with the footage you have, so it maintains the same 3D space. Everything will align perfectly.

      As far as the alpha matte, create a plane where your footage should go, then add a “cinema 4d compositing tag”. This is in addition to the “external compositing tag”. Add a unique object buffer for it, and add that object buffer to your multipass render.

      This works in previous versions too, good luck!

  • Hello sir Nick!..that was an awesome tutorial…i have always been waiting for that tutorial!!!..keep it up…..

  • Hello.. you used Cinema 4d r11.5 ?


  • Great tutorial! You forgot to mention one thing that might get people into trouble. It at least got me into trouble when I was screwing around with this same thing. That is the external compositing solid is determined upon the axis location of the object. If you end up using a cube instead of a plane, the axis will be in the middle (unless you change it). Therefor when you do a camera sweep like your example, the plane will end up being slightly off. You can have things go really whacky if your axis is on a different rotation.

  • Hey! i’m Really missing out!
    How come the Videos never show up whenever i visit this website.all text is visible but its blank and plain where videos are supposed to be.
    I’m in China– if that will help.

  • great tutorial and some very helpful tips.

    i am a max user trying to learn cinema 4d and right now i am having difficulty producing depth of field with the camera. its tricky here. can you give a short tutorial on how to achieve dof in cinema?

  • Hey, “The Gorilla” Can You Please Make A Tutorial On How To Make That BillBoard Please? It Would Be Awesome If You Would 🙂

  • Hey thanks for the great tutorial.
    But I’m still working in V11 and was wondering if you ever came up with the same problem I am having when exporting out of V11. I have followed all the steps but when I opened the AE file my nulls are working on some camera movements but when the camera moves fast some of the videos are off from the actual point its suppose to be. I also know the trick about V11 having to have the axis on the top left.

  • Nick Thank you very much

  • I think this is one of the most focused tutorials you have posted. Very direct explanation from feature to feature. I followed the entire time and picked up some tips I hadn’t know. Thank you.

  • Thanks,It’s cool

  • Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your tutorials they are great.

    We are using C4D 11. Have you ever encountered problems with you image buffer luma mattes being 1 pixel too large and giving you a white halo around your object in after effects?
    I seem to get this problem all the time and as it’s a luma matte i cannot fix it with a choker. I fix the problem by adjusting the levels and bringing the whites down on the buffer object but wondered if there was something i’m doing wrong or a better way of going around it?


  • Yes! A lot of questions answered for me. Thanks !!

  • nice video. i was wondering if you can do a video on rigging in c4d? because i have this model of a guy i created but i want to move his arms and legs.

  • Hello Gorilla, Thankx so much for this tip. Just wondering what would be the best way to replace the screens in this graphic (the square TV kind of things) to some videos. ( (the graphic on top)

    Using the method you suggested we will have so many object buffers etc. Would that be the way we do it? Kindly comment.

    Ben: Just wanted to add on your reply. Maya to AE is also simple as C4D except that the maya Lights don’t come into AE as C4D does. Also the unit/scales are so different that a small movement of position in AE amounts to a 100 pixel etc, very troubling.
    In my learning experience I found Maya to Nuke using FBX formats the best way to work things out for VFX. For MGFX I think we can’t beat the C4D-AE combo. Thankx, this is just IMHO.

  • Thank you so so much for this tutorial.
    I had been struggling to do this and you really explained everything for me.
    Keep up the cool tutorials they really help alot.

  • Great! Thx.
    But will be tutorial explaining how to modeling this stuff in c4d?

    • I am really struggling with this. The render set up is identical to the video. I have animated a cube moving along a spline and it comes to the camera. Then I want to add video to the front face, but when I add the tags etc and open it in A fx it is so mis aligned. I have tried the picot points in different places and still cant get it sorted.

  • hi can anyone tell more about render setting for rendering movie to AF ? i dont know how to work with multipass.

    now all what i can get is a single pic in AF not movie… 🙁

  • Hey! it was the plug-in it need it to be update…:) Where did you get the billboard from–can we get it for free from you..:)?

  • Hi, I tried this amazing tutorial,bu after i exported to ae(cs4) my object with external comp tag was totally out of position(in ae)?Any ideas?

    • Adjust your cameras position, point of interest, and orientation. Line up the object buffer at the beginning of the scene and copy and paste the key frames at the end of the scene…

  • I’m getting everything to work but the Object buffer. I added a compositing tag to my object, enabled it, set it to 1 and within my render settings ensured that multi-pass and object buffer one were checked.

    Everything opens up in AE. My cameras and all that stuff is there, but there is no separate folder named “Special Passes” like you have. What am I doing wrong?

  • this is beatiful, Nick! I send my rays of gratitude 2 you.

  • Anyone had issues with the c4d plug in into AE with Snow Leopard? For some reason my computer cannot recognize the plug-in even when I drop it into the AE plug-ins folder. I run c4d 11.5 and AE CS3 on both my laptop and desktop; my laptop works fine, but only my desktop has Snow Leopard and I think that’s the issue. Anyone know a fix/work around?

    • Having exactly the same. I’m still on C4D 10, but running CS3. All been working fine, installed Snow Leopard and now I can’t import aec files, When I save them out of C4D they come up as photoshop droplet files as well!!

      Please help, it’s sending me crazy!!

  • @Brent. Be sure you’ve checked Multipass render tree. Then in the save section of your render dialog box you will see a new tab called Multi-Pass Image. Write a path in the same folder as your regular image.

    • YES!!! you just totally answered a question to a problem i’ve spent 2 hours searching online for. THANKS!

      now my object buffers/special passes folder is showing in my aec file. thanks again!

  • I`m having problems with R11.5 while trying to import a .aec file into CS3. I`ve installed the plugin (C4D.plugin), but when I import the .aec file, nothing happens. In CS4 it works fine. R11 worked fine for CS3 but R11.5 is not working. Any insight !?

  • You have no idea since i’ve been looking for the answer to this question..thanks a lot, i’ve learned a lot of things from you and i hope that you’ll have more interesting tutorials coming up…

    Thanks again.

  • I can’t seem to get the lights and camera to show up In AE, every thing else is working except for that.

  • Hey Nick! How are you doing. I found your site a week ago and i ve been checking it everyday since. Love your tutorials, your pretty talented man! I’m also running 11.5 but got some issues when importing into after effects since i can not open the files i believe is the plugin but anyways would like to see a tut on how to create the billboard mainly the process on how to create the lights shining through.Thanks for being such an inspiration. Greets from Canada. Saludos.

  • Hi Nick, Hi everyone! Im having problems ive been trying to figure this out for days now. Basically ive done everything in the tutorial ive also downloaded and installed the latest plugin from maxon. When I import i does not bring in the solid object for track matting nor the lights and cameras. Any ideas anyone im really pulling my hair out here.

  • Your AE + Cinema 4D tutorials are very useful. Thanks 🙂

  • No one will see my comment wayy downn hereeee!

  • Thanks Nick. I’m super grateful for all the work that goes into these tutorials. Super helpful and engaging. I hate to post issues, but I’m running into something really odd with R11.5. The tutorial, as presented, works perfectly. However, if I try to export to a tif sequence, everything gets jacked up in AE. It doesn’t recognize the embedded alphas in the images. This only happens if multipass is enabled. Also, the resulting images show dimensions of 0x0 in the Finder. So weird. Anyone have insight? Thanks again.

  • Dude i love you, thank you i been looking for this, i have only one problem, after i render my C4D i try to open aec file but it says error its not supported what should i do?

    • Go to your Cinema 4d >>Exchange Plugin<> “plugins” file,

      try to open the .aec file

      What AE you are running? (it will not work on AE5 🙂

    • Go to your Cinema 4d “Exchange Plugin” folder, get the CS3-4 folder and drop it to After effects –>> “plugins” file,

      try to open the .aec file

      What AE you are running? (it will not work on AE5 🙂

  • ive already done that would you mind having a look using ichat?

  • Cool Stuff Nick! I support the tutorial idea on how to model a billboard like this one, sure you have some very handy modeling techniques!

    Thanks man!

  • I have waited long for such a tutorial.
    very good and clear explanation tut.
    thanq so much

  • Is it possible that u can give that border thingy away ?
    I need it for a project

    thanks =]

  • Hi. Have to admit that I’ve learn a lot from this tut. I appreciate a lot you’ve decided to share it with us. Thanks. Honest.
    Now, I’ve been experiencing some problems when dealing with more than one screen/layer; it just doesn’t work for me; and I’ve done a lot of variations on compositing tags and object buffers.
    Any clue, please?
    Thanks again.

  • I’m exporting from C4D with multiple solids (with which to replace images). They are different faces of a cube-like model. When I get them into AE, the solids are all in the same place and not in the right position. Can anyone help?

  • Hai there!

    I hope you can help me! i’m doing everything you said in the tutorial, but when i want to open the ”aec” file in to After Effects nothing happens?…. When i clic on the ”aec” its opening After Effects but i dont see the folders… plees help!!! thnqs anyway.

  • great tutorial nick, helped clarify things greatly. I made something similar to try out, also with a billboard but with a rising semi-opaque screen that eventually tints part of the billboard. i sent the billboard & rising screen to different object buffers but in AE when i place an image on the billboard as per your tut, i set the luma matte to either the alpha of the billboard and the semi transparent screen appears behind the image, or i set the luma matte to the semi-alpha of the screen and only the tinted part of the billboard shows through, sorry about the long windedness but i guess the question is, when there are two interacting mattes in the c4d composition, how in ae do i get the luma matte to see both?


  • How do you render the full movie other than Make Preview?
    When I Make Preview, the video is named and I have to manually set the dimensions again. Is there a Render button in Cinema 4D?

  • Hey Nick. I’m try to pull video footage inside of letters made in 4D. Like a lumma matte while trying to keep the reflections etc. I made a composite tag with image buffer and the project doesn’t open in AE. Just doesn’t allow me to open it.

    Tearing my hair out. If you could suggest anything that would be grand.

    Thanks mate

  • Sorry composite video into letters

  • If any one wants to learn how to do a video wall tutorial I found one on another site…

  • Hy guys, hy nick..this is my first comment, and first of all sorry for my english.
    I very like this tutorial, but i still have a problem that i hope you solve me.

    I have my screen as your project, but in my scene, it rotates with a specific position of the ancor point. The problem is: When i create the solid for after effects in the external compositing of the object, ancor point must be only 1)center, top right, top left, bottom right and bottom left. The result is that in after effects, the solid doesn’t rotate in the same way of the screen, but on it own ancor point. How i can do? thanks nick and thanks guys

  • I followed the tutorial to a T, but whenever I open the project in AE, the Billboard solid is turned the wrong way in 3D space and I can’t seem to fix it. Has anyone had a similar problem?

    • Hi Brad,

      Hope this post is still alive….
      I have exactly the same problems….All my solids are turned the wrong way…Did you solve your problem ?

  • I have a problem exporting the more than 1 object buffer in Quicktime Format.. it is possible to do this? the only way that I get more than 1 object buffer is in RPF format.. thank you.. great tutorial!

  • Now for a real challenge. Go from AE to C4D ;o). Did this for a music video and will never to do it again. C4D to AE is the proper workflow.

  • Hope this thread is still alive.
    I have a cloner object with multiple screens in a bend deformer (semi-circle videowall). Problem is when export in the way shown above my “AE solids” are placed on their original position (outside the bend deformer).

    Is there a workaround for this?

  • Hello
    I found your site some time ago, so I put in cinema 4d
    I have followed your tutorials but I have a problem whenever I want to make an appointment, such as a QuickTime movie made, I get an error: “error-saving image”
    I do not know where does this problem have you any idea?
    sorry for my English, I’m french.

    Thank you very much

  • Whenever I save the render, it only saves as the After Effects Project file. The regular image file doesn’t save, so when i open it in after effects it tells me that the file is invalid/missing. Any ideas on how to fix this?

  • Hey anyone have any tricks on getting scale data out to an AEC file? Specifically I have 4 objects from a cloner object in my scene and I’m using a plain effector set to affect scale only to animate these 4 objects scaling up from 0. I can get the external compositing tag to add 4 objects as nulls/solids in my AEC file, but the plain effector’s scaling doesn’t come across. Is this possible and I’m just not doing it right, or should i abandon all hope?


  • Did someone solved the problem with the wrong Y-Rotation of the solid?
    Meaning not to alter this by hand in AE…
    Is there any C4D hint?

    And how can we use external comp tags with other objects like splines, nurbs etc?

    c u stevie

  • Could someone tell us something about the necessary scaling of corresponding 2D Footage (stills and videos)? I’ve got ugly stretching effects asigning 2D PNG-Images to the billboard/plane.

  • Hi NIck
    What an awesome tutorial! But somehow it’s not happening with me. I am running r11.5 with AE CS3. I have done the settings part exactly as you’ve shown yet I can’t get special passes folder after importing the file into AE. Looks like object buffer isn’t coming into AE. I have installed the plugin correctly. What could be the issue?

  • hey Nick,

    awesome tutorial! Just a quick question about the red solid layer that is imported into AE.

    I noticed when I attached the tags to the cube and I scaled the cube, the red solid layer follows the move of the camera. Is there any way that I can get the red solid to scale with the cube as well?

  • Dear Nick,

    Thank you for your awesome tutorials, apps products etc

    I do have a question on this tutorial.
    I have followed your steps to import into after effects but for some reason when Im trying to open my after effects project from the folder where I told c4d to save it into it keeps giving me this message:

    After effects error: Cant import file “whatever.aec” : unsupported filetype or format

    what does this mean?

    do I have to set something up in c4d that allows me to do this?

    please help! its driving me nuts!



  • NIck thank you so much!
    This is so helpful specially for people starting in C4D. I really like your explanations of WHY are we checking boxes and using tools.

    Mauricio you can download the plug in for after effects directly from maxon website. Make sure you drop it in the rigth folder.

  • Hi Nick. Nice tutorial. How come the matte layer animates, despite the fact you rendered it out as a bunch of Tiffs and only dragged one in? Thanks.

  • Hey Nick,

    Just started exploring Cinema4d and stumbled upon this tutorial again today! I’d seen it awhile ago but never found the time to get into Cinema.

    Very helpful, thank you!

    • Just wanted to say thank you. Your tips have porven very helpful in a number of situations and I wish you continue sharing your knowledge with the world. Cheers.

  • Hey Nick,

    Attempting to make a wall of TV monitors that can be replaced. I built a monitor, put the correct tags on the screen, then duplicated several times before dropping into an array to create the finished wall.

    Once in after effects however, there were no solids from the external compositing tag.

    My initial thought was that I was still only using one object buffer for all the screens, and a 2nd for my lights, but I would think that I should at least still get one big red solid, if not the many separate ones I’m trying for.

    Any suggestions? Has anyone else run into this problem?


  • I really like this Tut, but I have C4D 12.0. when I went to render my file for after effects it wont render as yours does. There are some slight differences between C4D 11.5 and C4D 12.0 please help. The Solid replacement does’nt work correctly.

  • Hey Gorilla.
    Working really fine but du you have a workaround if some glass is in front of the layer what i want to replace? 🙂

  • Hi Gorilla, thanks for the great tutorials. U’ve been such an inspiration since i started using C4D a month ago.Please help me out on creating such an animation on the link below.

  • This a very helpfull tutorial. Thanks Nick.
    I`m trying to bring a stage with 3 cameras, but I don´t know why, when in AE, everything goes well for the first camera. Then, the object I bufferd gets stoped, as if not being in sync with the other cams. Does anyone knows how can I fix that?

  • Truly loving these and I’ve learned a ton. Thanks for giving of your time. However… I’ve done this one at least 10 times and I’m missing something. I’m on c4d broadcast version 12. simple scene, logo sitting on a beach. on a plane. logo and plane come in fine into AE, but background item comes in black. will this method not import backgrounds? thanks again.

  • I am having an issue Syncing Cinema 4d camera to After Effects. It seems to drift slightly. Anyone have this issue?

  • Does anybody have a solution for the problems about 20 of us are having here? When we render, using the exact same settings you have, it creates the .mov, and a .aec file, which then does nothing. You can’t drop it into After effects, it just sits there. Can anyone help? Thanks.

    • Try to install the Cinema4D Connect plugin in your AE plugins folder

    • Hi Diego, this is what a lot of us have been doing. Instead, this is the problem. When you use the multi-pass tags, you then need to save a filename under “Save>Multipass” in the render settings. If you don’t do this, then nothing loads up.

  • is ther a way to do the same things in 3dsmax please?

  • when I try to open that .aec file in after effects it says that filetype extension cannot be opened then it says 0:: 1 or something like that. What is going on?

  • Hi i just watched the tutorial and what iff you have a solid thats bigger then what it lets you put in? the screen is 2214 by 1249 and the solid can only be made up to 1000 by 1000

  • Hi everyone, my first comment on gsg 🙂
    First of all I love what nick does, really great tutorials.

    I have a trouble which is unsolvable for me. Regarding exporting the scene 3d elements (camera, nulls, etc) to after effects. I used external tag, and everything is ok when imported to ae, except one thing. Everything is orientated wrong, -90°. I saw a lot of other people have the same problem, but didn’t see adequate solution to this. Any thoughts? Cheers from Sarajevo.

  • RE: Problems importing .aec files produced in C4D r12 into AE CS4+

    Anyone having this problem, install the C4D exchange plugin into:

    After Effects CS4 / Plugins / Extensions

    I have no idea why, on some machines the exchange plug works fine just dropping it loose into AE’s plugin folder. On others, it has to go in Extensions.

    For those with the former problem, try the latter. Fixes whatever bug it is no problems, perfect import.


  • Hey Nick,
    Thanks for the tutorial! Just what I am looking for, 2 years after the fact! I do have a question. I have a plane in C4D that I am slicing into 6 parts. I’m then collapsing these parts in, like an accordion, to use as a transition. Is it possible to use this technique to have a movie playing on the entire object as it deforms within after effects? Thanks man!

  • thanks a lot for your tutorial.
    But my question is, how can use external composite on a curve object to exported to After Effect

  • Im having trouble generating solids in after effects from c4d. I am trying to create solids from an array of imacs I built (just the screen element); it seems as though the compositing tags only work when you put them on the entire array rather than the child element. Any Ideas? Am I approaching this the wrong way?

  • plz help, i cant drag pic onto screen solid like tutorial, why?

  • great tutorial as always, i just have some notes it might be useful for u and some thing i want ask u for;
    1st i see that after u had transferred ur work to AF u remained working in none liner work flow here wht u have to do to work in liner work flow in AF after opening the project from cinema 4d
    1-import the project.
    2-go to file >> project setting
    3-in the color settings “work space” choose SRGB IEC61966-2.1, then enable linearize work space, then ok, bam ur in a linear work flow now.
    the thing i want to ask u about in C4D when i use external composting and enable the solid if the box or the plan i am taging is in a different orientation than that which work with XY plane and after rendering and export to AF i found the generated solid has different orientation than that i want is there any way to adjust the external composting so that it give me the right solid orientation that i want….

  • Thank you, great tutorial!!!

  • pleace link for downlad plugin

  • Followed the tutorial and it worked great, but I’m getting a white line around the object when it is composited together in After Effects. I think I saw it a little in your example too. Do you know of anyway to get rid of the white border?

  • PLEASE HELP…ANYONE…..ok thanks for looking. I am totally stuck on this project…what I am trying to do is mask out the blue light trail thingy when it is behind a sphere….what I have done is create the footage in C4D and imported the .mov into AE….then I created the trail in AE…but I have tried so many mask and track mask ideas…but honestly I don’t know what I am doing…so I am wondering if I need to import the cinema file as shown in this tut into AE to be able to get the trail to actually be behind the sphere/s in 3D space…Any suggestions?

    take a look at the video I am talking about:

    Thanks a lot…I am wracking my brain over this…cheers

  • Jacob, First your render from c4d need to have Alpha, On render settings check the Alpha box and use (straight alpha), In After Effect you will have to place your “trail” lights behind your c4d render. or in case your environment comes from c4d do two passes one with the background/environment and the second all the other elements you want to have in front of the “trail” light. use the composite tag to separate them it make work!

    Good Luck

  • I have tried a very simple run at this with a floor and a screen. When I follow this tutorial, my “screen/billboard” is not just an object I can place video onto and see the floor and the background, etc. When I drop my movie onto the “screen/billboard” it fills up the entire editor screen. I must be missing something and can not figure out what.

    C4D Version 12
    After Effects CS4


  • Thanks alot. so helpful.

  • My exports/imports in r11.5 work great… Recently got r13 and all new exports from this version won’t open in AE now!

    Did some research and updated my plugin to the latest version from MAXON.

    also installed it in several places and combinations like sugester here:

    any other suggestions or work arounds anyone?
    Im on snow leopard, Adobe CS5.


  • For anyone having issues importing- I installed the C4DExporter and Cinema4ADE plugins to:HD/library/applicationsupport/adobe/plugins/CS5/fileformats

    It worked for me!

    • Thanks for your help!
      My problem was slightly different.

      Had already tried installing both files ‘Cinema4DAE.plugin’ & ‘C4DExporter.plugin’ on the two recommended locations:

      My problem would have been that the ‘C4DExporter.plugin’ was still the old version supplied for 11.5 and that’s why those files where still opening fine… When re-doing the procedures stated above, I replaced those plugin files with the new version (named exactly the same) but supplied together with C4D r13.

      Its all working fine now.

  • Thanks a lot, Nick! This tutorial is very helpful and super!

  • No matter how many times I open the project up in afx the solid I am replacing is NEVER in the right place. I had a soild between two headphones. When I open in afx its in front and not masked correctly and not in right place. And the Luma mask does not help me. 🙁

  • So my object is not rotating properly and would hate to have to animate the rotating. Is this because the null light is inside an object. And the partent of the light is inside another object. The lights rotation values are at 0,0,0 but the parents are different rotations. Thanks for any feedback!

  • Hi gorilla
    thanks a lot for your tutorial.
    I need to see this tutorial but I can`t see any things!!!
    can you help me . I think your old files need to upload again.

  • Hey Mr. Nick, The Gorilla! I’m your avid follower, you always inspired me with your tutorials, keep on rockin’ Gorilla we always support you and follow you everywhere! thanks for your effort, more tutorials and God bless Us all!

  • Dere nick

    I cant Export my video becuse i dosent have the right codes
    how can i get more codes to a avi video

  • Hi Nick, first thanks for the tuts, they realy helpme to lern to use cinema, I realy thanks for your help.
    Nick, when I export my composition from cinema to after effects, the solids do not appear in the correct position, are all in same rotation. why this happens?
    thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • all i am doing is using 3d text

    and when i export it from AE it comes out as a black screen

  • If I have a cloner (that’s animating) of screens and I want to be able to change their video in AE afterwards, how do I go about that?

    If they’re in a cloner lights and external comp solids don’t end up exporting to AE. I tried with lights as well.


  • Cooool! This is so useful! Thanks!

  • hey nick i did exactly what you did but it’s not letting me do anything in after effects is there a way you can put the cinema 4d file of the billboard so me and other people that watch this can practice your tutorial the same way

  • September 23, 2012 at 5:44 am

    I followed the instructions to the letter, but I have a very odd problem.
    All the layers exported exactly as they did in the video, with solid, special passes, etc. But when I replaced the solid with my image, it doesn’t show up on screen.
    In my version, I am animating a small, square object that rotates around a ball. I want to replace the square (exported as a solid from C4D v12) with an image. When I drag and drop the image onto the solid layer in AFX CS4, the name and description of the layer changes (to show that it’s been replaced) and maintains all the keyframes,etc. But it doesn’t display! It continues to show the “solid”.
    Any suggestions?

  • Great tutorial. If you could help me on my issue. I have a piece of video that I motion tracked in PFtrack, then brought it into C4D and created some text, then outputted to AE, however, during the output, the AE file isn’t working…When i go to locate the file, it’s not Blue, it’s an exclamation mark in a yellow triangle and says, “Diagnostic Report” ….not sure what i’m doing wrong…I’m using C4D-13 and AE, 11.0.2. Oh, also whenever I open up AE for the first time it says my disk cache folder is on a drive that doesn’t have enough space to safely store the full amount specified in my preference….Not sure if that matters?
    thank you for any help.

    • Marc,

      I am having the same issue — getting an unopenable “Diagnostic Report” file when i try to export a basic scene from C4D to be composited in After Effects. Have you found a solution?

      Your help will be GREATLY appreciated right now as I am under a deadline pressure!

  • Hi Nick,

    Great tut as usual. I followed all steps, have the scene inAfter Effects fine. But when I Alt Replace the red layer, for some reason it makes my artwork that I added sit at a right angle to the panel.

    Any idea why? And how I can avoid this?

  • I can’t get the object rotation information by using external compositing tag. If there is a camera animation, I have no problem with that. But if there is object rotation animation, it doesn’t work.

    What am I missing?

  • Hi Nick thanks for al your super tutorials!

    Now for this specific tutorial, is this all still possible in After Effects CC ?
    Are there still solids that can be replaced in AE CC?

    Many thanks four your reply.

    Best regards

    • OK, found it.

      Cineware Commands -> Extract
      Add 3D layer to the image I wanted in the solid & connect via parent to the solid.


  • I really enjoy & benefit from your tutorials. Is the billboard model available for download.? I find that following along enhances my learning experience. Just watching or working with a completely different model undermines the point of a hands on tutorial for me. I will skip this tut until I am able to follow along using the same model. Thanks!

  • Koolstof-Arsenicum July 28, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    If you render a cinema 4d template on this way with text, can you edit the text in after effects?

  • Hi Nick

    How do I get reflections on the ground, when I put a video on a TV screen in After Effects for example? Because when I render the scene in C4D the screen’s empty and when I put in the video, I don’t get how to make it reflect…

    Thanks by the way for all the great tutorials! Please tell Chris not to talk & click that fast! 😉

    Cheers, Denis from Switzerland

  • Tried a thousand times, i have a screen on a model i want to replace in afx, I add the external compositing tag to it, and export.. open in afx the null is miles out, not in correct rotation either.. am really getting fed up and do not know what else to do.

  • Hey Nick,
    Greta tut, moving into AE is a good challenge. I have just updated to C4D R13 and AE cs6. In the exchange plugins dir in C4D under win there is no plugin. I found the C4D Importer and Exported pluging and put them in the after effects plugin dir. When I followed your tutorial I seam to have problems when opening the aec file C4D produces. The info (animation and so on) is there but there but the output is off, white and spotty and not clean like the quicktime video it produced. Any ideas?


  • hi nick i have tried this billboard and followed your steps but the solid in after effects is different from c4d and facing the wrong way what is the problem you think my units in c4d i changed it to meters still no good result lol i am going nuts dude

  • you guys might as well give the download of these projects tutorials

  • my problem is I had a ae cs4 n c4d r13 render from c4d .ace file cnt open in ae n nothing happen, nothing ther ..whereas plugin is latest vir from maxon site. plz any one help…

  • Hi Nick,
    I built a rocket in C4D that is parented to a null that came from AE CS6 tracking data. Unfortunately, when I bring it back in AE to use particular for the rocket exhaust (I don’t have pyrocluster) the Z axis is at 60,000+ units from the camera.. Particular can only go to 30,000. I tried changing the units in C4D but nothing changed when I’m back in AE CS6. This is very frustrating as I spent hours on the rocket, got it to track perfectly in C4D, and am now stuck with a problem that seemingly hasn’t been answered anywhere on the internet… people have asked the same question on CCow, but no one answered. Any help would be very greatly appreciated… I’m building this for a reel and need to get it out there.
    Thank you in advance!

  • hello everyone. Amazing tutorial
    i am doing the same thing in tutorial, but after that i do render in the C4D i found only file AEC which is not open in the after effects. what is happening? Please help me.


  • I’m running C4D R15 Studio and After Effects CC. I’m doing everything exactly as is shown in the tutorial, however, AE is not recognizing the file being output by C4D. Obviously, the tutorial is quite old by now so it’s possible there are better ways of doing this now that I am not aware of. Could this issue be addressed in a follow up tutorial?


  • Hi Nick. Know this is an old tutorial but do you have a link for the billboard model you used or would you mind sharing it?

  • This Workflow works for Motion 5?
    Thank you!! Great tutorial.

  • hi
    i have a problem i cant open the .aec file in cinema, when i click it appears as a code text. what can i do?

  • Love tutorial, however for some reason I am unable to see anything in C4D after I export an AE doc with Maxon Cinema4D exporter. It shows a layer, but no image. I am new to this…Any demos I’ve watch make this a very simple process. I can import C4d newly created files and render w no issues…. would really like to use the export feature.

    MacBook, Yosemite
    – Using AE CC2014 version and Cinema 4D lite R16
    Are there additional plugins needed?

  • Great tutorial!
    however i still have problems.
    I have a c4d macbook project and i would like to switch the opening white empty screen with a AE composition.
    The issue is that when i open the exported project in AE the external composed screen rotates on its central anchor point and not on the anchor point of the c4d project.

    I’m using C4D studio R15 and After effect CS6.


  • Hey there,

    at first I would like to thank you for this tutorial and all stuff you providing for motion graphics area.
    I am a newborn in Cinema 4D and trying to follow tutorials to get some skills now. What I am trying to do is export my project into AE CS6 with transparent background to be able to do some extra stuff in there. I found out one issue during making the project in here. I trying to use knife footage made in Cinema 4D and transform it into text. When I apply the plugin it works, but both elements for transition changing at the same time and not as I wanted, that means knife should first appear, than start transform into text. Another thing is, when I apply texture into text, not whole text area is filled with the actual texture and pieces of R1 appearing in the area as a texture that should be covered only with metal texture I want to have it in.
    I also apologize for my English, might be maybe a bit hard to understand what I want to say in here.
    If possible I would like to send you file and if you would not mind to have a look at that … Would that be possible …?

    Thanks again and hope to hear from you soon.

  • Hi Nick, please help, I have a issue with projectionman, the camera create a film offset, but ae not recognize that, try to resolve for 37 hours and nothing. You know any trick for that?

  • what a nice tutorial, could you know how to make an animation with a prismatic billboard?
    like this page
    or this

    best regards.

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