Plugins and Scripts > After Effects

Collada Plugin for After Effects - Export

Export Process:

collada export dialog

Note that the script based file save dialog does not check for preexisting files and will overwrite files without warning.

The Exportor options:

Scene scale
Collada scene values exported from After Effects tend to be fairly large. Use this value to scale down the exported scene. 100 will scale down by a factor of 100.

Include zero value rotations in scene node?
If a layer's rotation/orientation has no keyframes and has values equal to zero then it doesn't contribute anything to the scene or animation and can be ignored by the export process.

Export marked layers as joints?
The collada importer will add a joint comment expression to a null layer's light transmission attribute to indicate that it came from a collada joint node. The exporter can read this comment and export a skeleton joint node instead of a null node.


  • The animated tracks should be baked to ensure a predictable transfer via collada. This removes the need to match interpolations between several applications.
  • XSI Mod Tool seems to require all rotations so is incompatible with the include zero value rotations option.
  • Lightwave prefers yxz rotations
  • Lightwave assumes yxz order if only 1 rotation axis exists in the collada file. This behavior allows the brute force import to act as a go between for collada files from other programs and Lightwave.
  • After Effects frame rate should be an integer value. Videos with rate of 29.97 fps is not the same as 30 fps and will cause random motions when imported to the 3d application.
  • Be sure to set the frame rate of the 3D application to match After Effect's frame rate.
  • The exporter is hard code limited to 4096 layers.
  • 3dsmax import won't see the collada camera field of view unless it is animated.
  • Cameras that use the point of interest target are not supported(see next line).
  • A version of Ryan Gilmore's camera animation baker can be found on this page.
  • Solid and footage layers will export as geometry as of version 1.2 If mask(s) are applied to the layer they will export as individual polygons. Only the base points of the masks are exported. Meaning the curved segments are ignored as if the mask is created with purely linear interpolation between it's points.
  • The style of translation exported by this plugin is not compatible with Modo 601.
  • Blender 2.67 set fps to match, "import units" checked and after import camera rotation order set to zyx. Background images: Add first image in sequence, image sequence, frames = length, set resolution of scene to match camera and footage.

After Effects bake for export
1. create keys as needed
2. activate expression - no changes
3. animation - keyframe assistant - convert expression to keyframes

July 15, 2013