4G Software’s Flash Plug-ins

There’s been what seems like a surge of Flash plug-in news lately (or perhaps I’m just paying more better attention), and today we’ll have a look at 4G Software’s two offerings.

3DCam ($49.95) – seems akin to After Effects’ 3D camera, which can also be found in other vector software like ToonBoom. Allows for multi-plane type camera moves – a functionality that’s been on wish-lists of many a Flash animator. The 4G website offers a slew of demos that look pretty cool.

LayerEX ($29.95) – this plug-in allows Flash animators to be more selective and precise when exporting to SWFs, PNGs and Quicktime files. Seems like it allows for the exporting of in and out points on renders (like After Effects) and it may act as a ‘bridge’ between Flash and After Effects with it’s ability to render out each layer of a file individually.

If anyone’s been using these, please post your review. I haven’t tinkered with either yet.

13 Comments

  1. animonger March 20, 2006

    Does 3DCam work with Flash’s Export Movie.. for PNGs, AVI and QT?

  2. Shayne Henkelman March 20, 2006

    I was all excited when I saw this… but from watching the demo movies it is apparent that this camera has no more functionality then Sham’s free VCam.
    The main difference is the 3D space layout which is very similar to that found in ToonBoom, except for the fact that you still have to do manual tweaking on the timeline.
    $50.00 isnt worth it just for an added interface in my estimation. Sham’s VCam doesnt cost anything, and will provide the exact same output.

  3. I like the new direction of CHF with the coverage of these plugins. Maybe some of these developers could get together and start building an open-source flash-like animation program. Flash can be great, but since it was never meant for character animation, it’ll probably never reach it’s animating potential with add-ons. But who knows with Adobe involved now…

  4. animonger March 21, 2006

    Kevin, here is a link to an open-source Flash program called F4L.

    Link

  5. Thanks Animonger, but that seems to be Flash for Linux. Looks like they’re trying to mimick Flash exactly which isn’t the approach we need. I’m talking about getting all of these developers that are making killer flash animation plugins together and starting something new. Something built for character animation, not web interactivity (flash). I’m merely throwing a suggestion out there, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea where to start. I can code webpages at best.

  6. I have looked at both of the tools the VCam, and the 3DCam. I bought the 3DCam, so can give you guys a review. The difference is pretty big. The 3DCam is artist friendly, no code invloved. Click on things and move them around in 3D. You can follow objects too. Or you can click on objects or the camera and move it in the side or top views. It’s quite simple. I really like it myself. You can also have motion paths for the camera, which from what I was able to tinker with in VCam, couldnt do. There was sooo much code I was confused in the vCam. It’s free no doubt, but for me it was worth the 49 dollars to buy 3DCam.

  7. Jarrad Hope March 21, 2006

    I was also excited to see this,
    I definatly admire 4G’s go at 3D camera.

    Can this camera rotate??

    Keep up the good work!

    For the animators here,
    are you requesting an animation app that exports to swf?

    What do you expect for this dedicated flash animation software?

  8. I have been using 3DCam for a few weeks now and I must say that I love it. It is very versatile and easy to use. No need for scripting whatsoever. And as Jim pointed out, 3DCam makes it very easy to move objects in front of one another, all while the camera is travelling. It would certainly be better if the camera could be rotated, but it still remains one of the most exciting plugin I have seen for Flash lately…

  9. Improvements I’d like to see in one piece of animation software:

    - Flash’s symbol/library system
    - Ability to bend and warp bitmaps(png) like in Moho
    - Armature system with forward/inverse kinematics and constraints
    - 3D Camera and simple 3d modeling
    - Animation curves. Flash 8 finally got this started, but it could be vastly improved upon.
    - Natural brushes like in Mirage
    - Ability to handle libraries/symbols full of pngs (Flash can be a choking nightmare for collage animation!)
    - Output to swf, avi, png sequence, etc., up to HD resolution
    - Audio mixing and editing
    - uh. and more.

    A lot to ask for I suppose. Blender looks like a good model for an (3d) opensource animation project.

  10. use toonboom

  11. Roman Laney March 23, 2006

    Got a copy of LayerEx. After an all too difficult install… I got her working and it looks to be a great fix for anyone looking to do a large amount of post work in After Effects. It really makes the export process a lot easier. It uses the layer name and sequentially numbers the PNGs and throws them in a directory together. Not that fast, it’s basically like an action in PS where the process only goes as fast as the computer clicking all of the buttons in order, but the fact that you can walk away is great! We’re definately going to use it on our production. Worth all 30 dollars. I skipped the 3d camera. Not nessasary when you have After Effects.

  12. Stephen Levinson April 25, 2006

    Aaron, where can I get Sham’s Vcam v2?

    Steve

  13. Anonymous January 23, 2007

    Blender 3D is indeed an excellent program. And now with MakeHuman, you can create human characters that are fully rigged. HOWEVER, Blender is a true 3D program and has a steep learning curve. Also it is not “web friendly” as to file size. It is intended to create 3D animations similar to Maya.

    I love it, but it is tough to learn (for me anyway).

    good luck,
    subQuark

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