Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz

Camera Projection

PLTV 006 is a simple screencast of the camera projection setup I used for Fender Bender. Although camera projection is well covered in AE7 Studio Techniques, I don't think many people would consider it capable of creating as complex a form as an aircraft carrier. The lesson is that a good image (mine, shown above, was a 3008x2000 pixel RAW file shot with a Nikon D70s) projected on very simple shapes can be convincing for small moves.

Reader Comments (19)

Wow, great work! I get the impression that camera mapping is one of the secret tools that pros use all the time, while the rest of us spend weeks perfecting 3D models and textures and then fail miserably when it comes to photo-realism.

March 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJonas Hummelstrand

WOOT WOOT! Man, I really want to learn more about doing things like that.

You should start doing some free training videos like I make at

That would be cool!

March 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSkettalee

is it possible to use camera projection in AE 6.5 pro? I'm rather new to the effects scene but am trying to learn everything possible. This seems like it would come in handy on several different occasions...

March 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJosh Carr

I love the Fender Bender spot! Thank for the behind the scene setup! I have a question. Why do you have a light at the front of the camera? Also I hope you are on the After Effects 8 beta tester!

March 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Hi Stu. Cool technique! On an off-topic note, do you know any good tutorials on rotoscoping? I'm reading the DV Rebel's Guide, and I understand the concepts behind the effects, but I just don't know how to effectively rotoscope a person... especially with motion blur! Thanks!

Alexander Gao

March 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlexander

Josh: Yes, the technique I used is totally doable in AE 6.5—the section on camera projection is largely unchanged from" REL="nofollow">AE 6.5 Studio Techniques to" REL="nofollow">AE7 Studio Techniques.

Matt: The light is actually what projects the image onto the layers. Get" REL="nofollow">Mark's book to learn how to set this up.

Alexander: For my money there's still no better roto training than what's included with the vintage "Masters of Visual Effects" video series—watch for it on eBay.

March 18, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterStu

I was just reading from your book, actually from the pdf on the dvd, that you thought Canon's 24F mode is not very good. Could you elaborate on its shortcomings, or send me link where you or someone else has already done so?

Your book and blog are great, thanks.

March 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

You can find some pretty good tips on roto at
There are a couple of great quicktimes on roto from Scott Squires, one of the creators of Commotion.

March 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

Josh, the 24p/24f question is discussed in detail" REL="nofollow">here on the Rebel Café forum—please join the conversation if you like!

March 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterStu

Wow, Stu, thanks for that little behind the scenes! I've done camera projection for before in 3d, but never attempted it to this level in 2d. I'm really gonna check it out now!

Alexander -
i don't know if this will help, really, but I made a video tut on all the roto tools in AE. it's here, if you want:

March 19, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersean

Hey Stu, any chance of explaining a little bit about the advantages of camera projection over splitting a still into layers in Photoshop and then scaling and positioning them in z-space. Maybe using this script: It seems harder to prevent image tearing with camera projection to me...

March 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

wow man, you just made me go out and buy that book. I always liked AE, but never was really able to unlock it's capabilities until recently. I think to date though the coolest thing i've seen done with it was a video about the Frankenstein on the Windmill shot from Van Helsing, where the whole shot was comped in AE, and they added in the camera match, and put all the angry crowd into a little half-sphere. I was like, holy crap! this is the coolest AE trick ever! I think it's safe to say that this little 2d mapping technique carries on in the tradition of blowing minds.

March 20, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

great stuff, i didnt know ya could do camera projection in ae, i always did that kinda stuff in 3d max, i bought the studio techniques book a couple of days ago but i havent read it yet, could ya guys tell me in wich part of the book is so i can jump right into it. :)

March 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I've been trying this technique out this week (following along with the AE 7 Studio Techniques book). One thing I can't seem to figure out is how to keep the quality of the projected images intact. My projections seem to come out blurry no matter how I set things up.

March 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You can increase the shadow map resolution in the 3D renderer Options, under the Advanced tab in Comp Settings. I used 4K.

March 26, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterStu

Great stuff!
any chance to see a tutorial about it?

March 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You do this camera projection like fusion 5 without projector tool ?

April 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hi all... I am trying to do my own camera projection in After Effects with some footage coming from RedOne in 32bpc and I am very interested in keeping all the info in the brightest lights... the thing is I loose the superwhites when I change the Material Options in my original footage and the 3D solids and then all the lights clip at 1...
Does anybody knows how to keep this information in the highlights?? ...or is not possible to do the camera projection in HDR with AE?

Thanx a lot for your help in advance...

March 5, 2011 | Registered CommenterIsaac Viejo

well, I found the answer myself... I could not find a way to do it with the steps used in the tutorial by Andrew Kramer in VideoCopilot, but using the plugin CameraMapper from DigiEffects everything keeps in 32bpc and it applies the composition Motion Blur as well without using the CC Force Motion Blur....

Thanks anyway....

March 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterIsaac Viejo
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Sorry, comments are disabled temporarily while I tweak some stuff.
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