You're blocking ads, which pay for BlenderNation. Read about other ways to support us.

Giant Spider Compositing with After Effects


My previous Giant Spider post turned out not to be done in Blender after all, so I set out to find one that was. I found a videotutorial by 15 year old Daniel Reynolds, who explains how to align a spider animation with live action footage and then uses After Effects to composite it.

Yeah I know, you *could* do the compositing in Blender too, of course. But to each his own, eh?

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Nice, but, you are right, the compositing could have been done in Blender, that would have been a great tute too

  2. If you don't want to use Blender as compositing tool, you should prefer Combustion, Shake, Nuke or anything else.
    These are node-based tools and more comfortable as AE (based on timeline).

  3. Nice tutorial. But the moving around the screen and the loud/soft/loud sound made me seasick.
    It made this interesting tutorial uncomfortable to watch.

  4. No... I think you couldn't do that with Blender. Simply because it's missing any tracking functionality. Blender's node compositing is really nice, but it's also still quite simple (I don't remember any transform nodes or the possibility to mask a node) and it's kinda slow. So it's gonna need a lot of improvements until it can be used for production.

  5. e.perinelli on

    @slurp, @Sparkus

    i'd like to use After Effects because the studio i work with is Mac based and the operators are accustomed to the Adobe Layer-Timeline philosophy,

    otherwise i'd have already put to test the compositor in Blender with them

    in my opinion it's unbelievable that a piece of SW like AEFX can't compose with ZBuffering: it's supposed to be a professional tool, it's a feature that in 2008 you can't miss

    not even a 3rd party plugin?

  6. yes, I think so.
    tracking functionality is very important for a "free" compositing work.
    I hope blender will have a traking soon.
    hope hope hope!

  7. While waiting for an internal camera tracking solution in Blender, Voodoo camera tracker is a free solution, and SynthEyes is the best and also the less expensive software for this kind of work, with a script exporter to re-create the 3D volumes in Blender. It also allows 3D stabilisation which is a great feature, because it avoids loosing Parallax informations needed to do camera tracking : Ordinary 2D stabilisation software are generally not usable when the picture will have to be used for camera tracking.

  8. Sparkus:

    This shot is possible in blender. The only external tool I use is syntheyes to get the tracking. I have done similar shots and blenders compositor is very capable to get the job done.

    rotoscoping in blender I did:

    the composite:

    the final:

    So not impossible but a little slower than AE.

    That said syntheyes now allows you to do mattes of your curves so I will try that out for rotoscoping

  9. @e.perinelli: Sorry to disappoint you, but AE definitely is NO "professional" tool. Although Adobe likes to promote it like that. I know only one region where AE was used a lot and that is asia, because most VFX tools don't support UNICODE. But everywhere else AE is rarely used. It has one of the slowest renderers, it's inflexible (due to it's layer-based system) and it's only Mac and Win. I don't know if it has network rendering. The only big advantage is that there's a heck lot of plugins available and that most plugins are fully compatible only in an AE host.

    @ROUBAL: Though 3D tracking is indeed available by 3rd party tools, an integrated tracker is often needed. Because most of the time you're not tracking the camera itself but you're tracking a feature in the footage to mask or replace.

  10. Actually AE does have network rendering. You can set it up as a slave on any number of machines. I'm not exactly sure what people mean by ZBuffer stuff, but if you mean moving AE objects behind rendered 3D objects based on a ZBuffer it has that too. (I'm pretty sure you can do that stuff if you render to RPF, as in Combustion.)

    In the end, folks shouldn't be thinking about what's professional and what's not. Use what works for you. Personally I hate Combustion but I love AE so I do my compositing in AE. If Blender had better matting operators then it'd be a good solution, but it doesn't. It also doesn't have paint effects in the compositor.

  11. e.perinelli on

    @Sparkus, @kattkieru

    you're right: i'm more interested in compositing using ZBuffer sorting than in discussing wheter a tool is pro or not

    any help in this sense would be much appreciated

    did you use any of the tools you mention (Shake, Combustion...), do you think they're intuitive and easy to learn?

    in AE CS3 what i've been trying is this:

    - output the renders in openEXR(half) format, with ZBuffer included
    - was able to "extract" the "3D channel" but not to use it as an index to composite the layers depending on distance from the camera

    the larger colorspace offered by openEXR anyway boosts a lot the quality of the final AE rendering, expecially if you need a bit of color correction on the layers

  12. very nice tut ^^
    personally iam a champloo compositor
    mostly since my after effects (totally not stolen >_> ) doesnt do audio so i do my 3D and post animation comp in blender and than do my fire/fx/color/etc in after effects than to audacity for audio mixing and music than voice over and fade with blender for the last step.
    my work flow is all over the place...(persoanlly iam abit better in aftereffects than jashaka but to each their own. personally i strave to be more open source than to 'use' others *cough cough*

  13. Even before I read MrE's comment I was planning to write that the constant dragging around of the screen (often for no good reason) and variable volume made this tut. unwatchable for me.

  14. @Sparkus :
    You can not say AE is NOT a professional tool, in that case blender is NOT either... it is professional as soon as you can earn money with it, which is what a lot of people do.
    And yes it is far way not the bext tool for VFX compositing, it is actually more for motion design, and in that case it has some nice features and workflow to my opinion.
    This post is just to temperate your statement. It all depends how u use a tool, a tool is a tool. some are better for specific jobs.

  15. Contrary to what Sparkus said, AE is a professional tool and is used widely to produce TV, commercial and film work. This is true East to West, North to South. It's even true in Hollywood. e.g. on the big screen it was used extensively throughout the production of the recent star wars films (John Knoll himself used it to produce complete space battle sequences), Once Upon a time in Mexico, Sin City, 300 and ever for big money shots on ILM films such as Van Helsing.

    See this movie for a demo of the van helsing effects:

    Also see for lots of free tutorials on how to use AE to do effects work.

    If you follow the motion graphics and music video world (say over at you'll know just how much broadcast TV is coming out of after effects. LOTS!

    Nodal compositors are better than AE when an effect gets very complicated (100's of layers) and are great on teams because it is easier to script shot pipelines. But the combination of the timeline and compositor make AE extremely powerful as you can work with a complete edit (many shots) and not just a single shot at a time. IMHO Blender and AE together are easily the cheapest and most powerful effects tools you could ask for.

  16. Dude,

    You need to keep the same distance from the microphone so your voice doesn't go back and fourth. Also, stay on track. You get on rabbit trails throughout your tutorial.

Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.