Stereoscopy : 3ds Max & Composite Workflow

Posted by Louis Marcoux, 17 June 2010 8:00 pm

Take a look at the workflow between 3ds Max and Composite for stereoscopic sequences rendered from 3ds max with the new version of the Stereo Camera modifier.

Part 1: Updated Stereo Camera Modifier

In this video, take a look a the new version of the Stereo Camera (V1.7.2) as found on the first stereo blog post i did back in december 2009 (here). Also, see how to use the modifier on target cameras and cameras generated with the Dynamite VSP civil extension.

Part 2 : Preparing Render Elements for Stereo Compositing

Here, we'll see how to setup some render elements to include in the left and right image sequences when we save those sequences in OpenEXR format. Those elements will be useful later when we'll start building a more complex composition in Composite.

Part 3 : Assembling Stereo Stream in Composite

In this video, we'll take a look at how to load two image sequences and use them as stereo streams inside a composition. By working with streams, you don't have to apply effects or operations on the two image sequences. Composite recognize that those two images should be seen as one and applies all effects and operations to both sides of the stereo stream. We'll see how to composite all the render elements included in the OpenEXR files that we have rendered from 3ds max.

Part 4 : Creating Anaglyph Outputs from Composite

Even if Composite can assemble stereo streams as one entity, when comes the time to render, it needs to be setup correctly so that the render output correspond to your viewing conditions. In this video, we'll see how to produce anaglyph outputs from Composite using simple and complex compositions. We'll also see how to use macros in order to avoid having to do the same operations all the time. Finaly, we'll see how we can use the RAM player in 3ds max to transform an image sequence from Composite into a playable movie file (mov file in this example).

Part 5 : Create a Fake Stereoscopic Effect for 2D images

In this last video, we'll see how to take a flat 2D image and fake its stereoscopic 3D position by adding some pixel separations for left and right sides of a stream. We'll save our setup into a custom macro in order to be able to animate the effect and reuse in other projects.



Posted 17 June 2010 6:41 pm

Thanks !

uwe ziese

Posted 24 June 2010 11:48 am

Hi Luis,

thank you for the super tutorials.

Greeting from Germany



Posted 25 June 2010 6:13 am

Great tutorials.

And thanks for the tip, Zhaph.


Posted 26 November 2010 8:21 pm

Hi Louis,

thank you for your great Stereo Camera Modifier, it just work great and help a lot !

Nevertheless I found that one thing was missing in order to match cameras beetween Max and compositing software 3D cameras, in my case After Effects. It is very usefull for adding some particle effects or such things at compositing stage.

Indeed, skew effect (or FilmOffset), can't be exported to AE cam, cause AE cams just don't support film offsetting...
So, I took little time to think about a solution that I now want to share, I think it may help some other people.
It's not so tricky and complicated than it may appears, and it just work. So just give it a try !

Here is a link to a scene with a helper in it (created in max 2010) :

What you'll have to do is to merge the only one object present in this scene, called "FilmOffsetPixel", in your existing stereo scene. Then select it, select the "Select stereo nodes" modifier, and provide the necessary nodes : Center Camera (the one with the StereoCam Modifier applied), Right Camera, and Screen (the white convergence plane).

Once done, you'll see that the "FilmOffsetPixel" helper will move along the x axis from scene origin. Actually the value it takes is the value in pixel you'll have to offset your AE comps to match the "skew" effect (direction depending on the eye view...).
It remains to export this values to AE in case you animated the interaxial, otherwise just write it down.
One way to export the animated offset value is to use the "MAX2AE" plugin from Boomerlabs, by exporting a "MAX2AE helper layer" linked to the "FilmOffsetPixel" helper. It's important to export with a scale of 1, in order to keep the "1 3dsMax unit is 1 pixel" rule.

You'll have to export both Left and Right cameras to AE too, but of course after disabling the "Skew" modifier to keep the unadjusted frustum. Use MAX2AE too, at any scale you whant.
Once in AE, you'll have to use some expressions/parenting to offset the Left and Right precomps with the layer's x values you just exported. You can grab this "offset value" layer, uncheck 3D, and put it in any comp you want, only the x position will help.

Obviously you'll see that it will crop your Left and Right views borders, but it's not a problem since rescaling a comp in AE act just as a photoshop "canvas size", making the camera fov conversion automatically for you.

VoilĂ , I hope it helps, and it's clear enough, sorry if it was not... I'm not english nor tutorial specialist...


Posted 12 April 2011 10:26 am

Because of you, I am doing my final major project at university in stereoscopic 3D, thank you so much for this!

Alpa Patel

Posted 12 July 2011 9:28 am

Dear Louis,

Thank you from all of us.
Can i have same script for max 5

Thank you


Posted 11 July 2012 10:27 am

Is there any setup or workflow for doing stereocam going from extreme closeup to a more distant view on a small scale model?
Say for example: when zooming out from inside a logo and to a view where you see the whole logo on screen...


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