Use this document to learn about the compositing tools for VR/360 videos in After Effects

Overview

Use the VR Comp Editor to work with your 360-degree footage as regular footage in After Effects. The editor provides you view-based editing to view the footage as you would see through a VR headset. The compositing tools in the VR Comp Editor use 2D and 3D edits to build a spherical composite. Use the editor to switch between edits in your spherical composite and view the final output.

Work with VR Comp Editor

To work with VR Comp Editor, use the following steps:

  1. To launch the VR Comp Editor, select Windows > VR Comp Editor.jsx.

  2. In the VR Comp Editor dialog, choose between Add 2D Edit and Add 3D Edit to open the respective dialogs.

    VR Comp Editor options
    VR Comp Editor options
  3. Adjust the Comp Width and Aspect Ratio. The settings do not affect the size and aspect ratio of your composition window. Click Add 3D Edit or Add 2D Edit when done. 2D edits place composites inside the sphere. 3D edits are rendered from multiple camera directions and then stitched over the spherical background.

    Add 2D Edit settings
    Add 2D Edit settings
    Add 3D Edit settings
    Add 3D Edit settings

  4. After Effects creates two composition timelines in the Project panel - Edit1 composition and Output composition. The Edit 1 composition displays a non-warped, 16:9 footage, and Output composition displays an equirectangular view of your footage.

    Edit1 and Output composition in Project panel
    Edit1 and Output composition in Project panel
  5. In the VR Comp Editor dialog, click Edit 1 to activate the Edit 1 composition. After Effects allows you to work in the Edit 1 composition window. You can add elements such as Immersive video effects, masks, shapes, and external graphics to your composition. Click Open Output/Render to view the results.

    Current composition settings
    Current composition settings
  6. You can further adjust the composition settings. In the VR Comp Editor dialog, click Properties. Adjust the properties and click Save. Click Delete to delete the saved settings.

    Edit 2D properties
    Edit 2D properties
    Edit 3D properties
    Edit 3D properties

  7. You can orbit your field of view to check how your footage looks to the user with a VR headset. Select the Edit 1 composition and use the Camera tool to drag the composition around. You can use the 360 view of your footage to change the field of view and look for a point to add elements to. Change the number views to view different camera angles.

    Field of view with different views
    Field of view with different views
  8. Add elements such as graphics, text elements, and effects to your composition and view the results in your Output composition. If the results do not reflect in the output composition, click Open Output/Render in the VR Comp Editor to refresh the comp.

    Tip: If you are working with 3D edit, then change the element that you add to your composition into a 3D layer. Enable the 3D layer toggle in the Timeline panel.

    Edit 1 non-warped composition
    Edit 1 non-warped composition
    Output equirectangular composition
    Output equirectangular composition

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