The Depth plugin creates grayscale depth maps from your footage. You can also Precomposite Depth allowing for more manipulation with your 3D camera.
Minimum Input Depth: The minimum distance from the camera to record. Any objects closer than this distance will be set to this distance when output.
Maximum Input Depth: The maximum distance from the camera to record. Any objects farther than this distance will be set to this distance when output.
Minimum Output Depth: This minimum value to display in the output.
Maximum Output Depth: The maximum value to display in the output.
Curve: The scaling method for the output brightness values. You can choose from the following four values.
- Linear: The output depth values are written out exactly as they are calculated.
- Squared: The square of the depth values are written out. This can be useful for simulating lighting and other effects that exhibit an inverse falloff property.
- Logarithmic: Output depth values are scaled so that objects near the viewer have depths closer together than those farther away from the viewer.
- Exponential: Output depth values are scaled so that objects near the viewer have depths farther apart than those farther away from the viewer.
Channels: Which channels should have the depth value put into them. You can choose RGBA, RGB or just the alpha channel.
Why does Depth turn off High Quality setting? ∞
You may have noticed that when you apply the Depth plugin, all of your layers have their “High Quality” setting turned off. This is done because you generally don’t want the depth of the pixels in your layers to be antialiased at the edges. The antialiasing will cause the depth value of the edges to be incorrect if the pixels are later premultiplied by their alpha channels. This can cause any number of bizarre artifacts when using the resulting depth, such as fringing. If you’re sure you won’t run into that situation, you may want to turn the high quality flag back on for those layers where you’re sure it’s safe.
Precompose Depth ∞
The Depth Helper plugin works like the other helper plugins, but includes one extra feature. In the Composition menu, you’ll see there is also a “Precompose Depth” option. If you select a comp that does not yet have the Depth plugin applied and choose “Precompose Depth,” that comp will be duplicated, the Depth plugin will be applied to the duplicate, and both the original and the duplicate will be put into a new comp. This allows you to create a complicated composition, and immediately generate a depth map for it. You can then apply an effect to the original comp contained within the new comp, and choose the duplicate comp with the Depth applied to it as a gradient map, track matte, or anything else that requires another layer for input.