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Delve into the world of motion graphics, keying, and compositing in After Effects CC. In this course, Ian Robinson lays out six foundations for becoming proficient with After Effects, including concepts such as layers, keyframe animation, and working with 3D. To help you get up and running with the program, the course begins with a project-based chapter on creating an animated graphic bumper. Next, explore the role layers play in compositions and find out how to add style to your projects using effects and graphic elements. Last, see how to build 3D objects with CINEMA 4D Lite, as well as stabilize footage, solve for 3D cameras, and paint in graphics with the Reverse Stabilization feature.
I've found the best way to learn 3D is to dive right in. In this video, we'll create a Cinema 4D file, but we're not going to get hung up on a lot of the technical stuff just yet. The over arching goal of this video is to get comfortable with just how simple it can be to create 3D from inside of After Effects. In that process, we'll learn how to create, view, and position 3D objects in the scene. All the while, learning some of the key terms most commonly used in the 3D production process. If we look a our project, you can see I have a composition, 3D Foundations and it has no layers.
So let's get started by creating a Cinema 4D layer. Go up under Layer > New > MAXON CINEMA 4D File. Now we need to specify where we need to save the file. I recommend saving it somewhere next to your After Effects project. I'm going to save mine in the Exercise Files, next to Chapter 8, in the Cinema Projects folder. I'll call it Foundation. Now you'll probably see a file already saved with the same name, you can go ahead and save over the file. With Cinema open, I know you have the urge to click through all the different parts of the interface.
But in order to get a quick start, I'm going to go ahead and just start you through certain parts of the interface. Since we're all coming from the Adobe world, I'm going to start creating our 3D models with a tool that's similar to the Pen tool. You can create splines inside of Cinema 4D using some of these different tools. So let's come up to the top corner area here. This toolbar is the creation toolbar, and in here is where we go to create any new objects in our scene.
So if we click on the second button and hold, You'll see I have six different kinds of path tools. These are all different spline tools. But the one we'll probably be most familiar with is the bezier tool. So let's go ahead and choose that option. Now with the bezier tool active, you'll notice its name popped up here in the attributes panel. And before I just start clicking willy nilly in 3-D Let's go ahead and click in the upper right corner to bring up our fore view.
These other views are orthogonal views. They'll make sure that I stay in the true, 2D plane. Let's choose the front view by clicking the same box in the upper corner. To create a shape all we have to do is click and move and click and move. If you click and drag, you can draw out handles just like with the pen tool in After Effects. So I'm going to create a basic shape. Now, unlike in After Effects, I'm not going to click right back on the first point. After we started clicking on the splines, the attributes panel down here on the right updated. And now we have some of these options under the object section for our spline. You want to select close line so that they way the path stays closed. If we go ahead and switch our views by clicking the corners again, lets orbit around what we've created.
The next tool over in our port is the Orbit tool. So you can see I've created a perfectly flat line. Now I can create 3D geometry from this relatively easily using a nerves extrusion. So the term nerves stands for non uniform rational baselines. Don't worry there's not a quiz later just remember that with nerves objects you can take paths like this and create 3D. So I'm going to go to this third button here and click and hold.
Let's choose extrude NURBS. With Extrude NURBS active in the Object panel, now I can click on the spline and drag it up on top of the name for extrude NURBS, making sure that I have an arrow pointing down. When I let go, now I've created my first 3D shape. If you click on the extrude nerves object in the object manager, notice now I have options down here in the attributes manager. If we look at the movement section, go the third area over, and just click and drag on the double arrows. Let's drag up.
Now, if I go and orbit around my scene, you can see I've created a rather thick 3-D object. It's very abstract, but it's there. Now a centrist things in the scene,you can go ahead and click the pen behind tool, which is the third one over, and if I want to zoom in and out I can click The zoom tool. We've seen how to create splines/g. We've seen how to create extrude nodes from those splines. There's another way to create geometry inside of Cinema 4D and that's using primitive objects. Now since we're in a 3D space, if I want to create a primitive object it's going to appear right here in the center of the scene. This area is called the origin.
So, anytime you go to create a new object, it's probably wise to move the old one out of the way. I'm going to go to the upper left corner of our interface, and here we have 4 tools that will help you position and select any objects in your projects. So this tool with the 4 arrows, let's click on it, and it's our move tool. So I can click and drag directly on the control handles for the objects. Or if I click on the object I can freely move around the scene. If I click on these angles here, see these corners, they'll allow me to move on a plane.
Now to more clearly see how I'm moving I'm going to go to the four up view and now I'll click back on that plane and move around and here you can see in the top view. I'm not moving anywhere along the Z axis, I'm just moving up and down and around. I want to move this out of the way so I'm going to click on the Z axis this time, and just move this down out of the view of our camera. Well, relatively, it'll still peek out in the corner though. To create a nerves object, we'll go back up to our creation tools and click and hold on the Q.
Notice these are a bunch of different nerve objects we can create. Let's start with a cube. When we add a cube to the scene, let's go ahead and change back to Perspective. Now, with the Move tool, I can quickly and easily just move the cube. Now, if I go back and grab my Selection tool, there are some extra handles I can grab with my primitive object. I can do that while I'm in Object Mode. So over here in the left, these are different selection modes for your interface. So if we click the top one, I get Object Mode or Model Mode.
This will allow me to click on my model as a whole. Now, if I click and drag on anyone of these golden axes, this little golden box here, it'll allow me to change the size or the dimensions of. Of my primitive objects. If we go back under 4 view, here you can clearly see I've created this kind of skinny box. Now if I want to make more changes I can select the cube in the objects panel and the attribute panel will update. And I can do something like fill it. This will round the edges of my cube box so I have a little bit more of an organic shape kind of like a bar of soap. Now, the third form of modelling you'd probably be familiar with inside of Cinema, is polygon modelling.
Now, most objects we can create either with splines or cubes, and along the spline option, we can even extrude illustrator splines. I'll show you how to do that late in the chapter. If we go to the cube object right here, when I go ahead and click around, I'm just positioning in the scene, but notice it's one smooth object. If we go to the display options here in our viewer, I could switch it to (INAUDIBLE) shading lines, and it shows me the actual lines required to create this geometry. But what if I just wanted to select only one small part of the geometry? Well, I could covert this to editable, that's the name of the process. If we click this button in the upper left corner, it'll change our object from a primitive object into a polygon object.
Now if we look in the upper right corner of our interface, under objects. You can see the triangle, that's letting me know it's a polygon object. So now if we come back over here to our selection tools, I can click here, on the polygon tool and any polgygon face that I roll over with my selection tool, it will allow me to select. If I'd rather select edges, I could do that and roll over the edges. Or points wherever the edges intersect. I'm going to go back to polygons and just click on this first big polygon and pull it out. Notice when I pull it out I've changed my geometry but everything is sort of still stuck together.
Once you have different polygons or NURBS, you can actually smooth things out using a thing called hyperNURBS. I'm going to hold down the Option key and then click on this third button. When I click on that it's going to smooth out the shape that I created using a hyperNURBS object. This is kind of a blend between both worlds but it actually gives me. Beautiful amount of control. If I want to view the scene as though it were rendering, I would click the render button in the top center of the scene.
Now the last thing about 3D are textures and since we've already covered a lot of ground up to this point, I'm going to click create and just load a material preset. If we go to light under materials, we could choose ice and snow, and I'm going to choose this ice cracked option. Now if I want to apply that to my object, I can just click it and drag it, and then go ahead and render it, and you can see I've created a very interesting 3D shape. When you first get started in 3D, there are three modes of modeling.
We have, the splines/g, and then we extrude those with nerves, and then we can convert those into polygons, though we don't have to. And we could also smooth any of those out using hyper nerves. So, now we've had a quick whirlwind tour I think you're ready to move on and actually worry about some of the nuts and bolts. If you want to see your project inside of After Effects all you have to do is click save in CINEMA, then when you jump back into After Effects it will go ahead and update and show you the scene.
And since 3D is slightly more render intensive than a standard After Effects project by default, our 3D object is going to be shown to us in kind of a wireframe mode. If you want to see the full resolution, you need to go to your CINEWARE Effect Control panel, and change the Renderer from Software to Standard Final. It'll take a second to render, but once it does, now you can see we've successfully brought our 3D object back into After Effects.
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