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In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.
Now if you're following me from the last video, I did finish repositioning these layers in 3D space so that the curve lined up a little more cleanly. In this video, we're going to focus on getting the Material Settings and the Light Settings set up properly so when we go to insert our logo back onto the desk that we tracked at the beginning of the chapter, it would be relatively easy to get it to match into the scene. Most of the time if I'm trying to create an element that matches back into the scene, obviously I'd want to look at the lighting of the original scene especially if I'm trying to make it look extraordinarily photorealistic.
Since this is going to be more of a surreal scene, we don't necessarily have to do that. So I'm just going to focus on all the lighting in here right now and then worry about how it looks in the scene a little bit later. So to get started, most of the time I like to duplicate my comp and rename it so I know this is going to be the final lit comp to actually input in our scene. So let's go up to the Project panel and select our kinetEco_Extrude comp and just Command+D or Ctrl+D on the PC to duplicate that comp, and we can press Return and rename it.
So I'll call this Logo_Comp_OUT, that lets me know this will be the comp that's going to go out. We can double-click that comp to make sure that we're in that comp and now let's get started. Okay, first thing, disable the Shy button to make sure we don't have any extemporaneous layers we don't need to be dealing with. So I'm just going to collapse Layer 7 here and click and draw a lasso around 8, 7 and 6 by starting down here below and then just press Delete.
Since we don't need those layers, we can just delete them. This Cyan Solid we're going to change. A lot of times when you're creating elements where there is going to be lights and shadows, you will need to create a layer called a Shadow Catcher Layer, so let's start by renaming Layer 1. So select Layer 1, press Return and name it shadow catcher. There we go. Okay, now let's disable Shy for this layer and since it's going to be a Shadow Catcher, we need to make it light and actually put it as the floor of our scene.
So let's drag it to the bottom of the Layer Hierarchy since we want it to be underneath everything else, and press Shift+Command+Y, Shift+Ctrl+Y on the PC, and open up the Solid Settings for this layer. Click in the Color Well for the color and just change the color to white. Click OK and then click New even though we're not creating a new layer, that's how we'll complete this. For this to be a floor, we need to adjust the curvature back to flat. So press AA to open up the Curvature options, change the Curvature to zero and we can change our Segments back to the default setting of 4.
We can press R to open the Orientation and on the X axis, let's just change it to 90 degrees. Now you notice when we hover over this Blue control handle, it's the Z axis of the object. If we change the object orientation handles you see Z is pointed straight towards us. But the object is oriented this way, so let's click on the Blue control handle and drag it down underneath our logo. If you want to be really precise about how far down underneath the logo, you can change the view from the Active Camera to the Front orthographic view, that way you can definitely take out any perspective and know that you're viewing this dead on from the front of the logo.
Now I know this logo shapes a little higher than my floor layer but I think that's relatively okay. This is going to work for now. So let's zoom back out in the scene, just scrolling with our mouse wheel and change from the Front view back to the Active Camera. Since it is an Active Camera, let's actually create a camera so we can more easily navigate the 3D environment. So go up to Layer > New > Camera. We'll use the 80 mm Preset and then click OK. With the Camera selected, we can press C to grab our Camera tool and left-click and just orbit up in the scene a little bit more.
I want to have this slightly overhead view so when I start casting shadows and lights, we can actually see what's happening on the floor beneath. Now since the scene is so dark, I'm going to add another light by going up into the Layer > New > Light, and instead of a Point light, we'll choose Ambient light. This will be a constant color of light that will flood the entire scene. Let's just change the Intensity down to around 40%. Now when we click OK, you can see our white layer is a lot brighter and our logo is definitely a lot brighter.
Now we need to adjust Material Options so we can start to see some shadows and some lights. So start with our bottom layer, press AA to open the Geometry Options and the Material Options. We don't need it to cast shadows but I wanted to make sure that Accept Shadows and Accept Lights was selected. Okay, so we can collapse that layer. For these two layers, let's select and Shift+Select and press AA again to open their Material Options, and even though we have two layers selected, we can make adjustments to both just by making adjustments on one.
So the first thing I want this to actually transmit light through the letters. So to do that we need to click and drag on Light Transmission and crank that up to around 71%. Now any light that goes through this will actually fall on the floor below. If we go to our Fast Preview pulldown here, let's change it from Draft to Adaptive Resolution. This is going to give us a little bit more detail in our scene. Another thing we could look at is transparency amongst these words.
So let's actually increase the Transparency so they are about 50% transparent. When the light actually passes through these layers it's going to cast a shadow as well as the light, as long as we make sure that Cast Shadows is set to on. So let's change it from Off to On, scrolling up to the top of my Material Options to do that. Now it's going to take a second, but boom, there we go! Now we have some shadows and see with Shadow selected, if I zoom in here a little bit, it may take a second to redraw the scene, so hold on I'll just wait for that.
Now as I scroll up in the scene, you can see that my shadows are definitely highlighting the fact that the letters are semi-transparent. Now let's do the same thing for our Shape layer. Select the Shape Outlines, press AA to open up its Geometry and Material options and change Casts Shadows to On. Also while we are at it, let's click and drag on the Light Transmissions and drag that up as well. Let's bring that up to around 67%, and notice this is actually kind of reflecting quite a bit because of the brightness of the light that's in there and the Ambient light that's set.
In order to better deal with this, we have a couple of different settings we can adjust. First one is the Specular Intensity. Anytime a light hits an object, it creates a specular highlight. Now I'm going to grab my Selection tool really quick from the Tool panel. As I adjust the Specular Intensity down here a little bit, you should notice now it's not nearly looking as blown out, and also now you can see how the light is being projected onto our Shadow Catcher layer. I could sit here and continue making adjustments till the cows come home, but I think you're starting to see the relationship between how we set up a light and the Material Options within the individual layers.
So let me zoom out here really quickly and just sort of a recap everything that we have covered in this video. Let's collapse all the layers, and first thing we created a new composition for our output. We had to create a Shadow Catcher layer that was white, and it's still a little small so we'll adjust the size of this in a moment. But after we created the Shadow Catcher layer, then we added another Ambient light into the scene to make things a little more bright. Then we went into the Material Options for each of the layers and made sure that we were actually casting light through the Light Transmission and we adjusted the brightness of the specularity.
So we're almost ready to put this in the other scene. What we need to do is just disable the Camera view for the moment because we won't need that when we get into our final scene. And we actually need to increase the size of our Shadow Catcher layer and as I'm looking at it, I probably do need to have the Camera View open so as I make my adjustments I can actually see what I'm doing. So let's open up the Scale of our layer here and I'm going to disable the Proportion Lock and click and drag on the Y to make sure it's plenty wide enough, and I'll click and drag on the X. Now you can see it's catching all of the shadows especially if I zoom out in my scene. Okay, so now that this has been setup, we're ready to start putting this into the other scene and then making our fine adjustments so things look a little bit more realistic in that environment.
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