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Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials

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.

Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS6 Essential Training
After Effects CS6 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 55892 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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