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Get up to speed quickly with the new features in After Effects CS6. Join veteran After Effects user Chris Meyer as he explores the key enhancements to this industry standard visual effects and motion graphics software. Chris shares creative ideas and important production advice while covering the strengths of features such as memory optimization with the new global performance cache, 3D motion tracking with the 3D Camera Tracker, and the new 3D rendering engine for ray-traced 3D rendering.
I am going to quickly rearrange my scene so that this corvette is now behind the type so we can see it. Let's switch to 2 Views, press V to go back to my Selection tool, move this layer back here, W for the Rotate tool, rotate it more or less straight on, V, move it over. I think it's a bit on the low side. Press P for Position, and let's scrub it up. Now type AA for its Material Options and increase its Reflection a little bit so it can pick up some of my environment and pick up the text. There we go.
The bad news is, when you have flat artwork, like still images or movies, you cannot bevel and extrude them. The good news is is that you can at least still warp them. Let's scroll back up here and look at Geometry Options. Instead of Bevel and Extrude, we have Curvature and Segments. This allows me to bow the layer back or pull it forward in Z. As I increase the Curvature, it will get deeper, and you can see how the reflections are changing on the right, to the point where now it's a mirror and you are actually seeing "raytrace" spelled backwards through there. Or you can go negative and bow it forwards.
Now as you do so, the default segments of four is a bit rough. You can see how this grill kind of makes a more or less sudden bend right there. I find I often need to have more than four segments to smooth out my bowed surfaces. Let's go ahead and pull it back a little bit there. Now you really start to see that curvature of this bowed layer. I am going to have more fun with it. Let's go ahead and quickly add a new camera. OK. C to get my Unified Camera tool. Let's click and have some fun rotating.
Now you can get an idea how that bowed. Flat artwork is now behind my extruded text. Not quite as much fun as being able to bevel and extrude it--I wouldn't mind it having a little bit of thickness--but this ability to bow flat artwork does allow for more interesting reflections, more interesting light play as lights animate through the scene, and you will find it a good idea to add just a little bit of this curvature to your flat artwork, just to get more interesting interactions in your scene.
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