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After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space
Illustration by John Hersey

Bevels in CS6


From:

After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Bevels in CS6

As of After Effect CS6, the default bevel style is none, so you just get a straight, sharp, squared-off edge as you extrude your layers. However, it's far more interesting to choose a bevel style that will add a little bit of taper to these edges, and also kick off light in interesting ways. The simplest type of bevel is an angular bevel that just cuts off parts of the edges. And you can immediately see how these beveled edges are catching this light and kicking it off at a brighter angle than the sides or face. This of course will change as you move the light around your scene.
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  1. 4m 47s
    1. Welcome
      2m 47s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 15m 12s
    1. Comparing 2D and 3D
      5m 30s
    2. Rotation in 3D
      4m 47s
    3. Keyframing in 3D
      4m 55s
  3. 15m 9s
    1. Multi-planing workaround in 2D
      3m 21s
    2. Using 3D views
      6m 45s
    3. Natural multi-planing in 3D
      5m 3s
  4. 13m 9s
    1. Keyframing a fly-in
      5m 24s
    2. Editing 3D motion paths
      5m 43s
    3. Auto-orienting a layer along its path
      2m 2s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Adding a camera to a composition
      9m 0s
    2. Comparing camera presets
      2m 48s
    3. Using the camera tools with the active camera
      4m 48s
    4. Using the camera tools in the alternate views
      4m 50s
    5. 3D view options
      1m 58s
    6. Animating a 3D camera
      6m 20s
    7. Creating an orbit camera rig
      5m 42s
    8. Extending your camera rig
      4m 31s
    9. Auto-orientation with 3D cameras
      7m 33s
    10. Depth of field blur in CS5.5 and later
      5m 47s
    11. Controlling the focal plane in CS5.5 and later
      5m 12s
    12. Iris properties in CS5.5 and later
      6m 16s
  6. 29m 15s
    1. Creating a 3D light
      6m 35s
    2. Working with Point lights
      3m 20s
    3. Working with Spot lights
      3m 48s
    4. Creating shadows
      10m 13s
    5. The Light Falloff feature in After Effects CS5.5 and later
      5m 19s
  7. 48m 6s
    1. Enabling ray-traced 3D in CS6
      3m 26s
    2. Extrusions in CS6
      3m 39s
    3. Bevels in CS6
      5m 39s
    4. Bending layers in CS6
      5m 35s
    5. Transparency in CS6
      4m 20s
    6. Refraction in CS6
      4m 6s
    7. Targeting Surfaces in CS6
      3m 23s
    8. Reflections in CS6
      7m 35s
    9. Environment layers in CS6
      5m 40s
    10. Quality vs. speed in CS6
      4m 43s
  8. 11m 33s
    1. Quizzler challenge for CS6
      1m 42s
    2. Quizzler solution for CS6
      9m 51s
  9. 41m 6s
    1. Vanishing Point Exchange in Photoshop Extended
      9m 18s
    2. Vanishing Point Exchange in After Effects
      4m 38s
    3. Importing a 3D model into Photoshop Extended in CS5.5 and earlier
      9m 7s
    4. Creating 3D objects using Repoussé in CS5.5 and earlier
      9m 46s
    5. Live Photoshop 3D inside After Effects in CS5.5 and earlier
      8m 17s
  10. 20m 58s
    1. Introduction to dimensional stills
      3m 41s
    2. Cutting up the source image
      2m 25s
    3. Repairing the layers in Photoshop
      8m 26s
    4. Animating the resulting layers in After Effects
      6m 26s
  11. 25m 27s
    1. Rotation vs. orientation
      3m 15s
    2. Understanding the axis modes
      4m 4s
    3. Scaling issues in 3D
      4m 57s
    4. OpenGL acceleration in CS5 and earlier
      6m 23s
    5. Fast previews in CS6 and later
      6m 48s

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After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space
4h 49m Intermediate Oct 19, 2011 Updated Dec 06, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This installment of the After Effects Apprentice series introduces 3D space in Adobe After Effects. Authors Chris and Trish Meyer highlight key design considerations for working in 3D and provide step-by-step instructions for enhancing a scene with 3D lights and cameras. The course explores integration between Photoshop and After Effects, including modeling 3D objects with Repoussé extrusions and creating dimensional still images, and offers tips on using the different Axis Modes and maintaining maximum quality in 3D. There's also a chapter dedicated to the ray-traced 3D renderer, introduced in After Effects CS6, which allows you to build 3D layers into your composites, with realistic motion blur, depth of field, and reflections.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.

Topics include:
  • Keyframing motion paths in 3D
  • Managing multiple 3D views
  • Auto-orienting cameras along a path
  • Creating shadows
  • Understanding Vanishing Point Exchange
  • Importing a 3D model into Photoshop Extended
  • Scaling in 3D
  • OpenGL acceleration
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Bevels in CS6

As of After Effect CS6, the default bevel style is none, so you just get a straight, sharp, squared-off edge as you extrude your layers. However, it's far more interesting to choose a bevel style that will add a little bit of taper to these edges, and also kick off light in interesting ways. The simplest type of bevel is an angular bevel that just cuts off parts of the edges. And you can immediately see how these beveled edges are catching this light and kicking it off at a brighter angle than the sides or face. This of course will change as you move the light around your scene.

You can increase the Bevel Depth to create a wider bevel, but be warned that Bevel Depth is added on to the dimensions of the faces of your layer. The more that you increase Bevel Depth, the larger your objects become, and they may start to collide into each other. Quite often you'll want to stick with either smaller Bevel Depths, which I think look a bit more elegant anyway, or you might need to set up your type layer to, say, not use quite as fat of a font or to have more tracking, more spacing in between the characters.

In the case of Bevel Depth you do have independent control to make the holes beveled less than the outside edges. In some fonts it's quite common if what are called counters, the inside holes are like this e or this d or other similar characters, to start to fill-in because of the bevel. You can scale down the bevel amount for those counters to be less than it is for the normal outside edges. You don't normally need to do this, but if you have a font with tight holes or counters it's another option to make things look a little bit cleaner and easier to read.

I'm going to reduce my bevel and I'm actually going to reduce my Extrusion Depth as well. It's a personal preference of mine, I tend like thinner, more elegant looks than really fat chunky bevels. I'll keep it little bit chunky here just you can see what I am doing. In addition to the Bevel Style of Angular you have two curved bevel types, Concave and Convex. Convex rounds the bevel outward. It's a nicely sanded, rounded off corner, so you get a more gentle light fall off from the faces through the bevels to the sides of your characters.

If you want something that has a bit more character and shows off these differences in lighting even more strongly, choose Concave. That scoops in the bevel rather then rounds it out. This gives you even more opportunity to kick off specular highlights, have a bit of shadowing, and have some interesting lighting changes across the faces of your beveled and extruded objects. And speaking of shadowing, I am going to temporarily increase this extrusion depth, these darker areas in here are the result of just being not illuminated by this light.

To actually have characters in your layer cast shadows on each other or even portions of themselves, you do need to go into your Material Options and enable Cast Shadows. Once you do so, now you get some interesting shadowing going on between the surfaces inside your extruded text. This is the reason that I set my shadow darkness to be only 60%. If I set my key lights, Shadow Darkness, up to 100, you can see how these shadows really fill in and can make your text a little more mysterious, but maybe harder to read. By backing off to number such as 50 or 60%, now I just have a little bit of shadowing going on, giving me more of a sense of actual depth, but my text is still easy to read. Twirl my light, and I'm going to reduce my Extrusion Depth to create something a little bit more elegant here.

I cannot emphasize how fun it is to bevel an object, even with just a tiny bevel, then play around with these specular highlights just to get some interesting little bright areas, or what I call specular kicks, to make your 3D object more interesting. Now we go down into my Material Options, increase my Specular Intensity to 100%, so I really see the effects of those highlights, but then tighten up the size of the Specular highlights, so it's only in little restricted areas.

And this Specular Shininess parameter is a lot more sensitive with ray-trace layers than it was with classic layers. Normally I'll be increasing this over 50%, closer to a 100 for normal 3D layers. Now that I have done that, you can see some really nice little specular highlights just here in the bevels, depending on how the light is positioned around this text. At some angle all you see are the specular highlights of the bevel kicking off the light even though it's not hitting the sides or faces directly. And again this is another reason that I happen to like the Concave bevel style, because it gives more options and angles to kick off those highlights.

Angular is a bit fatter, rounded convex not as exciting, I like concave. And those are the basics of extruding and beveling shape layers or text layers. Normal movie layers, still images, et cetera, cannot be extruded and beveled. However, you can bend them, and that's what I'm going to talk about in the next movie.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space.


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Q: This course was updated on 12/06/2012. What changed?
A: This was a more extensive update than the other After Effects Apprentice courses. We added three new movies to Chapter 4 that cover 3D camera features in versions CS5.5 and later, such as depth of field blur. We added a new chapter on the 3D ray-traced renderer in CS6, and another chapter featuring a Quizzler challenge for CS6. Lastly, we added a movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files, and added new sets of exercise files designed for After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6.
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