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Building the floor

From: After Effects Apprentice 15: Creating a Sports Opening Title

Video: Building the floor

Next, let's build the floor in this 3D world we are about to create. Trish showed you how to make the two elements that will make up our floor: the Grid Floor layer, as well as the Radar circle layer. I am going to drag in Radar first. You see it's quite a big layer, and that can make it a little bit tricky to figure out how to center it in the composition. If you are having difficulty centering a layer in the comp, just drag it down to the Timeline panel and it will automatically be centered. By default, new layers you add to comps start at Time 0. I want this Radar pre-comp to be part of a floor in the 3D world, so I need to enable the 3D layer switch for the Radar layer.

Building the floor

Next, let's build the floor in this 3D world we are about to create. Trish showed you how to make the two elements that will make up our floor: the Grid Floor layer, as well as the Radar circle layer. I am going to drag in Radar first. You see it's quite a big layer, and that can make it a little bit tricky to figure out how to center it in the composition. If you are having difficulty centering a layer in the comp, just drag it down to the Timeline panel and it will automatically be centered. By default, new layers you add to comps start at Time 0. I want this Radar pre-comp to be part of a floor in the 3D world, so I need to enable the 3D layer switch for the Radar layer.

Right now the radar is facing me straight on as if it was a wall. I need to make it a floor. So I am going twirl open its transformations and play around with its Orientation, or Rotation, to get it where I want it to be. Now normally I use the Orientation parameter to pose the layer in the X, Y, and Z rotation parameters to animate the layer. We are not actually going to be animating our floor; we are going to leave it in place. So you are safe using either Orientation or Rotation to put it in this proper place. Now remember with 3D layers, R, G, B equals X, Y, Z.

So to lay this floor flat, I need to rotate it along its Red or X axis. I'll start to scrub the X parameter and lay the floor down perfectly flat. The easiest way to do that is jut to type in 90 degrees, plus or minus 90 both work fine. Since this is just a 2D composition, when you look at it edge on, it will disappear because it has no thickness, but that's okay. We want our floor to be at the bottom of the composition. To do that, you can either grab one of its arrows and drag it down, or frankly, I just go ahead and scrub position values.

Y is the height in a composition. I'll start scrubbing this until I get the floor roughly where I want it to be, right around 400 works nicely. It does not need to be a precise number, but I like to use nice round numbers so I can remember them in case I need to use those values for other layers. As I scrub the current time indicator along my composition, I see that a lot of my radar is being cropped off by the edges of my new comp. That's because it's a bit too close to me.

It's okay to push it back further in space. Well, to do that, I can just scrub its Z parameter to push it further away. Now I can see these layer outlines as I start to position it. I think somewhere around here should work well. Again, I'll scrub the current time indicator and now I see that the radar is mostly visible for my entire composition. I'll press 0 in the numeric keypad to do a quick RAM preview, it's queuing up. (video playing) Okay, that's good.

Since I might want to reuse this position for other layers I want to place on the floor, I am going to select and copy just to be safe. Otherwise, I control the layer to save myself some room inside my Timeline panel. Now that the Radar layer is in place, we can add the Grid Floor on top of it. I'll select my Grid Floor layer. And this time I am going to use the keyboard shortcut, Command+Forward slash on Mac, or Ctrl+Forward slash on windows. That, too, will add at center to the composition, starting at the beginning of the comp. Again, it starts off as a 2D layer facing us, I'll enable its 3D layer switch, turn it on there, twirl open its Transform properties, rotate either its X Rotation or X Orientation to get its lay down flat. Enter -90, just like we had for our radar floor. And now I need to lower down into the same position as the radar layer.

Don't make the beginner mistake of just saying, "Well, I'll eyeball it," because you might get close but you might be off. That's kind of hard to see what's going on here. The far better thing to do is either to remember what value you entered for the position for this radar layer, or even better: you may remembered I copied the position-- well, I'll just select this layer and paste it and now you have exactly the same position value, both in Y-- the height--and in Z, how far it's pushed back in space. Now this black grid is a bit hard to see right now against its black composition background.

If you are having difficulty visualizing it, toggle on the Transparency Grid, and now you get a better idea of what's going on. I see that my grid source is maybe a little bit close; I might want it to tail off a bit further into space. No problem, I'll just scrub it a little bit further back in the composition, maybe somewhere around, say, 400 in the Z dimension. Now since the Grid Floor and the Radar layer are supposed to stay together, if I wanted to, I cold even parent, say, the Radar to the Grid Floor. In that way, whenever I move the Grid Floor, the Radar layer will come with it.

I am going to turn off my Transparency Grid for now. And black grid does disappear, but that's not a problem.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 39s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 17m 38s
    1. Building the grid floor
      8m 48s
    2. Creating a radar sweep
      5m 13s
    3. Adding lightning
      3m 37s
  3. 14m 18s
    1. Building the video panel
      4m 34s
    2. Using the Block Dissolve effect
      3m 52s
    3. Stylizing the footage
      2m 15s
    4. Duplicating precomps
      3m 37s
  4. 21m 22s
    1. Importing Illustrator files
      5m 47s
    2. Working with paths and masks
      4m 54s
    3. Animating the Stroke effect
      4m 20s
    4. Tinting the event names
      2m 42s
    5. Wiggling the rings
      3m 39s
  5. 33m 35s
    1. Starting a new composition
      1m 48s
    2. Spotting music
      5m 55s
    3. Building the floor
      5m 27s
    4. Adding a video panel
      3m 40s
    5. Creating a reflection
      7m 47s
    6. Adding the dial
      4m 7s
    7. Arranging the frame
      4m 51s
  6. 9m 22s
    1. Setting up the final pose
      4m 28s
    2. Keyframing the camera
      4m 54s
  7. 14m 39s
    1. Adding a text layer
      5m 16s
    2. Using text animation presets
      3m 16s
    3. Customizing the preset
      6m 7s
  8. 6m 56s
    1. Adding a Spot light
      3m 41s
    2. Casting shadows
      3m 15s
  9. 12m 7s
    1. Improving consistency
      2m 43s
    2. Adding a 2D background
      4m 29s
    3. Tying up loose ends
      4m 55s
  10. 20m 37s
    1. Overview of Main Comp 2
      3m 32s
    2. Grouping layers
      4m 39s
    3. Animating the swivel
      9m 2s
    4. Assembling the final comp
      3m 24s
  11. 25m 56s
    1. Adding a transition
      7m 0s
    2. Keyframing the camera
      3m 20s
    3. Adding a filmic glow
      4m 0s
    4. Increasing the motion blur
      4m 2s
    5. Retiming a video source
      7m 34s
  12. 13m 4s
    1. Exploring render settings
      2m 48s
    2. Outputting for archiving
      1m 15s
    3. Outputting anamorphic widescreen DV
      1m 57s
    4. Creating a 4:3 center-cut version
      2m 31s
    5. Outputting for web
      2m 23s
    6. Exploring components for editors
      2m 10s
  13. 12m 49s
    1. Creating the inner ring
      5m 19s
    2. Creating the outer ring
      3m 9s
    3. Creating the text ring
      4m 21s

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