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Comparing 2D and 3D

From: After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

Video: Comparing 2D and 3D

I'd like to start out by showing you some basic differences between 2D and 3D layers. If you have the Exercise Files that came with this course, open up the project file AEA_3D Space.aep If instead you're following along using our book After Effects Apprentice, open up the project file that came with Lesson 08, 3D Space. I'm going to go into the Comps folder and double-click the Comp 01-Basic 3D*starter, and here we have two simple text layers. By default, every new layer you create in After Effects is a 2D layer.

Comparing 2D and 3D

I'd like to start out by showing you some basic differences between 2D and 3D layers. If you have the Exercise Files that came with this course, open up the project file AEA_3D Space.aep If instead you're following along using our book After Effects Apprentice, open up the project file that came with Lesson 08, 3D Space. I'm going to go into the Comps folder and double-click the Comp 01-Basic 3D*starter, and here we have two simple text layers. By default, every new layer you create in After Effects is a 2D layer.

I'm going to select these two layers down in my Timeline panel, press P to reveal their Position, then press Shift+S to reveal Scale, and Shift+R to reveal Rotation. And then I'm going to deselect the layers just to make sure I'm not editing two at the same time. I'm going to select Enter a New, and as you all know, there's a couple of different ways of editing the Position of a layer. You can either scrub its values directly in the Timeline panel, I'll undo, or you can pick it up and move it directly in the Comp panel. This little icon is the Anchor Point for the layer, that's a center on which it rotates and scales.

And again, I can scrub Rotation, undo, or I can edit it interactively in the Comp panel. I'll select the Rotation tool, the shortcut is W, and again, just click and drag somewhere on the layer. I'll undo and press V to get back to my Selection tool. If you want to make a layer bigger or smaller, you need to edit its Scale value. And again, I can add or scrub it in the Timeline panel, I go negative, it actually inverts, or I can edit it interactively in the Comp panel, and I'll undo again.

If I want to change what layer is in front of another, I need to alter the stacking order in the Timeline panel. If I put Dimension on top of Enter a New, now it is drawn in front of that other layer. These are all things you know, but I just wanted to review them so you could see the differences of when we go into 3D. 3D is a property you set per layer. You don't have a separate 2D or 3D composition, you can mix 2D and 3D layers inside the same composition.

That is one of the strengths of After Effects. If I want to put this layer into 3D space, I enable this 3D layer switch. The layer does not change appearance in the Comp panel, but you will notice that it has gained more parameters and an addition sort of axis arrows. I'm going to also enable the 3D layer switch for the Dimension layer. In addition to the X and Y Position that you're already familiar with, there's this new property known as Z Position; how far forward or back a layer is located. When I scrub this to the left, I'm bringing the layer forward and towards us.

Negative actually means closer to you. And then if I scrub the layer to the right, I'll put it into positive values and it will go further away. You notice that two other things are happening as I scrub this value. One is the parent Scale is changing. Now, the Scale value itself is not changing. What's going on here is you're altering the layer's perspective. As you know from reality, things that are further away appear smaller, and as they come closer to you, they will appear bigger. The other thing that's happening is depending on the Z value of this layer relative to the Z value of my other layer in this composition, this Enter a New Layer is either drawn in front of or behind the Dimension layer.

This is one of the biggest differences between 2D and 3D layers. Stacking order in the Timeline panel no longer means quite as much. What's more important is where the layers are located in space. That's what determines how they're drawn. Now, in addition to scrubbing interactively here in the Timeline panel, you can still pick up and move the layer, but what's more interesting is if you hover your cursor over these axis arrows. As I do so, you'll see a small x, a small y, and a small z appear next to my cursor.

If I put the cursor in a position where one of those characters appear, my movement will now be constrained to the X axis. Even if I move my cursor up and down, the layer is constrained to moving only left and right. The Y axis, again, movement is constrained, I'm not holding down the Shift key like I would with a 2D layer to constrain its movements. I'm just being careful what axis arrow I'm clicking. And it's kind of hard to see here, but there's this little blue axis arrow pointing straight at you, that's Z; how close or far away, and as I scrub, further away or closer to you.

And you'll see the values have also been changing for Position down in the Timeline panel. If you click the layer somewhere where you do not see the X, Y, or Z arrow, you now have free movement of that layer. But again, you can add the Shift key to constrain its movement just like a 2D layer. I'll undo back. Now, if you forget what color arrow corresponds to which axis, it's very simple. You're probably familiar with RGB, Red, Green, Blue. Well, R, G, and B equal X, Y, and Z. And that's how to quickly remember which colored arrow is which axis.

Now, far less straight forward is the issue of Rotation, and we'll tackle that in the next movie.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space
After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

54 video lessons · 14074 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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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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