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In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.
So to start with our project, let's scrub with our current-time indicator in the timeline. And as you can see, we have definitely created 2D type that's moving in 3D space. To transition this type to actually have dimension and exist as 3D type in 3D space, we need to change our renderer. So look in the upper right-hand corner of your comp window and click on the classic 3D button. In the Advanced tab for the Comp Settings, click on the Classic 3D pulldown and choose Ray-traced 3D.
Now we switch the Renderer to Ray- traced 3D and I just want you to make note of these options if you click on the Options button. Ray-tracing is set to 3 and the Anti-Aliasing Filter is set to Box. Before we do a high-res output, we'll need to change this Ray-tracing setting to a much higher setting. And we may very well want to change the Anti-aliasing Filter up as well, but let's see after we create something. So click OK and click OK one more time and let's select our Wind layer.
Now within the text itself, since we've changed our Renderer to Ray-traced 3D, we can open up the Text Options and Collapse Transform, and here next to Geometry Options, let's open that triangle. And sure enough, we have an option for Extrusion Depth. So let's change that to 40. If we look at our type here, let's make sure we're looking at our type at 100% magnification and at Full Quality. Okay, I'm just going to press the Spacebar and click and drag to get this more centered in the scene.
Just so we can focus completely on the type, let's turn off the visibility of our background layer. With the type set like this, I know it's kind of hard to see any definition as to what's going on. So one way we can bring definition is by adding a bevel. So if we go to the Bevel Style, let's change the pulldown from None to Convex and we can leave the Bevel Style to 2.0 for now. As you can see, we still don't have any dimension, but trust me, when we start making some more adjustments, you'll see that bevel in a heartbeat.
Let's start by looking at the Material Options. If you open the Material Options and start to scroll down you should see there are many, many more options than in the previous renderer. Now the first one we want to adjust is the Transparency Option. If you make these a little transparent, you'll be able to see through the dimensions and actually get some sense of perspective. So let's change the Transparency to a value of 20%. Some of these options will go way in- depth in the last chapter of our course, but let's look at making some minor adjustments in here now.
Now in addition to adjusting the Transparency, the other thing we should look at changing is the Reflection Intensity. Now the Reflection Intensity, we should set to around 23, and I know this because I've already set this, so just change this for now. But if you look as we make that adjustment, now you can see some of these dimensions popping out. And sure enough along the edge of the D here, you definitely get some perspective in terms of that bevel that we added. Okay, now we've made some minor adjustments to our Material Settings, but another way to give a sense of strong dimension is to actually change the colors of the face, the bevel, the sides and the back of our type.
So to do that, let's scroll back up in our timeline and go to the Animate menu. If you click on the Animate menu, notice there are categories for Front, Bevel, Side and sure enough, Back. If you notice, when we roll over these options, they are the same for every single side. So all I want to do for this video is just change the color. So under the Front, let's go to Color and choose RGB. Now for the Front Color I want to choose kind of a light blue, so let's change it from red to this kind of light blue color and click OK.
Instead of adding another animator by clicking Animate, I just want to keep adding my color selections to Animator 2. So I'm going to rename Animator 2 by selecting it and pressing Return on my keyboard, let's name this 3D Color. Okay, now we can click back on Add for our new 3D Color Animator and change the color of the Bevel. Again we go to Bevel > Color > RGB. Since I want to start from this first color we set, just grab the Dropper and sample the Front Color.
Usually, since I want the Bevel as a highlight, let's change the Bevel Color to be a little more bright, and click OK. Now I'm going to scroll down in the timeline just so we have more space. So let's go back to the Add button and go to the Property and Side, change the Color to RGB. Now again, we'll sample from the Front Color, and the sides typically are a little darker so let's click in the Color Well and just change this to be a little darker and click OK.
Now you guessed it, we're going to add one more time and we'll add color to the back. Again, let's sample, but this time we'll sample from the Front Color, so the front color and the back color will end up matching. Now obviously, if you want to accentuate the differences between the different sides, you can definitely do so by intensifying the changes in the colors. But typically, when you go to sample 3D letters and you're polishing how they look, you'll want to use lights to add that sense of dimension.
Now instead of adding lights, I want to show you what it looks like when you actually increase the Ray-traced renderer. So instead of going up and just clicking on the ray-traced 3D button, I want you to hold Command on the Mac or Ctrl on the PC, and then click on that button. This will automatically jump us to the Renderer Options. I want to increase the Ray-tracing Quality, let's jump it way up there. We'll change it to 12, in the Anti-Aliasing Filter, let's change it from Box to Cubic. Ray-tracing Quality; let me just explain how Ray-tracing works.
If you look in the letters here, you can see that there are little dots and that noise is created as light rays bounce around through the pixels. So increasing the quality increases the number of bounces of those light rays to give you more detail. And in turn, as you increase the quality, it will give you less noise in your image. So the optimum settings are whatever setting you can set this at as low as possible and still have an acceptable amount of grain in your 3D.
The Anti-Aliasing Filter will work in order of quality from None, being the lowest quality to Cubic, being the highest. Now the way this works, it's just dealing with the edges of your type and actually what it's doing as you increase the quality, it's sampling more and more pixels around the edge. So in essence, it's kind of blurring that edge just a little bit. So when we click OK, it's going to take a second to render, but we should get a pretty decent preview.
Now if you really want to see a high- res preview, click on this button in the lower right corner of the comp window. You want to change it from Adaptive Resolution to Final Quality. Now on this computer, it may take a second to render because we saw at the beginning of the course that we don't have a supported CUDA Graphics Card. A lot of this processing can happen on the CUDA Graphics Card if you have a supported card. So now that it's finished, press Shift +Command+H to hide all of the guides around the selected layer.
And as you can see, upping the render settings has definitely given us a much higher quality. Now that being said, I want to draw your attention to the lower right corner of your Comp Viewer. This button right here is the Fast Preview button. If you click and hold, notice we could change the resolution of what we're looking at. When you're working with 3D, you probably want to set this to Draft, specifically if you're trying to animate. That way you can get much better playback because it lowers the quality of the resolution of the renderer.
Now obviously, if you want to see what you've have created, remember to come back down here and then change it back to off, so when you're finished you can see exactly what you've created. Now like I said, to really polish your 3D text, you'll want to go ahead and get into the adding lights and continue tweaking your Material Options.
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