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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.
Once you have an object on one of these surfaces, there is a few ways of getting a real layer in its place. My preferred way is to go to see how big my target layer is going to be. 1007x802, okay. I go to my solid, open up its Solid Settings, make it the same size, so things come across correctly. 802. Maybe do a little preliminary scaling. S for Scale, scrub down to where it's going to fit that building. I can always scale this later of course.
Then, with both the solid selected and with the layer selected in the Project panel, hold down the Option key on Mac, Alt key on Windows, drag my layer in, let go, and one will replace the other. I'll get a quick RAM preview here and see how well that image stays stuck to this building. So far, it doesn't look too bad. While this preview is calculating, I am going to point out an important point. Which renderer you're using has a big impact on what you can do with this object that you have added to the scene.
If your goal is extrude an object or to have it have reflections or transparency, you probably want to use the brand-new ray-traced 3D renderer. However, if you want to take advantage of masking, effects, blending modes, track mattes, maybe you need to create a track matte to hold out for one building, passes in front of this scene, you want to change the renderers to the Classic 3D Renderer. The advantage of the Classic 3D Renderer also is that it's much faster and more interactive than the ray-tracer. So this is holding up pretty good here.
Now normally, to blend an image onto a building like this to make it look like a projection, I'd switch to Modes, and I would normally change this to something like Overlay mode, but I don't have that option because I am using the ray-traced 3D renderer. So let's click on this--it puts me in the Composition Settings--change it to Classic 3D, click OK, and now I get my blending modes back. I will change this to something like Overlay mode or something like Hard Light, to make it look like a projection.
I think I am going to go back to Overlay in this case. That's a bit harsh. There is Overlay. One of the reasons I like to use blending modes is as the reflection travels across the face of that building and reflects naturally in the windows, it now is also appearing inside this graphic I've added to the building. So that's why when I'm doing this sort of work, I prefer using the Classic 3D Renderer. I can add other layers. I'll select my tracked footage, go back to Effect Controls, to the Camera Tracker, hover over one of these buildings in the background, get a plane here-- that's looking like a pretty well- defined plane--and just to do something different I'll right-click and create a null object that's right there, select the track null, and let's say I just have a piece of footage inside my project that I want to attach that null.
After Effects has added a new trick to parenting to make it easier to move layers to where nulls are being located. As I click on a parent pop-up for my layer I want to map, you will notice I will get some additional text here. "Hold Shift to move layer to location of parent." That basically will zero out its own transforms or offsets from that null object. Hold Option is the old jump parenting that's been in After Effects for ages that allows you to take that rows of offset and move it to new parent intact. But anyway, I am going to hold down the Shift key, select Track Null 1, hit Scale. It's still a 2D layer. That's a problem.
So let's go back to Switches, turn on the 3D layer switch, and there is my image. That's attached to the face of that building. Here is a case where I do want to have something like a track matte or masking to cut out as that antenna passes in front of that image there in the background. So that's a real quick lesson in how you use the 3D Camera Tracker to add new layers to your scene that would appear as if it were there when the camera originally walked or flew through that shot.
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