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CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects demonstrates how to take a simple logo animation in CINEMA 4D and transform it into a compelling motion graphic with After Effects, incorporating two distinct visual styles. Starting with a prebuilt animation rendered from CINEMA 4D, author Rob Garrott employs industry-standard techniques, utilizing materials, lights, and the library of effects in After Effects, to enhance the project's look and feel. Exercise files accompany the course.
Our goal for the chapter is to create the effects that are related to the phone and its screen. The first thing we're going to need to do is to create the illusion that the phone is coming up out of the stadium platform. We're going to this using a 3D Solid layer that will act as a track matte for the phone. And really what this movie is about is the idea that you can use 3D solids to reveal 2D layers inside of After Effects, and this is a technique that I use all the time and really it makes a lot of very interesting effects possible. I'm going to start off by going into the Pre-COMP's and inside the Phone Pass Pre, I am going to scrub through this to show you what's going on.
The phone is coming up out of nowhere right now, but the top of the platform is actually somewhere right in this area. And so what we need to do is to be able to see this phone come up out of that platform. Right now, it just sort of comes up out of the ground area and so I'm going to create a track matte for this that will give it the illusion that it's actually coming up out of the platform. So there is a piece of information that I need to have inside this comp and it's the disc light, and that disc light came in from CINEMA 4D when we did our phone import, and what that gives me is the actual position of the top of the platform.
In CINEMA 4D I had a light that was in the top of the platform that was creating light illuminating the underside of the type in the phone and we're going to use that position information to be the basis for our track matte. So what I need to do is go into the Video folder and inside the Video folder I'm going to go into the Phone Pass folder and open up the original CINEMA 4D COMP that came in when I imported it, and there is a Platform Disc light. That's in there right now. I'm going to take that and the Camera. So I'll select the Camera first and then Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the Platform Disc light and copy that to the clipboard, and back in the Phone Pass PRE I'm just going to paste that right down.
And so now I've got the Platform Disc light and the camera and you can see that I have this light object here in the composition. And as I scrub through, let me scrub through to where the phone comes up. The place where I want the phone to be revealed is a basically right where it makes contact with that light. So what I need to do is create a 3D layer that's going to hide the phone until it passes just the edge of that light and then it is going look like it's coming right out of it. So let's start off by making a 3D solid and I need to make a 2D solid layer that converted into 3D. So let's make a Solid layer, Command+Y or Ctrl+Y on the keyboard, and then what I'm going to do is I'm going to call this one Phone revealer.
The size isn't really important at this point. I think I'll just leave it the COMP size and hit OK. And the color is not important at all because we're going to be creating a matte on this, and actually using it as a track matte. So when I make this solid I want to add a mask to this, and I'll start off by making a ellipse and I'm going to draw an ellipse out on this. I'm going to hit Command+T or Ctrl+T on the keyboard and kind of position this little bit better on here. And then I'm going to soften the edge up. Hit Enter to confirm the transform that you just did. I want to go to the mask options and adjust the feathering.
If I click on that option, I don't want it too soft. I will make it about 10 or so. That just gives me just a little bit of a soft edge so that the phone isn't being chopped off pixel for pixel. Now that I've got a soft edged map, what I want to do is turn this into a 3D solid layer. So I'm going to click on my Switches and Modes, and go over to the 3D button here and make that into a 3D layer. And it disappears on me, and that's because the space that we're in is a little bit different than the After Effects space, and so when I convert that into a 3D solid layer, it jumps to its original position based on its After Effects coordinates.
If I hit P on the keyboard and reveal that, it's at 480x270. What I want to do is have this show up in the same location as the Platform Disc light. So all I really need to do is to parent this to the Platform Disc light and then when I zero out its position, it'll jump right to that location. So if I use the Parent pickwhip, and parent it right to the Platform Disc light and then go to the Position information for the phone revealer, I'm going to zero tab zero and then boom. It shows up right where I needed to. And the awesome thing is that if I just take this now, I'm going to make some tweaks to the actual matte. And if I click on the matte here, I drag this down, I'm going put it right about there.
And so now as I scrub through this, I can't see the phone at all. It's behind this layer, until it reaches that point and it should come right about from behind it, and that's exactly what I want. Now there is a really great feature in the blending modes called a Silhouette Alpha and what that's going to do is chop off everything below this layer and I'm going to set the phone revealer to Silhouette Alpha. So I switch back my modes and go to blending modes,and Silhouette Alpha is a way down at the bottom, and so I'm going to go Silhouette Alpha and you're going to see that the phone is chopped off.
Everything that shows up behind this layer now gets chopped off and so as I scrub back in time, you can see the phone now has the illusion that it is coming up out from behind that. And that's exactly what we want to have happen. This simple matte is a crucial step to setting up the big energy explosion that the phone creates and the idea of using a 3D solid layer as a track matte sets you up for all kinds of special effects that you can create in After Effects.
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