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After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space
Illustration by John Hersey

Editing 3D motion paths


From:

After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Editing 3D motion paths

I am going to return my 3D View pop-up to Active Camera, because that's what we'll ultimately render from After Effects, and Preview my animation again. And I did want a nice arcing slam down, but this is just lacking excitement. I am going to need to look at this from multiple views and refine that Motion Path to get it the way that I like. And, by the way, you'll learn this about 3D, we joke that it's called 3D because it takes three times as long to do anything, and that's particularly true when it comes to tweaking these Motion Paths.
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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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After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space
4h 49m Intermediate Oct 19, 2011 Updated Dec 06, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This installment of the After Effects Apprentice series introduces 3D space in Adobe After Effects. Authors Chris and Trish Meyer highlight key design considerations for working in 3D and provide step-by-step instructions for enhancing a scene with 3D lights and cameras. The course explores integration between Photoshop and After Effects, including modeling 3D objects with Repoussé extrusions and creating dimensional still images, and offers tips on using the different Axis Modes and maintaining maximum quality in 3D. There's also a chapter dedicated to the ray-traced 3D renderer, introduced in After Effects CS6, which allows you to build 3D layers into your composites, with realistic motion blur, depth of field, and reflections.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.

Topics include:
  • Keyframing motion paths in 3D
  • Managing multiple 3D views
  • Auto-orienting cameras along a path
  • Creating shadows
  • Understanding Vanishing Point Exchange
  • Importing a 3D model into Photoshop Extended
  • Scaling in 3D
  • OpenGL acceleration
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Editing 3D motion paths

I am going to return my 3D View pop-up to Active Camera, because that's what we'll ultimately render from After Effects, and Preview my animation again. And I did want a nice arcing slam down, but this is just lacking excitement. I am going to need to look at this from multiple views and refine that Motion Path to get it the way that I like. And, by the way, you'll learn this about 3D, we joke that it's called 3D because it takes three times as long to do anything, and that's particularly true when it comes to tweaking these Motion Paths.

I'll select my Under layer, I'll work with that one first, and look at it from the side, such as the Left View. And now I see part of my problem. I wanted this layer to slam down this way, but now that I look at it from Left View, I see it's actually arcing up here and sliding down into place. It doesn't have quite the drama of a slam that I was really hoping for. Now, I could start moving between these different views; Left, Top, Active Camera, Custom, et cetera. We could even use these View shortcuts that we've discussed in a previous movie, but let's just go ahead and look at multiple views all at once.

In this case, I'm going to go ahead and change to 4 Views. This gives me multiple perspectives of my scene all at the same time. Now, as I mentioned, I always like to keep one at Active Camera, and that's what it's set to, but otherwise I'll set this up in a classic 3D arrangement. I'm going to choose this Top Left and make it my Top View, which it already is. I'll pick this Top Right and change it to be a Front View, so I can see things head on without perspective distortion. I select that Under layer, there is that path, and then I'm going to select this lower Left View and verify that it's indeed set to Left.

Now I can see my paths from several different angles and I can much more easily refine my actual Motion Path. Now, I mentioned one of the things I wanted to do was to slam down straight into that layer. From the Top View, I'm doing it the way that I want, but from my Left View I am not. So let's go to my Left View, select a keyframe, and start dragging out my path to give me that straight slam down drama that I was hoping for. Let's slide over to the start, then come down into Position. I'm going to look at my Top View and verify that the same thing is happening up there as well.

So both my Left and Top Views are showing me that indeed I am sliding in, then going straight back to my destination, which is cool. Now I'm going to look finally at my Front View and see what sort of path I am going through space here. Ideally, I might want something like a straight path, but I also don't mind a little bit of an arc to it. So I'll go ahead and play around with this Bezier handles to get what I want. Now, again, it may be hard for you to go ahead and grab these Bezier handles; you can grab that from an alternate view and move them around, or again, if you hold down Command+Option on Mac, Ctrl+ Alt on Windows, you'll get the Change Direction tool, and you can just drag out your handle.

This is not quite giving me the desired result here. Let's go ahead and make sure I am coming straight in like that. Look at my three Views, they all look good. Let's RAM Preview. Now my under animation is going straight back into the layer, and that's a little bit more of the slam animation I was personally hoping for than for this arcing sliding end that the Pressure layer was doing. Now that I've set that up, I might even set it up for even more drama to where I start further way in Z space, so it moves faster, it's traveling a greater distance.

But it doesn't come into the frame for a while. So I think I am going to need to do a little bit of tweaking here to my initial keyframe, so that it's a little bit closer to entering the frame, like right around there. Here is another advantage of multiple views, it was easy to grab and drag in the Front View. Okay. Now I've got a fairly straight slide in from the Top Left corner, but I am arcing through space and slamming straight down into my Destination layer. And now that I can see from all this views, it's easier to set the Pressure layer to do the same thing.

Come straight in, slide, then go over, verify the Top is okay, fairly straight path here. Go back to the starting time, make sure I'm out of the frame, maybe even pull it further forward for more speed, and drag it up so just it's entering the frame early in the animation. Drag it off to the corner here, down a little bit. Once you know what you're doing, it goes much faster.

And there is my slam down into Position. And if I want to see this at full frame, I'll switch back to 1 View. Make sure that I'm looking at the Active Camera View, because that's what's going to render, and now I'll RAM Preview. And I have a much better view of my final render and I was able to control that animation path to do exactly what I intended. So that's the secret to working in 3D, is you need to look at things from multiple perspectives, both to arrange your layers in space, for example, from this Top View I may decide that I want to have a slight separation between my slabs.

I'll grab the other one, move back a little bit, just again, to have a bit more perspective distortion, and even more importantly, to understand what my Motion Paths are doing in multiple dimensions.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space.


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Q: This course was updated on 12/06/2012. What changed?
A: This was a more extensive update than the other After Effects Apprentice courses. We added three new movies to Chapter 4 that cover 3D camera features in versions CS5.5 and later, such as depth of field blur. We added a new chapter on the 3D ray-traced renderer in CS6, and another chapter featuring a Quizzler challenge for CS6. Lastly, we added a movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files, and added new sets of exercise files designed for After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6.
 
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