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In this movie, I'll show you how to use Per-character 3D to animate position. I've closed all the comps I had opened in the previous movie. If you have the exercise files, go ahead and open comp 06-3D Position*starter. If you don't have the exercise files, just create some white text on a black background. Just like we did before, we'll animate Position. That will add Animator 1 with the Position property in 2D only. So right now, it just has an X and a Y value.
Now, if you know enough to be dangerous using 3D layers in After Effects, you might be tempted to turn on the 3D switch for the layer. But that will not add the Z property to the text animator. All it's doing is changing the transformations so that all the transformations can be edited in 3D space. In fact, there's no need to even turn on this switch. Instead, what you're going to do is Add > Property > Enable Per-character 3D.
When you do that, the 3D Layer switch will show two small cubes. This indicates that Per-character 3D is enabled, and it's also worth noting that once I enable Per-character 3D, it also enables 3D for the entire layer. We're more interested in Per-character 3D, so I'll twirl up Transformations and concentrate on the Position property in the text animator. Just like before, we can animate X left and right, the Y axis up and down, but now we also have the Z axis, which comes forward and away from us.
You'll also note that in the Composition panel there are three axis arrows added. The red arrow is the X axis, the green arrow is the Y axis, and the blue arrow--which is a little hard to see as it's pointing directly towards us--is the Z axis. So we can visualize better what's going on, I suggest you change the 3D View pop-up from Active Camera to Custom View 1. In the last movie, I showed you how to use the Unified Camera tool or the individual camera tools to zoom in and reposition your text.
By the way, when you're in the custom view you're not actually changing any of the values when you use the Camera tools to swivel around and zoom in on your layer. Now, when I scrub the Z value position, you can see the text moving in front of the postcard in space and behind the postcard in space. When it's at 0, it will be aligned on the plane. So if I want to animate, I can set my X and my Y value, and my Z value.
Just like we did with the typing-on animation, I return to time 0, enable the stopwatch for start, move the Current Time Locker to 2 seconds, and set the value for Start to 100%. So at the start of the animation, all the characters are affected, and as the animation proceeds, they drop down to their original position. Just like before, if you want to make a transition, we add the Opacity property, and the Opacity property won't appear any differently when Per-character 3D is enabled.
That's because it has no sense of being in 3D space. So I'll set the Opacity to 0, and at the beginning of the animation, all the characters are transparent and then they will fade up as they drop into position. That's really all there is to it. In the next movie, I'll show you how to animate the X, Y, and Z values for rotation.
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