Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer

There are two different types of renderers inside After Effects. You'll hear me refer to them as Render Engines. The two different render engines that we're going to deal with inside After Effects are Classic 3D and Ray Traced. Now the Classic 3D render engine is the one that we've been working in up to this point. And to give us a better perspective as to the different options ray trace gives us, let's look at our classic 3D render options. Double click on the Classic 3D composition if it's not already active in your project. Let's go down to layer 8 and then press aa to open it's material options. Just so I can see this layer a little bit better on my timeline, I'm going to enable shy for all of the other layers above it and just hide them for the time being. So here in layer eight, under my material options, you can see I have several different options, ambient, diffuse, specular, you get the idea. In the ray trace render engine, we have many, many more options. So, let's double click on the ray-traced composition. In here, let's go ahead and select layer 8 again. And press A, A.

Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer

There are two different types of renderers inside After Effects. You'll hear me refer to them as Render Engines. The two different render engines that we're going to deal with inside After Effects are Classic 3D and Ray Traced. Now the Classic 3D render engine is the one that we've been working in up to this point. And to give us a better perspective as to the different options ray trace gives us, let's look at our classic 3D render options. Double click on the Classic 3D composition if it's not already active in your project. Let's go down to layer 8 and then press aa to open it's material options. Just so I can see this layer a little bit better on my timeline, I'm going to enable shy for all of the other layers above it and just hide them for the time being. So here in layer eight, under my material options, you can see I have several different options, ambient, diffuse, specular, you get the idea. In the ray trace render engine, we have many, many more options. So, let's double click on the ray-traced composition. In here, let's go ahead and select layer 8 again. And press A, A.

I have the same set of options. The reason I have the same set of options is because I haven't changed my renderer yet. Now, you can get to the options by pressing Cmd + K to open your composition settings or you can go to the upper right corner of your Composition panel. There you'll see the Classic 3D button. If you go ahead and click on that it'll automatically take you to the advance tab in your Comp settings. Here we can go ahead and click on pull down next to the renderer and choose Retrace 3D. Now when I click OK, we'll get this alert menu. The alert menu just tells you all the things that you won't have anymore, like track mats and blend modes, but it also tells you all the things that you've gaining, like extruded and beveled text shapes, and environment layers, and curved footage layers.

These are all different things that will allow you to create 3D elements within your scene. If we look at the bottom of the panel you'll see once per session. As your first getting started I recommend leaving it set to once per session so it'll just remind you anytime you go to change renders. Now when I click OK our render has changed. If you look at layer 8 now, look at all the different material options that we have. We've gone from five, like Ambient, Diffuse and Specular and Metal, and then we've added others like Reflection, Transparency, Index of refraction, many others. Now I want to make some slight adjustments to this layer before we start exploring some of the key features of the Ray Trace renderer. So let's scroll up and just make sure layer eight is selected. I'm also going to change my magnification up to 100 percent and just make sure that I can see exactly what's going on in the scene. Now, when you change your magnification, it may take a second for your project to re-render the scene.

As you work within the Ray Traced render engine, I recommend you pay attention to this button over here in the lower right corner of the Composition panel. It has a lightning bolt on it. If you click on that button, this will allow you to choose different resolutions that you can work in where After Effects will parse off different parts of the processing to different parts of your computer, like your video card or your RAM. Lets change it to fast draft. Fast draft won't render certain aspects of our different material options, but it's a great way to get started.

Now with layer eight selected, I want to change the color of my text. So I'm just going to quickly open my character panel. I'll go up under window and go to character and with layer eight selected I'll just grab my eye dropper and choose this teal text. Just so we can see it better I'll go ahead and pull down a little bit here. And then we can turn off that stroke. You can also just click on the color chip to choose any color. Now I like using a different color because when we go to change the geometry options White doesn't always show the best for geometry. So let's go to the Geometry options for layer 8. In here, we have an option for Bevel Style. Let's click on that pull-down and change it to Convex. It doesn't appear as though anything's changed, and that's because we haven't updated our Extrusion Depth.

This is what'll actually make that text 3D. So click and drag on the extrusion depth to make the text actually pop out from the scene. It's kind of hard to see but it is actually three D text. To get better definition, I could relight this text layer with a light by moving it closer. Or I could go down and make some changes to my material options. So let's go down to our material options. You'll see there's an option for transparency. Let's increase that number by clicking and dragging. I'll bring it up to something around 75 percent. It make take a second to re-render.

But you notice nothing's happening. Well, that's because of our preview mode. Click and hold on your preview mode. And let's change it from Fast Draft to Adaptive Resolution. In Adaptive Resolution, we'll lower the resolution of the scene to give me a better real-time preview as to the changes that I'm actually making. It takes a little bit longer to render the scene, but once the scene is rendered, it's kind of worth it because you'll actually be able to see what adjustment we've made with the transparency.

Now this is starting to look a little bit more like 3D text. Usually when I make changes to the transparency, I turn around and make adjustments to the index of refraction. Refraction is the distortion that happens when you look at an element, through another transparent element. I'm going to change that index to, let's say, 1.2. That's just going to give me a little bit of distortion of this background element through our text layers. Now, it'll be subtle, but it's just these little things that kind of add up to give your 3D that little bit more of a pop.

Other options you could make adjustments to would be the specular intensity or the specular shininess. I'm just going to stop making adjustments here because I think you can understand if you just click through the different options, you'll see how they can effect your scene. In addition to being able to create 3D text, you can also create 3D shapes with shape layers. If I scroll up in my timeline I can collapse layer eight here, and let's select layer five.

Layer five is our dashes layer. I'm going to click on the X control handle and just drag the dashes over into the scene. Notice if we press AA on our keyboard, we can open up the geometry options. If you're trying to make adjustments in the time line and the composition panel is taking forever to update and you don't really care whether or not it updates, you can hold down caps lock and that will stop the refresh. This will allow you to move more quickly through the interface. If I come down here, I can adjust the extrusion but for that shape.So let's go ahead and crank that up to around 13. Now when I press caps lock again, the scene will re-render. In addition to being able to create 3-D objects with shape layers and text layers, you can also bend traditional layers inside of After Effects. Traditional layers being video layers or Photoshop layers. Any standard bitmap graphic.

So I'm going to collapse layer five and scroll down here to layer 10, our throw layer. If you press AA to open its geometry options, notice I have an option for curvature. Let's go ahead and crank that option up just by clicking and dragging. Now this layer's going to bend in the scene and it may take a second to rerender, so this would be another time where we'd want to go ahead and switch our render options. I just want to go to fast draft so I can get a quick idea as to what's going on in the scene. If we change the magnification by scrolling out on our mouse, you can see this layer is bending. The number of segments give you a higher quality bend. Just understand, the more segments the longer it's going to take to render. When you're working in a rate-raised renderer in fast draft mode, there are a number if things that you're not seeing, such as transparency. Another thing would be layer intersection.

Our background layer is actually intersecting with our bent layer now. I know this because I've already done this project a couple of times. If I click on the preview options and change it took off, I'll get a full resolution render of this scene. And that's going to show me that my background layer is intersecting with my bent layer. This is what I would go ahead and just click on the z axis handle for our background layer, and just move it back in the scene before I actually render. It's really important before you render any of your projects that you actually turn off your previews, so you can make sure it's going to do exactly what you want it to do. Now, there's one last setting you need to understand with the ray trace renderer. I'm going to click on the Ray Trace option here to open up the advanced section of our Comp settings.

Then if you click on Options next to the Ray Trace 3D pull-down, you can increase the ray tracing quality. this is going to give you a high quality render when you go to actually output you final ray traced composition. So if I click on the rate trace and quality, typically I'd want to increase this to a number up around 10 or 12, then you can increase the anti aliasing filter to a higher quality by changing it to cubic. Now when I click OK and click OK again, it's going to take significantly longer to render the frame. I don't recommend changing your render settings until you're absolutely positive that you're ready to output your animation and your ray traced scene.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

110 video lessons · 50747 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 30m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    3. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    4. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    5. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
    6. Different ways to use After Effects UPDATED
      59s
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects NEW
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache NEW
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology UPDATED
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects NEW
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions NEW
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers NEW
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation NEW
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects NEW
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D NEW
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render NEW
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements NEW
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects NEW
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers NEW
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes NEW
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics NEW
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques NEW
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    5. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    6. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    7. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    8. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    9. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    10. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    11. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    12. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3 NEW
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects NEW
      3m 55s
  9. 55m 24s
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    3. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    4. Animating cameras UPDATED
      12m 39s
    5. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    6. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 1h 43m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    2. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    3. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    4. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    5. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    6. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    7. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    8. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    9. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    10. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    11. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    13. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    14. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 29m 3s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight NEW
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight NEW
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks NEW
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next? NEW
      2m 24s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed After Effects CC Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.