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Delve into the world of motion graphics, keying, and compositing in After Effects CC. In this course, Ian Robinson lays out six foundations for becoming proficient with After Effects, including concepts such as layers, keyframe animation, and working with 3D. To help you get up and running with the program, the course begins with a project-based chapter on creating an animated graphic bumper. Next, explore the role layers play in compositions and find out how to add style to your projects using effects and graphic elements. Last, see how to build 3D objects with CINEMA 4D Lite, as well as stabilize footage, solve for 3D cameras, and paint in graphics with the Reverse Stabilization feature.
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.
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