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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.
Now that I've an enabled the Ray-traced 3D renderer for this composition, you'll notice over the Timeline Panel we picked up an additional set of Parameters. In addition to a Material Options, which now includes longer list of properties, and we'll get to those, we'll now see a section called Geometry Options. Twirl that open and you have your basic Beveling and Extrusion. We'll talk about Bevels in the next movie, but for now let's just go ahead and increase our Extrusion Depth. As I do so, you'll see this type takes on some additional thickness inside the Comp Panel.
Again, this feature is new to CS6. Previously if I looked at something from a Side view, I would not see actual depth to the layer, 3D layers used look like this. But now with Ray-tracing you can add depth to your layers. I'll go back to my Active Camera. You'll notice though that this text is one big, same colored blob, its kind a hard to see what's going on. Whenever you extrude a layer you pretty much need to add a light, because its the variations and in shadings from that light, which will now show off faces as being different than th extruded size.
So I go to Layer > New > Light. For my initial light, which I am going to call my key Light, or my main Light, almost any light type of work. I am going to use Point, because it's the easiest to set up, we'll talk about Ambient Lights here in second. I am going to use color of white. Ray-traced layers seem to be less efficient at reflecting light than normal 3D layers or Classic 3D layers. So I am going to increase my initial Intensity to 200, remember you can go beyond 100 percent in After Effects.
And you can always change this later. I'm going to leave light Falloff off for now, but I'm going to enable Cast Shadows, because extruded layers have the ability to casts shadows in between the various surfaces. I am going to turn my Darkness down a little bit so that my shadows don't go into complete inky darkness, but keep a Shadow Diffusion of 0. Now I'll click Ok. As soon as I do so, now you're seeing some lighting and shading across these layers. Now you can start to see how light plays across those various surfaces, depending on how the light is oriented compared to that layer.
Now it's impossible to completely light all sides of an extruded layer with just one light. A light can't be in front of and behind a surface at the same time. So quite often you'll find, though, as you light extruded layers, you're going to need to add a second fill light to help fill in some of these darker shadowed areas. So I am going to go Layer > New > Light, change this one to fill, and I can either set up a point light with a reduced Intensity, and put it around the back somewhere, or I can cheat. I'm just going to make an Ambient light, which comes from all directions at once, doesn't cast shadows, but is good at filling in shadows.
I'm going to set a pretty low intensity to begin with, of around, even just 15%, click OK. And now you'll see some of these unilluminated shadowed areas have been lit up a little bit. Press T to bring up Intensity, I fill in more, or less. So that's just the basics of taking a Text or Shape layer, extruding it to give it depth, and adding a bit lighting so you can see that depth. In the next movie, we'll tackle beveling these extrusions.
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