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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.
Lights and material options go together like peas in a pod. Once you create one, you'll deffintally want to go and change the settings for another. Now before you create any lights inside yoru composition, it's important to pay attention to the renderer that you're currently using. So, let's go to the project panel and select our lights and material composition. Then press Cmd + K or Ctrl + K on the PC to open the Composition settings. Click on the Advanced tab. We want to make sure the Renderer setting is set to Classic 3D. There are different material options for each different Renderer, so it's really important to choose Classic 3D for this movie. Now we can click OK.
Now as a general rule, before you add a light to the scene, you want to look at your layers and just make sure that you have some layers that are 3D. And as you can see in our project, we have seven layers that are currently in 3D space. So we're ready to add a light. Let's make our Timeline active, and then go up under Layer and choose New > Light. There're four different kinds of lights inside of After Effects. If you click on the pulldown for Light Type, you'll see them all. Point light and spotlight emulate quote unquote real world light.
Spotlights, you can equate to stage lights that have an angle that kind of shoot out and can intensely point your light at any specific area. Point lights I like to think of more like and exposed light bulb without a lampshade. Ambient and parallel lights will get to in a moment, but for now let's make sure we have spotlight chosen. In the color settings, we could click on the color option and choose any color. I'm going to choose a light blue, so let's go up to the blue area here, and just choose light blue, and click OK. The intensity is the overall brightness of the light. The cone angle is unique to the spotlight.
It just controls how wide that light goes. And then the other is the transition from the area of the light to the area where the light falls off. We do have a pull down for fall off and let's choose smooth. You can set the settings for radius and fall off distant manually. If we go to inverse square clamped, this will control the light falloff to emulate quote unquote real world lights. Now, many of the lights can cast shadows. If you have that option, go ahead and enable it.
Now, many lights can cast shadows. With spotlights, we want to go ahead and enable our shadows. The shadow darkness controls the darkness of the shadows just controlled by this one light. Let's change our setting to 65 and then press tab to move to the diffusion setting. Under diffusion, let's choose a number like 8. The diffusion just determines how soft that shadow is going to be. Now when we click OK, we have our spotlight, and its been created in the scene. Since it was blue, notice it tinted the letters blue on our word PASS.
Now with a spotlight, I can click directly on the point of interest for that light and move it around the scene. Moving a spotlight is a lot like moving a two node camera. You can also click on the control handles. And if you hold down command on the Mac or control on Windows, you can reposition the light and it'll keep the point of interest snapped in a single place. Now if you want to make adjustments to the setting of your light, you can select the layer and press AA to open up the light options.
I'm going to collapse the light options and we'll explore some of the material options. In order to have a shadow cast from an object to another object, you need to make sure both of those objects are kind of offset from each other in 3-D space. So let's select layer five and press P to open its position. You can see it's set at a position of zero on the Z depth. Let's go ahead and click and drag on the Z axis. We want to drag on the left so it comes out in the scene. Now notice as I'm dragging it will go and move out past the light. And just like something in the real world, when it's not lit, it will turn black. Let's choose a value for this of around negative 45. Now to get some material options you want to press A A on your keyboard. In the material options for a pass layer, let's go down to where it says cast shadows.
And change that setting from off to on. Now that was kind of hard to see. So I'm going to zoom in on my canvas. I'm going to press the spacebar so I can move over. And lets continue clicking on the word on for cache shadows. The second option is shadows only and just so you can see this shadow more clearly I'll reposition my text layer over here in the scene. Now you can see the words appear. If we continue clicking on the cache shadow options we can turn our shadows off again. So cash out (UNKNOWN) will toggle between off, on and only. Sometimes when you're trying to acheive a specific effect using the only effect is really helpful.
Now let's make sure our setting is set to on and then we'll explore some of the other light options. I've created a folder, containing all the different kinds of lights we can use inside After Effects. If you double click the parallel composition and then click on these lines here in the comp, this is a parallel light. If you zoom in more closely, it's made up of arrows that point. If we select the light and press a a to open it's options, this light just has an option for intensity. But notice there's no radius like a spotlight. Now the falloff is interesting.
Parallel lights are special, in that you can set a falloff of none, no matter how far apart the objects are in the scene. The intensity setting is always going to be the same on every single object. The Ambient light just gives you an object for intensity and color. If I click and drag notice I'm just changing the brightness of the scene overall as a whole. The ambient light I found most useful when I have multiple light setups in a composition. It just allows to fill in the other areas that aren't lit, but you don't have to worry about whether or not it can cast shadows or Any of the other little gotchas.
Now the point light I like to compare to an exposed light bulb. There's no lampshade and there are several different options of control. Let's select layer one and press AA to open its options. You can see you can adjust the intensity and the colour. And we can also adjust the falloff and the radius. If you click on the radius and bring it down, notice the light is getting smaller and larger. I'm not controlling the overall brightness of the light. I'm just controlling how far the light goes before it starts to fall off. We also have other options for our shadows, as well, with point lights. Generally, when I'm creating a light to cast shadows, I'll use the spotlight, but sometimes shadows from point lights are fun as well. Now let's go to the material settings composition. I'll double click the comp, ZZ materials settings. Now select layer 5 and press AA to open up it's material options. In our scene, I have a single point light.
If I click on that you can see it right in front of the word pass. Now the material options for this light give me a couple different things. We've already explored has to shadows, but light transmission will allow you to actually control whether or not that color passes through that layer. If I drag a value up to 100%, you can see the shadow here on our guy's shirt is blue. If I drag that down to 0, notice it's black. I like to think of light transmissions like a stained glass. Now, you can set individual layer properties as to whether or not they even display shadows or whether or not they accept lights. Ambient, diffuse, specular, or metal all kind of work together. Ambient just controls the brightness of the layer itself and how it's reacting to the light.
The diffusion controls how that light moves across that individual layer. Most of the time when I'm making adjustments I adjust my diffusion first. Now specular intensity controls the brightness of your specular highlight. To define specular, that's that one little bright area when you're looking at say reflections on a coffee mug. If I click on specular shininess, I can click and drag to the right. Notice the appearance of that layer is changing. Let's drag the specular shininess up to 100 and increase the specular intensity up to 100.
Now you can see I'm getting this bright spot on the layer. If I click on the light, I can scrub it through the scene. And notice not only is the shadow moving, but now I can see my specular highlight. The option for metal will allow me to adjust how that highlight. Illuminates off of the text and the colors. Just click and drag to adjust it to your own individual taste.
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