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Introducing cameras

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: Introducing cameras

Working with 3D cameras in After Effects will definitely add dimension to your projects. You just need to be careful because they can actually get rather confusing if you're not ready for all their options. Now of course, that's what we're going to explore in this video, but before we jump into cameras, it's always a wise idea just to make sure that we understand what renderer we're using. So if you select the 3D composition, go to your Composition > Comp Settings. You want to look under the Advanced Tab and make sure that your Renderer is Classic 3D.

Introducing cameras

Working with 3D cameras in After Effects will definitely add dimension to your projects. You just need to be careful because they can actually get rather confusing if you're not ready for all their options. Now of course, that's what we're going to explore in this video, but before we jump into cameras, it's always a wise idea just to make sure that we understand what renderer we're using. So if you select the 3D composition, go to your Composition > Comp Settings. You want to look under the Advanced Tab and make sure that your Renderer is Classic 3D.

So go ahead and click OK. Now if we look at our project, you can see we have two text layers and a layer Solid, and none of these layers currently live in the 3D world. So in order to enable 3D, just enable 3D on their 3D switch in the timeline. If you don't see the switch, make sure that you click the button all the way on the left-hand side and you will see it disappear or reappear. Now that 3D has been enabled for all of these layers, we can go ahead and add a camera to our scene.

If you go up under Layer, choose New > Camera. Now with the camera, let's look at these settings. First thing, under Type; One-Node Camera or Two-Node, this depends on how the camera is going to animate. There's an extra parameter in a Two- Node Camera which we will explore in a moment, but for now, let's choose the One-Node Camera. Now these presets pertain to DSLR lenses, so I think you'll understand 15 millimeter is extraordinarily wide, 50 is kind of like what your eye would see, and 200 is like a telephoto lens.

Now for this example, I want to choose a relatively wide lens, so let's choose 24. Zoom pertains to the actual zoom of the lens. You can animate this parameter to simulate a zoom lens. Now the Angle of View will update based on what you're making adjustments in terms of your keyframes or your presets with the zoom. Enable Depth of Field is amazingly powerful, it will allow After Effects to simulate a shallow depth of field. It is so powerful that we dedicated a whole video to it a whole little later in this chapter.

So let's disable Depth of Field for now and look at one last setting and that's Units here. One of the things I like to do is change my unit measurement to pixels because in After Effects, everything is centered around pixels. So this kind of makes this make a little bit more sense. Now before we click OK, it's always important to come up under the name, and name your camera, so I'm going to call this One Node 24. So when we click OK, notice the camera is now added to the scene, but up here, we can't really see anything.

That's because we are currently in 1 view, looking at the active camera. So let's change from 1 View to 4 Views for a quick second. This is how I usually work. If you have a larger monitor, you'll probably want to use 4 Views. When you have multiple views, anytime you click in each one of these views, you'll get these yellow corners, that's just letting you know exactly which view is currently active because when you have views active, you can actually switch between the views within each one of these little viewports.

Now I'm going to go back to my active camera here, and for the sake of space, let's go ahead and choose 2 Views for this. Now I want to have the Active Camera, and instead of the Top view, let's go to the Right view. I know the scene isn't showing me very much. If we zoom out by just using the scroll wheel here, notice, okay I can see a box over here, it's kind of small, but when I click on it, here, I'm going to use my Spacebar to move over, okay.

Here you can see my camera. If I click off of that box, notice the Camera layer is no longer selected. Well as I move my camera around, I want to be able to see what it's looking at. So I want to enable this view to be on all the time whether or not my layer is selected. And to do that, with the Right view selected, go up to this pulldown menu in the upper-right corner of the viewer. Under there, we can go to View Options, and in the View Options, look at Camera Wireframes, and click on the pulldown and choose On.

This way, the Wireframe will always be on for this specific view. Anytime throughout the rest of this project, when we switch back to the Right view, it will remember this View Option. Notice it didn't change this View Option for this camera. When you have a camera selected, you can easily move around the scene. Before I start moving around the scene with one of my fun tools, let's look at what One-Node Camera does extraordinarily well. Select the One-Node Camera and press P to open up the position.

If I click and drag on the Y parameter, notice I can slide up and down, and perfectly animate this while keeping the camera perfectly perpendicular to the logos that we're shooting. I know this makes perfect sense to you. You're probably thinking yeah, this is absolutely no big deal. Well look what happens when we use a Two-Node Camera. I'm going to go up under Layer and choose New > Camera, and you guessed it, we'll change the Type from One-Node to Two- Node, and we'll call this 2 Node 24 and click OK.

Now notice with the Two-Node Camera, if you press P to open up the position, look at what happens relative to a One-Node Camera. See as I drag that up, see how it's always pointing at this one specific area. Even with a One-Node Camera, see if I drag on a One-Node Camera, it's not rotating. If you press A on the Two-Node Camera, there is an option for Point of Interest which is what this little thing is right here. If you click on it in the Right viewer, you can move it around.

Notice as I click and drag in my Info window in the upper-right here, it's letting me know that I am moving my point of interest. Now if we select the One-Node Camera and press A, there is no point of interest, and you can see all the options for the cameras, obviously just by opening the Transform Options, and here under the Transform Options notice there's a Point of Interest for my Two-Node Camera. Here, let me expand that with the Tilde key. So Two-Node, Point of Interest, One -Node, no Point of Interest, okay.

Pressing the Tilde key to jump back to my Normal Layer view and let's disable the view for the One-Node Camera just so we're dealing only with the Two-Node Camera for right now. We have the Two-Node Camera selected, it's time to explore the Unified Camera tool, and the way this works if you have a three-button mouse, you can automatically switch between all three of these underlying tools. So hover your mouse over the active camera view, and click with your left-mouse button and orbit around.

Notice, all I'm doing is just clicking and dragging, and that's rotating my camera around. If I click with my middle- mouse button, this pans. Notice I can pan up and down very similar to the One-Node Camera. So if you need to recreate that move with the Two-Node Camera, I would use the Track XY tool. Now if you right-click, I can zoom in and out, and notice I can zoom in and out rather quickly. Now look what happens to these controls on a One-Node Camera.

I can left-click and orbit, but look at how it's orbiting. It's orbiting as though I were literally holding the camera in my hands. So if that makes a little more sense to you, by all means, you can definitely do that. But if you right-click, this still functions in the same fashion, and the middle-click definitely still functions in the same fashion as the previous camera. Now as I'm moving this around, I know you're probably thinking to yourself, okay, this is great, but those layers are still flat. Well if you select the layers just by clicking and shift-clicking and press P, let's offset all these layers in Z space.

So I'm clicking and dragging to the left with the Eco layer, and the kinet layer, let's drag it back to the right, and notice it will actually disappear behind the other layer. It does truly exist in three-dimensional space. Now if I grab my One-Node Camera and middle-click and move up and down, you can see there's a slight shift. Now if you left-click, you can orbit around, but it wouldn't be as obvious as it would be with the Two-Node Camera. So let's select the Two-Node Camera, and left-click to orbit around, and here, you can actually really see what's going on, and that's just because with the Two-Node Camera, again, it's anchored around its point of interest.

The one last thing to understand about 3D cameras is the fact that you can have two cameras within one scene, and the way it work is just like a 2D layer. There's a hierarchy. So if I trim the start point of the Two-Node Camera just by clicking and dragging on the left side, now when I move my current-time indicator, notice I can switch from one camera view to the next camera view. So this is kind of an interesting way to build your animations, because you can actually animate multiple cameras, and then trim the cameras within your timeline, and use that as a fashion to actually cut from one camera to the next.

So whether it's a One-Node Camera or a Two-Node Camera, with the Unified Camera tool and a firm grasp of how to switch between multiple views, you can make navigating in 3D space just that much easier.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS6 Essential Training
After Effects CS6 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 58658 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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