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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.
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