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When working inside of Adobe After Effects, you have many different dimensions you can explore. One thing that makes After Effects rather unique, is its ability to have both 2D and 3D layers, exist inside of the same composition. Now in this video, we're just going to explore all of the different ways you can create 3D. Since 3D is a rather deep subject we're not going to dive really deeply into all the different tools. I just want you to see the basic functions of how we can actually move something from the 2D dimension into 3D.
So if we look at our project, you see I have this H+ Sport Logo, which is an Illustrator File. And we have a background video file. Now the first thing you should pay attention to, if you're trying to switch things into the third dimension, is this Switches and Modes button. Let's go ahead and click on that button to make sure that we're actually in the switches area. See, now that we're in the switches area, we get access to this column with the cube. This is the column that allows you to change each individual layer, into another dimension.
So for example, if I want to rotate this background video, so it's off axis or rotated on its y, if i press r to open up rotation, notice when I rotate, it's just rotating on the z plane. Let me undo that. If I want to rotate on the y, I need to actually select this button here in the 3D column. Now, notice that I have x, y, and z rotation. So if I scrub on the rotation here, you notice now I'm actually rotating it in 3D space.
So let's go ahead and rotate it to around negative 25. Notice when I've done that, I get these arrows here. Just so I can see things more clearly, I'm going to zoom into the scene. I'm going to scroll up with my mouse wheel, to increase the magnification. You could just click on the Magnification and increase it up to 200. Now I'm going to press the spacebar so I can get my hand tool. And then just click and drag in my comp window to reposition everything. Let go of the spacebar. And I want you to hover over each one of these axes.
Notice as I hover over each one, they're color coded, and they're letting me know how I'm going to moving this layer. So if I hover over x, and then click and drag, it's only going to move this layer on its exposition. And if you look at the info panel in the upper right corner, you can see the exact dimensions of where I'm moving it. If you grab the Rotation tool in the Rotation panel, and then hover over one of these axes. When you click and drag, it's going to rotate on that axis. Notice it's actually changing the y value for the orientation down here.
So, when you are in three dimensions, you have options to adjust the orientation or the rotation. The easiest way I like to keep things straight. If you want an object to literally spin in 3D space and you want to control exactly how many revolutions you want it to spin, you want to adjust the rotation. If you're just trying to change its position but you don't necessarily need to animate it, then you can go ahead and just change how that object is oriented in 3D space. Right now, we've got this H+ logo that lives in a 2D environment, over top of this background video that lives in a 3D environment.
Let's go ahead and collapse the options for layer two and open them one more time. I want you to notice, we have effects and then transform. And under transform, my position data is x, y, and z. If we scroll down a little bit, notice I also have material options. Now, these options really control he appearance of the object in three dimensional space, when you start adding lights. Now, since we're not going to do that, I'm not going to open those material options. But I just wanted you to see that they are there.
Okay, let's collapse layer two. If we go to layer one, we can enable 3D for that layer, by using the same switch. Now notice the second we did that, the left edge of my object disappeared. And also, I still have my rotation tool selected, so I'm going to go back up to my Tool panel, and just grab my Selection tool. You can also just press V. Now, if we click and drag on the x-axis, notice it's going to just intersect with my background video. So, the layer hierarchy is important when you're in 3D space, but it really doesn't matter if this is above or below the layer, because, literally it's in 3D space.
So, they are intersecting. Now, there's another way to distinguish these layers, in terms of where they exist in 3D space. I actually consider this 2 and a half D. The reason I say that, let's open up the parameters for layer one, and open up it's transform options. If I click and drag on the y rotation here, notice as I rotate it towards the camera. I can make that layer pretty much disappear. That's because it's pointed straight at the camera, and this layer has no actual depth.
If you want to create a truly 3 Dimensional object, you need to change the renderer that you're working in, in After Effects. So I'm going to scroll up in my timeline here, and collapse layer one, and I'll just turn layer one off. I'll grab my Text tool, and I'm just going to create some text. We'll just type the word Sport, and grab this selection tool to set that text. Now, you can position the text and choose whatever typeface you like, anywhere in the screen. But notice, when I go to Enable 3D, it enables 3D, and if I open up the options, I have material options here, and that's fine, and I have transform options.
We've seen all this before. But let's go to the upper right corner of the Composition panel. See this button, where it says Classic 3D? If you click on that, you can change to 3D space. So in here, I could change the renderer from Classic 3D to Ray Trace 3D. Just be aware, when you do this, this could drastically slow down the performance of your system. Now, this is where that preference comes in, that we went into Preferences about. Where if you have it in video graphics card that actually has the acceleration, it will accelerate this work flow.
If you don't, it'll still work perfectly fine. It just won't be quite as fast. So let's go ahead and click OK. When we've change to the Ray-traced Renderer, let's look at some of the different options. Notice now, I have geometry options. So if I open up my geometry options in here. I can actually extrude depth for these words, so let's go ahead and extrude it to a depth of around 32. Now, it's going to take a second to refresh the scene. If we look in the lower right corner of the composition panel, I can click on this button, and adjust how it's going to preview.
Right now it's an adaptive resolution. Let's just go ahead and change that to Fast Draft. That's not going to render a lot of the lighting effects, but it'll speed up the work flow for the moment. So let's scroll on my timeline here until we get to the y rotation, and just rotate on the y. And notice as I'm rotating here, let's rotate it to a value of about 25. I can actually see some depth. So to see how this is going to look, let's go ahead and turn off Fast Draft. And this will render it a final quality. Now, it's going to take a quick second to render, but once it finishes rendering, we can actually preview what this frame is going to look like.
So this is what its actually going to look like. Now, I can't see any real dimension to this, until I actually add a light into the scene. But once we start adding lights, then we need to get back into material options, and it's a whole other ball game. Now again, the point of this video is to just understand the different ways you can move into 3 Dimensional space. Now understand, also in After Effects, if you want to create a 3D object, that's native to a composition inside of After Effects, without using the Cinema 4D plugin, you need to be using the Ray-traced 3D Renderer.
Let's go ahead and click on that button one more time, to change the renderer back to Classic 3D. And then click OK. Notice now my third dimension is gone off of this text. The last and final way you can create a 3D element inside of After Effects. Is by going up under the Layer menu and choosing a New> Max On Cinema 4D file. Now, there's a whole separate work flow for that, so we're not going to jump into that. But I hope you understand now, if you want to move into the third dimension, you have several options. You can enable 3D for a layer, thus moving into 2 and a half D.
You can also renderer. Taking it into true 3D space with the Ray-traced Renderer, or you could create a 3 Dimensional object, using the Cinema 4D Lite plugin.
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