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In this course, author Ian Robinson introduces Adobe After Effects CS6 and the world of animation, effects, and compositing. Chapter 1 introduces the six foundations of After Effects, which include concepts like layers, keyframes, rendering, and moving in 3D space. The rest of the course expands on these ideas, and shows how to build compositions with layers, perform rotoscoping, animate your composition with keyframes, add effects and transitions, and render and export the finished piece. Two real-world example projects demonstrate keying green screen footage and creating an advanced 3D composition with the expanded 3D toolset, an important addition to CS6.
Now I feel kind of old admitting this, but I can clearly remember when After Effects used to only exist in two dimensions. And since then, moving in 3D space has taken the motion graphics and effects industry by storm. Now it's important to understand that working in 3D opens not only a whole new host of possibilities for you, it can also be a little like opening Pandora's Box. Once you learn how to make objects exist in 3D space, you'll definitely want to learn about cameras. And what fun are cameras if you don't have lights.
And in the virtual world of software, with lights come material options. And with material options, I think you can see already, we've jumped down the rabbit hole that's called 3D. Now in this video, we are going to learn how to turn 2D layers into 3D layers inside of our compositions, but we'll also learn some of the basics for how to move those objects around in 3D space. And for our own sanity, we're going to stop there for now. So to get started, open the Type composition by double-clicking in your Project panel.
Make sure it's the Type layer that's active in your timeline. Now I want you to look in your Switches panel at this column right here, and if you don't have your Switches panel active, right-click next to the layer name in Columns and then make sure Switches are enabled. Since I already had it up, when I clicked that, I disabled it. But you notice when Switches are disabled, there's a button down here at the bottom of the interface for a toggle to re-enable your Switches.
Now you want to look at the right side of your Switches right underneath that 3D box. And for layer 1, go ahead and click that box. And now, we've just enabled 3D for layer 1. Now to better see the 3D capabilities, select the layer. Now you notice in your canvas, I have control handles. I'll just zoom in on the canvas by scrolling my mouse wheel and you can see when I hover my mouse over this handle, that's the X axis, the green handle is the Y axis, and this blue one, you guessed it, that's Z. If you press P on your keyboard, that will open the Position data for this layer.
And you notice now I have an X parameter, a Y parameter and a Z parameter. See, if I disable this, you can see I only have X and Y. Now you might have noticed when 3D is enabled, that my layer style Outer Glow has been disabled. That's just one of the things that you have to be aware of when you're switching between 2D and the 3D environment. Now to get back to repositioning this in 3D space, hover your mouse over one of the axis handles in the viewer. Let's choose X and click and drag.
Now notice, no matter where I drag, this is only going to move on the X axis. This is something that I really recommend you do when you're first getting started in 3D. Only click on the axis handles here, I'll click on Y. Notice, that ensures that I'm only moving in one direction. This is important because when you're in 3D, if you don't click directly on an axis handle and you start to move around, I am moving this around in 3D space and I'm not exactly sure where I'm doing this.
Another thing that's kind of fun about 3D layers is rotation. So if I click on my Rotation tool and then go back over my control handles, look what happens. When I hover over the X axis, and click and drag, it's now going to rotate on the X axis. Same thing with the Y axis. Again, you want to hover until you see the letters X, Y or Z. I'm going to press P twice, so we can focus on the Position data.
And then press V to re-grab our Selection tool. I just wanted to focus on the position so you can see when we hover our mouse over the Y axis and move up over this logo here, you notice that this is existing in 3D space, and it did actually move slightly on the Z parameter, and that's just based on how the layer was oriented in 3D space when I started moving on the Y axis. But that's not what I want you to focus on. The big reason I want you to focus on this has to do with how 3D layers and 2D layers interact.
See, this 3D layer is currently the topmost layer. And so you're seeing it in front of everything else in the scene. But if I grab my logo pre comp and bring it up to the top of the layer hierarchy, it most definitely is going to take precedence over top of the 3D layer, even though the 3D layer may appear to be sticking out into the scene. That's because 2D will always stay 2D and if it's 2D, then layer hierarchy is what takes priority.
Now let's go ahead and bring our logo comp back down into the scene at the layer 3 position. Okay, now select the type, and let's move it back down into the scene. And I'm just going to scroll out on my mouse with the scroll wheel so we can see the entire scene. It's kind of confusing when you're mixing 3D and 2D layers when you're only looking at the scene from one view. Now I'm not going to dive really deeply into this, but I do want you to understand that After Effects is capable of showing you more than one view at a time.
In the bottom of our viewer on the right- hand side, there's a pulldown that says 1 View. If you click on that pulldown, here you can choose a 2 View or 4 View scene. So let's look at this in 2 Views. In 2 Views, notice I have my Active Camera and then my Top View. See, I'm not seeing anything else in my top view because the only layer that exists in 3D space is this one layer here. Now it's interesting within the multiview, I can select this alternate view over here just by clicking the viewer.
And now, I know it's selected because I have these yellow corners highlighted. Now the reason I'm showing you this, you can switch what you're seeing in each view. So if I switch to this kind of Custom View, you can view this sort of from the side. So when I select this layer and zoom in, see you can see it from a slightly different angle. I know this isn't making much sense because we don't have another layer in 3D space, so let's just enable 3D for our background gradient layer.
Now here, you can see how this exists in a completely different 3D space. If we switch back from Custom View to Top View, here you can see my background layer is right here. Since we're looking at it right over top and there's no depth, all I'm seeing is a line, but I can also see exactly where this Type layer is in relation to the background layer within the three-dimensional space. So last thing, if you get into a multiview, make sure you select your Active Camera and then go and switch back to 1 View, and then you'll be able to see exactly what you're looking at before you actually go to render that individual composition.
Okay, so now your work has started to take on a whole new dimension and we didn't manage to completely jumped on the rabbit hole. So between moving layers in the timeline or directly in the canvas with the control handles, you'll have all you need to get started working in After Effects in all three dimensions.
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