Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Moving in 3D space

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: Moving in 3D space

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.

Moving in 3D space

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

78 video lessons · 55747 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

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed After Effects CS6 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.