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Per-character 3D overview

From: After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music

Video: Per-character 3D overview

In this movie, I'll cover the concept of working with Per-character 3D. This allows text animators to work in three dimensions: X, Y, and Z. Now, up to now, we've been working only in 2D space. In this earlier example, characters dropped down into position because we offset the position Y value. We could have also offset its X value. Once we start working in 3D space, we'll have a third value called Z, and that would allow us to move characters forwards and backwards.

Per-character 3D overview

In this movie, I'll cover the concept of working with Per-character 3D. This allows text animators to work in three dimensions: X, Y, and Z. Now, up to now, we've been working only in 2D space. In this earlier example, characters dropped down into position because we offset the position Y value. We could have also offset its X value. Once we start working in 3D space, we'll have a third value called Z, and that would allow us to move characters forwards and backwards.

Now we also added rotation to this example, but we can only animate rotation along one axis. This is actually the Z axis. But once the characters are animating in 3D space, they'll be able to tumble and spin in all directions. If you have the exercise files, go ahead and open example 06-3D Position_final. If you don't have the exercise files, don't worry. We'll be creating this example from scratch in the next movie. Now, when I RAM preview, it might look like characters are scaling, but that's only because we're looking at the text from the front view.

The only way you can appreciate that these characters are moving in 3D space is to look at it from the side. I'll change my view from Active Camera to Custom View 1, and that gives me a bird's-eye view of how the text looks from the top, and from the left. Now, I know we have them covered using a camera and 3D views and so on--we'll be doing that later in the series--but I will encourage you to use a custom view and then to pick the Camera tool and either the Unified Camera tool if you have a three-button mouse, or you can use one of the individual tools.

For instance, Orbit Camera tool will spin the text around to its orbit, a lot of fun. The next tool down, Track XY, does exactly what it says. It tracks the camera left/right, as well as up and down. The final tool, Track Z Camera tool, will zoom the camera closer and further away, and you can cycle through all these tools by pressing C. If you do have a three-button mouse, the Unified Camera tool is very convenient.

Click and drag to use the Orbit Camera tool, right-click to zoom in and out, and middle-click will move left, right, up, and down. If that's all that you learn about 3D in this lesson, that's fine. So now that we're looking at the text from the side, you can see that the characters are moving from the foreground to the background. To help you understand what's going on under the hood, try to think of text as sitting on a plane. We often refer to this as a postcard in space.

It might help you visualize this a little better if I make a solid. Maybe I'll make a solid. Any color will do. That size should be fine, so I'll click OK. And the next thing I'll do is I'll turn on the 3D switch, so it'll now sit in 3D space. I'll move it behind the type. I'll press P for Position. The first two values are X and Y, but now we have a third value--the Z value. By scrubbing the Z value, I can scrub this plane in front of the title or behind the title.

If I select my Text layer and press P for Position, if I scrub its regular transformations, I'm moving the entire layer forwards and backwards. So again, the text is sitting on a plane, but when you enable Per-character 3D for the text animator, the characters are allowed to jump off the plane, and that's the beauty of Per-character 3D. Now, all of the techniques you've learned for text animators up to now--such as the typing on recipe that you see here, the cascading recipe that you also learned, as well as text on a path--can be applied to text that has Per-character 3D enabled.

So in the next movie, we'll build that animation from scratch and we'll follow that with animating rotation in 3D. As before, you can't always appreciate what's going on when you're viewing the animation from the front, so I'll change the Active Camera view to Custom View 1. I still have the Unified Camera tool enabled, so I'll use my middle-button to center and my right-button to zoom in a little. Now, there is a lot of motion blur on here so let me turn off Enable Motion Blur. So once I enable Per-character 3D, I'll be able to rotate text around the X, Y, or Z axis, or a combination of all three.

Now finally, I'll open another movie, 07xtra. In this animation, characters are animating on in a random order. They have a lot of 3D rotation going on. There is an animated camera moving around our scene, and there is a light that's casting a shadow on the colorful background. Now, all of those concepts--animating a camera, adding a light, turning on shadows, and so on--we'll be covering those later in this series when we get to the 3D animation chapter. But I want you to remember that all the tricks you'll be learning in this chapter you'll be able to incorporate into a full 3D world.

Also, the text animation you're seeing here is an animation preset that comes bundled with the program. Later in this installment, I'll show you how to apply text animation presets as well as save presets of your own favorite animations.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music
After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music

49 video lessons · 18310 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 35s
    1. Overview
      1m 35s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 14m 51s
    1. Setting up
      2m 20s
    2. Entering, editing, and styling type
      5m 49s
    3. Using strokes
      3m 6s
    4. Working with paragraph text
      3m 36s
  3. 23m 21s
    1. Setting a title
      2m 31s
    2. Creating a text animator
      6m 54s
    3. Selecting by character vs. percent
      3m 0s
    4. Animating position
      2m 4s
    5. Animating more properties
      3m 31s
    6. Exploring text transitions
      2m 47s
    7. Randomizing order
      2m 34s
  4. 22m 49s
    1. The Cascade recipe
      2m 15s
    2. Exploring offset plus selection shapes
      4m 16s
    3. Working with ramp selection shapes
      4m 26s
    4. Using character anchor points
      4m 40s
    5. Further refinements
      7m 12s
  5. 9m 0s
    1. Working with selections based on words
      4m 16s
    2. Anchor point grouping
      4m 44s
  6. 15m 46s
    1. Using a vertical blur treatment
      3m 58s
    2. Animated tracking
      5m 46s
    3. Working with text on a path
      6m 2s
  7. 14m 56s
    1. Per-character 3D overview
      5m 45s
    2. Enabling per-character 3D
      4m 4s
    3. Exploring per-character 3D rotation
      5m 7s
  8. 18m 37s
    1. Separating fields
      3m 48s
    2. Exploring wiggly options
      4m 28s
    3. Animating wiggles
      3m 18s
    4. Rendering with alpha channels
      7m 3s
  9. 45m 29s
    1. Adding audio
      4m 8s
    2. Audio levels
      4m 27s
    3. Spotting hit points
      5m 33s
    4. Timing to audio
      5m 25s
    5. Spotting dialogue
      7m 32s
    6. Timing dialogue to music
      6m 45s
    7. Mixing audio
      7m 53s
    8. Exploring audio refinements
      3m 46s
  10. 23m 9s
    1. Applying text presets
      5m 50s
    2. Browsing presets in Bridge
      4m 35s
    3. Editing presets
      6m 49s
    4. Saving presets
      5m 55s
  11. 16m 27s
    1. Working with Photoshop text
      4m 58s
    2. Keyframing source text
      4m 21s
    3. The Buzz Words preset
      7m 8s
  12. 20m 43s
    1. Exploring faux styling options
      7m 42s
    2. Tracking and kerning
      4m 56s
    3. Using smart quotes
      4m 8s
    4. Using hyphens and dashes
      3m 57s

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