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After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space
Illustration by John Hersey

Refraction in CS6


From:

After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Refraction in CS6

In the previous movie, we created some completely translucent text. To make it easier to read, we increased the Transparency Rolloff parameter just to get some definition back to the edges. However, this is not a realistic look. Normally, when light rays travel through translucent objects, they get bent whenever they hit the interface between two different materials, like between air and glass. Well, to simulate that effect, you want to pay attention to the Index of Refraction parameter in After Effects. Right now, only the text is in 3D, the background is in 2D, and you will remember the 2D and 3D layers do not interact with each other in After Effects.
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  1. 4m 47s
    1. Welcome
      2m 47s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 15m 12s
    1. Comparing 2D and 3D
      5m 30s
    2. Rotation in 3D
      4m 47s
    3. Keyframing in 3D
      4m 55s
  3. 15m 9s
    1. Multi-planing workaround in 2D
      3m 21s
    2. Using 3D views
      6m 45s
    3. Natural multi-planing in 3D
      5m 3s
  4. 13m 9s
    1. Keyframing a fly-in
      5m 24s
    2. Editing 3D motion paths
      5m 43s
    3. Auto-orienting a layer along its path
      2m 2s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Adding a camera to a composition
      9m 0s
    2. Comparing camera presets
      2m 48s
    3. Using the camera tools with the active camera
      4m 48s
    4. Using the camera tools in the alternate views
      4m 50s
    5. 3D view options
      1m 58s
    6. Animating a 3D camera
      6m 20s
    7. Creating an orbit camera rig
      5m 42s
    8. Extending your camera rig
      4m 31s
    9. Auto-orientation with 3D cameras
      7m 33s
    10. Depth of field blur in CS5.5 and later
      5m 47s
    11. Controlling the focal plane in CS5.5 and later
      5m 12s
    12. Iris properties in CS5.5 and later
      6m 16s
  6. 29m 15s
    1. Creating a 3D light
      6m 35s
    2. Working with Point lights
      3m 20s
    3. Working with Spot lights
      3m 48s
    4. Creating shadows
      10m 13s
    5. The Light Falloff feature in After Effects CS5.5 and later
      5m 19s
  7. 48m 6s
    1. Enabling ray-traced 3D in CS6
      3m 26s
    2. Extrusions in CS6
      3m 39s
    3. Bevels in CS6
      5m 39s
    4. Bending layers in CS6
      5m 35s
    5. Transparency in CS6
      4m 20s
    6. Refraction in CS6
      4m 6s
    7. Targeting Surfaces in CS6
      3m 23s
    8. Reflections in CS6
      7m 35s
    9. Environment layers in CS6
      5m 40s
    10. Quality vs. speed in CS6
      4m 43s
  8. 11m 33s
    1. Quizzler challenge for CS6
      1m 42s
    2. Quizzler solution for CS6
      9m 51s
  9. 41m 6s
    1. Vanishing Point Exchange in Photoshop Extended
      9m 18s
    2. Vanishing Point Exchange in After Effects
      4m 38s
    3. Importing a 3D model into Photoshop Extended in CS5.5 and earlier
      9m 7s
    4. Creating 3D objects using Repoussé in CS5.5 and earlier
      9m 46s
    5. Live Photoshop 3D inside After Effects in CS5.5 and earlier
      8m 17s
  10. 20m 58s
    1. Introduction to dimensional stills
      3m 41s
    2. Cutting up the source image
      2m 25s
    3. Repairing the layers in Photoshop
      8m 26s
    4. Animating the resulting layers in After Effects
      6m 26s
  11. 25m 27s
    1. Rotation vs. orientation
      3m 15s
    2. Understanding the axis modes
      4m 4s
    3. Scaling issues in 3D
      4m 57s
    4. OpenGL acceleration in CS5 and earlier
      6m 23s
    5. Fast previews in CS6 and later
      6m 48s

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After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space
4h 49m Intermediate Oct 19, 2011 Updated Dec 06, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This installment of the After Effects Apprentice series introduces 3D space in Adobe After Effects. Authors Chris and Trish Meyer highlight key design considerations for working in 3D and provide step-by-step instructions for enhancing a scene with 3D lights and cameras. The course explores integration between Photoshop and After Effects, including modeling 3D objects with Repoussé extrusions and creating dimensional still images, and offers tips on using the different Axis Modes and maintaining maximum quality in 3D. There's also a chapter dedicated to the ray-traced 3D renderer, introduced in After Effects CS6, which allows you to build 3D layers into your composites, with realistic motion blur, depth of field, and reflections.

The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.

Topics include:
  • Keyframing motion paths in 3D
  • Managing multiple 3D views
  • Auto-orienting cameras along a path
  • Creating shadows
  • Understanding Vanishing Point Exchange
  • Importing a 3D model into Photoshop Extended
  • Scaling in 3D
  • OpenGL acceleration
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Refraction in CS6

In the previous movie, we created some completely translucent text. To make it easier to read, we increased the Transparency Rolloff parameter just to get some definition back to the edges. However, this is not a realistic look. Normally, when light rays travel through translucent objects, they get bent whenever they hit the interface between two different materials, like between air and glass. Well, to simulate that effect, you want to pay attention to the Index of Refraction parameter in After Effects. Right now, only the text is in 3D, the background is in 2D, and you will remember the 2D and 3D layers do not interact with each other in After Effects.

You'll still get a composite based on alpha channels and partial transparency, but a 3D layer by itself cannot bend the rays of a 2D layer. But even in this simple case, light rays are bouncing around inside this 3D object itself. So as I increase my Index of Refraction, you'll see some changes happening, and basically how light rays are moving around and through this object itself. The way that you see the back surfaces and the bevels through the front surfaces and bevels is slightly distorted.

Now right around 1.5 is roughly the equivalent of glass. I am going to scrub the Refraction back down to 1 for now and convert my Background layer into a 3D layer. Initially its Z position is zero, that's why you didn't see it jump when I enabled the 3D switch, but now both the background and the text are being calculated by the ray-traced 3D engine. As a result, as I slowly increase the Index of Refraction, you'll now see that background layer is much more distorted as it passes through our translucent 3D object in front.

And here is where you really start to get those true 3D looks. This looks much more glasslike now than when the background was just a 2D layer. Turn the 3D layer switch back on, ah, that's much more lovely. You'll see some slight offsetting and distortion of the background layer coming through the foreground layer, particularly down in this area, and this is where I have to tell you that there's been a big difference in two different versions of After Effects. The initial versions of After Effects CS6, versions .00 and .01, did not accurately calculate the Index of Refraction, and as a result, the effects were very exaggerated.

The .02 release, sometimes known as 11.0.2, fixed this problem and gives more realistic refraction. So in general, make sure that you update After Effects to the latest version, no matter what version you're running. The larger the distance between objects, in other words the further I scrub this background away from my 3D text in the front, the more exaggerated this effect is going to be. Also placing objects at angles to each other will be more exaggerated as you increase the Index of Refraction.

Now you're seeing a lot of fun going on here with the way light rays are being bent inside the bevels, et cetera. These are not reflections, we'll talk about that in a couple of movies. This is just light rays coming through the surface, being bent as it goes through one surface, and being bent back as it comes through the other surface, as it goes from air to glass to air again. So one of my design tips would be, even if you have a simple 2D background behind a 3D object, it could even be a piece of footage, go ahead and enable the 3D layer switch for that background, even if you don't intend to fly around in 3D space, just to get these improved interactions between your 3D objects and what's behind them, more interesting refractions, et cetera.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space.


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Q: This course was updated on 12/06/2012. What changed?
A: This was a more extensive update than the other After Effects Apprentice courses. We added three new movies to Chapter 4 that cover 3D camera features in versions CS5.5 and later, such as depth of field blur. We added a new chapter on the 3D ray-traced renderer in CS6, and another chapter featuring a Quizzler challenge for CS6. Lastly, we added a movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files, and added new sets of exercise files designed for After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6.
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