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Rotation in 3D

From: After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

Video: Rotation in 3D

Now let's discuss the issue of Rotation and Orientation for 3D layers. I'm going to start off by dragging my Enter a New layer down a little bit, in clear white space, so it is easier to see what's going on. Just as in 2D, you can edit Rotation interactively in the Comp panel or by scrubbing down in the Timeline panel. Let's start down here. You'll see separate X, Y, and Z Rotation parameters, each with their own animation stopwatch. Z Rotation is what you have with normal 2D layers.

Rotation in 3D

Now let's discuss the issue of Rotation and Orientation for 3D layers. I'm going to start off by dragging my Enter a New layer down a little bit, in clear white space, so it is easier to see what's going on. Just as in 2D, you can edit Rotation interactively in the Comp panel or by scrubbing down in the Timeline panel. Let's start down here. You'll see separate X, Y, and Z Rotation parameters, each with their own animation stopwatch. Z Rotation is what you have with normal 2D layers.

As I scrub its value, you'll see that it's pinwheeling around the axis arrow that's pointed right at you, the Z axis, and I'll undo. X and Y are unique to 3D layers. If I scrub the value for X Rotation, you'll see that it's twirling around its horizontal or X axis, that red axis arrow. Likewise, if I scrub the Y Rotation value, you'll see the layer is now pivoting around its vertical axis or that green Y axis arrow.

Another cool thing about this is, if it overlaps another layer that's fairly closely spaced in Z Position, as I rotate one layer, it will start to intersect another layer and parts of it will start to pass behind that other layer, as you'll see going on here. So it's not just a matter of the layer being completely in front of or completely behind another layer, depending how they're oriented in space, you can actually get intersections between 3D layers in After Effects. I'll set that back to 0, and as I mentioned, if you want to edit interactively, the shortcut key is W, and you can either click on a layer and start to rotate it freely in three-dimensional space, or if you want to constrain your Rotation, I'll undo, again, position your cursor on these axis arrows until a letter appears, such as X. Now I'll be rotating just in the X dimension; same thing for Z, and same thing for Y.

Now, as I've done this, you might have noticed that the Rotation properties have not been changing, this Orientation property has been changing. This is basically a second take on Rotation. It combines X, Y, and Z Orientation values all in one parameter, like in the Position our Scale. Now, you might be tempted to say, well, this looks far easier to use, I'll just use Orientation all the time. Well, Orientation is great for posing a layer, giving it an initial pose, like pointing straight up. However, it's not recommended for animating a layer, and I'll show that in a separate sidebar movie at the end of this lesson.

The way we divide labor is we pose using Orientation and we animate using the Rotation properties. Therefore, by default when you're interactively scrubbing a layer here in the Comp panel, keep in mind that you are editing its Orientation. Now, if instead you want to edit the Rotation values, that's easy to change. When you have the Rotation tool selected, you'll get an additional pop-up here along your tool panel that allows you to choose. Does the Rotation tool affect the Orientation, the default, or the Rotation of the layer? And now as I scrub this layer, you'll see that it's the Rotation values that are getting changed in the Timeline panel.

I'll set this back to the defaults just for now and zero this layer out. Now, a very important thing about 3D layers in After Effects is that as you start to Rotate or Position them to where you view them on edge, you will see they disappear. This is because so-called 3D layers in After Effects actually have no depth to them. They have no thickness. We refer to them as postcards in space. You have a nice image, but you turn them on edge, go ahead and do this in the other dimension as well, they'll disappear on you.

Quite often this is actually referred to as two and a-half D (2.5D). You have the full X and Y dimensions, but you're a little bit cheated when it comes to the Z dimension in depth. You can Position and Rotate layers in Z space, but a standard 3D layer in After Effects has no thickness to it. If you need thickness, you're either talking a dedicated 3D program or special third-party plug-ins. I'll set this back to 0 (zero) so you can see it again, and I'll press V to return to my Selection tool. So now that we have a handle on how to move and manipulate 3D layers in After Effects, in the next movie, let's go ahead and keyframe them.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space
After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

54 video lessons · 13975 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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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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