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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.
I mentioned earlier in this lesson that we recommend you use Orientation just to pose a layer and that you use X, Y, and Z Rotation to actually animate that layer. Let me demonstrate to you why that is? First I am going to put these layers in the same Position Z and I'm going to drag Enter a New a little bit higher Dimension, a little bit lower, so we can see them both clearly at the same time. Let's say that I want to animate a crazy rotation where X, Y, and Z all rotate several hundred degrees almost two full revolutions.
I'm going to keyframe X, Y, and Z Rotation for the Enter a New layer and keyframe just Orientation for the Dimension layer. I've got my starting pose of 0 degrees, and I want to go same 2 seconds in, press N to enter my work area here, and enter for the first layer 700 degrees, Tab, Tab, 700, 700. Then for Dimension, I'm going to enter the same amount, 700 degrees for X, Y, and Z. Already you have a clue as to what might be going on here.
X, Y, and Z rotation took my 700 degrees and turned it into one revolution, which is 360 degrees+340=700, make sense. But you might have noticed down here that Orientation is taking my 700 value and converting it just to 340. There is no revolution parameter. As I press Enter, you see it did the same thing for this rotation. Well, let's go ahead and press 0 on the numeric keypad to RAM Preview and see what actually happens.
What's going on inside the first layer where we animated X, Y, and Z is indeed doing the crazy rotation that we asked for. However, this second layer dimension where we animated just Orientation is not doing what we intended, it's just taking the shortest path in-between keyframes. And that's why we recommend you don't use orientation for animating rotation. It is just going to take the laziest path, it's not going to do what you actually asked it to do, like for this first layer where we animated rotation.
However, it's really nice to have those Orientation and Rotation properties for a layer. Let's say for this first layer, Enter a New, we wanted to start off by having it point upwards, I am going to put my Current Time Indicator back home, take the separate Orientation parameter, scrub the X value until it's pointed upwards like that. Notice it did not change any of my values for my rotation keyframe animation and now as I RAM Preview, it would do the exact same animation, just starting off and ending in a different Orientation for the layer.
So it is very handy to use these properties together, but remember, Orient is Pose, X, Y, Z is Animate.
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