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Setting up stereo 3D step by step

From: After Effects CS5.5 New Features

Video: Setting up stereo 3D step by step

After Effects CS5.5 new stereoscopic features allow you to take any composition with 3D layers and instantly convert it to preview and render stereographically. Let's take a look at how you can put it to use. Now if you're going to create a Stereo 3D scene it certainly helpful to have actual 3D elements in it. This scene consists entirely of 3D graphics and they are arrayed in Z depths so some are closer some are further. That's basically what you want. In this case I have a camera animation pushing in from near to far and so I'm going to start with that camera by selecting it. That will allow me to preserve that camera motion in the resulting 3D pipeline.

Setting up stereo 3D step by step

After Effects CS5.5 new stereoscopic features allow you to take any composition with 3D layers and instantly convert it to preview and render stereographically. Let's take a look at how you can put it to use. Now if you're going to create a Stereo 3D scene it certainly helpful to have actual 3D elements in it. This scene consists entirely of 3D graphics and they are arrayed in Z depths so some are closer some are further. That's basically what you want. In this case I have a camera animation pushing in from near to far and so I'm going to start with that camera by selecting it. That will allow me to preserve that camera motion in the resulting 3D pipeline.

With that camera selected I can either go under the Layer menu or I can just right-click and either way I go to the Camera submenu and choose Create Stereo 3D Rig. Okay, now a bunch of stuff just happened and suddenly we have this 3D scene. So let's take a look. In the Project where I had one comp before I now have four and those are all interrelated somehow and they're all arrayed here in the Timeline panel as well. But the easiest way to see them and how they interrelate might be a panel that you've never opened before, which is this one, the Flowchart view.

Flowchart is not a creative part of After Effects. This is not a node-based compositing application, but all compositing is neutral underneath the hood and After Effects like some of the other compositors out there can actually show you in a tree node view how the shots flow through to final comp. So in this case we have this new comp, 3D tract shot Stereo 3D from the 3D track shot. So there's this Stereo 3D comp at the end of the pipeline it contains the left and right eye view.

They are shown here along with these controls and the controls actually do influence the left and right eye. I'll show a bit more about that in a moment and then way back here at the top is what we started with. Now if we look at that comp, the original camera is there and the same motion that we had before is still in place. There are two other cameras also present and those have been positioned to the left and right of the original camera and they have a bunch of expressions assigned to them.

So with all these expressions those are automatically entered so those same expressions linked all of these comps together. I can tab on the Shift key to bring up mini-flowchart view and this lets me to skip ahead to either Left or Right eye , which annexes the pipeline. I'll go to the left eye view and here you see a couple of locked layers. If I unlock this camera and open up Expressions, they are present here as well. Luckily that's all the stuff you don't really have to worry about.

All your work is actually a happen for the most part right here in this 3D track shot Stereo 3D layer. It also has a couple of locked layers and notice their visibility is also turned off. Everything is actually happening in this stereo 3D control layers, which is just a solid with two effects in it. The first of these is a Stereo 3D Controls. Now this one influences those other comps, so all of those expressions that you saw are actually wired right into here. So if I change the Scene Depth for example if I reset it to 0, illuminating all of the 3D, that actually moved those cameras left and right in those little comps.

This is also where I can choose to switch from the Parallel view that set up right now to Converge view. But I'll have more detail about how to work with these settings in a following lesson. The 3D Glasses effect is what allows us to actually see the result. Without it we've just got a solid. With it we're looking at what's called Anaglyph view, which is this familiar cyan and red view of 3D, which has gone out of favor in cinemas but is still the easiest and cheapest way to look at 3D right on your monitor.

Anaglyph view is available to anyone who has a pair of red and cyan glasses. You just put on the glasses and you get the 3D. Other available views in After Effects include Stereo Pair and Interlaced. Those require specialized hardware attached to your system in order to preview them. So switching back to Anaglyph view, you can also balance this view, which is effectively fading it until it looks right to you through 3D glasses, but we'll go more into all of the settings later in this chapter.

Now you maybe looking at the scene and noticing that it looks quite a bit different from the original even beyond the fact that it's been taken into this Anaglyph view. The lighting that was so strong and compelling and such a critical part of the original is completely missing in the 3D view. Motion blur is also clearly visible in the original and not in the stereo view. That's more simple matter of just toggling it on. We'll look at how to make adjustments to fix those problems in the rest of this chapter.

So converting a 3D composition for stereoscopic pipeline is now simpler and more automated and the upgraded 3D glasses effect gives you more flexibility to preview the resulting stereo scene.

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After Effects CS5.5 New Features

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Mark Christiansen
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