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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.
So far you might have noticed that any of our changes to the Material Options for a ray-traced 3D layer affect every surface of that layer identically, the faces, the bevels, the sides, the backs. As I reduce my Index of Refraction all the surfaces are changed in the same way, et cetera. I'm going to go closer to a more glasslike 1.5. However, there is a way to target specific properties of certain groups of surfaces inside After Effects CS6.
To do so is not entirely intuitive, so watch what I'm going to do here. For this text layer, twirl it up and twirl it down again until I can see the Text Animate button. Now if you've been through our text animation lessons, you know this where you select properties such as Position, Scale, Rotation, Opacity, et cetera, to animate them in text. Well, if you happen to have an Extruded and Beveled layer in After Effects CS6 or later, with the ray-traced 3D renderer chosen for the composition, this is also where you get to set properties for the front, back, bevels, and sides of your 3D object, independently.
Let's say in the case of this layer, that I like the idea of having translucent fronts, backs and sides but I want to add some more definition and clarity, maybe to these bevels. Again, I'm clicking on the Animate button, choosing the Bevel property, in this case it's saying I want to have a different transparency just for the bevels. After Effects will create a range selector just like it would for Text Animator, but you're not going to animate anything here, instead you're just going to edit this Bevel Transparency parameter that hass been added to your layer stack.
You notice that it defaulted to a value of zero, and now my bevels are opaque and have gone back to the original diffuse color value of this text. Indeed I'll go ahead and open up the Character window, click on the text Fill Color, and by changing it, I'm going to change the bevel color of this layer, that's because I'm basically changing the overall diffuse color of this layer. You'll notice that my specular highlights are getting tinted a little bit as well.
I have my metal value set to 100, which means the specular highlights take my layers color and are adding it back into the surface. This is the basic procedure you use to target any of these Material Options for these groups of surfaces individually. And by the way, I'd like to point out that you can indeed still animate your 3D text. You can go ahead and apply animation presets, you can create your own animations. Every frame of your animation will be extruded, beveled, calculated on the fly, to create a glorious new 3D object on every frame.
So even though it may look limited initially, it's really quite powerful. So that's how to take advantage of transparency with the ray-traced 3D renderer. In the next couple of movies, we'll start playing around with reflections in 3D.
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