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Transparency in CS6

From: After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

Video: Transparency in CS6

I'm going to start by cleaning up my display by closing all of my compositions as well as unnecessary panel,s such as the Footage panel, and twirl open a couple of folders, bring the Comp panel forward again. In next couple of movies, I want to explore transparency in the ray-traced renderer, and in particular, I want you to understand the difference between transparency and opacity. I am going to open up this Comp, ray trace 3-Transparency*starter, and to start out with, we have a Light, a Camera, some 3D text, which has already been extruded and beveled.

Transparency in CS6

I'm going to start by cleaning up my display by closing all of my compositions as well as unnecessary panel,s such as the Footage panel, and twirl open a couple of folders, bring the Comp panel forward again. In next couple of movies, I want to explore transparency in the ray-traced renderer, and in particular, I want you to understand the difference between transparency and opacity. I am going to open up this Comp, ray trace 3-Transparency*starter, and to start out with, we have a Light, a Camera, some 3D text, which has already been extruded and beveled.

You'll see I've played around with the parameters a little bit here, where I've increased both the Diffuse and Specular Intensities up to 75%, and reduced the size of my specular hotspot a little bit by increasing Specular Shininess above its default. And I currently have a 2D Background layer, and in the next movie in particular, we'll see what is the difference between the background being 2D or 3D, but first let's play around with good old-fashioned Opacity. I am going to select my text, hold Shift and press T to also add the Opacity parameter.

Altering the Opacity for a layer basically affects its Alpha Channel, and when you reduce Opacity and reduce the strength of the Alpha Channel, both the Diffuse value, the basic overall shading of the layer, and the Specular value, the hotspots, are reduced together and by the same amount. I am going to set this to 50% and take a snapshot, the shortcut is Shift+F5. And we'll scrub this back up to 100% for now.

By contrast, the Transparency parameter still affects the Alpha Channel of the layer, but you will notice that only the diffuse coloration is what's getting faded out here, the specular highlights remain at full strength. And here at 100%, we've lost all of our diffuse lighting, particularly on the sides of the text and bevels that aren't facing the light, but we've kept these nice specular hotspots. And that creates quite a different look than fading opacity. I am going to set this back to 50% for comparison.

I have 100% Specular, 50% Diffuse, I still have a reduced Alpha Channel because I am seeing my 2D layer come through my 3D text. Let's compare that to Opacity. The shortcut to show a snapshot is F5. There is Opacity, where the Diffuse and Specular colorations have been reduced by the same amount, and the effect of Transparency with Specular remains strong and it's just the Diffuse that is in essence melting away. What this means is, if I increase Transparency to 100%, which means the Diffuse values of our layer have disappeared completely, I'll still see the outline of my extruded and beveled layer because those specular highlights are still visible.

If I was to select the Light and press P to reveal its position, and scrub it down as it comes down in front of the text, you'll see how the light is playing against those bevels and creating different specular highlight patterns in the text. Now I'll undo to put it back up to its high position. Now completely transparent layers can be fun, but they can also be kind of hard to read, as you see here. This S in particular has all but disappeared. Well, to help counter that, you can use the parameter Transparency Rolloff.

What Transparency Rolloff does is reduce the effects of transparency on sides of the object that aren't facing the camera. Namely, the sides of this text are edge onto the camera, meaning as I increase Transparency Rolloff, those sides become opaque, and therefore visible. That's how you can add definition to an otherwise completely translucent 3D object in After Effects. 100% is a bit harsh. I might want to pick an intermediate setting, like somewhere around there.

Now these translucent looks are kind of cool, but you can take this look even further by playing around with the index of refraction, and that's what we'll experiment with in the next movie.

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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 · 14596 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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