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When you're working in After Effects, you can work in After Effects in a number of ways. You can work in two dimensions, traditional 2D. You can work in what I would called 2.5D, where you have flat planes in 3D space. You can work in true 3D, where you have 3D planes in 3D space, and then you can work in Cinema 4D, which is also true 3D. There are a couple different iterations for each one. So I figured I would just take you through the process and in that process you would see the different variations and some of the different settings we can adjust to move throughout all the different dimensions of After Effects.
In our composition here 2D, we have a 2D layer and we have another layer. I know these layers are 2D because if we go to the switches and loads area here, you can see I don't have any dimensions set up. Now if you don't see these switches and modes in your project, your interface may look like this, so you can toggle To make sure you have these modes. I'm just clicking this button in the lower left corner so we have both. In a 2-D environment, if I wanted to add perspective to this text, a traditional way would be to go up under effect and go to perspective.
And I could choose radial shadow and this way I can kind of fake 3D. If I move the light source here I'll move the shadow and I can get kind of a cool, funky, retro look but that's 2D. So I'm going to go to my project panel here and duplicate our 2D project and I'll do that by pressing Cmd + D. I'll rename this 2.5D and double click. Instead of having to use radial shadow, I'll just go ahead and delete that. In two and a half D, what I can do is make our 2D layers live in 3D space. So in this column here, underneath the box, we'll just click and drag and make sure both layers become 3D layers.
Now, notice with Layer 1 selected, now I have these control handles. That's a dead giveaway that I'm in 3D space inside of After Effects. Now I'll go ahead and double-click on the text, and we'll call this 2.5D. Now we can select our gray solid. Let's rotate it so it becomes a ground plane. I'm going to press the W key and I'll hover my mouse over the X axis. And I'll rotate it in the Z. I'll press V to grab my move tool and grab my control handle there.
And now we are happily living in 2.5D space. But with the addition of being able to rotate our layers in three D space, we can now add lights and cameras. So I'm going to go up under layer and choose New > Light, and I'll just choose the spotlight with cast shadows, and click OK. Now, I'm actually lighting the scene. I can move my light around the scene. If I hold down Cmd or Ctrl on Windows as I move around, you can see I'm sort of changing how this 2.5D works.
Now within these settings I have material options. Let's go ahead and select Layer 3 and press AA. Since it's a 3D Layer I have the ability to make adjustments to things like whether they cast shadows or accept shadows or lights or what have you. Let's actually select Layer 2 and press AA and turn Cast Shadows from Off to On. Now in order to better see our shadows, I'm going to go create a new camera. So I'm going up to layer, and choose new camera.
I'll choose a two new camera and click OK. We'll explore what all these different things do later. But again I just want to take you through all the different levels of dimension. Now in the toolbar, I'm grabbing my unified camera tool. I can click inside my object and just orbit around. And here you can see in 2.5 D space. I'm very happily existing with lights and objects and materials. Another iteration of this is using a different renderer inside of Adobe After Effects. That will give us 3D.
I'm going to select my 2.5D comp and press Cmd+ D to duplicate and this time let's call it 3D. And I'll underscore it and call it Adobe 3D. Now, if we double click this composition, and it's open. And if we go over here to the right, see how we have a renderer? If we click on this button that says classic 3D. We can change the renderer from classic 3D to retraced 3D. When we go to retraced and then click okay, its going to take a second for our scene to process, but what that gives us is a whole new set of options for our different objects.
If we select our text layer here, layer three, and press aa to open it's material options. Notice now that I have a geometry options. So if I wanted to, I could extrude this text in 3-D space. Let's go ahead and change the extrusion depth. I'm going to go here under my extrusion and just click and drag and let's extrude this out to around a value of 93. In order to speed this up a little bit, I can change my preview settings in the bottom right of my composition panel.
So I'll click here and I'll just chose fast draft. With fast draft, I can now see the dimension I've added to my numbers. If I click through here, here you can see, this is no longer 2 1/2 D. So I will now, double click this and call it 3D. Now I could continue lighting this and make change, but I think you understand. In Adobe 3D, you can extrude text and shapes, and you can even bend objects. So like my layer solid here. If I pressed AA, I could open up some curvetry options. So let me go ahead and change the curvature by just clicking and dragging. Now I'm getting a bending floor which is kind of fun, so let me go ahead and move this.
I'll press C to grab my unified camera tool. Really you can see we do have true 3D inside of Adobe After Effects. But, what if we want crazy materials, and textures, and all kinds of rigging, and other destruction options, and things like that? Well, that's when Cinema 4D comes in. In order to create a Cinema 4D file, let's go ahead and duplicate our 2D projects. I'm just going to have that selected and press Cmd+D. Let's call this 3D Cinema.
Now, when I double-click that, I'm not going to use any of these layers, so I'll just turn the visibility off, but we can go up under the Layer menu and choose New > MAXON CINEMA 4D File. Now, I need to specify where I want to save that, so I'll just call this, you know, c4d Sample3d. I'm going to save it into my Chapter 7 folder. Now in here, I have a full-fledged 3D application with 3D render capabilities and the whole nine. So very quickly, I'm going to go here to my Create tools and I'll create some text. Of course, I'm going to want this text to say 3D. And in order to create 3D text in Cinema this way Im going to go ahead and extrude this text.
So, I'm going to add this into an extrude nerves, and I can make adjustment to my extrude nerve's object and make it really large. I can add a light into this scene, and position that. I could add more than one light into the scene. Let's say I want to add a spotlight. I could go ahead and do that. I have 3D adjustment tools, so I can rotate around and really kind of have fun. I have world transform. As you see the possibility are relatively endless. I could come down here and create a texture. Let me go create a preset in my materials.
Let's go to Glossy and we'll choose Glossy Blue. That looks kind of fun. Let's drag that on. Now, when I save this I can go back into my After Effects project It'll take a second, but now there's my 3D layer. If I change my renderer from Software to Final, it'll take a second, but now I have true 3D. I could have more come back and forth between cinema and after effects using Cineware, but that's a video in and of itself.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to create dimension inside of After Effects. We have 2D, 2 1/2 D, 3D and 3D cinema. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
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