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Understanding 3D in After Effects

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Understanding 3D in After Effects

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.

Understanding 3D in After Effects

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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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

110 video lessons · 52464 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 30m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    3. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    4. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    5. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
    6. Different ways to use After Effects
      59s
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    5. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    6. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    7. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    8. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    9. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    10. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    11. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    12. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 55m 24s
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    3. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    4. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    5. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    6. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 1h 43m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    2. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    3. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    4. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    5. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    6. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    7. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    8. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    9. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    10. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    11. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    13. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    14. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 29m 3s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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