After Effects CS5.5 New Features
Illustration by John Hersey

Using the Create Orbit Null feature


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After Effects CS5.5 New Features

with Mark Christiansen

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Video: Using the Create Orbit Null feature

The orbit null is a simple addition in After Effects that solves what for many has been an annoying problem: how to easily orbit a camera around an object or a scene. So here we have just a simple 3D object and a camera and to this camera I will add an orbit null simply by right-clicking. I could also do this from the Layer menu and choosing the Camera submenu > Create Orbit Null. Now just to make sure I don't move that layer, I'm going to lock that and in fact I will lock the camera as well so I'm just working with that null, and I have my Rotate tool selected up here and I can rotate around and let's take a look in 2 Views to see what's happening.
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Watch the Online Video Course After Effects CS5.5 New Features
1h 42m Intermediate May 02, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course,, visual effects guru Mark Christiansen covers the relevant new features of After Effects CS5.5, including the new Warp Stabilizer, 3D Stereoscopic workflow, and Lens Effects tools. The course also covers light falloff enhancements and workflow improvements in this release.

Topics include:
  • Adding smooth light falloff
  • Using inverse square falloff
  • Creating lens blur with the After Effects camera
  • Working with Warp Stabilizer
  • Recreating bokeh blur artifacts
  • Creating rack focus
  • Setting up stereo 3D
  • Working with RED camera footage
  • Saving preview time with disk caching
  • Creating an orbit null
Subject:
Video
Software:
After Effects
Author:
Mark Christiansen

Using the Create Orbit Null feature

The orbit null is a simple addition in After Effects that solves what for many has been an annoying problem: how to easily orbit a camera around an object or a scene. So here we have just a simple 3D object and a camera and to this camera I will add an orbit null simply by right-clicking. I could also do this from the Layer menu and choosing the Camera submenu > Create Orbit Null. Now just to make sure I don't move that layer, I'm going to lock that and in fact I will lock the camera as well so I'm just working with that null, and I have my Rotate tool selected up here and I can rotate around and let's take a look in 2 Views to see what's happening.

There you have the camera and it's orbiting around that null. Now it would make a little more sense if the null was at the center of the scene, so let me unlock the shape layer and get its position property with P key I'll select that and copy it and paste it to that null. Now the null is right at the center of the scene and now I am orbiting around center of the object. I can of course pull the camera back-- and maybe it will be simpler to look at this back in one view-- and do whatever I like and I'm free to move the camera around as well.

It's still going to orbit around that null and so it's easy to create something like a 360 orbit around this just by going into the Rotation here and starting with a zero X value and then ending up with one full rotation. Now it doesn't matter whether my camera is a one or two node camera. I'll just unlock it and change it to 2-node camera and nothing is different about the scene, so orbit nulls are a nice timesaver to set up a popular type of After Effects animation.

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