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Working with 3D layers

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: Working with 3D layers

Now one of the things I hear most often with people who are new to After Effects is a general frustration with manipulating the camera or even positioning objects in 3D space, just basically getting comfortable with 3D in general. Well I'm here to tell you in this video that it's not that bad. All you have to really do is pay attention to the orientation of your object within the 3D environment and if you have a basic knowledge of camera skills, you should be pretty okay.

Working with 3D layers

Now one of the things I hear most often with people who are new to After Effects is a general frustration with manipulating the camera or even positioning objects in 3D space, just basically getting comfortable with 3D in general. Well I'm here to tell you in this video that it's not that bad. All you have to really do is pay attention to the orientation of your object within the 3D environment and if you have a basic knowledge of camera skills, you should be pretty okay.

So let's look at our project here and I can show you some of my tips and tricks. Select the layer 4 Solid on the background and you can see it's a background layer, and we also have two text layers , and those of you joining me from the last video, let me double-click on the camera. I now have a 50 millimeter camera and it's a Two-Node Camera, okay. Now with these two words and this background, I still have zippy dimension. So let's go ahead and add some dimension by selecting our background layer and pressing R to open the Rotation.

Now there is a difference between orientation and rotation. I will show you that in a moment, but for now let's change the X Rotation to 90. Now we can't see our layer because it's pointed directly at the camera and it is a 2D layer, so we need to move the camera. If you press C to grab your Camera tool and middle-mouse click and drag down on the canvas, we can now reposition our scene. We are actually not repositioning the scene, we were moving the camera in the scene.

If you left-mouse click, let's rotate around so we can kind of get this perspective and then middle-mouse click again to sort of set or type up in the middle. Press V when you're finished manipulating your camera to grab your Selection tool. Now rotation and orientation. Let's press R to open up the Rotation parameters for the word kinet. Rotation, if I click and drag on the Y rotation here, notice as I spin around, I get this number that pops-up here.

The first number is the number of rotations, the second number is just the number of degrees. So if I were to keyframe this here, let's right-click on Rotation and just say Reset. If I were to keyframe this, just set a keyframe at frame zero and then move to one second and crank around until you get past one rotation. And let's move to two seconds and just press N. If we press zero this is going to be really fast, but we'll get a RAM Preview and I think you'll see that this spins around one full rotation and then stops 56 degrees past that.

Sure enough, that's what's going on. If we click and drag on the Y parameter for Orientation, notice once it gets past 360 it just resets. So if we delete the keyframes for the Y Rotation and actually create a short animation here for our orientation, look what happens? If we set our first keyframe, let's say at seven here, and then move to one second and crank up past 360, there we go, it's cranked past 15 degrees and press zero for RAM Preview, look at that.

Next to nothing, that's because the Orientation will always take the shortest route to that particular orientation that you set the keyframe to. It doesn't matter how many times you rotate around because it doesn't keep track of that. All right! Now let's delete the Orientation and right-click on that parameter and say Reset. We can do the same thing for the Y Rotation, just right-click on the words Y Rotation and choose Reset. Now if you're trying to reposition more than one layer in 3D space like this layer Eco, I want it to move with the layer kinet.

If we select both of these layers and press R, look what happens when I start rotating on the Y. Of course, they are going to rotate around their own axis. So if we want them both to move in unison, you guessed it, we have to make Eco the child of kinet. So I'll just collapse both layers, make sure to deselect and then reselect layer 2, and if you don't have the Parent options open in your timeline, just right-click anywhere in this gray area, under the Columns and choose Parent, okay.

On layer two, click on the pick whip for the Parent and drag it towards kinet. When I let go, now it's the child of kinet, and if we open the Rotation parameters by pressing R and click and drag on the Y you can see this is exactly what I'm looking for. Let's go ahead and rotate this around quite a bit and we'll rotate it up and give it a funky angle. A lot of times, once you have something strange like this in terms of how the layer works, people get really confused as to where they are in the scene.

They get confused how to move the object through the scene. For example, if I want both these words to fly in from this lower right-hand corner and go all the way across the scene. If I clicked on this control handle for the Z axis, notice that's not really going to work, it's going through the bottom of the layer. That's because these handles are oriented to the object. See up here at the top of your interface, we have Orientation, this is object orientation. If I click on this, that's world orientation. So, check it out.

If I wanted to create an animation where it slides in from the right and moves all the way through the scene, I could do that because it's now oriented to the world. What if I wanted it to fly in here and then fly directly towards me at the camera? Well that's what this last orientation is really good for. This will orient directly to the camera. So now with that Orientation set, if I click and drag on the Z axis, I can drag to the left and sure enough it's going to flyout right towards me, right passed the camera.

As you can see, when it comes to rotating and positioning and orienting yourself in the 3D environment, it's really not that bad as long as you pay attention to the orientation and you're relatively comfortable with some of your camera controls.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS6 Essential Training
After Effects CS6 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 57922 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    4. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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