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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.
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