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Working with Point lights

From: After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

Video: Working with Point lights

Now let's play around with moving a light inside of Composition. To clean up my Timeline I am going to press P to reveal the position of this light, then Shift+T to reveal the intensity of a light. You remember that T is the same shortcut as opacity for other layers. In the Comp panel you will see that the light has the same three axis arrows that you saw for 3D layers and for the camera. If you place the cursor over one of the axis arrows and a letter appears next to it that means any dragging is constrained to that axis.

Working with Point lights

Now let's play around with moving a light inside of Composition. To clean up my Timeline I am going to press P to reveal the position of this light, then Shift+T to reveal the intensity of a light. You remember that T is the same shortcut as opacity for other layers. In the Comp panel you will see that the light has the same three axis arrows that you saw for 3D layers and for the camera. If you place the cursor over one of the axis arrows and a letter appears next to it that means any dragging is constrained to that axis.

And you can confirm that by what parameter is changing down in the Timeline panel. That's Y I'll move to the side in X and then play around with the Z parameter, pushing the light further way to the point now where it's actually behind the layer that's why it's not illuminated, and now I am dragging the light outward. You see the light is starting to disappear off the top right corner of the Comp as I push it forward, again this is the same action as with 3D layers, as they come towards you they may fly over you, to the sides or underneath you. I will drag a little bit more back into the Comp.

If you place the cursor near the light but don't see an axis arrow, then you can move it freely in the X and Y dimensions. And just like any other layer you can change your Camera View, example to Custom View 1 and move the light here as well. And now you may even get a better idea of how this light is illuminating the layer, and in this view you can see I can move the light freely in all three dimensions. I'll position it there for now and go back to Active Camera. In addition to moving a light interactively in the Comp panel, of course you can also just scrub its values here in the Timeline panel.

Now you might notice that at different positions, the layer is more or less illuminated. If the light is very close to the layer, only the area right underneath the light is getting lit up. That's because the rays being cast by the light, or it's such an extreme angle to the layer, very little light is being bounced back to you the viewer. You can compensate for that by either pulling the light away from the layer or increasing the Intensity. For example, with this light very close to the layer I can crank up the Intensity to get a real burned out spot right underneath the light and so get some illumination over the rest of the layer.

Now you get kind of an interesting glare as the light is moved around this layer. If I back the light away from the layer, you'll see the whole layer now is over-exposed, I will go ahead and back the Intensity down. And indeed, I can actually put the light more or less centered over this layer, back off Intensity and get a little bit of a vignetting appearance. I'll put the light a little close to the layer, increase Intensity, and now I've got a nice falloff, the corners are darkened and the center of the layer is illuminated.

And if you ever want to double-check exactly what effect the light is having on a layer, just toggle it off. There is the original layer without the light, you can see how flat it is now and there is the layer being lit up by your 3D light. And I happen to love lights in After Effects. I think they are the one of the most underused motion graphics tools just to add a little bit of polish and mystery to your layers.

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Image for After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space
After Effects Apprentice 11: 3D Space

54 video lessons · 14253 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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  1. 4m 47s
    1. Welcome
      2m 47s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 15m 12s
    1. Comparing 2D and 3D
      5m 30s
    2. Rotation in 3D
      4m 47s
    3. Keyframing in 3D
      4m 55s
  3. 15m 9s
    1. Multi-planing workaround in 2D
      3m 21s
    2. Using 3D views
      6m 45s
    3. Natural multi-planing in 3D
      5m 3s
  4. 13m 9s
    1. Keyframing a fly-in
      5m 24s
    2. Editing 3D motion paths
      5m 43s
    3. Auto-orienting a layer along its path
      2m 2s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Adding a camera to a composition
      9m 0s
    2. Comparing camera presets
      2m 48s
    3. Using the camera tools with the active camera
      4m 48s
    4. Using the camera tools in the alternate views
      4m 50s
    5. 3D view options
      1m 58s
    6. Animating a 3D camera
      6m 20s
    7. Creating an orbit camera rig
      5m 42s
    8. Extending your camera rig
      4m 31s
    9. Auto-orientation with 3D cameras
      7m 33s
    10. Depth of field blur in CS5.5 and later
      5m 47s
    11. Controlling the focal plane in CS5.5 and later
      5m 12s
    12. Iris properties in CS5.5 and later
      6m 16s
  6. 29m 15s
    1. Creating a 3D light
      6m 35s
    2. Working with Point lights
      3m 20s
    3. Working with Spot lights
      3m 48s
    4. Creating shadows
      10m 13s
    5. The Light Falloff feature in After Effects CS5.5 and later
      5m 19s
  7. 48m 6s
    1. Enabling ray-traced 3D in CS6
      3m 26s
    2. Extrusions in CS6
      3m 39s
    3. Bevels in CS6
      5m 39s
    4. Bending layers in CS6
      5m 35s
    5. Transparency in CS6
      4m 20s
    6. Refraction in CS6
      4m 6s
    7. Targeting Surfaces in CS6
      3m 23s
    8. Reflections in CS6
      7m 35s
    9. Environment layers in CS6
      5m 40s
    10. Quality vs. speed in CS6
      4m 43s
  8. 11m 33s
    1. Quizzler challenge for CS6
      1m 42s
    2. Quizzler solution for CS6
      9m 51s
  9. 41m 6s
    1. Vanishing Point Exchange in Photoshop Extended
      9m 18s
    2. Vanishing Point Exchange in After Effects
      4m 38s
    3. Importing a 3D model into Photoshop Extended in CS5.5 and earlier
      9m 7s
    4. Creating 3D objects using Repoussé in CS5.5 and earlier
      9m 46s
    5. Live Photoshop 3D inside After Effects in CS5.5 and earlier
      8m 17s
  10. 20m 58s
    1. Introduction to dimensional stills
      3m 41s
    2. Cutting up the source image
      2m 25s
    3. Repairing the layers in Photoshop
      8m 26s
    4. Animating the resulting layers in After Effects
      6m 26s
  11. 25m 27s
    1. Rotation vs. orientation
      3m 15s
    2. Understanding the axis modes
      4m 4s
    3. Scaling issues in 3D
      4m 57s
    4. OpenGL acceleration in CS5 and earlier
      6m 23s
    5. Fast previews in CS6 and later
      6m 48s

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