Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Animation techniques with Vanishing Point Exchange, part of Motion Graphics for Video Editors: Working with 3D Objects.
- What we have here is basically a cardboard cutout. It's not really a 3d model, but it's kind of like one of those punch out models you may have made as a kid. You punched out the 3d environments from a book, and then you assembled slot a into slot b, and you started to build simple buildings out of cardboard. Well, these still have some dimensionality, and we can rotate the 3d camera around them to see it from different sides; you just can't do a full 360. What we're going to do here is select the 3d camera. And I put this with two views, horizontal.
This makes it a bit easier to see things. On the right is the active camera, or the view finder. On the left is a special view; I'm looking down on the scene from the top. Well, I like to take a look at "Custom View 1", which is sort of 45 degrees to the left, and 45 degrees to the right. If I press the comma key, I can zoom out a bit. You'll notice that the camera's really zoomed in, so let's change that a bit. Under "Camera Options", we can adjust the "Zoom".
I can quickly change that and pull out to see a little bit more of the scene. There we go. That's working well. And looking at that, let's just shave off and punch out a bit more. Alright. That looks pretty good. And reminds me of the composition of the original photo. Now, using the "Transformation" controls, we can adjust the camera's "Position" and "Point of Interest".
If we look at this here from the right, you can sort of see the scene, and there's the 3d camera pointing at the subject. What we're going to do is key frame this. So let's check the composition duration under "Composition Settings". You'll notice that it's currently set to 30 seconds. Well, let's shorten that down to 10. And click "OK". I'll now add a key frame for "Position" and "Point of Interest". And then jump forward a little bit.
Now, let's swing the camera on the x-axis around the building. You see it starts to rotate. There we go. I like that. And let's just tweak the orientation slightly of the camera. We'll spin its z-axis just slightly so the building straightens out. There we go. Jump back to the end point, and tweak the "Orientation" there of the camera.
There we go. So now it's nice and straight. And if we play that, let's just drop this here in the quality a bit. There we go. Let's invoke the preview. You see that it moves around the building, giving us a bit of a rotated view, which adds an interesting animation, allowing us to create a bit of content here.
Well, let's combine that with a vertical move. So besides the camera simply dropping to the side, let's move this over a little bit here so we can see the camera. We have to pan a bit while holding down the spacebar, because the camera's pretty far away to take in this whole building. There we go. I'll punch out a little. And what we're going to do is just move that camera upward. So, I'm going to take the "y" position here, and just drag.
Now that we've got the basic view right, let's just switch back to a single view. And we can adjust the camera position numerically. What I'd like to do is as it rotated to the side, have the camera also move up on the y-axis. So if we drag that, you'll see that it begins to rise a bit. There we go. And I just need to also adjust the "Point of Interest" too, so that the camera and the "Point of Interest" begin to swing.
There we go. That looks pretty good. And we'll start here at the beginning, and move the camera down a little bit, also taking the "Point of Interest" a little lower. Let's go right about there. Or we can go back and clone that building more, but I think that looks about right. We're starting near the base and it's going to move around to the side and lift upward. That looks good.
And I like that simple movement. Now that we've got the building under control, let's just take the sky layer, press "p" for position, and have the sky gently blow the clouds through like this was a slow time lapse. I'll turn on the "Position" stopwatch and come down here to the end, and move it a little bit so it drifts through... and drops a little bit, just as the building rose a bit.
So the clouds seem to move a bit with the camera. Here we go. We've got movement in the building and the clouds slowly float by. This would be a useful way to take a still photo and turn it into moving content for a scene. You can also use this to create something like a basic fly-through, or an animatic for a story board. Or maybe you're trying to take something like blueprints and make them a bit more three dimensional.
Feel free to explore this technique and come up with new ideas on how to implement it. All that we have left now that we're satisfied with the animation is to export the file for your NLE.
- Working with 3D layers in Photoshop
- Using Vanishing Point Exchange
- Using 3D layers in After Effects
- Creating 3D content in Illustrator