Join Todd Kopriva for an in-depth discussion in this video Bending 2D layers, part of After Effects CS6 New Features Overview.
After Effects CS6 has the ability to bend and curve 2D layers in 3D space. Let's see how this works. Start in the bendable layers project, and drag the DrinkDrinkDrink.PSD footage item down to the new composition icon. Note, you can also right-click or Ctrl+click on Mac OS, and choose New Comp from selection to do the same thing. Now click the 3D switch and this makes a 3D layer. Note that the renderer is currently set to Ray-traced 3D. This is because the last composition that I created was the Ray-traced 3D composition.
For you this may say Classic 3D depending on what kind of composition you last created. If it does, then just click the button, and in the composition settings dialog box, switch to Ray-traced 3D. And click OK. If this is the first time that you've created a Ray-traced 3D composition, you'll get a dialog box telling you about the limitations of the Ray-traced 3D Render. If you do get that dialog box, click OK after reading the information. Right now we're looking at this layer of 3D Active Camera view. Let's look at it from a different angle. By choosing Custom View > One.
So right now, we have a flat 2D layer in 3D space. I'll expand the layer in the Timeline panel to show it's geometry options. Curvature is currently set to zero. If we drag this to the right, then the layer becomes curved in 3D space. Notice that it's very chunky. There are very linear segments. That's because currently our segments value is very low. Let's move this up to something like 100.
And now, there are 100 small linear segments that are making up this curve. We can make this even higher. But I'm not seeing any visual difference between 100 and 256. So that might not be necessary. Keep in mind that the more segments you use, the more processing that's required. So don't use more than you really have to. I put this back down to 100 for now. Select the Unified Camera tool, and orbit around the layer, give it a look. Let's zoom in beyond the current 50%.
And orbit around some more. So, here we have a 2D layer. It's been curved in 3D space. We can see the backside that is reversed. Normally with these layers what you're doing is creating a curved back drop, so you won't be seeing the backside. I used a still image for this, but could just as easily used a movie. You can also curve a 2D Pre-composition layer. Let's add another layer here. I'll put the hip hop girl on top and I'll turn off the 3D switch here and lets precompose these two by selecting both layers.
I'll click on one and shift-click on the other to select them both. I go to layer>precompose and click OK. So now we have a single pre-composition layer that includes both the still image backdrop and the moving image. I'll click frame preview you show you a few frames of this. So, now that we have this pre-composition layer, click its 3D switch.
Go into the Geometry options. And increase its curvature. And the number of segments. I'll orbit the camera around a little bit so that we can really see the curve. I'll zoom out as well, using the mouth scroll wheel. And then preview a few frames. It's a very short video. I'll actually make the video loop by going to Hip Hop Girl, and the Product panel.
Right-clicking choosing Interpret Footage>Main, and then setting Loop to 10, hitting Enter. Double-click on the Pre-composition in the Timeline panel to go into the Pre-composition. And go ahead and extend out the duration of the layer. So now, our video will loop. And I'll go back to the containing composition. Go back to the beginning of the composition by pressing Home and press the Spacebar. Now I'll take the blue logo.AI file, drag it down into our composition. Right-click, or Ctrl click on Mac OS.
Choose Create Shapes For Vector layer, delete the original AI layer now that we've created our Shape layer from it and make the Shape layer 3D. I'll go into it's geometry options, because its a Vector layer I have different options than I do with the 2D curve layer. I can exclude the Shape player which I'll do. Then I'll add a couple of lights to the scene.
Layer > New > Light. I'll include a spotlight, and also include an ambient light, so Layer > New > Light > Ambient. And for the spotlight, I'll select it, move it up a little bit. And move its point of interest down. And finally I'll go into the Material options for the blue logo and turn on Cast Shadows.
By default it's set off. So now with the mouse scroll wheel I'll Zoom in a little bit. And I'll choose Unified Camera tool to orbit around. So now we have an extruded logo casting a shadow and otherwise interacting with a bent Pre-composition layer and 3D space. Let's run and preview this. So it's very easy to use 2D layers as curved backdrops in 3D.
- 3D animation
- User interface changes and removed features