Join Chris Meyer for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a cascade, part of After Effects Apprentice 18: 3D Text CINEMA 4D Lite.
- [Voiceover] We set up a plain effector to push around our text so that it's pushed back by 1000 units in Z, it's scaled down by half of its original size, and so that each character is rotated 180 degrees along its vertical, or Y, or heading axis. But, it's just kind of sitting back there. I need to create a shape to this force field so that I can have my characters ease into their final position. To do that, with the plain effector selected, you go underneath the Falloff tab.
You'll see the initial shape is Infinite. That means everything in your world is going to get this offset. But we want to have it a bit more shaped. And indeed you have lots of different shapes for the force field of your infector. Some various primitive shapes, but also this one called Linear. Linear is a wave creating a nice ramp effect that's like cascading text in After Effects. I'll choose Linear. Now you see I have a couple squares appear here that indicate just where that force field is.
The transition from affected to not affected is in-between these squares. You'll see the orientation initially is not exactly what we want. It's along the Z-axis. We want our characters to come in from this negative X side, through to the positive X side, along this axis. So, I need to change the orientation of my force field. You can always play around with the different orientation options to see which one works, but with a little bit of thought, you can usually guess correctly the first or second time. So I'll change it from +Z to -X.
Now my force field squares are oriented along this axis I want to move, and now you'll see something is actually happening with our text here. I'm going to drag the X position of this, and you can see this the characters come inside the middle of this forcefield, they fly up from their offset position to their final resting position. This is the sort of cascade animation that we wanted to create. Ok, we're getting a lot closer now. What I'm not happy with is that only one character at a time is flying up.
I'd like to have a broader cascade so that several characters are moving at once. Something a bit more elegant. To do that, I need to play around with the falloff. Now the first thing you might notice is that we have this red square in-between the two yellow squares. The red square actually indicates where the falloff end is. And you'll notice that nothing to the right of my red square is flying up yet. So I need to change my falloff weighting, a percentage, so that red square is all the way to the right with the other yellow square.
And now, the region in-between these two squares is my entire transition. You'll see we now have some more characters in-between those two end plates being drawn forward. We can widen this even more. It's just a matter of changing its size. Now, fortunately, these are tall enough to take our characters into account. If we had multiple lines of text, we may need to extend these to be even taller still. But my big issue right now is width. I'd like to take in more characters during this cascade animation. So to do that, I'm going to change the X size.
Since that's the dimension that we're pulling our effector through. I'll increase the X size, and now I see I'm capturing more characters and getting something a bit broader in the animation here. I can include the entire word. I like to have things kind of peel into place here. Now this is a two-taste parameter, I personally found somewhere around about 250 or so, matches my own personal aesthetic for what would be a nice cascade. Of course you're going to need to adjust this, depending on your model, the size of your elements, and your own tastes.
I have to be careful that I grab the right object here. I'm not trying to re-size the effector. I just want to drag it along its face here. This is what my cascade is looking like. Since I grabbed this panel, I'm freely dragging this. I eventually want to constrain my movement along this x-axis. So undo, drag just that axis arrow, and I have nice constrained movement. Alright, I'm getting there, but it's very linear, and the characters are slamming into their final position as I pull the effector through them. I like things that settle in with a bit more elegance.
To have it ease in on these individual characters, the equivalent of Ease High and Ease Low in After Effects, is text. You need to go down to the Falloff Function. By default, the Falloff Function allows you to actually draw a curve, but it also has some nice default shapes. Linear is what we have here. Spline is where you get to draw it. Inverse creates a sort of curve here, where you see characters are settling into position more. And I'll drag my effector through here, and you see as they're pulled forward, they're easing into their final position a bit more.
Cinema has a few variations in Inverse. Including Inverse Square, which has an even steeper curve to it, and Inverse Cubic, which is the steepest curve of all. Again, this is another two-taste parameter. It's not a bad curve, but for the sake of this exercise, I think I'll go forward with Inverse. Hm, changed my mind. Inverse Square, I think I like that curve a bit more. The nice thing about Cinema's animations is they're very much like After Effects. They're all live. You can go ahead and change your mind later on without having to re-build your entire scene.
Ok, now that we've defined our force field for our effector, our last step is actually animating this effector through the text. And that's what we'll do in the next movie.
The first course in the series, After Effects Apprentice 17, includes an overview of the C4D Lite user interface, as well as important setup information you need to know whenever you use live C4D layers in After Effects. We recommend you watch it first if you have no prior experience with C4D.
- Extruding 3D text and Illustrator artwork
- Beveling letters
- Creating animations using the Fracture object and plain effector
- Texturing and lighting
- Adding a camera move in After Effects
- Using multipass renders
- Simulating glass-like effect distortions
- Improving render quality