Join Todd Kopriva for an in-depth discussion in this video Extruding 3D text and shapes and modifying geometry options, part of After Effects CS6 New Features Overview.
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After Effects CS6 introduces the ability to extrude Text and Shape layers in 3D space. In this video, we'll show the very basics of extruding Text and Shape layers, including the Geometry options. In the Project panel, right-click, or Ctrl click on Mac LS, on cog end. Choose New Comp from Selection and then let's convert this Illustrator layer to a Shape layer by right-clicking or Ctrl clicking on Mac OS, and choosing Create Shapes from Vector layer.
I'll delete the original Illustrator layer now that we're done with it. And here we have a Shape layer. I'll make it 3D by clicking the 3D box here. But notice that this is just turning the layer into a 3D layer, as After Effects has always had. Specifically a flat 2D layer that can now be transformed and rotated in 3D space. I'll switch to a custom view instead of active camera. Custom view one, and now if we use the Camera tool to rotate and orbit around, we can see that this is just a flat 2D layer.
Notice here in the upper right, an indication of what renderer we are using. We're using the classic 3D Renderer. If we want to use the Renderer that allows for extruded Text and Shape layers, we need to use the Ray-Traced 3D Renderer. Click the button, and from the Renderer menu, Choose Ray-Traced 3D. Click OK. The first time that you use the ray trace 3D Renderer, AfterEffects will explain to you the limitation of this Renderer. It's telling us here, that the Ray Traced 3D Renderer gives us the ability to have extrustions, reflections, refractions, Environment layers, and Curved Footage layers, meaning curved 2D layers. But there are many things that can't be done in the Ray- Traced 3D Renderer. You don't need to memorize all these now.
Just know that the two Renderers, the Ray-Traced 3D Renderer and the Classic 3D Renderer have different features. We'll click OK. And now the Renderer is Ray-Traced 3D. In the Timeline panel, I'll expand the layer and then expand it's geometry options. Extrusion depth is the first we'll have to change to see the extrusion. I'll drag this from 0 to the right. Make it a larger number, and notice this is now being extruded in 3D. To see this better, let's add some lights to the scene. Layer > New > Light.
First, I'll make an ambient light to throw some light onto the entire scene. I'll give it an intensity of 50% and then I'll add another Light layer > New light, this one I'll make a spotlight. And I'll make it's intensity 80%. Actually, maybe I'll bump that up just a little bit more.
I can change the light settings in the Timeline panel, I'll just go ahead and bump that all the way up to 100. Then I'll collapse this again, and with the Selection tool active, I'll move the light up a bit, and change its point of interest. There, now we can see some of the, the detail in this extruded cog.
I'll Deselect all the layers, one way that you can deselect is just click in an empty area, and then activate the Camera tool again. And I'll drag around so that we can see just how fully 3D this is. We have a few more properties in the Geometry options including bevel style. I'll switch to a different bevel style, concave, and I'll increase the bevel depth by quite a lot so that we can really see the result.
And then I'll deselect so that we can see without having the layer outlines in the way. Notice there's another way to deselect Edit > Deselect All. You can see its keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+A. This is what I prefer to use in general. So, here, we have some beveling, with the face of the extruded object meets the sides.
We can change this to convex Ctrl+Shift+A to deselect so we can see that later, or angular Ctrl+Shift+ A again to deselect. I like the way that angular looks on this cog. So I'll leave that as it is. Notice that there's a bevel here in this hole area too. You don't have to have the hole beveled.
If we were decrease that down to zero. We still have beveling around the edge but not here in the hole. We can do all of this to text as well, not just Shape layers. I'll Choose the Text tool and then type Text, and notice I'm not seeing this right now because it's a 2D layer. It's not being illuminated by this light and I mean the Ray-Traced 3D Renderer.
So what I need to do is convert this to be a 3D layer. I'll increase the text size a bit. And move it away from the cog, so they're not overlapping. And then, in the geometry options for the text, extrude it Ctrl+Shift+A to deselect.
And now I'll use the camera to orbit around so that we can see these. Now you'll notice that when I'm dragging, sometimes there's a little bit of pixelization. As After Effects needs to switch over to Adaptive Resolution to move the layers around quickly. That's normal and to be expected. And you can change that behavior here in first previews. Let's look at the final quality now before we finish this lesson.
Now Orbit again. There extruded text and Shape layers in After Effects.
- 3D animation
- User interface changes and removed features