Join Alan Demafiles for an in-depth discussion in this video Intro to 3D layers, part of After Effects CC 2017 Essential Training: Motion Graphics.
- [Narrator] So here I have several 2D layers. When we talk about After Effects and 3D, we're actually talking about enabling a switch that converts a 2D layer to a 3D layer, and so when we look at the interface here, we have this icon for 3D, and it's available to us on all layers, so let's go ahead and click on this sun layer, we'll twirl this down and look at the transform properties. Anchor Point has an X and Y position. Position has an X and Y value. Scale has an X and Y value, and we have a rotation value, one lone rotation value.
When we turn on the 3D layer, we gain a couple different parameters, added values here for our Z position on the Anchor Point. The Position, Scale now has an X position, and Orientation is a brand new parameter, and our one rotation value gets split up int X, Y, and Z. And there're also some other differences inside the Composition Window, so let's select the sun layer again, and you'll notice we now have a new interface for our control handle, this is the 3D axis handle that we can use to control our X value or our X position, and we have a green arrow to control our Y position, and the blue arrow that's facing towards us deals with the X position.
Oftentimes when we're dealing with 3D it helps to have another view to kind of have a separate vantage point than our active camera. So After Effects allows us to switch this up to enable two views. Horizontal, or any of these other flavors here. I'm going to stick with two views for right now. And because we only have one 3D layer, you'll notice that in my top-down view over here, I have one floating layer in space, I can grab that blue handle for the Z space, and you'll see it moving up and down, or towards us and away from us.
Visually it's the same thing almost as if we're scaling it up and down, so let's go ahead and introduce some other 3D layers for this guy to have a few buddies with. So let's turn on that 3D layer and that 3D layer. So these clouds now have 3Dness applied to them, and so I can actually move these in towards us in space and back in space. And so you can see the top view now, how this represents the floating cards in space. By enabling this, we start introducing another concept, and that is to do with stacking order.
So let's switch over to composition two, and look at this. What I've got here is two 3D layers. Actually, let's back up here, let's turn this off, and let's enable our two views horizontal. So traditionally when we talk about stacking order, we know that the cloud, in this case, is stacked on top of the sun, layer two is on top of layer three, and therefore that sun is never going to be drawn on top of the cloud. That changes a bit when we turn on our 3D layers, so lets re-enable our 3D layers, and when we take our sun layer and move it forwards in space towards us, you see that the sun now is drawn on top of the cloud.
I can move it back to where it's behind the cloud again, and that's a real important distinction to note is that 3Dness kind of throws off the stacking order in 2D space and we have to be mindful and cognizant of that so that we can know where we're at. The cloud layer no longer has priority over the sun when both those layers are in 3D space now. The Z space now takes over here in this case. We have a 2D layer in our composition, let's go ahead and turn that on.
And 2D layer always supersedes the 3D layer, so long as it's on top of the other 3D layers. So regardless of what we do with the sun layer, we can move it forward towards us as much as we want, but because that top layer is a 2D layer, it's always going to get drawn on top. So there's another consideration with regards to rotations when we introduce 3D layers, let's go ahead and go and set up our 2D view again, our two views, horizontal. When we deal with rotation, we're dealing with X, Y, and Z rotation now when that 3D layer is enabled.
So as before with the 2D layer, our Z rotation kind of acts as our rotation around as if it were a 2D layer. The Y rotation moves this around from the top view around the Y axis, and the X rotation, as we rotate this around you'll see that yes, indeed, it is a flat plane rotating in space, it doesn't have anything to do with depth in this case. And that's where the 2.5D notion comes from. But when we're dealing with 3D layers, we have to be mindful and cognizant that other 3D layers can intersect with the layers in and around their vicinity.
So in this case right here, I'm actually, let's zoom this up to 100%. You can see that my cloud layer is intersecting this sun layer, and if I rotate this around, let's switch over to the Rotate Tool, and click this, you see that the planes are now intersecting each other, the 2.5D planes are intersecting each other in 3D space. So that's not a desirable attribute, and that's something that we want to be mindful of as we compose our animations here inside 3D space.
So there's a couple of considerations when dealing with 3D layers inside of After Effects. We saw that making a 2D layer into a 3D layer brings forth a third axis, the Z axis, as well as rotations. And we have to be mindful for stacking them in Z space, as well as the intersections of 3D layers themselves.
- Working with shape layers, animation, compositing, and type
- Using Basic After Effects 3D
- Building a basic camera rig
- Using the Cinema 4D renderer
- Using Cinema 4D Lite
- Creating 3D text and 3D geometry
- Adding compositions to the Render Queue
- Recording multiple files with the Render Queue
- Using Adobe Media Encoder
- Using prerenders
- Collapsing transformations