Join Todd Kopriva for an in-depth discussion in this video Material options, part of After Effects CS6 New Features Overview.
After Effects CS6 includes several new Material Options properties. As well as new ways to apply materials to extruded text and shape layers. Materials are the surfaces of 3D objects. And Material Options are the properties of those surfaces that dictate how they respond to light. Such as reflectiveness, shininess and transparency. Open the Maternal Options project and in the zero three text composition, let's create a new shape layer. I'll use the Star tool.
And draw a star. Make it a 3D object by clicking the 3D switch. And then, in the Geometry options, increase it's excrusion depth. Then position it so that it's in front of our text layer.
And I use the camera to rotate around and there we can see our star and its reflection in the text layer. I'll collapse these other properties. And then open the Material Options properties. The first new property is Appears in Reflections. Right now it's set to On, which is the default. But if I switch it to Only, the object itself appears, but its reflection appears.
If I turn it to Off, then no reflection is cast but the object still appears. I'll turn it back to on. Two properties that existed in previous versions of After Effects, that have been renamed are specular intensity, and specular shininess. Which were previously called simply specular and shininess. Scrolling down to see more of these properties. The next several properties are all new. Reflection intensity, reflection sharpness, reflection rolloff, transparency, transparency rolloff, and index of refraction are all new. Reflection intensity refers to how much of a contribution the reflection of other objects makes to the appearance of this object.
Currently it's set to zero, if I increase this, to 100%, notice we're getting a reflextion here. Reflection Sharpness, which is currently set a 100%, determines how much detail there is in this reflection. If I bring it down, to zero, notice that it is a very flat matte reflection. And if I put it up to 50, then I get a reflection that still has some detail, but isn't overly sharp. One characteristic of reflections in After Effects is that they use fresnel reflections, meaning that if you're viewing a surface at a glancing angle. It is very shiny, it has a glare to it.
Whereas if you're viewing straight on, there is no glare, no shininess. The property that controls how much this fresnel reflection contributes to the appearance is reflection rolloff, currently set to 0%. If I increase it, to 100%. Notice that we are not getting any reflection at all. You'll only get reflection at a high value if you are viewing at an extremely glancing angle. If we turn it back down to a high but not an extremely high number, we still see a little bit of the reflection at this relatively shallow angle.
I'll put this down to 50%. One property that can be a bit confusing is transparency. Now, transparancy is currently 0%. Now watch what happens when I turn this up to 100%. Some people might expect that if I turn transparaency up to 100%. We wouldn't see the object at all, but we still see reflections and highlights, even when transparency is all the way at 100%.
This is different than opacity. Let's go look at the opacity property, which is up here in the Transformations, as with every other layer. Opacity is currently 100%. If I turn opacity down to 0% the object does entirely disappear. So one crucial difference in opacity and transparency. Is that transparency even with that, when that 100% does not prevent highlights and reflections from occurring. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you're compositing 3D objects over 2D objects.
Then you'll need to change the opacity setting to see the 2D objects. Transparency is not used for this purpose. Transparency has to do with how the various 3D objects interact with one another. If you view a surface straight on and the transparency value is set high. Then you can see through the object, but if you view at a glancing angle, then the object appears more opaque. This behavior is controlled by a transparency roll off. If I turn this up beyond zero you can see that at this somewhat glancing angle this edge becomes more opaque.
Index over fraction refers to the way the light bends as it passes thought certain materials. If we increase this, then we can see that light is bending more sharply as it passes through this material. Put it back down to one. Now let's take a quick look at how we can define new materials for Text layer or Shape layer. Let's look at the Text layer. Expand it. Go to the animate menu. And here we can apply different Material Options, to the Front, Bevel, Side, or Back, of the extruded text object. For example.
Let's make the bevel of our text object have a different metal property than the rest of it. So, already, you can see that with bevel having a metal setting of 100%. Whereas the rest of the object has 0%, we see the bevel is getting a very different appearance. If we turn it back down to 0% it matches the rest of the object but we can override by turning it up to 100%. Keep in mind that metal is the Material Option that determines how much of a surface's color comes from the reflected item.
And how much comes from the layer itself. You can add as many overrides as you like. For the Back, Side, Bevel, and Front. Including changing the color for each of these faces individually. You can either pick the RGB value, or just change one element, hue saturation, brightness, or opacity. The same is true for Shape layers. If we go up to our Shape layer and go to Add we can also choose Front, Bevel, Side and Back materials.
So as you can see, materials and Material Options in After Effects CS6. Are very powerful and very flexible for both extruded text layers and extruded shape layers.
- 3D animation
- User interface changes and removed features