Join Ran Ben Avraham for an in-depth discussion in this video Model the volcano's basic shape, part of After Effects Motion Graphics: Creating Fire and Brimstone Type Animation.
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- [Voiceover] Let's start modelling our volcano. We'll first create a new solid. I'll hit Control + Y. We'll set the solid size to 1500 by 1500 and we'll hit okay. The solid is obviously larger than the composition size. And that will help us keep a decent resolution once we'll want to zoom in with our camera. We'll rename our solid to "Volcano" and we'll apply FreeForm Pro to it.
I would like to increase the number of rows and columns in the FreeForm Pro grid. So, let's switch to the grid section and we'll double the amount here. We'll set four for the rows and four for the columns. Wonderful, let's back up here so we can see what's going on. Now, I'll create a camera so we can hover around our FreeForm Pro mesh. Control + Alt + Shift + C to create a new camera. Let's hit C to get the camera tool and rotate around here.
Maybe, back up a bit. Okay, wonderful. Now, let's see. I would like to raise the volcano straight from the middle here. So, I'll hit V to get the selection tool and I'll mark the middle vertice here. Now, I want to drag it on the Z axis. I can eyeball this by just simply dragging it up, but, then again, since I'm looking at things from some sort of an angle if I rotate around the mesh we can tell that I've moved these vertices on the X axis as well as on the Z axis.
So, let's Control + Z here. FreeForm Pro gives us a very useful tool to control the position of each and every vertice in 3D space. And we can find that under "Grid Control Points". So, first let's close the grid. And we'll open up "Grid Control Points". Here we have several rows. Let's mark the plug-in again so we can see what's going on here. So, Row zero will be this one. Row one will be this one. And row two, which is the one we are interested in, will be this one.
So, we'll open it up. In row two we have one, two, three, four, five vertices. And we are interested in the middle one, which will be one, two and three. So, row two and vertice three. So, here we have "P1", "P2", and "P3". These three, the X, Y, and Z here control the position of our desired vertice. Let's try and move around the Z and we can see that does exactly what we wanted.
We actually don't want it to go it to the minus. This is simply the camera angle we are in. So, actually, let's fix the camera angle here. Rotate it to the other side, wonderful. And we want to go the opposite way, wonderful. So, something of this sort should be fine. For now we can close the "Grid Control Points". At this point, I would like to rotate the entire mesh to the correct angle. We'll switch to the "3D Transform".
We want to rotate our mesh on the X axis. And I believe that will be to 90 degrees. Now, let's make some room here. And, let's zoom in a bit. When I select each vertice, I get these green tangents and these are bezier tangents that can change the tension we have in our grid.
And of course, by that, changing the angle. So, I would like first to zoom in a bit on the top of the volcano. So, again, I'll select the camera tool and zoom in. Okay, now let's hit V to get the selection tool and mark the "Stop" vertice here and we'll click, hold, and drag one of the tangents to the left and let's rotate and do the same from the other side.
Wonderful, now let's back up here a bit more. And rotate a bit. Now, to view a bit better what's going on here, we'll create a new light. Control + Alt + Shift + L. And again we are in the spotlight intensity of 100, white color, casting shadows, we'll hit okay. And let's drag it back. Wrong angle, that's it, Z.
Let's change the camera view for a minute to the top view. There it is. Now, let's duplicate it. I'll move this light over here. And duplicate it again. And move it to this position. Wonderful. So now we get light from all around. We'll switch again the "3D View" to the active camera and now we can see a bit better what's going on here.
I'll select my volcano and select "Tiffy" from Pro plug-in. Now, I would like to create a rounder base for our volcano so, again, I'll select the top view and let's see. Let's back up here. I would like to drag these four vertices a bit backwards and by that, getting rid of that square look we got on our volcano. So, let's see. I'll drag this one to the right a bit.
And expand its tangents. Same goes for the left one here. Expand its tangents to get a smoother angle. We'll do the same here. Drag it backwards. Expand. And, same here, we'll drag it up. And expand its tangents.
Wonderful, so now let's switch again to the active camera and this looks a lot better. Now, since I have eyeballed this I want to make sure that I have moved these vertices on the Y axis only and not on the Z so let's close the "3D Transform" and we'll switch to the "Grid Control Points" and let's see. We moved row one and that would be the first vertice, so "P3". Let's make some room here.
And I've moved only the Y axis, wonderful. So, that's row one and row two. I've moved the second vertice on the X axis, which is fine and that should also apply to vertice number four. X only, wonderful. Row three that should be Y again. Number three, yep. Okay, and I have accidentally moved it on the X axis as well so, I'll just zero this one out.
So, now I know that everything is as it should be. We can close this one and this one. Now, I would like to expand the entire shape on the X and Y axis and we can do this using the vertices, dragging those backwards and upwards and downwards, but there is actually a way of doing it a lot faster. Let's again mark our volcano layer and we'll go to the "3D Transform" and we'll scale the entire shape by 20 percent on the X and Y axes So, that will be 120 for the X and 120 for the Y.
If I will scale it on the Z as well to 120 we'll simply get a higher volcano which might be fine but it's nothing I'm interested in at the moment. So, let's sum this up. We have created a new layer 1500 by 1500. We've applied FreeForm Pro and rotated it on the X axis to 90 degrees. We have moved around the vertices to model the basic shape of the volcano. And, last, we have scaled up the the entire mesh but only on the X and Y axes.
And that is, again, to get a wider base for our volcano.
In this course, you'll learn to take advantage of these powerful features. The first half of this course uses AE as if it were true 3D software, producing a unique 3D landscape—a volcano spouting fire and brimstone—rendered into several image sequence passes. In the second half, author Ran Ben Avraham shows how to use AE's powerful compositing abilities to combine the render passes, add environment particles, build 3D text, and use a few post-production tricks to produce this "volcanic" scene.
Like all of our project-based learning experiences, each step of the process is rich with object lessons that are applicable to scenarios the motion design artist will face in real-world productions.
- Working with the FreeForm Pro plugin
- Modeling the volcano
- Adding lava flow to the color and displacement maps
- Animating the camera in the scene
- Filling in gaps with FreeForm Pro
- Lighting the scene
- Rendering multiple passes
- Compositing the render passes
- Creating a smoke particle system
- Building 3D text
- Adding effects
- Time remapping