Join Eran Stern for an in-depth discussion in this video Case study introduction, part of 3D Typography in After Effects.
In this movie, I want to show you the starting point of this course. This After Effects project has several layers which are 3D cards, meaning they don't have depth yet, but they do have an animation which is driven by expressions as well as some basic camera move, and few lights. Before we dive in I'll walk you through the project. I want to share a few notes about the idea. The inspiration to this design, came from a local game show opener.
This was done entirely in 3D, and when I was watching it, I was thinking, how close can I imitate it inside After Effects? So, my first move actually was to open up Photoshop, and start to work on the style frame. This will include the color and font decisions, as well as creating the 3D look, including the bevel style and the materials. If you are going to open up the source files folder.
You can see that here is the boomdesign.psp. I'm going to select the edit manual, and choose edit original. This will open the style framing side Photoshop and you can take a quick look of how this was done. I deliberately decided to limit the design and not to test all the fancy 3D options, that comes with those thirty party plug ins that we are going to see. In this case, we are strictly going to focus on creating 3D type with basic bevels and materials.
And not go crazy with all the advanced options, that 3D can offer us. Knowing that, in the following movie, but for now let's just see what we have here. So, I'm going to quit out of Photoshop and I'm actually going to take this boom design layer and place it above all my layers. This will help me to match what I have already did to this initial last peg shot. Let's turn off the eye for a moment and explore what we already have here.
We have two Illustrator files, which act as our floor and our wall. Those files are already 3D, and just to get a clearer view of this composition I'm going to switch from one view to two views horizontal. I'm going to select the top view over here and from this pull-down menu I'm going to choose custom view one. This will help us to see from the perspective custom view angle.
I'm also going to press C in order to get access to the unified camera tool, which allows me to use my three wheels mouse, in order to orbit around the scene. And this is of course using the left mouse button, using their right mouse, we can track in Z axis outside of this comp and pressing on the middle button mouse, we can pan X and Y just in order to see what we have here.
I'm going to unlock this just to show you that underneath this one we have the circle effect and this is what causing the vignette look over here alright lets move on we have another layer I am going to enable it this is the explode layer. Now the exposed layer is not visible in the first fine frames of this, so I'm just going to drag through and you can get a sense of what this is doing. The spring animation that you see here, is driven using an expression.
In order to show you this expression, I'm going to tap twice in sequence on the letter e in my keyboard. And you can see that this expression is plugged into the scale values. Now you don't need to understand or to bother yourself with what's written over here. Just know that this mathematical expression, is what makes this layer do this bounce thing. And we need to respect it in our design.
Also note that there are two opacity key frames, so this shape doesn't look like it is jumping from mid-air, thanks to the opacity fade in. On top of this one, we have our main text. This is the boom text. And this is, of course, using a custom font. I'm going to press Cmd 6, Ctrl 6 on the PC, the name of the font is Comic's Loud. This is a free font and you can download and install it on your own machine if you want to open the project and use the same design guidelines.
Also note that the text here, the BOOM! layer, layer number eight, is actually palented to the explode text. This means that all the geometric options are travelling from the explode text to this one. Which means that both of them are doing the same move together. On top of this, we have another line of text. This is the OSP I'm just going to close the character panel for now, and I'm just going to show you that these also have some kind of an animation.
It's a little difficult to see over here, so I'm just going to zoom into this view. And using the middle mouse, I'm just going to pan until I can get a better representation. We say that this has another pendulum animation. Something similar to the scale but a little bit different. And, you've guessed it. I'm going to press double E in sequence, this is also being driven with expression. Now this expression is a little bit different from the previous one, because it refers to this marker over here.
So the marker that you see here is going to trigger. The beginning of the expression. So just make sure not to move it unless you want to change the timing. Now there is also a camera line this scene. The moment that I'm going to enable it you will see that our active camera view will jump to the final space or the final position. And now if we're going to scrub the timer, we are starting from far away and then very quickly we are zooming in and both of the text layers are popping into the screen.
This camera animation is being driven using the camera 1 orbit now. We choose a 3D that controls the key frame for the animation. If you're going to press U you can get a sense of what we are doing over here. So, as I was describing, we are changing the position and also the Y rotation. Very basic after effects stuff, but also important for you to understand. That starting point.
Now, in order to make it more 3D, already, because these are all flat images, just want to show you nothing has depth, yet. In order to introduce some depth, and I'm going to return to 1 View. I have already placed a couple of lights in this scene, so we have a point light over here, we have a spotlight which is just above this scene and we also have a parallel light which is over here.
Now all of the light except of the parallel one are casting shadows. So if I am going to select both the point and the spotlight and press A+A in sequence, we can see that cast shadows is turned on and there is a shadow darkness value as well as shadow diffusion. These settings actually determine the amount of fusion in the shadow and of course, the strength of it. Now let's go to the last frame over here and enable the Photoshop style frame just in order to see if we are closer and indeed we are.
We can see that in the Photoshop document, the 3D shadows are not so accurate. There is just some kind of a dark area underneath. Everything, but when we are casting shadows inside after effects we can see that indeed we are getting shadows. Nice soft shadows on the wall as well as on the floor. Another important thing before we are going to initiate a run preview to get a sense of how the animation is going to appear.
Is that the Camera over here is also going to create a depth of field. We can double click in order to verify it on the Camera Settings dialog. Or, if you want to get more precise, you can once again press aa, in sequence, in order to show the Camera Options. And here you can check the focus distance, the aperture, the blur level, and all the other attributes of the depth of field, in terms of it's quality.
Also note that all of the layers have their motion blur switch turned on, as well as the master motion blur switch in the composition panel over here. So now let's go to the start of this composition. And I'm also going to press Tilde in order to get to the full frame. And let's zoom or feet up to 100. And create those on preview just so you can get a sense of where I'm taking it. So, this is our starting point for this composition.
We are going to use the same composition, over and over again. In each one of the different cases. But before diving in, before doing so, I just want to review. What we are actually going to test. And of course, this is the topic of the next movie.
In this course, motion graphics veteran Eran Stern discusses the options and their pros and cons. He'll also compare 2D and 3D typography, and discuss techniques to ensure your work looks great and your message is clear. Plus, learn about tools that behave like subsoftware inside After Effects, allowing you to create stunning 3D text faster than ever before. From built-in tools to advanced third-party plugins, such as Element 3D, BCC Units, and Invigorator Pro, this is your chance to find out which one suits your needs and budget.
- Why good typography matters in motion graphics
- Creating faux 3D and pseudodepth
- Using the ray-traced 3D renderer
- Extruding text in C4D Lite
- Working with BCC Units 3D Objects, Invigorator Pro, and Element 3D