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Skill Level Intermediate
- [Narrator] Hello and welcome to another episode of After Effects Weekly. And this one has a twist to it, and I mean it literally. In few minutes, you'll see how easy it is to bend any layer so it can curve along a surface, like a title on an asphalt bridge. So this is what we are aiming for, and let me show you how to achieve that. So I'll escape out of fullscreen and close the final column, and let's start with this footage coming to us courtesy of Adobe Stock. So this is it without any title obviously, just so you see it from start to end, and I've already took the time and apply the 3D camera tracker effect by going to the animation menu and choosing track camera. So, what I'll do now is park my cursor let's say over here, before the runner is coming to the screen, and I'll click to establish a ground plane. Now, I'm also going to right click, set the ground plane in origin so this is going to be the 000 point of this composition, and I'm also going to create a solid and a camera. Alright, so this is what we have so far, let's just go to the beginning and scrub it so we can get a sense of how this looks. Usually I'm naming this floor. And then I'll open up the properties and play with the rotation Z just to match it to the C. Now it's a bit difficult to see what I'm doing here, so I'll go to the effects menu and from the Generate category, I'll apply the grid effect. And I can stretch these just attach, just to see that it is pinned to the floor. All right, it looks promising, let's see how well this works. Now the problem here is of course, we need to bend this layer because at a later stage, I want to replace it with a title and I want to make the title appear as if it is bending along the curve of this asphalt bridge. So to make it happen, I'll switch the renderer from the Classic 3D to the Cinema 4D renderer. I don't need any of the fancy stuff here except of these guy, curved footage layers. This is the one that will help us to create this curvature. Alright, so I'll click OK, and then I'll open up the properties of the layer and I'll go to the geometry options. And over here, we can see that we have curvature as well as segments. So I'll start to bend it, and you can get a sense how this works, it's actually bending in the wrong direction. So I'll set it to negative 30%, and I'm also going to raise the segments to let's say 10, and this is going to make sure that we'll have nice bending with enough resolution. Now obviously, this is bending in the wrong rotation. So I'll need to return back to the transform properties and play with the Z rotation again, just to make sure that it is perpendicular to the floor that I need. So I'm going to say 83 degrees in this case, we may need to fiddle with it, after, I'll start and stretch the layer. So what I'll do is go to the beginning, stretch it so it will touch the surface almost at the edge of the comp, and then I'll do the same thing over here. I'll just make sure that I can see the edge of the layer, sometimes it's difficult to see it. So if you can't actually scale it from this place, what you will need to do is uncheck the proportion of the scaler and then just scale it from the timeline. So something like this, I think this is going to be enough, but just in case I'm going to give it just a touch more. Alright, so it looks like it's almost there, I think that we need to maybe lower it on it's y axis. And then again, I'll check in few places, I think that we have something that we can start using. Alright, so this is going to be our placeholder. And now I'll return to the project panel, I'll open up the source files, and I'll replace it with these title that I prepared ahead of time. So, just to show you what it has inside, I'll double click on it, and you can see marathon bridge. This title is already over rotated 90 degrees so it should match more or less the same rotation that we created for our floor. So I'll return to this composition, I'll select the floor, I'll hold down the Alt or Option key, and then I'll drag and let go, which is going to replace this layer with the layer that was here before. Now to see what I'm doing, I need to say goodbye to the grid effect. And this is going to show me this on top of that video here, which means that in this case, I think that I need to just lower it down, just to make sure that it is lying on the floor. So maybe a touch more. And then if I want to move this, my recommendation is actually return to the title comp, and move it from here. So if I'll grab this holding down shift and move these title, in this composition, it will automatically be reflected in this comp as well. Now obviously, we can move it from here so if there is a need to just do some minor tweaks for the position, this is something that we can do from this composition. But if you need to scale it let's say you want to make it a little bit more narrow and tall, my recommendation is to do all of these modification from this composition and you can see automatically, it will reflect in this one. Alright, so now we just need to create a better composite so it will look more convincing. The first thing that I'll do is press T to show the opacity, I'll reduce this one to let's say 50%, but I think that we can match it even better. Now, the problem here is that we can't use blending modes, due to the fact that when we are using the Cinema 4D renderer, blending modes are disabled. So we need to find a workaround. Instead, I'll go to the layer menu, and I'll create a new light, I'll choose a point light. You don't need to cast any shadows here, I'll raise the intensity to something higher than 100%, let's go with 200%. And then, just so we know where we are starting, I'll select the floor layer, press P to show the position and then copy its position and paste it to the light. Meaning that now if I raise the light, I'm starting with the light which is happening more or less above the title. And this way, I can see what I'm doing here. So I'll open up the light settings or light options, I'll change the color to something from the background. I'll select the floor layer, double tap on the A to show the geometry options as well as the material options, and this will allow me to change the diffuse which is how the light is being cast on this layer. So I'll set it to let's say 75, and then again I'll return to the light and then maybe play with each y axis as well as its Z just until I'm happy. So I want to see a bit more of this title, this means that it probably going to look better like this. Now of course we can also animate these slides by adding movement on its Z axis, but this is it. A nice way to bend the layer in 3D space and match to the camera motion, as well as composite it on the ground. I'll double click on this final composition, just to show you the final result after playing a little bit with the light keyframes, so you can get a sense of how this works in concert. So, the next time you want to bend some layers inside After Effects, all you need to do is switch to the Cinema 4D renderer which will allow you to always stay ahead of the curve.