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Jim Krause | Classes | P354/J560 Program Graphics & Animation

Lab 12


  • Review Quiz
  • AE (continued): Ray Tracing / Extrusion
  • Cucoloris Exercise

AE: 3D Modes and Extrusion

(Meyer chapters 13 & 14)

After Effects can extrude text, vector artwork, and shape layers in true 3D space. After Effects can work in several 3D modes:

  • Classic (the default setting)
  • Cinema 4D
  • Ray Traced (depracted)

To access these modes go to Composition Settings (Command-K) and click the 3D Renderer tab. The modes react to shadows in surprisingly different ways. Because of this, I suggest selecting the mode you'd like to work on before spending too much time and effort working in your comp.

Classic 3D provides the quickest 3D effects. Cinema 4D and Ray Traced allow for more options but with certain caveats. You also lose acess to blending modes. Toggling betwen the modes also changes how cameras and shadows operate. Ray tracing tasks the CPU and slows down responsveness.

Cameras and lights in AE only interact with 3D layers. They see regular layers- but they simply don’t have any 3D characteristics.

It’s fine to have stationary cameras and move 3D layers. It’s also fine to have stationary 3D layers and to move the camera. But if you move both camera and layers, things can get really complicated. This is best left up to those with practice working in 3D space.

Extruded Text & Geometry Options

AE now provides extrusion and geometry options in Classic Mode. Extrusion never will look right unless some light is added.

Take a few minutes to experiment with extrusion and geometry options.

An introduction to 3D Ray Tracing in After Effects

Cookies (Cucoloris)

Cookies (in lighting) are patterns or cutouts placed between the light source and an illuminated object or wall. The purpose is to create interesting and sometimes suggestive patterns of light (jail house, Venetian blinds, branches, etc.) In After Effects you can use many different kinds of footage to create shadows. The main thing you want is something with an interesting cutout or alpha channel. Here is a Photoshop file with some examples you can play with.

In-class Extrusion & Cookie Exercise

Create a short (E.g. 10-second) 16:9 branding identifier (logo or your name for example) for TV, which employs some extrusion (applied to artwork, shape, or text) and two specific types of lighting effects:

  • A spotlight tracking another layer
  • An animated cookie (animate either the light or the cookie)

Make sure you have a few 3D layers (E.g. a background and a bottom/floor) so you have something to cast shadows onto.

Save it as (square pixel, Apple ProRes 422, mp4, or H.264)
Turn it in to the appropriate Canvas assignment.

NOTE: This might take a while to render, so the due date is later than usual.

Homework - 2 Projects are due Tuesday:

  • Read Chapters 13, 14 & 17 of the CMG book (Parenting) & Chapter 29 (Motion Stablization)
  • Abstract 3D project with depth, design.
    • Create an entirely new 15 second (minimum) abstract graphic. (It doesn't have to serve any clear purpose, but should show depth and have some aspects of good design.) Create some of the major visual elements from within AE. It must have or contain:
      • A sense of depth
      • Good design
      • An animated 3D layer
      • A visual element whose appearance coincides with an audio element
      • A Ramp effect applied somewhere to make a gradient.
      • Turn in a square-pixel ProRes422, MP4, or H.264 version
      • Be sure to turn in a critique form that indicates where and how you used the effects.
  • 16x9 animated company/corporate/group image branding spot for HDTV (or 4K if you're feeling bold). It can be for a real or fictitous organization. It must have
    • Nice design (remember CRAP!)
    • At least 2 message elements (E.g. Tekgenix logo, name and "building a better tomorrow" slogan)
    • Audio (sound effects, music or both)
    • Sense of depth
    • At least 1 animated camera
    • 2 (or more) 3D layers
    • At least 2 lights interacting with at least 1 of your layers
    • An animated gobo/cookie
    • Turn in a full-size, sqare pixel Apple ProRes 422, MP4, or H.264 version.
    • Be sure to note what you did with your 3D camera, lights and layer in the accompanying critique form.
    • Past examples:



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