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Thread: 3D After Effects Intro - Easy 3D with example and tips

  1. #1

    Default 3D After Effects Intro - Easy 3D with example and tips

    Hi all,

    First of all, here is the final effect:
    YouTube - After Effects 3d Poker Chip Vegas Intro
    The video looks 3D (I hope) but uses no actual 3D objects. That means, no expensive software or plugins needed to create a pretty cool effect with tons of potential. I'm sharing this in the hopes that you'll get some good use from it, while also hopeful that someone will help me to improve it.

    Basics: I recently learned of a cheap way to make 3D effects using only the Shatter effect in Adobe After Effects. If you're an AE user, I highly recommend googling for tips and tutorials (I learned from youtube), but here's the basic idea: the shatter effect in AE breaks an object apart and the pieces fall in 3D based on different variables. Prior to the actual Shatter, AE renders a 3D version of the object, so if the shatter never takes place you're left with a depth on the z-axis that creates a 3D object. It's very useful for making 3D text, but also useful for shallow 3D objects like the poker chips in my example.

    How to: The easiest way to learn is to start with text. In AE, make a new text layer with whatever letters or words you want to use. Then, create a new solid. (I used single color solids, but gradients and even 2d photos work as well.) Here's the weird part - hide the text, and apply the shatter effect to the solid 2d layer. Change the shatter map to "Custom" in the effects properties (instead of "Bricks", "Glass", etc), and then select the custom map in the next selection box - use your text layer as the shatter map. This will make a 3d object using your text as its shape, and using your solid layer or 2d photo as its texture. There are several ways to stop the shatter from taking place after the first frame - I just set the Force>Radius to zero. Then, play with the camera settings IN the effect to see that you've created a 3D object. This is a great way to make 3D logos easily.

    Drawbacks and Limitations: Shatter is one of the effects that will allow the use of the Composition Camera OR the Effect Camera. Using the effect camera, as described above, can yield great results if you're using only one object, such as a logo. You can spin around and keep the illusion of 3D with great effect. Unfortunately, when using the Composition Camera, the 3D effect fails. (Imagine that you've drawn a 3d Box on a sheet of paper - if you moved the camera around the piece of paper, the illusion of 3d fails when the camera takes a hard angle to the 2d paper.) To create the above video, I've make every object a child of my main logo - this way the movement of the main logo adjusts the other objects by the same amount, reinforcing the 3D effect. I'd love to be able to rotate, but this is not possible with multiple objects as it ruins the 3D effect. I've tried everything, and can't get around these few limitations.

    I hope you find some use for this - please reply with questions, comments and (hopefully) work - arounds to make this more useful.


  2. #2


    Very interesting. I love experimenting in After Effects with tools and what they can be used for outside their initially intended use.

    I'm going to play around with this one.

    Here's how I'd make a 3d chip in AE:

    Photograph the face of the chip and the side of the chip. Place layers of each of the colours on the chip above the photo and turn of the layer properties.

    Use the mask tool to create the shapes that are seen on the chip on the single colour layers, then turn them on to see the new chip.

    Pre-comp everything and turn of the photo in the pre-comp.

    Create a new comp with dimensions suitable for the circumference of the chip and recreate the graphics in a similar way. Put this comp in the same comp that contains on a single layer, the previous pre-comp.

    Working in that comp duplicate the face and make all three layers 3d. Put the cc cylinder effect on the edge and line them up to fit in the shape of a chip...

  3. #3


    ... It's a good time to go to the material properties and select "accept lights, cast shadows" and stuff that you will need later.

    Now I'd duplicate this comp and replace the main colour of the chips layer with another new layer of a different colour. This of course could be done a few times for different colour chips.

    Create another new comp and bring in the comps of the completed chips that are required. They will have lost their 3d proportions, turn on 3d for those layers and select "continuously rasterize" and they will pop back into shape ready to be animated in 3d space, with lights camera's and anything you want.

    Interesting effects can be obtained by animation them to loop in the previous comps and using them as particles in effect ssuch as particle playground or particular.

    It's a bit complex for text though, I've scene a couple of different ways to get sd text without expensive plugins I think the shatter tip sounds better though. Thanks, it sounds like it'll go somewhere, it all depends on how the scene and shatter lighting can be connected.


  4. #4


    Fantastic, I don't post much here - usualy a ghoster - but thanks for posting this up. I've been looking for a way to create 3D text in after effects and this looks just the ticket. Gunna have a play with it now, thanks alot

    Edit: Just had a quick go with it on my laptop and seems to work sweet, will try and use it in the opening sequence of the corporate I'm about to start editing this week. Thanks again!
    Last edited by Kyle Forrester; 08-13-2007 at 01:40 AM.

  5. #5


    Nice job, Simple yet artistic.

    Software Used:
    TGV Edius 6, TGV ProCoder 3, DVD Lab Pro. 2

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