New 3D Features in After Effects CS6

After Effects CS6 includes a new ray-traced 3D renderer, 3D text and shape layer extrusion, environment layers, simple curvature of layers and more . In this walkthrough tutorial learn where to find the key new features and how to make the most of them.

Discuss
  1. Troy Church
    Reply

    Great stuff John. Thanks!

  2. John Stanowski
    Reply

    Awesome walkthrough! But I’m left wondering:
    Does the new 3D react to AE lights?
    Does the new 3D live in its own world? E.g. If you have 2.5D layers behind and in front of the 3D layer does it behave as we would expect? (I did notice at one point when you were rotating the camera that the floor seemed to obscure the 3D text.)
    And, not that I expect we can’t but, if we precompose the 3D layer are we able to use blend modes then?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi John,
      Yes the AE lights, camera etc all work with the new Ray-traced 3D Renderer. You can mix the 3D extruded layers with regular 3D layers. Precomposing the 3D layer gives you access to blend modes etc.

      Best,

      John

  3. John Michalec
    Reply

    Great preview! However, I get a much better grasp of tutorials where there isn’t an example all ready to go to start off. I was also wondering why the Floor layer is on top and also if raytrace is applied to the floor to achieve the reflection.

    Wish I could check this out at NAB, but maybe next year! Cheers.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi John,
      This is a quick overview not a step-by-step. Check out the 3D Material Template tutorial but to answer your question.. the Environment Layer is set to be an Adjustment Layer so that reflections only appear in layers below the Environment Layer (thus the Floor is above). In a comp set to Ray-traced all 3D layers have the ability to reflect and be reflective, which can be controlled in the Material Options. Ray-traced isn’t applied to individual layers, it’s an overall option that you choose from the Current Renderer (top right of the comp).
      Best wishes,
      John

  4. Nico
    Reply

    Hey John,

    Looks cool ! Do you have more precisions about the graphic cards, does it work only with Nvidia ? We own ATI Radeon 5770…

    Cheers, Nico

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Nico,
      right now it’s Nvidia cards only.

      Best,

      John

      • Andy
        Reply

        Hey John,

        What Mac were you using? I’m on the MacPro2,1 2 x 3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with an ATI Radeon 5770 card. Hopefully the Nvidia card you mentioned is supported in my Mac Pro…

        Cheers,
        Andy

        • John Dickinson
          Reply

          Hi Andy,
          I use a Mac Pro 2 x 2.26 but the big difference is the Nvidia Quadro 4000 card which does all the grunt work. I’d say you’ll be fine with that card though you best check first.
          Best,
          John.

          • Nico

            Here are the specs :

            Accelerating ray-traced renders
            After Effects CS6 renders ray-traced
            3D images using your computer’s
            CPU, employing all of its physical cores. Additionally, it may take
            advantage of NVIDIA OptiXâ„¢ for
            highly accelerated rendering. OptiX
            requires a supported NVIDIA GPU
            and 1024+ MB of texture memory.
            For a current list of supported GPUs,
            visit http://www.adobe.com/products/
            aftereffects/tech-specs.html.
            Using a qualified NVIDIA graphics
            card greatly accelerates rendering of ray-traced 3D compositions.
            Based on tests of an early prerelease version of After Effects CS6
            performed by NVIDIA, their Quadro ®
            graphics cards deliver impressive
            results. Compared to CPU-only
            rendering using a high-end six-core
            Intel i7 3960X processor running
            at 3.3 GHz, installing an entry-level
            NVIDIA Quadro 2000 improves
            performance by over a factor of ten,
            while a top-of-the-line Maximusâ„¢
            system powered by a Quadro 6000
            and Teslaâ„¢ C2075 is over 50 times
            faster. Results will vary depending on
            your specific projects and hardware…

            http://success.adobe.com/en/na/programs/events/1203_16108_nab.html

  5. Alex
    Reply

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the video! Regarding the camera, do the ray-traced graphics also support Depth of Field?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Alex,
      Yes depth of field is supported.

      Best wishes,

      John

  6. Chris
    Reply

    Just curious,

    What if you don’t want shiny reflective 3D text? What if you’re going for a nice matte/soft shadowed look to your text? Can this be done?

    Chris

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Yes, there are various Material Options to create different looks.

  7. Ryan Ragle
    Reply

    Hey John, hearing you speak of how much the Quadro improves rendering performance on the new 3D features, I started researching the 4000. On Ars site (http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2011/05/ars-reviews-the-quadro-4000-mac-edition-nvidias-sole-mac-offering-a-promising-start.ars/6), they have a review from about a year ago that said kernel panics were frequent. I’m guessing by your enthusiasm of the card performance, that the kernel panics are not really an issue anymore?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Ryan, I haven’t experience any kernel panics to date with this card.
      Best,
      John.

  8. Remington McElhaney
    Reply

    Hi John,

    What do you think of AE’s built in 3D engine, now that Element 3D has been released? I think people were concerned it had made Element obsolete (before the release), but now I feel like the opposite as happened and the Raytracing Engine is to slow and limited to compete with Element. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Remington

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Remington,
      After Effects raytracing is still very useful and is not replaced by Element 3D. After Effects 3D layers can cast shadows and reflect each other. After Effects 3D layers can also interact with one another. These things are not currently possible with Element 3D.
      Best,
      John.

      • Remington McElhaney
        Reply

        Hi John,

        Great point! Thanks for sharing

        Thanks,
        Remington

  9. Amit
    Reply

    Hi John !! am downloading AE for my video creation of promos,can i create effects of lights and explosion like those of shown in the hollywood movies,Bursting Text and 3D intro title etc.? Is AE is so useful in this way ?

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