6.1 What Is 2.5D?
So far, you have learned how to use After Effects in two dimensions, but now it’s time to kick it up to 2.5D! What is 2.5D? Watch the video to find out—it’s way cooler than it sounds!
How to Animate in After Effects
Learn how to animate in After Effects in our in-depth course. Learn how to create impressive After Effects text animations using a variety of useful animation techniques. You’ll start by learning about keyframe animation and how to reveal text with masks and shape layers, before moving on to three practical projects.
1.Introduction1 lesson, 00:49
2.Getting Started5 lessons, 42:55
3.Compositions and Layers3 lessons, 26:35
4.Keyframes3 lessons, 25:21
5.Masks, Shape Layers, and Text5 lessons, 45:36
6.2.5D2 lessons, 13:42
7.Motion Tracking4 lessons, 34:04
8.Mattes and Cool Effects4 lessons, 43:43
9.Build a Lower Third2 lessons, 21:35
10.Exporting1 lesson, 09:11
11.Conclusion1 lesson, 01:16
12.Bonus Lessons4 lessons, 2:14:00
13.Frequently Asked Questions8 lessons, 1:34:42
6.1 What Is 2.5D?
So far you have learned how to use after effects in two dimensions, but now it's time to take it up to 2.5D. So let's talk about what 2.5D is and i want to start with a quick example that i created in after effects. So at first glance, you might look at this shot and say, okay, that's a kind of, I don't know, hyper-lapse or maybe it's video shot from a truck and dolly. But it's actually not. Although, this has a very 3D look to it this is 2.5D. And what that is, is creating a 3D environment out of objects that only have two dimensions. So this shot was entirely created on a base single photo. And then I cut out this foreground layer and this mountain layer right here, this mountain layer right here, and the stars. And I did a little bit of clone stamping tool to fill in some of the gaps. And then I arranged it in such a way that when I moved an after effects camera, this had some parallax to it which gives a distinctly 3D look. Now, there are lots of examples of this that you've probably seen throughout your life, and it may have not clicked before. You may have seen something that looked like the video had frozen and the camera sorta flies through the environment. That could very well have been a 2.5D shot, which is where you create something that looks very 3D, but all the objects have no third dimension. So I want to show you how to put together a really simple example. In fact, this is gonna look even cooler than that last example even though I'm only going to use text. So jump on in to this basic 2.5D composition. If you want to follow along, make sure you open up the 2.5D After Effects Project. So in this project I have three text layers and a solid background layer that's been locked. And we're just gonna get right into it here. So to start I want you to take the three text layers and I want you to enable the 3D layer switch here. Which you may have seen before. Now we're gonna kick it into action. And when you do, you'll notice that the anchor point has now changed to a 3D gizmo. This is what this is usually referred to in 3D applications. It's a little tool that has three handles or arrows that let you position the object or rotate the object in three dimensions. So we have X, Y, and Z. And in fact, if you toil down and take a look at the transform properties, you'll see that a lot of these, in fact, all of them except opacity now have a third dimension. Anchor point now has an X, Y, and a Z. Position, X, Y, Z. Scale, X, Y and Z. Rotation. Well, rotation looks pretty different. We have two things. We have Orient in X, Y, Z. And we also have Rotation in X, Y and Z. We don't have to dive into that too much right now. Because I'm gonna show you how to set up an after effects camera and a light to get a really cool looking 3D look here. Next let's throw in an after effects camera. Right click down in a blank area go to New, Camera and you can select a 35 mm preset and click okay. Lots of options in there for you to explore we don't have time to get into it right now. Now nothing will have actually changed right now because all of these objects. If you press P to bring up their position, these are sitting at the zero mark in 3D space. But we can move these around and get a really cool look. So I'm gonna take this back text layer here. I'm gonna click on the Z in the position. And put it at 4,000, and you can see it got smaller. It actually just moved away from the camera in this 3D environment. I'm gonna do something similar with the middle layer. I'm gonna put that at 2,000 pixels away from the camera. And now if you press C on the keyboard, you can bring up the camera tool. And by default, that should have selected the unified camera tool which is what you are looking at here. If it didn't, and it looks like this, or this, or this, just press C one more time to select the unified camera tool. These other tools. The orbit camera tool, the track XY camera tool, and the track Z camera tool are all baked into this unified camera tool. It's one tool that contains all of these three and it's much easier to use. So with the unified camera tool, if you click and drag. The left mouse button will orbit, the middle mouse button will track in X and Y. And the right mouse button will track in the Z dimension. And once you do that, things start to become really cool looking and you say, I get it. Now we're moving in three dimensions. Look at that. This has a distinctive 3D look to it, then that's because the After Effects camera acts just like a real camera. Now we can kick this up another notch by adding a light to this which will give us some shading. So I'm gonna write click in a blank area here. I'm gonna go to New, Light. I'm just gonna leave everything at the default values here. Make sure Cast Shadow is on. Things may get dark but don't worry, we can jump down into the light options. By the way, when you're working in this 3D environment, pressing AA on the keyboard will bring up the material options. And it's usually the thing that you wanna jump into when you're talking about the light options, the camera options, or the material options for the text. And you'll see that more in just a minute. So I'm gonna jump to the light options here. And I'm going to increase the radius, and I'm also going to increase the Falloff until I can start to see my layers in the background there. The white is already at a pretty good intensity. And turn it down a little bit so it will retain more of that color which has been set to kind of almost white. All right, that's pretty good. As you can see, this light is doing a great job of making things look like the further back they are away the less light they get. And you can turn that off because that is called Falloff. That kinda mimics the way real lights work in the real world which falloff based on the inverse square law. So with every doubling of the distance that you do, the light is at a quarter intensity. You don't really have to know that. [LAUGH] Just know that if you set this to Smooth that you get a really natural light falloff which is pretty cool. Now you may have also noticed that I mentioned to make sure Casts Shadows was enabled. And right now we're not seeing any shadows. But if you select your three text layers here and then you press AA on the keyboard, we'll jump into the materials option. And because they're still selected, if I take the first layer here and I change Cast Shadows from Off and I click and drag to the right, it'll go to On. And then you will see In your layer, now we have shadows being cast. They're being cast from this first layer to the second layer and the third layer, and from the second layer to the third layer. And if you jump back to the selection tool, and you grab your light and you move it just a little bit on the X axis or the Y axis, or even the Z axis, you'll see your shadows change. And so you can set up these After Effects lights, you can set up multiple lights, and create some really cool looks using this kind of 2.5D method. You can change the shadow's darkness. You can change the shadow's diffusion. So you can get more of a hard shadow or a really, really soft shadow, lots of cool options there. There's a few more things that I wanna cover with you in this project but that'll have to wait for the next lesson. So check that out, coming up next.