10 Replies Latest reply on Feb 28, 2016 4:04 PM by Rick Gerard

    Creating a 3d block

    A.I.1 Level 3

      Why isn't creating a 3D block a more standard feature? It seems a lot of work trying to get a 3d block created with after effects (following tutorial about creating a cube but I don't actually want a cube and right now it's not right).

       

      Why doesn't After Effects affects just have an option for "create 3d block", where you can enter the width, height and depth (and assign image to each side or same image/video to each side - I know they would currently end up as separate layers) ? I know After Effects isn't a full 3D render but it must be a simple way for After Effects to create such an option (which I'm sure a lot of people would want). Could Adobe create such an option in After Effects please (plus if possible could the different sides not be seperate layers - for ease of use - plus it would help if things like this were mode node based)?

       

      In the meantime, is there a simple way to create such a block? I have a one image that I want on all visible sides of the block and I want it around 280 wide, 356 long and 182 high. Do I need to keep trying with the cube tutorials etc or is there a simpler way?

        • 1. Re: Creating a 3d block
          Gutter-Fish Level 4

          C4D.   It comes with after effects.  Just do Youtube search on getting started with Cineware in After effects.   It's simple to use and you don't need really need to know C4D in order to create a cube...or a block

          • 2. Re: Creating a 3d block
            A.I.1 Level 3

            Gutter-Fish wrote:

             

            C4D.   It comes with after effects.  Just do Youtube search on getting started with Cineware in After effects.   It's simple to use and you don't need really need to know C4D in order to create a cube...or a block

            Thanks. Though I don't have Cinema 4D. I have After Effects CS5.5 currently. I'll have a look on Youtube for what you said to see if it's easy and easily compatible with After Effects etc. Though I'm not sure it would help right now for what I want (unless I paid for a download but then that might need a newer version of AE).

            • 3. Re: Creating a 3d block
              Gutter-Fish Level 4

              OK.  I made a mistake anyway as any animation you might want on the cube would have to be done in C4D as it doesn't come across to AE as a true 3D object.  So I guess your only option other than creating six 3d shape layers, positioning them to form a block and then parenting them all to a 3d null so you can move them as a single unit would be to buy element 3D which only $200 and according the VC's website compatible with your version of after effects.   What I might do is open a new project in AE, create a 3D cube by the method I mentioned or by whatever the tutorial's method is and save it.

              Then whenever you need it just import it into the scene your working on.

              • 4. Re: Creating a 3d block
                Gutter-Fish Level 4

                I made quick tutorial for you

                • 5. Re: Creating a 3d block
                  A.I.1 Level 3

                  Thanks. I appreciate the video . Though it isn't exactly a cube I want it's a 3D block with sides that are different dimensions (3D block around 280 wide, 356 long and 182 high with an image on each outward facing side (probably the same image on each side)), which is why it's more complicated, and I'm trying to get things lined up and the correct lengths for what it's supposed to be. I've had a brief look at another tutorial that talks about a script for 3D boxes and I might download that if that would work (though a single 3D object that you could move around in After Effects might be better/simpler).

                  • 6. Re: Creating a 3d block
                    Gutter-Fish Level 4

                    Unless I'm misunderstanding you It's the same thing.  I used squared shapes but you could make the shapes any size you want.  Or....instead of shapes just use your six images. The process would be exactly the same.  The layers can be whatever you want: shapes, images, videos, compositions.  It doesn't matter

                    • 7. Re: Creating a 3d block
                      A.I.1 Level 3

                      Thanks for your help Gutter-Fish. Yes it was sort of similar but sort of complex (the different faces not lining up/being the right length etc. for the dimensions wanted). I'm sure it should have been easier if I'd done it right (knew what figures to enter where etc.).

                       

                      I ended up installing the Create3Dbox script and that lets me enter a width, height and depth, select the same image for the 6 sides and then creates the box with the controller. It's a bit more hassle creating more of the same boxes, since you have to re-add the image to the composition and select it 6 times and add a new box with the script (it would have been easier to just say "duplicate box" or duplicate the controller to create another identical box that you can move around separately but I suppose After Effects doesn't allow/work like that. So you end up with lots of layers of identical images (6 for each box you create). But its workable (and I suppose if I wanted I could change some of the images to make the 3d boxes look slightly different to one another. I plan on using/animating 10 to 20 in a scene so it's made it a bit easier)

                      • 8. Re: Creating a 3d block
                        Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        This is all just a matter of math. My technique is to do the following.

                         

                        1. Determine the size of the 3D block. In this case I want all sides parallel. Let's say the block (cuboid) is going to be 800 X 200 X 600. I'll need 2 sides that are 800 X 200, two sides that are 600 X 200 and two sides that are 800 X 600.
                        2. Arrange the layers so the matching pairs are together with the x sides first, y sides second and z sides third.
                        3. Make all layers 3D
                        4. Name the pairs x, y and z
                        5. Start at the top and offset the z anchor point of the z layers by y anchor point value of the Y layer and rotate the first Z layer 90º in x and the second 270º in x
                        6. Offset the z anchor point of both y layers by the x anchor point value of the x layers and rotate the first copy 270º in y and the second copy by 90º in y
                        7. Offset the z anchor point of both x layers by the x anchor point value of the y layers and rotate the first copy 180º in X
                        8. Add a 3D null to the comp and make it the parent of all of the other layers
                        9. Set the blend mode of all layers to Alpha Add to clean up the intersection of the edges
                        10. Lock all the x, y and z layers

                        Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 7.23.02 AM.png

                        AE does the math on the anchor points for you. You just have to think about hot the geometry should move and copy the values to the right layers.

                         

                        Custom View 1 will help you see your cuboid come together. Just make sure you go back to Active Camera to do your animation because Active Camera is the only view that will render.

                        • 9. Re: Creating a 3d block
                          Gutter-Fish Level 4

                          Thanks Rick,

                          I got that you used custom view rather than creating a camera and the blend mode is pretty smart, but why manipulate the anchor points rather than the position?  Is it so they will all scale correctly under the null?  I was guessing that correct scaling could only happen with expressions.

                          • 10. Re: Creating a 3d block
                            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            If this were a cube I would just offset the anchor point the same amount for each layer. Then you just use rotation to put the sides in position. The side benefit is that scale works perfectly no matter how you use it.

                             

                            If you know the math you can create any polyhedron using this technique by using the layer index and the rotation value  to create a polyhedron made of pentagons, octagons, or any other shape.