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After Effects 3D: Part 3

Putting it all together to achieve the final 3D effect By Stephen Schleicher
In this, the last part of our three part tutorial, well combine the lessons learned from the previous exercises to create our pseudo 3D flying particles.

In the previous two exercises, you learned that Auto-Orient allows you to take any 3D layer in your Timeline and have it always point toward your camera. This gives the illusion that a 2D object is perfectly round. You also learned that you can easily distribute multiple layers in After Effects 3D space with the free Cubic Distribution Light plug-in included in AE6.0.

For our final effect, we will create a swarm of 3D stars and have them fly around the camera.

Begin by creating a New Composition that is 10 seconds long.

Create a New Solid (Command+Y) that is 100 x 100 pixels in size. Use white as the color of the layer.

To this solid apply a circular mask with the Elliptical Mask Tool. Here is a Quick Elliptical Mask Tip: If you have a layer selected in the Timeline and double-click the Elliptical Mask Tool in the Tool Palette, you will create a mask that is the size of your layer. In this case, a perfectly round circle appears in the Comp Window.

With the Solid Layer selected in the Timeline, press the F key to bring up the Mask Feather Property for the layer. Change the value to 30 pixels to soften the edge of the mask and give us a fuzzy star effect.

As you can see from the above image, we have a slight problem. Because the mask was created to be the same size as the Solid Layer, the feathering has revealed the edge of layer. You can quickly solve this problem by double-clicking the Mask Property for the layer, and then double-clicking the edge of the mask in the Comp Window to turn on the Free Transform for the mask.

From here, you can hold down the Shift and Command Key while clicking and dragging the edge of the mask to resize the mask. Holding down the Shift key causes the mask to be sized proportionally, while the Command key causes the mask to resize from the center.

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Related Keywords:auto orient, adobe after effects, starglow, digital anarchy, trapcode, schleicher

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