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Casting Shadows in After Effects 6.5Different types of shadows in 3D space
To make a truly believable 3D space in Adobe After Effects, you should make use of shadows in your composition. In this exercise, well look at the three options for casting shadows (and light) in After Effects.
For this exercise, well create an animated logo for an imaginary Japanese restaurant called ?Zen Zero. In addition to having the name of the restaurant in the shot, we will also the logo which happens to be three offset rings rotating around one another.
You can download the rings and the entire After Effects project at the end of this exercise.
Step 1: Create a New Composition (Command+N on the Mac, or Control+N on the PC). Name this Comp ?Zen Zero, use the DV NTSC Preset and set the length to 5:00.
Step 2: Create a New Solid (Command+Y on the Mac, or Control+Y on the PC). This will serve as the background in our animation, and since we will be using this layer in 3D space, lets make it rather large a value of 2000x1000 will work fine. Select a Dark Blue color for the layer and click the OK button.
Step 3: To this layer apply the Grid effect (Effect>Render>Grid). Change the Size From selection to Width Slider and adjust the width amount to 50. To blend the white grid with the blue layer, change the Blending Mode to Overlay.
Step 4: I created a stylized ring in Illustrator that is slightly offset. Import this file (Ring.ai) and add it to the Timeline.
Step 5: Duplicate the Ring layer (Command+D on the Mac, Control+D on the PC). Parent the duplicate layer (uppermost layer) to the original Ring Layer. The easiest way to parent one layer to another is to use the Pickwhip icon.
If you dont have the Parent column present in the Timeline, place your cursor at the top of the Switches/Mode Column, Right+Click, and select Columns>Parent from the pop up window.
Click the Pickwhip icon and drag it to the original Ring layer.