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Shuffle It Quick Tip

3D arrows in After Effects Part 2 By Stephen Schleicher

Last time we created the iPod Shuffle commercial arrows.  In this installment, well expand upon the 2D effect and have these arrows move in 3D space.  It isnt that hard and makes this exercise an After Effects Quick Tip.

If you havent already read the last exercise, click here to catch up .

In order to have the long arrows extend into Z-depth space, we need to make one modification to the Final Arrow composition we created in the last exercise.


Step 1:  In the Project Window, select the Final Arrow composition.  From the Composition menu, select Composition Settings.  Change the Width amount to 2000.  This is the same width as the Arrow Shaft layer we created in Part 1.

Step 2:  Open the Shuffle Comp you created last time, and in the Timeline, Parent one of the Final Arrow Comps to the other.  You can do this by dragging the Pickwhip from one layer to the other.

Step 3:  Change both of these layers into 3D layers by clicking the 3D layer icons in the Switches/Modes column of the Timeline.

Step 4:  From here you can open the Rotation Property for the Parent Arrow Layer. By changing Orientation and Rotation values, you can position these arrows in 3D space.

In the case of the iPod Shuffle commercial, you can align the arrow layers with the floor of your dancer to give the illusion of a stage with depth.

Finally, with a little imagination and some well placed masks, you can create the illusion that the arrows are turning corners.

Experiment and see what you can come up with.

If you are looking for even more After Effects tutorials, check out my website at www.mindspring.com/~schleicher which features over 90 exercises for AE alone.


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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (www.digitalmedianet.com), where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at schleicher@mindspring.com

Related Keywords:after effects, ipod shuffle, adobe, commercial, 3d, schleicher, tutorial, exercise

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