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...Open The Door

Creating a 3D door in After Effects, Part 2 By Ko Maruyama
After Effects has had a 3D environment since version 5.  A 3D camera has been able to look at the layers (albeit 2D planes) that exist in this 3D space since the earlier version.  In earlier versions, irregular box shapes involved calculating the position for each side, and placing them precisely to avoid over-hanging pixels.  Doors and other boxy shapes are now easier than ever in After Effects.  In version 6.5, Digital Anarchy provided users with Box Creator Lite.  In addition to creating simple cubic shapes, Box Creator Lite opens doors to other After Effects potential.  In this tutorial, I'll finish off the door started in part one.

While a 3D door may not be something you'd want to create in After Effects if you have access to a true 3D application, like MAXON's Cinema 4D, a scene with a door demonstrates many facets of After Effects' 3D potential.  If you need help creating the door, see Part 1 of ...Open the Door.

Using the same principles set forth in Part 1, I've created a door frame.  While this may seem a little more difficult than the door, Box Creator can again provide assistance to make the process painless.


  Create the element of the door frame in Photoshop.  

I've made a frame (for the door in Part 1) 100 px wider and taller, and cut a hole in the center where the door will be placed.  This is only one layer because it will be duplicated for the back face.  I will use After Effects to create the other layers along the inside and outside of the frame.



 Import the Layer from Photoshop.

Import the layer into After Effects and duplicate it.  One instance of this layer will be used as the front, the other will be the back.  If you want to make different looking elements for the front and back of the doorframe, you can create something unique in Photoshop, or edit the duplicated image once in After Effects.

 Create Depth Layer

In After Effects, create a new solid. Because this is a solid color, I won't mind stretching it out after it's been applied.  While the exact pixel size is not necessary (box creator will fix it), I alredy know I want a depth of 30 pixels, so I will create a solid layer that is 30 x 30 px, and name it '30x solid'.



  Box Creator Lite. (outside)

Duplicate the '30x solid' into 4 separate layers, and arrange these and the front/back pieces of the frame as laid out in Part 1 of this tutorial.

In the previous tutorial, we used the automatic "Fit Box" button.  This time, we'll use the "User Defined" options to create the box.  Following the dimensions of our Photoshop document, X=500, Y=950 and Z=30 (depth).  Note, you can change the "Z" or depth size here if you want to.  Because our sides are all AE solids, this will distort the image layer later.

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Related Keywords:Adobe After Effects, Digital Anarchy, Box Creator Lite, Cubic Distribution, AE 6.5

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