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«PROFESSIONAL USER GUIDE © 2007 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Copyright Adobe® After Effects® CS3 User Guide for Windows® and ...»

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You can modify and animate camera settings to configure the camera to match the real camera and settings that were used to record footage with which you’re compositing. You can also use camera settings to add camera-like behaviors—from depth-of-field blur to pans and dolly shots—to synthetic effects and animations.

Cameras affect only 3D layers and 2D layers to which you’ve applied an effect with a Comp Camera attribute. With effects that have a Comp Camera attribute, you can use the active composition camera or lights to view or light an effect from various angles to simulate more sophisticated 3D effects.

You can choose to view a composition through the active camera or through a named custom camera. The active camera is the topmost camera in the Timeline panel at the current time for which the Video switch is selected.

The active camera view is the point of view used for creating final output and nesting compositions. If you have not created a custom camera, then the active camera is the same as the default composition view.

All cameras are listed in the 3D View menu at the bottom of the Composition panel, where you can access them at any time.

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See also “Working with 3D layers” on page 171 “Auto-Orientation options” on page 146 “Shortcuts for 3D layers” on page 649 “Effects with a Comp Camera attribute” on page 349 “Select a view layout and share view settings” on page 126 Create a camera layer ❖ Choose Layer New Camera, or press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+C (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift+C (Mac OS).

Note: By default, new layers begin at the beginning of the composition duration. You can instead choose to have new layers begin at the current time by deselecting the Create Layers At Composition Start Time preference (Edit Preferences General (Windows) or After Effects Preferences General (Mac OS)).

Change camera settings You can change camera settings at any time.

❖ Double-click the camera layer in the Timeline panel, or select the layer and then choose Layer Camera Settings.

Camera settings You can change camera settings at any time by double-clicking the layer in the Timeline panel or selecting the layer and choosing Layer Camera Settings.

Name The name of the camera. By default, Camera 1 is the name of first camera that you create in a composition, and all subsequent cameras are numbered in ascending order. You should choose distinctive names for multiple cameras to make it easier to distinguish them.

Preset The type of camera settings you want to use. The presets are named according to focal lengths. Each preset is meant to represent the behavior of a 35mm camera with a lens of a certain focal length. Therefore, the preset also sets the Angle Of View, Zoom, Focus Distance, Focal Length, and Aperture values. The default preset is 50mm. You can also create a custom camera by specifying new values for any of the settings.

Zoom The distance from the lens to the image plane. In other words, a layer that is the Zoom distance away appears at its full size, a layer that is twice the Zoom distance away appears half as tall and wide, and so on.

Angle Of View The width of the scene captured in the image. The Focal Length, Film Size, and Zoom values determine the angle of view. A wider angle of view creates the same result as a wide-angle lens.

Enable Depth Of Field Applies custom variables to the Focus Distance, Aperture, F-Stop, and Blur Level settings.

Using these variables, you can manipulate the depth of field to create more realistic camera-focusing effects. (The depth of field is the distance range within which the image is in focus. Images outside the distance range are blurred.) Focus Distance The distance from the camera to the plane that is in perfect focus.

Lock To Zoom Makes the Focus Distance value match the Zoom value.

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Aperture The size of the lens opening. The Aperture setting also affects the depth of field—increasing the aperture increases the depth of field blur. When you modify Aperture, the values for F-Stop change to match it.

Note: In a real camera, increasing the aperture also allows in more light, which affects exposure. Like most 3D compositing and animation applications, After Effects ignores this result of the change in aperture values.

F-Stop Represents the ratio of the focal length to aperture. Most cameras specify aperture size using the f-stop measurement; thus, many photographers prefer to set the aperture size in f-stop units. When you modify F-Stop, Aperture changes to match it.

Blur Level The amount of depth-of-field blur in an image. A setting of 100% creates a natural blur as dictated by the camera settings. Lower values reduce the blur.

Film Size The size of the exposed area of film, which is directly related to the composition size. When you modify Film Size, the Zoom value changes to match the perspective of a real camera.

Focal Length The distance from the film plane to the camera lens. In After Effects, the camera’s position represents the center of the lens. When you modify Focal Length, the Zoom value changes to match the perspective of a real camera. In addition, the Preset, Angle Of View, and Aperture values change accordingly.

Units The units of measurement in which the camera setting values are expressed.

Measure Film Size The dimensions used to depict the film size.

Create a light and change settings A light layer can affect the colors of the 3D layers that it shines on, depending on the light’s settings and the Material Options properties of the 3D layers. Each light, by default, points to its point of interest.

Lights can be used to illuminate 3D layers and to cast shadows, either to match lighting conditions of the scene into which you are compositing or to create more interesting visual results such as the appearance of light streaming through a layer as if it were made of stained glass.

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See also “Working with 3D layers” on page 171 “Auto-Orientation options” on page 146 “Create an adjustment layer” on page 136 Create a light ❖ Choose Layer New Light, or press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+L (Windows) or Command+Option+Shift+L (Mac OS).

Note: By default, new layers begin at the beginning of the composition duration. You can instead choose to have new layers begin at the current time by deselecting the Create Layers At Composition Start Time preference (Edit Preferences General (Windows) or After Effects Preferences General (Mac OS)).

Change light settings ❖ Double-click a light layer in the Timeline panel or select the layer and choose Layer Light Settings.

Light settings Light Type Parallel emits directional, unconstrained light from an infinitely distant source. Spot emits light from a source that is constrained by a cone, like the spotlight used in stage productions. Point emits unconstrained omnidirectional light, like the rays from a bare light bulb. Ambient creates light that has no source but rather contributes to the overall brightness of a scene and casts no shadows.

Intensity The brightness of the light. Negative values create nonlight. Nonlight subtracts color from a layer. For example, if a layer is already lit, creating a directional light with negative values also pointing at that layer darkens an area on the layer.

Cone Angle The angle of the cone surrounding the source of a light, which determines the width of the beam at a distance. This option is active only if Spot is selected for Light Type.

Cone Feather The edge softness of a spotlight. This option is active only if Spot is selected for Light Type.

Color The color of the light.

Casts Shadows Specifies whether the light source causes a layer to cast a shadow. The Accepts Shadows material option must be On for a layer to receive a shadow; this is the default. The Casts Shadows material option must be On for a layer to cast shadows; this is not the default.

Press Alt+Shift+C (Windows) or Option+Shift+C (Mac OS) to toggle Casts Shadows for selected layers. Press AA to show Material Options properties in the Timeline panel.

Shadow Darkness Sets the darkness level of the shadow. This option is active only if Casts Shadows is selected.

Shadow Diffusion Sets the softness of a shadow based on its apparent distance from the shadowing layer. Larger values create softer shadows. This option is active only if Casts Shadows is selected.

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2 (Optional) To set the camera or light to ignore the point of interest, choose Layer Transform Auto-Orient and select an option other than Orient Towards Point Of Interest.

3 Using the Selection or Rotation tool, do one of the following:

• To move the camera or light and its point of interest, position the pointer over the axis you want to adjust, and drag.

• To move the camera or light along a single axis without moving the point of interest, Ctrl-drag (Windows) or Command-drag (Mac OS) the axis.

• To move the camera or light freely without moving the point of interest, drag the camera icon or light icon.

• To move the point of interest, drag the point of interest icon.

Note: As with all properties, you can also modify a camera or light’s position, rotation, and orientation properties directly in the Timeline panel.

When working with a camera or light layer, create a null object and use an expression to link the camera or light's Point Of Interest property to the null layer's Position property. Then, you can animate the Point Of Interest property by moving the null object. It is often easier to select and see a null object than it is to select and see the point of interest.

See also “Working with 3D layers” on page 171 “Auto-Orientation options” on page 146 Adjust a camera view Use the camera tools to adjust the camera view. These tools are specifically for manipulating the 3D views and are only available for compositions with 3D layers.

Note: If you adjust one of the fixed views (Front, Left, Top, Back, Right, or Bottom), no property values are affected. You can’t use the Orbit Camera tool on the fixed views.

1 In the 3D View menu, choose the camera view you want to adjust.

2 In the Tools panel, select a camera tool:

Rotate the current 3D view around the point of interest.

Orbit Camera

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Adjust the 3D view along the line leading to and from the point of interest or, if you are using Track Z Camera tool an orthogonal view, to adjust the scale of the view.

Hold down the mouse button on a camera tool to see all of the available tools.

3 Drag in the Composition panel. You can drag outside the panel once you’ve begun dragging within it.

After you've modified a 3D view, you can reset it by choosing View Reset 3D View.

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Material Options properties 3D layers have Material Options properties, which determine how a 3D layer interacts with light and shadow.

Casts Shadows Specifies whether a layer casts shadows on other layers. The direction and angle of the shadows are determined by the direction and angle of the light sources. Set Casts Shadows to Only if you want the layer to be invisible but still cast a shadow.

Use the Only setting and a non-zero Light Transmission setting to project the colors of an invisible layer onto another layer.

Light Transmission The percentage of light that shines through the layer, casting the layer’s color on other layers as a shadow. 0% specifies that no light passes through the layer, casting a black shadow. 100% specifies that the full color value of the shadow-casting layer is projected onto the layer accepting the shadow.

Use partial light transmission to create the appearance of light passing through a stained glass window.

Accepts Shadows Specifies whether the layer shows shadows cast on it by other layers.

Accepts Lights Specifies whether the color of a layer is affected by light that reaches it. This setting does not affect shadows.

Ambient Ambient (nondirectional) reflectivity of the layer. 100% specifies the most reflectivity; 0% specifies no ambient reflectivity.

Diffuse Diffuse (omnidirectional) reflectivity of the layer. Applying diffuse reflectivity to a layer is like draping a dull, plastic sheet over it. Light that falls on this layer reflects equally in all directions. 100% specifies the most reflectivity; 0% specifies no diffuse reflectivity.

Specular Specular (directional) reflectivity of the layer. Specular light reflects from the layer as if from a mirror.

100% specifies the most reflectivity; 0% specifies no specular reflectivity.

Shininess Determines the size of the specular highlight. This value is active only if the Specular setting is greater than zero. 100% specifies a reflection with a small specular highlight. 0% specifies a reflection with a large specular highlight.

Metal The contribution of the layer color to the color of the specular highlight. 100% specifies that the highlight color is the color of the layer. For example, with a Metal value of 100%, an image of a gold ring reflects golden light.

0% specifies that the color of the specular highlight is the color of the light source. For example, a layer with a Metal value of 0% under a white light has a white highlight.

See also “Working with 3D layers” on page 171 “Create a light and change settings” on page 178

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When a shadow-casting layer intersects another layer, sometimes there is a small gap behind the intersection that is supposed to be shadowed. To decrease the size of the gap, increase the shadow map resolution.

1 Choose Composition Composition Settings, click the Advanced tab, and click Options.

2 Choose a value (in pixels) from the Shadow Map Resolution menu.

Choose Comp Size or a resolution larger than the composition size for best results. Lower resolutions may result in shadows that appear blurry.

Chapter 8: Animation

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