Perspective effects

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  • CC Cylinder effect
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See Third-party plug-ins included with After Effects.

3D Glasses effect

The 3D Glasses effect creates a single 3D image by combining a left and right 3D view. You can use images from 3D programs or stereoscopic cameras as sources for each view.

For more information about stereoscopic 3D, see Cameras, lights, and points of interest.

The method you use to create the combined images dictates how you view them. For example, you can use 3D Glasses to create an anaglyphic image, which is an image containing two slightly different perspectives of the same subject that are tinted contrasting colors and superimposed on each other. To create an anaglyphic image, first combine views and tint each one a different color. Then, use 3D glasses that have either red and green lenses or red and blue lenses to view the resulting image stereoscopically.

The effect works in 8-bpc, 16-bpc, or 32-bpc color.

3D Glasses effect: Original and with effect applied
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

Robert Powers provides a video tutorial on the Slippery Rock NYC website that shows how to create and use a depth matte and use it as a control layer for the Displacement Map effect. The result is then used by the 3D Glasses effect to create a stereoscopic image.

To avoid problems with flipped views, keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Use the same vertical dimensions for the composition and source images. A one-pixel difference produces the same result as moving the position one pixel vertically.

  • Make sure that the Position values for the layer are whole numbers (such as 240 instead of 239.7).

  • If the left and right view images are interlaced, de-interlace them before using 3D Glasses to avoid field mismatch.

  • Because 3D Glasses creates interlaced frames, don’t select an interlace option in the Render Settings dialog box.

Ghost effects occur if the luminance values of one color exceed the luminance values of another color to such an extent that you can see the first color through the wrong lens of anaglyph glasses. For example, an excessive red luminance value becomes visible through the blue lens. If you adjust the Balance value, test the results on the final output media. If you set the Balance value too high, a reversed shadow may appear.

When you work with red and blue images, the blue color in glasses with red and blue lenses is actually cyan, not blue. Red and cyan are complementary colors, producing the best separation because they filter each other out more efficiently. When you work with red and green images, it may appear that the green isn’t as bright as the red. However, viewing the images with red and green lenses produces an even result because green has a higher luminance value than red.

Left View, Right View

The layer to use as the left or right view. You only need to apply 3D Glasses to one layer in a composition. If you use a second layer, make sure that the two layers are the same size. The second layer doesn’t need to be visible in the composition.

Convergence Offset (Scene Convergence)

The amount that the two views are offset. Use this control to affect where 3D elements appear, either in front of, or behind the screen. Any areas that are aligned (left and right views, for example) show the object in precisely the same spot on the screen. Anything in front of those areas in z space will protrude from the screen. Anything behind those areas will be visible behind the screen when looking at the scene though stereo glasses.

You can also use Convergence Offset (Scene Convergence) to realign uncalibrated camera views of rendered material, such as, photos or images rendered from 3D programs. These are generally misaligned and require a negative Convergence Offset value. If the original footage was shot with correct convergence, changing this value isn’t necessary. Keyframing this value may result in erratic animation.


There is improved (truer) handling of edge pixels when using Scene Convergence. Previously, edge pixels were duplicated to fill to the edge, but that is no longer done. To eliminate vacant edges, scale the layer.

Vertical Alignment

Controls the vertical offset of the left and right views relative to each other.


Specifies the unit of measure (Pixels or % of Source) for the Scene Convergence and Vertical Alignment values when the 3D View is set to something other than Stereo Pair or Over Under.

Swap Left-Right

Swaps the left and right views. It will also swap views for other 3D View modes.

3D View

How the views are combined.

Stereo Pair (Stereo Pair (Side by Side))

Scales both layers to fit side by side within the bounding box of the effect layer. Select Swap Left-Right to create cross-eyed vision. Selecting Stereo Pair disables Convergence Offset.

Over Under

Scales both layers to fit one view on top of the other within the bounding box of the effect layer. Select Swap Left-Right to create cross-eyed vision. Selecting Stereo Pair (Side by Side) disables Screen Convergence.

Interlace Upper L Lower R

Takes the upper (first) field from the Left View layer, and the lower (second) field from the Right View layer, and combines them into a sequence of interlaced frames. Use this option if you want to view the results with polarized or LCD shutter glasses. Select Swap Left-Right to switch fields.

Red Green LR

Tints the Right View layer red, and the Left View layer green using the luminance values of each layer.

Red Blue LR

Tints the Right View layer red and the Left View layer blue (cyan) using the luminance values of each layer.

Balanced Red Green LR

Performs the same operation as Red Green LR but also balances the colors to reduce shadows or ghosting effects caused by one view showing through the other. Setting a high value reduces the overall contrast.

Balanced Red Blue LR

Performs the same operation as Red Blue LR but also balances the colors to reduce shadows or ghosting effects.

Balanced Colored Red Blue

Converts the layer into a 3D view using the RGB channels of the original layer. This option maintains the original colors of the layer but may produce shadows and ghosting effects. To reduce these effects, adjust the balance or desaturate the image, and then apply 3D Glasses. If you use CG images, raise the black level of both views before applying the effect.


Specifies the level of balance in a balanced 3D view option. Use this control to reduce shadows and ghost effects. The default balance that 3D Glasses sets when you select the Balanced Colored Red Blue option is the ideal value: If you set Balance to 0.0, 3D Glasses creates no 3D depth, and if you set Balance too high, 3D Glasses produces a highly saturated output.

Rich Young collects resources for stereoscopic 3D on the After Effects Portal website.

Bevel Alpha effect

The Bevel Alpha effect gives a chiseled and lighted appearance to the alpha boundaries of an image, often giving 2D elements a 3D appearance. If the layer is completely opaque, then the effect is applied to the bounding box of the layer. The edge created by this effect is softer than the edge created by the Bevel Edges effect. This effect works especially well for elements with text in the alpha channel.

For some purposes, the Bevel And Emboss layer style is preferable to the Bevel Alpha effect. For example, use the Bevel And Emboss layer style rather than the Bevel Alpha effect if you want to apply different blending modes to the highlights and shadows of a bevel. (See Layer styles.)

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Bevel Alpha effect: Original and with effect applied
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

Bevel Edges effect

The Bevel Edges effect gives a chiseled and lighted 3D appearance to the edges of an image. Edge locations are determined by the alpha channel of the source image. Unlike Bevel Alpha, the edges created with this effect are always rectangular, so images with nonrectangular alpha channels don’t produce the proper appearance. All edges have the same thickness. At Best quality, edge thickness is interpolated for smooth visual results.

For some purposes, the Bevel And Emboss layer style is preferable to the Bevel Edges effect. (See Layer styles.)

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Bevel Edges effect: Original and with effect applied
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

Drop Shadow effect

The Drop Shadow effect adds a shadow that appears behind the layer. The alpha channel of the layer determines the shape of the shadow.

When you add a drop shadow to a layer, a soft-edged outline of the alpha channel of the layer appears behind it, as if a shadow is cast on the background or underlying objects. The effect uses GPU-acceleration for faster rendering. 

Drop Shadow can create a shadow outside the bounds of the layer. The quality setting of the layer affects the subpixel positioning of the shadow and the smoothness of the soft edges of the shadow.

For some purposes, the Drop Shadow layer style is preferable to the Drop Shadow effect. (See Layer styles.)

This effect works in 32-bit color.

Drop Shadow effect: Original and with effect applied
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

To render the shadow without the image, select Shadow Only.


To apply a drop shadow to a layer that rotates, rotate the layer using the Transform effect and then apply the Drop Shadow effect. You can also use nesting, precomposing, or an adjustment layer to achieve this result. If you don’t use one of these methods, the shadow rotates with the layer.

Radial Shadow effect

The Radial Shadow effect creates a shadow from a point light source over the layer it’s applied to, rather than from an infinite light source (as with the Drop Shadow effect). The shadow is cast from the alpha channel of the source layer, allowing the color of that layer to influence the color of the shadow as light passes through semitransparent areas. You can use this effect to make a 3D layer appear to cast a shadow onto a 2D layer.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Radial Shadow effect: Original and with effect applied
Original (left), and with effect applied (right)

Shadow Color

The color of the shadow.


The colors of the layer may override this option if you choose Glass Edges from the Render control menu. See the Render and Color Influence controls for more information.


The opacity of the shadow.

Light Source

The location of the point light source.


Copy and paste position keyframes or expressions from a control point for another effect (for example, Lens Flare) to quickly create a shadow that matches the light source for another effect.

Projection Distance

The distance from the layer to the surface on which the shadow falls. The shadow appears larger as this value increases.


The softness of the edges of a shadow.


The type of shadow:

The more transparent the pixels in the layer are, the closer the shadow color matches the colors of the layer. If the layer contains no semitransparent pixels, Glass Edge has little result.


Anti‑aliased edges produce colors in a shadow edge when you choose Glass Edge, even if the layer is fully opaque. The colors of a layer shine through these anti‑aliased edges, and the Shadow Color fills the center of the shadow.


Creates a shadow based on the Shadow Color and Opacity values, regardless of semitransparent pixels in the layer. (If Regular is chosen, the Color Influence control is disabled.)

Glass Edge

Creates a colored shadow based on the color and opacity of the layer. If the layer contains semitransparent pixels, the shadow uses both the color and transparency of the layer. This option creates the appearance, for example, of sun shining through stained glass.

Color Influence

The fraction of the color values of the layer that appear in the shadow. At 100%, the shadow takes on the color of any semitransparent pixels in the layer. If the layer contains no semitransparent pixels, Color Influence has little result, and the Shadow Color value determines the color of the shadow. Decreasing the Color Influence value blends the colors of the layer in the shadow with the Shadow Color. Increasing Color Influence reduces the influence of the Shadow Color.

Shadow Only

Select to render only the shadow.

Resize Layer

Select to allow the shadow to extend beyond the original boundaries of the layer.

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