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3D animation settings

  1. After Effects User Guide
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  3. Getting started
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    2. What's new in After Effects 
    3. Release Notes | After Effects
    4. After Effects system requirements
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  5. Projects and compositions
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    2. Composition basics
    3. Precomposing, nesting, and pre-rendering
    4. View detailed performance information with the Composition Profiler
    5. CINEMA 4D Composition Renderer
  6. Importing footage
    1. Preparing and importing still images
    2. Importing from After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro
    3. Importing and interpreting video and audio
    4. Preparing and importing 3D image files
    5. Importing and interpreting footage items
    6. Working with footage items
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    1. Text
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      4. Formatting paragraphs and the Paragraph panel
      5. Extruding text and shape layers
      6. Animating text
      7. Examples and resources for text animation
      8. Live Text Templates
    2. Motion Graphics
      1. Work with Motion Graphics templates in After Effects
      2. Use expressions to create drop-down lists in Motion Graphics templates
      3. Work with Essential Properties to create Motion Graphics templates
      4. Replace images and videos in Motion Graphics templates and Essential Properties
      5. Animate faster and easier using the Properties panel
  8. Drawing, Painting, and Paths
    1. Overview of shape layers, paths, and vector graphics
    2. Paint tools: Brush, Clone Stamp, and Eraser
    3. Taper shape strokes
    4. Shape attributes, paint operations, and path operations for shape layers
    5. Use Offset Paths shape effect to alter shapes
    6. Creating shapes
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    8. Remove objects from your videos with the Content-Aware Fill panel
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  9. Layers, Markers, and Camera
    1. Selecting and arranging layers
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    3. 3D layers
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    6. Managing layers
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    8. Cameras, lights, and points of interest
  10. Animation, Keyframes, Motion Tracking, and Keying
    1. Animation
      1. Animation basics
      2. Animating with Puppet tools
      3. Managing and animating shape paths and masks
      4. Animating Sketch and Capture shapes using After Effects
      5. Assorted animation tools
      6. Work with Data-driven animation
    2. Keyframe
      1. Keyframe interpolation
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  11. Transparency and Compositing
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  12. Adjusting color
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  13. Effects and Animation Presets
    1. Effects and animation presets overview
    2. Effect list
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    18. Detail-preserving Upscale effect
    19. Obsolete effects
  14. Expressions and Automation
    1. Expressions
      1. Expression basics
      2. Understanding the expression language
      3. Using expression controls
      4. Syntax differences between the JavaScript and Legacy ExtendScript expression engines
      5. Editing expressions
      6. Expression errors
      7. Using the Expressions editor
      8. Use expressions to edit and access text properties
      9. Expression language reference
      10. Expression examples
    2. Automation
      1. Automation
      2. Scripts
  15. Immersive video, VR, and 3D
    1. Construct VR environments in After Effects
    2. Apply immersive video effects
    3. Compositing tools for VR/360 videos
    4. Advanced 3D Renderer
    5. Import and add 3D models to your composition
    6. Import 3D models from Creative Cloud Libraries
    7. Image-Based Lighting
    8. Extract and animate lights and cameras from 3D models
    9. Tracking 3D camera movement
    10. Cast and accept shadows
    11. Embedded 3D model animations
    12. Shadow Catcher
    13. 3D depth data extraction
    14. Work in 3D Design Space
    15. 3D Transform Gizmos
    16. Do more with 3D animation
    17. Preview changes to 3D designs real time with the Mercury 3D engine
    18. Add responsive design to your graphics 
  16. Views and Previews
    1. Previewing
    2. Video preview with Mercury Transmit
    3. Modifying and using views
  17. Rendering and Exporting
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    2. H.264 Encoding in After Effects
    3. Export an After Effects project as an Adobe Premiere Pro project
    4. Converting movies
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    8. Using the GoPro CineForm codec in After Effects
  18. Working with other applications
    1. Dynamic Link and After Effects
    2. Working with After Effects and other applications
    3. Sync Settings in After Effects
    4. Creative Cloud Libraries in After Effects
    5. Plug-ins
    6. Cinema 4D and Cineware
  19. Collaboration:, and Team Projects
    1. Collaboration in Premiere Pro and After Effects
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      3. Frequently asked questions
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  20. Memory, storage, performance
    1. Memory and storage
    2. How After Effects handles low memory issues while previewing    
    3. Improve performance
    4. Preferences
    5. GPU and GPU driver requirements for After Effects
  21. Knowledge Base
    1. Known issues
    2. Fixed issues
    3. Frequently asked questions
    4. After Effects and macOS Ventura
    5. How After Effects handles low memory issues while previewing

Do more with your 3D animation compositions by using the following capabilities:

3D Preference dialog

3D preference dialog
3D preference dialog

You can change the 3D preferences from the After Effects > Preferences > 3D menu.

  • Camera Naviagation: Use Shift-1/2/3 to cycle through each camera tools/control options.
    • Uncheck the option of hotkeys for camera and transform gizmo navigation. If the option is unchecked, After Effects uses the keys as shortcuts to add markers. It deprioritizes camera tools with these hotkeys. When the hotkeys are enabled, the marker commands are deactivated.
    • Uncheck to deactivate the Left/middle/Right mouse clicks for camera navigation when the alt/option key is pressed. If it is unchecked, After Effects uses these mouse clicks for wireframes.
      • Camera Manipulation point: Select between None, Indicator, and Directional Indicator.
  • Camera Navigation - Dolly:
    • Mouse Scroll Wheel Behavior: Select between Magnify Composition, Dolly Camera, and Reverse dolly camera.
    • Drag Direction: Select between Normal, and Reverse.

Use the improved composition panel toolbar for seamless 3D editing and creation

The composition toolbar with 3D turned off (top) and turned on (bottom)
The composition toolbar with 3D turned off (top) and turned on (bottom)

After Effects enables you to work seamlessly across your 3D designs by displaying only the appropriate controls as per your current design work. You can avoid having to constantly enable/disable a large number of settings as you switch back and forth, thus saving time and effort.

To make your 3D designing more convinient and time-saving, the row of buttons at the bottom of the Composition panel streamlined and re-organized to displays only the most used features. 3D options are now contextual and won’t get in your way when you don’t have 3D layers in your comp. Unlike in previous versions, there are settings that are not accessible from the toolbar, such as Pixel Aspect Ratio Correction. You can still access them from the Composition window menu.

This enables you to work seamlessly across both 2D and 3D, with the appropriate UX to guide your design work, without having to constantly enable or disable a large number of settings as you switch back and forth.

For more information, see Improved composition toolbar for 3D designing.

Edit keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts
Edit keyboard shortcuts

You can customize the keyboard shortcuts to make them work for different camera navigations and transform gizmos such as when you want to orbit your camera or cameras around an object from the center of the frame or around the object itself. To learn how to edit the keyboard shortcuts, see Visual Keyboard Shortcut Editor.

Binning indicators for 3D layers

Binning indicators for 3D layers show the 3D layers that render together in the same 3D space, which allows them to intersect and cast shadows on each other. The group of 3D layers is called a Bin.

An outline around the 3D icons indicates which layers are in the same 3D bin and thus rendered together.

These 3D binning indicators give you a visual map of how After Effects composites 2D and 3D layers together. When a comp contains both 2D and 3D layers, their order in the layer stack matters: contiguous 3D layers render together in the same 3D space prior to being composited with 2D layers.

Bin Breakers

There are a few different types of layers that can cause bins to separate, they are called Bin Breakers:

  • 2D layers except for null layers 
  • 3D adjustment layers 
  • 3D layers with layer styles 
  • Nested composition layers with the following conditions: 
    • The 3D layer switch is enabled
    • The Collapse Transformation switch is enabled
    •  The layer has a layer mask or a track matte

Non-Bin Breakers

A few layers display a dotted line around the 3D icon, such as Null layers, Camera, or Light that are placed in-between other 3D layers. The dotted lines indicate that this layer doesn’t participate in the bin, but it doesn’t break the bin. Cameras and lights, for example, are inherently 3D and affect 3D layers in the comp, therefore, they don’t directly participate in bins.

Disabling a 3D layer’s visibility - turning off the layer’s visibility eyeball switch removes that layer from the bin. It may break the bin or not participate, depending on what’s above or below it.

Best practices

Stacking 2D layers between 3D layers create multiple 3D bins. Be aware that layers in different bins do not intersect or cast shadows upon each other. So, create 3D bins keeping this experience in mind.


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