|This tutorial utilizes the 3D Assistant plug-in from Digital Anarchy.
Although this tutorial can be done without this plug-in assistant, it is much quicker and easier with it. You can download a demo from the green bar above.
There are obviously many ways to create a graphic bed this is mainly another approach, to spark creativity and a simple way to get familiar with the 3D Assistant.
This idea has a little smoother motion as well as randomness than others and has endless options for tweaking.
Start by importing a still image of your choice. I chose the postcard image in the Photoshop samples folder.
Drag it to the new composition icon in the project window. Duplicate the image in the timeline 5 times for a total of 6 layers.
Make them all 3D layers by checking the cube icon. Select all of the layers.
If you have installed the 3D Assistant plug-in, you won't find it under the Effects menu or in the key frame assistant menu.
Look under the Window menu and move down to select "Box Creator"
This dialog will allow us to assemble all of our layers into a cube.
Depending on your layer size and comp size you may need to adjust the box dimensions. I chose 400 for x, y and z. Check to ensure all faces are active and facing outward.
Go ahead and check insert orientation key frame sense this is the property we will animate.
Your Comp window should now look like this:
Now go to the Layer menu > NEW> Camera and accept the default setting. Now go to Layer>NEW> and choose Light.
Switch camera view to see the scene from the TOP view in the lower right of the comp window pop-up.
You may want to set the resolution to 25% in order to see the camera and light.
Move the camera to the right corner of the comp window on the x axis.
My position is x=620 y=175 z=-515(negative)
The camera's point of interest should be set near the center of the comp.
Move your light source to the left of the camera at x=600 y=95 z=-655.
Its point of interest should be set near the center of the comp.
Duplicate this light and move it to the right side of the camera, its point of interest should be set near the center of the comp.
Set the camera view back to the Active view.
Parent layers 5-9 to layer 4. This will be used to offset the rotation of the cube.
We already set the initial orientation key frame when we applied the 3D Assistant, so let's move to the end of the comp and set a key for x=9 y=120 z=0.
Preview the move.
This is a pretty cool move for as little work that was done.
Now select all the image source files (layers 4-9) in the timeline and pre-compose them (shift + command c) Call this "image comp" and move all to new comp.
At this point collapse the image comp (layer 4) so that the 3D switches will pass through to this comp.
Your main timeline should look like the one below.
Add an adjustment layer to the timeline above the image comp. LAYER>NEW>ADJUSTMENT LAYER.
The adjustment layer will now be layer 4 as in the example below.
Add a directional blur from the effects menu to the adjustment layer.
Set the direction to 90 degrees+or and and set the length to around 130.
You probably already see the possibilities to add variety to this project.
You can key motion to the light sources, key color changes in the light sources, change directions to the cube rotation, option drag to replace the still images in the "image comp" to get shape and color variations. This list goes on and on.
If you have comments I'd like to hear from you. Send an e-mail to email@example.com
Please discuss this technique in the After Effects forum at Creativecow.net