Slam Dunk! AE, PS, 3D...and Basketball
AE, PS, 3D...and Basketball
A Creative COW Feature Article

Using After Effects and Photoshop to build a 3D world for basketball championships
Bill O'Neil Bill O'Neil
Chicago, IL USA

© Bill O'Neil and All rights reserved.

Article Focus: Fix it in post? This article shows how to BUILD it in post. Here in April, as March Madness ends and the NBA Playoffs begin, the Cow's Bill O'Neill shows how he combined greenscreen, 2D graphics and 3D compositing in a remarkable promo for Big Ten basketball. This "Web Extra" from Bill's article in the Cow Magazine's "Commercials" issue shows you rough edits along the way, and shares some of the production secrets for building an entire world in post.

To give you a tour of Bill's article and its suppporting media, we first offer the finished promo for Big Ten basketball, compositing 2D Photoshop files and greenscreened video in AE's 3D space. Click the image below to play.


Bill O'Neil with Talib Kweli

Read the full story of how Bill O'Neil put together this remarkable project, from pre-viz up, from the Creative Cow Magazine's "Commercials" issue.



Here's a closer look at the finished scene. Click image for larger.

3D composite scene of arena crowd

Here's a much wider view, including AE's 3D scene lighting. Click image for larger.

After Effects 3D scene lighting enhances the composite


In the article, Bill mentions a shooting technique combining a home-built turntable, a greenscreen shot, and a vertically-oriented camera to mimic a flying camera.

Talib Kweli in a 3D camera move

He discusses it more fully in an article from the Cow library, "Shooting for 3D Post."

Click the image below to see the rough cut of the greenscreen footage as the promo starts taking shape.


As the scene comes further together, one of the most critical elements for selling it is incorporating realistic depth of field.

Depth of field

This is another technique that Bill covers at greater length in a Cow article offering quick tips for the best assembly of 2D layers in 3D space with realistic depth of field.

Note that, even though there are dozens of TVs in the final promo, there weren't any at all for the actual shoot. Those too are 2D Photoshop elements that have been composited into 3D space using After Effects.

2D televisions for the AE 3D compositing

As the project nears completion, here's a version of one of the early rough cuts. Click the image to play the movie.

Looking for still more details on this project and its sequel? Bill covers that in an in-depth tutorial covering all of the above, entitled "Building a 3D World in After Effects."



Bill's article for the Cow Magazine is just one example of what you can get with your free subscription, available in both print and PDF editions. Sign up now!