Extruding 2D Shapes and Create 3D Animations, Illustrator to After Effects for Motion Graphics | Elias Sarantopoulos | Skillshare

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Extruding 2D Shapes and Create 3D Animations, Illustrator to After Effects for Motion Graphics

teacher avatar Elias Sarantopoulos, Helping You Develop

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Observing Illustrator Shape


    • 3.

      Importing & Creating Vector Shapes


    • 4.

      Extruding Shape Layers


    • 5.

      Positioning Shapes Onto 3D Plane


    • 6.

      Adding Spotlights


    • 7.

      Increasing Extrusion of Strokes


    • 8.

      Improving Spotlights, Settings


    • 9.

      3D Camera Null and Animation


    • 10.

      Final Animation Settings


    • 11.



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About This Class

Class Overview: Learn how to import and extrude an Illustrator layered file inside After Effects into 3D without using any plugins, just the Cinema 4D renderer.

What you will learn:

  • Illustrator to After Effects, how to import an Illustrator file into After Effects.
  • In After Effects, how to convert vector files into shapes.
  • In After Effects, how to extrude shapes into 3D space (Cinema 4D Renderer extrusion).
  • In After Effects, how to add Spotlights, cast shadows and specular highlights.
  • How to animate a composition into 3D space using a two (2) node 3D Camera Null.
  • Cinema 4D Renderer Final Render.

Meet Your Teacher

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Elias Sarantopoulos

Helping You Develop


Born in Athens, Greece, Elias migrated to the US where he received his BA and MA degrees. He started his professional career in the mid-90s working for tech startups focusing on web technologies and being a part time faculty in various educational institutions. An educator over the past 28 years teaching in universities and social platforms, covering page layout, animation, vector and interaction design.

In 2016 he became a book author, writing the Church of Chora. The book is the most comprehensive interactive guide describing some of the oldest and finest surviving Byzantine mosaics and frescoes in the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, Istanbul, Turkey. A unique reader experience with the use of interactive maps, voice narrations, videos, references to the Bible describing e... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Welcome everyone to the step by step motion graphics after effects course. I am host alias Er Tapolus inside After Effects. We will start this off importing an illustrator vector file. Convert that to a shape layer. Extudes both the field and stroke into three D space. Add spot lights with bouncing shadows and specular highlights. And animate the composition with a two node three D camera. Upon completing the motion graphics after effects course, he will have a firm knowledge and vision of how to extute and animate your vector files and create stunning three D animations for your projects and clients. 2. Observing Illustrator Shape: Extruding shape layers inside After effects is all about our work inside adobustrator. How well the layers are organized before we import them into after effects in this case. And looking inside the layer spanel, every single path is on its own layer and not inside a group or a sublayer. Each layer has been named and have separated the field paths from the stroke paths, which will help me with the extrusion process inside after effects. 3. Importing & Creating Vector Shapes: Now inside after effects I will go ahead and import the motif illustrated document. I'm inside the project pan on going to relic import import file. Here's the illustrated document inside my folder. But what is important is to import this not as footage but rather than as composition layer sizes and then click to import. What that means is that After Effects recognizes the top level layers, we set it up inside Adobe Illustrator as After Effects layers. So let's go ahead and double click on this composition. Here are all these paths that are imported from a double illustrator. And you can see all the naming was kept, which is great. But what we need to do now is we need to convert those paths into shape layers, Something that after effects will recognize and be able to animate them. I will shift select all of these under the layer menu. Continue, create and create shapes from vector layer after effects does the conversion. What I need to do is now I need to clean up my work here. Basically remove all of these paths and at the same time, every time the somes outlines. I'm just going to rename this to be able to clean all the work and keep things organized. 4. Extruding Shape Layers: I cleaned up all these layers and rename them. So what's next? I will go ahead inside the project plan, I'm just going to click and bring up just imports a JP file here which I'm going to click and drag this and bring this at the very bottom of the time line. Basically, this will serve as a flat surface where all the lights will hit and bounce, affecting all three D shape layers. And let me go ahead and lock this layer temporarily. Talking about three D layers. Let's go ahead and shift select all of these shapes here. Then we're going to convert this two from two de layers, 23 delayers. I'm just going to click once all of these inside, all of these are selected, that will be converted into three layers. All right, now for this to work and be able to extrude those, we need to switch the three render. Right now we are inside the Classic Three D, just going to click on the drop down and choose the Cinema Four D Render. The Cinema Four D Composition Render basically is the tool for the extrusion of text and shapes. Let's also look inside the renderer options for the quality I'm using, the draft mode, because that would take less time to draw the three delayers. But at the very end of the project, I will drag this slider all the way to the extreme to have a very clean funnel render. I'm going to cancel this out. I'm very kate with that, what we need to do next basically is we need to select each of these paths one by one. Go inside that. And then inside the geometry options, we're going to change the extrusion depth. And I'm going to set for all of them for now, 240. All right. I'm going to go ahead and spend some time and do this for the rest of these paths. 5. Positioning Shapes Onto 3D Plane: After spending a bit of a time I have for all of these shape layers, I've set the extrusion depth to 40. So I'm going to shift select. Then I'm going to press the letter you twice on the keyboard to only show the modified properties. Here we go. The extrusion level is set to 40, 40, 40. So the question is, why can we see anything changing? The reason is that when we, we extrude down, it extrudes into z space. Right now, the reason we cannot see anything is because everything sits at zero. The extrusion has gone through the background sticking out the other side. First of all, let's go ahead and instead of one view going to switch to two views for this view right here. I personally recommend you to instead of acto camera is to use the left view. This is one thing for this JP here. Let me also make sure that this is also converted to a three D layer. There you go. Now we can see that as you can see, all the extrusion has gone through the background sticking out on the other side. Other things, I'm going to change the resolution preview here from full to half, that will be easier on the system. Then I will shift select all of these. Zoom here a bit. I'm just going to bring those out. I'm going to bring them right here, so this sits right on top of these background. All right, this flat surface. If I was to change this from left to, let's say to the custom view one, this is what I get. We already can see the changes taking place, having two composition views side by side. Either the left view or the right view will help you understand the position of the shape layers and be able to move them into Z space so you can see the extrusion. 6. Adding Spotlights: Things are looking great in Sara composition were extruded. All of these shape layers. Go ahead and continue and add a couple of spot lights into a scene. I just going to select this path one, go under the menu, new lights in this case, spotlight number one, flight type. Go ahead and spot and we've got the color of the light, the intensity. How intense is this? We have the con angle. The cone angle is the angle of the cone surrounding the source of light, which determines the width of the beam at a distance. And we're going to see this very soon after cone feather is set, 50% That's okay, that's fine. But what is important is to have the cast shadows on. That specifies whether the light source causes a layer to cast a shadow. We need that. I'm going to click on on that. Let me go ahead and use one view here because I need a real estate here. I want this spot light to come from the top right corner. I'm going to bring this up on the y axis, x and then take this point of interest and point it right on top of the shape layers. And then just put this on the z and perhaps on the Y. Now let's look at this con angle here. If I double click again, here's the con angle, see the degrees, so you can play around with that depending your liking. And just going to bring this a bit as well. So far so good. Again, none of this is final, but it's a good beginning. Let's go ahead and add another Spot Light. Back on the layer menu, New Light. That second spot light, I will leave everything as is, make sure the cast are a zone and click okay. Here's a second spot light. In this case, I want the spot light to beam from the bottom left here. I'm going to move this on the X, on the Y, take the point of interest and point it right here. I can bring this out on the Z again, I can go back to the light settings here and then perhaps change the angle and so on. All right, again, as I mentioned, this is not final. It's a good beginning. But what we need to do now is we need to make sure that all of these shape layers accept the light sources. Right now they are not. What we need to do is shift select all of these paths here. Then I'm going to open them up and inside the material options, I'm going to turn the cast shadows on. Once I do that, you will be able to see a huge difference. Now all of these layer pass except the two spot lights and now we have a nice shadow fall off. 7. Increasing Extrusion of Strokes: The main reason that I've separated these stroke paths from the rest of the paths coming from users. Because I want these stroke shape layers to have a higher extrusion depth. In this case, I will shift select these, then I'm going to press the letter you twice on the keyboard to be able to see only the modified properties. Since all of these have been selected, I will change for all of these, the extrusion depth from 40. I'm going to up this 250, I'm going to press the letter again. Once again we're not able to see the change. And that's because the extrusion is taking place onto a space, it extrudes down. Let's go back to have, instead of one view, two views on this view. Here I am, inside the custom view. One, go ahead and switch to the left view, and here it is. This is what I'm referring to. It went into the z space. I will shift, select the zoom bit, then I'm just going to click and drag this on the z axis. There we go. All right, here's the difference. Now let's go ahead and change from the left to the custom one. And change the preview to full view. See that now we'll be able to see a better view on the extruded shape layer path strokes. That's the reason that I preplan this inside Adbustraer for this specific reason. 8. Improving Spotlights, Settings: All right, so things are looking fantastic inside a composition. The next thing I want to go back and return is the spot lights. But you can see there's a lot of illumination coming from both of these spotlights. In this case, go ahead and switch back to one of view. I'm going to go inside the spotlight. On under the light options, I would change the color of the spotlight to an orange color Click. Okay. Now you're going to see a nice transition coming from the top here. I would do the same on the spotlight to under the light options. I would change the color instead of white. Usually lights are never completely white. I'm going to use of white yellowish color. Going to click. Okay. You're going to see a nice transition. Again, a nice fall off. Great. Now the next I want to talk about is the shadow diffusion. This one right here, that refers to how soft is the shadow. Here's the one shadow for the spotlight. One, here's the other shadow for the spot. Light two, what I can do here for the shadow diffusion for this spot light one again, the light comes from the top right. Here's the shadow. I can improve this. Let's say perhaps 30. It's going to be less of a shadow here. This is going to be more soft. Let's also increase the softness for this light right here. See that? Now, if I was to move this away on the Z, actually on this light right here, that will affect the diffusion again, you see that it's all about where you're positing the lights and so on. So there's no set rule rather than whatever goes to your liking. Maybe I can bring this to, let's say this one to 20. There we go. I like that. I'm going to leave this as is. But there's one thing I would like to do is have a bit of extra reflectivity on all of these shape layers here. I'm talking about the specularity, that is again, the reflection of all of the shape layers. I'm going to shift the leg of the, then press the letter you twice and then open up the material options. Here's the specular intensity set to 50% I'm going to set this to 70% For all of these, I can only see the change already. Let me go ahead and zoom a bit and I'm going to undo this control. Zero commands. Here's before, then, here is after a welcome change, at least on my end. 9. 3D Camera Null and Animation: All right, everything looks fantastic inside our composition score ahead creates our animation. In this case, I will go up to the learned menu and creates a new three D camera for the type. I'm going to use a two no camera for the presets. While you have a lot of different presets here, in this case I'm going to go for the 24 millimeter wide angle lens preset. Then click Okay. All right, so this is one thing. Another thing I'm going to do is go to the learned menu and create a new null object. Now a null object, basically, as you can see here, is an invisible layer that has all the properties of a visible layer. But it can be parented to any layer in the composition. That's exactly what we're going to do here. We're going to parent the camera to the null object because it's just easier to control the camera through a null object. Says I'm going to have one null object. Going to press Enter Return on my keyboard. Rename this Toll the camera. Press Enter Return, and rename this to just Camera. I'm going to parent camera to null. And I'm going to do this by using the parent pick whip. This case I'm just going to click and drag the par pick whip right on top of the null object. Now the camera has been paraded to the null, great. Now this null object right now it's a two layer but because we're working on a three D environment, we're also going to convert this to a three layer. Looking inside those properties, this is exactly the same properties as of a three D layer. All right, now in this case, let me go ahead and bring the curd time dedicated to the very beginning. I'm going to animate the position property and the orientation. I will click on the position stopwatch to create the first key frame. Then I will click on the stop parts on the orientation to create the second key frame for the position. Let me go ahead and change the properties for all the x, y, and z. For example, for the x, I'm just going to push this on the side a bit, all right? Say summer around here for the Y, I'm going to push this up, might be a little bit out of the way here. For the Z, I'm going to push this back into space. All right? Say summer around here. All right? So that is the first on the position. Go ahead and work on the orientation. I'm going to change the orientation to let's say 36 degrees. But I will do this for all the same values here. For the y as well. 36.36 All right, now I'm going to move the current time decator, let's say 4 seconds. All right, right here. And then I'm going to actually reset the null object by clicking on the reset button, right here. There you go. I will get this, which is correct for now, The animation. If I was describe the current time decator, it will be something like that. All right, On this keyframe, specifically, Chad. And press the letter K on the keyboard to make sure that we go to the next visible keyframe on Z. I want to have this, let's say I'm going to zoom in quite a bit. Just as many A bits, some around here. All right, when we scrub the current time decator, we'll get something like this. All right, perfect. Now I'm going to scrub the current time decator to 5 seconds right here. I'm going to add another key frame only on the position. Scrub the current time decator around here. And then add another key frame and then do the same, let's see around here. And I add another key frame. Now I'm going to go back to two visible key frames. Which means I'm going to use the letter G on the keyboard. And this keyframe right now has a linear interpolation. I'm going to re click, change this to a toggle hold keyframe. Which means when the time reaches to 5 seconds is going to hold for 1 second. And then it's going to do something is going to animate again. I'm going to press the letter K on the keyboard to go to the next visible keyframe for this one on the Z score. Zoom out here quite a bit to be able to see the rest of the motif. Say something around here. That's not bad. I just want to change the interpolation from linear to as is. I'm going to do this inside the graph editor. Here's the selected keyframe. Just going to change to easy is then I will just double click on the key frame. Inside the keyframe velocity, I'm going to change the influence to let's say 75% or so. And then click okay and then exit the graph editor. Let's to a quick scrub the current indicator. And we're going to have something along those lines. See, this is going to actually animate really nice here. See, looking inside the graph editor and looking at this motion here is going to peak, then it's going to slowly decelerate. That's why we did this with the key frame velocity. All right, this is the follow animation and all I'm going to do is just under this out to be able to see the final results. 10. Final Animation Settings: After rendering out the animations, go ahead and press the space bar and look at the final result. As you can see, things look great, everything looks pretty crisp. And of course, there's a lot you can do with the camera movement, but this is just an idea here. All right, I'm going to move the current time indicated to, let's say the 8 seconds here. I'm going to press the letter N on the keyboard to set the end of the work area to the current time Relic and trim composition to work area. All right, this is the whole length of the animation thing you can do is before you render this out, you can go back to the render options and move the slider all the way to the extreme if you want to have a very crisp animation. 11. Thank: Thank you so very much for spending time with me. Understanding how to combine illustrated together with after effects and create stunning three D animations. Reach out if you have any questions or feedback about the course. It will be great to hear from you.