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Adobe's New 3D Workflow

By Victoria Nece
After Effects

Experience New Ways to Design in 3D in After Effects

Adobe's Creative Cloud has long been an industry leader for motion designers. With the cross-compatibility of multiple programs, and an intuitive workflow, they have staked their place as a 2D powerhouse. Now, they're making some huge additions to their 3D workflow. The 3D Design Space offers new features that help you navigate and design in 3D better and faster.
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Clients expect motion designers to be intimately familiar with both video and design in any dimension. After Effects wants to meet their users at this intersection of 2D and 3D to provide a toolset that lets them design and composite in one application. With that in mind, they've developed the new 3D Design Space to make working in three dimensions faster and more approachable.

The 3D Design Space

The Design Space has a few distinct components:
  • 3D Transform Gizmos
  • Enhanced Camera Tools
  • Real-Time 3D Draft
  • 3D Ground Plane
  • Extended Viewport

3D Transform Gizmos

Redesigned 3D Transform Gizmos allow you to rotate, scale and position a layer with a single tool. Similar to Adobe Dimension, the universal gizmo gives you the power to see how far you have moved, how much you have rotated, or how small or large you have scaled a layer. Precision gizmo modes give you additional control over specific transformation types.
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Enhanced Camera Tools

Enhanced camera tools make navigating 3D space fluid and intuitive. Unlike in earlier versions where you could only orbit around the center of your composition, you can now select a focal point and orbit, pan, and dolly around that point on a layer, seeing it from every possible angle.  We've also made the camera controls quicker to access with spring-loaded keyboard and mouse shortcuts, something artists expect from other 3D applications. Instead of having to select a camera tool directly, you can use the numbers (1-2-3) on your keyboard or hold down the option/alt key and use your mouse buttons (left, middle and right) to orbit, pan and dolly your camera. 
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And getting started in 3D is now simpler than ever: as soon as you make a layer 3D you’re ready to go with the new default scene camera. Once you’re ready to start animating your perspective, go to View and select Create Camera From View to create a camera layer. 3D Transform Gizmos and improved 3D Camera Tools are shipping today in the latest version of After Effects. And while these two features are transformative, there is much more to the 3D Design Space coming to the After Effects public beta.

Real-Time 3D Draft

Real-time 3D Draft Preview (now in beta) offers instant feedback as you design and animate in 3D. This new gaming-style engine is built from the ground up for creative workflows, speeding up design iterations and keeping you in the flow. This new engine will replace the OpenGL Fast Draft engine so users get consistent, real-time previews throughout the creative process.   Don’t get lost in space! 

3D Ground Plane

The 3D Ground Plane (now in beta) keeps you oriented while you navigate in draft preview mode, providing a visual cue to help position your cameras, lights and 3D layers in relationship to one another.
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Extended Viewport

Last – but definitely not least – the Extended Viewport (coming soon to beta) extends real-time 3D draft previews beyond the composition's frame boundaries. Bring off-camera 3D content into the scene with ease and switch back to standard frame view when you need to see your composition’s final look.
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We need your feedback to ensure these new features are the best they can be, and we invite you to check them out and let us know what you think. You can download the public beta of After Effects in the Beta Apps tab of the Creative Cloud desktop app. New builds are available daily and can be installed alongside your existing version of After Effects. Share your experience in our beta forum. We’re eager to know what you think!
Tune in to Adobe Max all week! October 20-22