After Effects Apprentice Free Video: Overview of Per-character 3D Text

The difference between 2D text, and animating each character in 3D (well, 2.5D) space.

As we mentioned earlier, we've been busy this year creating an extensive, multi-course video training series based on our popular beginner's book After Effects Apprentice. Each course has a selection of movies that are free for all to view; we're re-posting those videos here on PVC to make sure you don't miss them. This one explains the added control you get when you add the Per-character 3D characteristic to a text animation.

The sixth Apprentice course covers two of our favorite subjects that are core to much motion graphics work: type, and animating to music. Trish – who has a background as a magazine art director, as well as a deep love of typography and fonts – goes into great detail on how to create professional-looking type, as well as how to animate it using AE's powerful but non-intuitive text animation engine.

One area that may cause some confusion is the concept of “3D” in After Effects. In reality, it's 2.5D, in that After Effects layers have no thickness – they disappear when you turn them on edge. We call this look “postcards in space.” In earlier versions of After Effects, an entire text layer would be rendered as a single postcard, regardless of the animation taking place within that layer. More recently, Adobe added a “per-character” option where each character could break free of the surface of that imaginary postcard. Although the characters still had no thickness, the ability to rotate and offset those characters in all three dimensions added quite a large impact to the final result.

In this movie from our Type and Music course, Trish explains the basics of how to work in 3D space in After Effects (including how the Camera tools work) while demonstrating the difference between 2D and Per-character 3D – well, 2.5D – space.

The content contained in After Effects Apprentice – as well as the CMG Blogs and CMG Keyframes posts on ProVideoCoalition – are copyright Crish Design, except where otherwise attributed.


Support ProVideo Coalition
Shop with Filmtools Logo

Share Our Article

Chris & Trish Meyer founded Crish Design (formerly known as CyberMotion) in the very earliest days of the desktop motion graphics industry. Their design and animation work has appeared on shows and promos for CBS,…

Leave a Reply

Notify of