After effects Fake 3D Spin

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After effects Fake 3D Spin

Creating the illusion of a 3D item can be much quicker than making a 3D model and texture. This tutorial makes creating a 3D spin in After Effects easy.  The trick is to design in a flat field of view (image directly to camera) like in this example.

It’s all in the design

Layer 1 Object, in this case the beer can:

Simple, just make sure the design is flat and the design extends past the edge of the can. Like you were designing a real label to wrap around the can.

Layer 2 Label or decal:

 The label needs to be a ‘seamless image’ what that means is the image should be able to loop left and right (or up and down if you want to rotate that way). The simple test is to copy the design and place the copied version next to the original. You should see no seams where the two meet. (see image)

Can Illustration - Adobe Illustrator
Illustrator - Label CC RepeTile
Illustrator - Label CC RepeTile

Putting it all together

After importing your illustrations into After Effects the process only requires some simple effects. The Adobe After Effects effect that will do most of the heavy lifting in this case is ‘CC RepeTile’.

  • Place your objects where you want them on screen (label above the can)
  • As you will see the label is designed to extend past the edge of the can. In this instance I have also pre-comped the label design however you don’t have to. If you want to add further animation to the label then pre-comping is a great idea.
  • Add CC RepeTile to the label layer
  • Expand the label in a direction (it doesn’t really matter too much what direction, it is totally dependent on what way you wish it to roll).
  • As you can see the image now has duplicated in direction X
  • Duplicate the Can layer and place it above the label layer
  • Select ‘Use Alpha Matte Can Layer’ on the label layer, so you can only see the label where the can layer is visible. If you can’t see the alpha settings press F4 on your keyboard to toggle the layer menu.
  • Add your position keyframes as desired (feel free to adjust the keyframes using the graph editor for a better animation)
  • You now have a Can spin
Watch the video for a visual demonstration;

CC RepeTile in more detail

The figure you are imput into the effect is a measurement in pixels. What the effect does it duplicate the canvas or image you have designed in the direction you select. There are also other settings that enable you to make the extension brick, flip horizontally or vertically. This effect is a great way to extend background images by a few pixels or video to fill a frame if required.

Making the Can Move and Tilt

After effects provides many ways of doing things – You could pre-comp this animation you have created and animate it using the position / rotation values OR… You can use a Null Object.

Null Objects are the best. It’s like a placeholder or a handle that lets you control things from (it doesn’t appear on renders). To Parent the Can to a null is easier than you think – just follow these steps

  • Create a Null Object from the Layer menu
  • Place the Null where you want the rotation (anchor point) to be. In this case because I want the can to rotate from the ground level I placed it on the bottom corner of the can.
  • Select all the layers except the Null
  • Grab any of the whip icons on the other layers and drag it onto the Null layer.
  • The Null now controls all other layers in your composition.

The reason you need to select all of the layers is the alpha matte layer needs to follow everywhere the visible can layer goes, and for obvious reasons so does the label. You can now animate the null object however you like.

Good luck! Any questions please feel free to ask!

Watch the video for a visual demonstration: