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September 15, 2009 /Region of Interest /

Chris Zwar on planning and creating a complex 3D project

Chris Zwar recently published a three-part series on the ProVideo Coalition website that is billed as a “3-part video tutorial looking at advanced 3D animation in After Effects “.

Yeah, it is that. But it’s so much more.

In part 1, Chris gives a lot of real-world insight into planning a project, including all of the things that you must do outside of After Effects if you want to be successful and have happy clients. He talks about researching the audience, the viewing environment, and the client. He talks about getting reference photographs. This is the kind of up-front work that can make or break a project. I’m adding a link to this part of the series from the “Planning your work” section of After Effects Help (which also, by the way, contains a link to one of my favorite articles by Aharon Rabinowitz).

In part 2, Chris goes into deep detail about building 3D scenes and objects in After Effects. He has some good explanations and tips about collapsing transformations, precomposing, and parenting.

In part 3, he goes into more detail about the importance of textures, lights, and shadows in making a synthetic 3D scene look more realistic.

As Chris himself points out, this isn’t a tutorial series in the sense in which the word ‘tutorial’ has been used too much lately. He doesn’t show the click-by-click steps that the viewer can follow without actually building any understanding. Rather, this is a series that aims to demonstrate and explore some important concepts in the context of a real-world project. I think that this gets back to the root of the word ‘tutorial’: it teaches.

Great work, Chris!

Region of Interest