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Volcanic graphics with CS6 – UPDATED!

Hey there!

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the new Adobe After Effects CS6 and I have to say it is pretty cool! 

You may heard that the CS6 version has come with some great upgrades including brand new 3D render engine that allows you to extrude text and shape layers and also bend all sorts of 3D layers. Originally, I was thinking about making a simple motion graphics design with an abstract blue background, 3D text and some particles. But suddenly when I made the floor layer with the fractal noise and vector blur it kind of reminded me a lava field. So I changed the blue background to orange and decided to make it a little bit more complex scene. I added 2 types of particles – the first one was representing the soft smoke and the second one bright sparx – both coming from that lava field. And finally I added a Trapcode Horizon layer with the image of volcanic landscape to the back, just to make it little bit more interesting.

Check the video preview:

[vsw id=”44377127″ source=”vimeo” width=”464″ height=”261″ autoplay=”no”]

The 3D text looks really nice! You can also add a 3D bevel to the edges of the text which is pretty cool. But what I like most about this 3D text is you can add real ray-traced refractions and reflections and it really helps to sell the effect. There’s also an option to set the rendering quality. For the previews you wanna keep it as low as possible (1 or 2) because higher numbers can really  slow your computer down. For the final render I set the quality to 4 and I’m really happy with the outcome.

But there is one thing about the ray-traced rendering in After Effects that I don’t like at all – and that is the depth of field. Not only it’s really slow to render (as usual) but the result is nothing like a regular DoF. The blur isn’t smooth. It’s totally scattered. If you look closely at the video you can see it just looks like if I have applied the scatter effect to it. So if you can, avoid using the DoF in ray-traced mode.

You could also notice that the gradient in the background is kinda moving as if it was placed in the 3D space, but I can assure you that it is a standard AE ramp effect. However I used a little trick by linking one of the points of the ramp to the 3D light with the expression.

thisComp.layer(“Light 1“).toComp([0,0,0]);

Just change the name Light 1 to whatever your layer is.

Ok that’s all for today fellas. I’ll keep experimenting with other CS6 features. So should you! 🙂 Keep safe and survive till the weekend! Just 2 more days left! 😉

UPDATE: Now you can download the project file here!