After Effects (Beta)'s new "True 3D Workspace" adds 3D model import, Image-Based Lighting, an advanced renderer, and more.
Adobe has announced the launch of "True 3D Workspace" for After Effects, a set of features that essentially add 3D capabilities to the company's renowned visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing application.
Currently available in a separate beta build of After Effects, the new 3D workspace provides access to native 3D model import, alignment tools, Image-Based Lighting, and a high-fidelity, GPU-accelerated 3D renderer, empowering artists to seamlessly import, texture, illuminate, shade, and render 3D models directly within After Effects, eliminating the need for external plug-ins or third-party solutions.
Thanks to the "True 3D Workspace", it is now possible to import 3D model files in OBJ, GLTF, and GLB formats directly into AE and render them within the same 3D environment as native After Effects cameras, lights, and other 3D layers. Furthermore, these 3D model files can be imported from either your local disk or your Creative Cloud Libraries for added flexibility and convenience.
The new toolset also incorporates Image-Based Lighting into AE, allowing users to utilize any image as a light source to realistically position 3D models within a scene, complete with complementary lighting and shadows. According to the team, Image-Based Lighting employs an image to generate authentic lighting, reflections, and shadows on 3D layers by surrounding the scene with an image-based environment map.
The workspace also introduces Advanced 3D, a novel, high-quality composition renderer that enables you to render beautiful 3D motion graphics with high-quality antialiasing and transparency. As Adobe has noted, Advanced 3D shares its rendering engine with other Adobe and Substance 3D products, and it utilizes Adobe Standard Material properties for physically-based rendering. In After Effects (Beta), the Advanced 3D renderer can render 3D models and other 3D layers and light 3D layers in a composition.
The workspace also brings:
- Animated cameras and lights: You can extract cameras and lights from GLB and GLTF models in a composition.
- 3D Snapping: You can now snap layers in 3D space while dragging the constrained X, Y, and Z position handles of the 3D Gizmo.
- 3D Model-Driven Effects: Combine 2D and 3D workflows in one composition by using the “as rendered” frame of a 3D model layer as a source.