Digital Anarchy Releases 3D Assistants to Help After Effects Users Design in 3D Space
Keyframe Assistants Give a Simple Method to Position, Arrange and Manipulate 3D-Enabled Layers
San Francisco, CA – May 14, 2002
Digital Anarchy announced the 3D Assistants for Adobe After Effects. The 3D Assistants are a collection of keyframe assistants that enable users to easily manipulate and arrange layers in 3D space.
The 3D assistants allow designers a simple way of positioning and animating 3D layers. Layers can be arranged to form various 3D shapes or the Assistants can be used to easily distribute a large number of layers throughout After Effects' 3D space. This makes possible animations or arrangements that would be too time consuming or calculation intensive otherwise.
Keyframe assistants offer a powerful way of manipulating the various attributes and properties of layers within After Effects. This has been an underused area of the After Effects plugin spec partially because it doesn't lend itself to the usual visual effects generally seen in plugins. However, the close integration Keyframe Assistants have with core parts of After Effects, make them ideal for certain types of tasks and effects.
This turned out to be especially true for laying out layers within AEs 3D space. After Effects has a very robust 3D engine, and the 3D Assistants provide tools for managing, arranging, and animating layers specifically in 3D space.
While many designers are comfortable in 3D space, the conceptual model can be difficult to grasp. Trying to position, rotate, then animate layers in 3D space can involve a great deal of forethought and calculation which takes significant time away from the design process. The 3D Assistants require some working knowledge of 3D space, but make many of the complex and more difficult aspects much easier to deal with.
Using the standard interface, designers now have the ability to easily set up their layers throughout the 3D world within After Effects. For creating fly-throughs, walls of images, cubes, tunnels, and a variety of other effects, the 3D Assistants are an indispensable tool.
Distribution & Creation.
The 3D Assistants are broken up into two basic sets of assistants. One set arranges the composition's layers within a given type of primitive. The other set attempts to create a primitive out of the layers.
Withthe Distrivution Assistants, you can distribute the layers over a plane or within a sphere, cube, cylinder, or pyramid. This creates a cluster of layers that fill the selected type of space. There is a great deal of control over how the layers are distributed, how they're scaled, and their orientation. This is particularly useful when flying the camera around in space or attempting to fill the 3D world with objects.
The Creation Assistants attempt to build a primitive out of the layers selected. It's easy to arrange layers into a wall, a cube, a spherical shape, or a cylinder. The user provides the layers and the Assistants do the calculations and placement.
Since the 3D Assistants arrange everything in After Effect's 3D world, there's no need to worry about additional camera controls or where other layers are in 3D space. Layers appear as they are arranged in the After Effects Timeline. Other layers, 2D or 3D and regardless of whether they've been positioned with the 3D assistants, are composited as you would expect.
Scott Frizzle, co-designer of the Assistants, had this to say about the 3D Assistants: "After one project involving a lot of 3D work we thought itd be great to have some better tools specifically for it. Having the 3D Assistants turned out to be a life saver the next time around. We got it half way through a project involving multiple fly-throughs of dozens of images. We saw an exponential increase in our productivity as we no longer had to manually arrange the layers. It's an amazing, time saving design tool."
Having been tasked with growing a forest in After Effects, I was not looking forward to manually placing individual layers. The 3D Assistants, and particularly the Distribute Randomly function, turned out to be a great time saver. It actually allowed me to get some sleep instead of planting little pixelated trees all night! Rob Birnholz, Absolute Motion Graphics
I love the 3D Assistants! Theyre great! Super! Patrick Siemer, design studio Tape and Glue. (We are now considering recruiting him as Anarchist Cheerleader)
Pricing & Availability.
The 3D Assistants are available for $199. The 3D Assistants work under Mac OS 8.6 and higher (including OS X), and all Windows variants.
Limited versions of two of the ten assistants will be available online as a demo. Due to limitations of keyframe assistants, we are unable to give the full featured demos that weve done in the past. However, in addition to the usual sample movies, tutorials, and other support materials, weve added demonstration movies to show exactly how they work. In combination with the Demo Assistants and the full manual which is available online, users should be able to get a very good grasp of what these do.
About Digital Anarchy
Digital Anarchy is a privately owned company operating out of San Francisco, CA. Digital Anarchy is devoted to creating high end and high quality software products for broadcast designers in television and film. These products solve a wide range of problems that face designers, from creating text effects and background elements to the addition of lighting effects in 2D compositing applications. The products work in conjunction with a wide range of products from companies like Adobe, Discreet, and Apple.
For further information on Digital Anarchy and other products, please see the web site at www.digitalanarchy.com or call 415-621-0991.