Alight Motion is an incredibly powerful and versatile video editing app for mobile devices. Beyond offering robust 2D animation and motion graphics tools, Alight Motion also provides a full suite of 3D design capabilities. You can start creating eye-popping 3D effects in your Alight Motion projects with some basic techniques.
To get started with 3D in Alight Motion, first, make sure you have the 3D module installed. This can be downloaded right in the app. With the 3D module active, a new “3D” section will appear in the layer controls. You’ll find all the tools to add and manipulate 3D effects here.
When working in 3D in Alight Motion, you construct designs in 3D space on the z-axis. This means you can place elements at different positions along this invisible depth axis to create the illusion of distance and perspective. Understanding this added dimension is key to creating believable 3D effects.
Creating 3D Text and Titles
One of the most common and impactful uses for 3D in Alight Motion is creating text and titles with depth. Follow these steps to add 3D effects to your text:
First, add a text layer to your project. Customize the text style, color, size, etc, to your liking. Then, in the layer controls, select the 3D module. This will add depth to the text on the z-axis.
Use the “Depth” slider to increase or decrease the distance of the text from the viewer. More depth creates a more dramatic 3D effect. Adjust the rotation of the text on the x, y, and z axes to position it in 3D space.
Experiment with the “Bevel Size” and “Bevel Edge” settings to add angled, beveled edges to your text. This creates the appearance of 3D depth and dimension. Increase the extrusion depth for an even more dramatic 3D style.
Add in different layer effects like gradients, shadows, and reflections to further enhance the realism of the 3D text. The more lighting effects, the better!
With these techniques, you can create 3D text and titles with real depth for openers, intros, or video titles. The possibilities are endless!
Working with 3D Objects
In addition to text, you can also import and manipulate 3D objects in Alight Motion. Compatible 3D model files include .obj, .glb, and .gltf formats. Here are some tips for working with 3D objects:
Start by importing your 3D model file into the project timeline. Customize the object’s scale, rotation, and positioning like other layers using the transform controls.
You can also apply standard layer effects like blurs, shadows, glows, etc., to enhance the object’s presence. Use multiple colored spotlights to illuminate the object from different angles.
For added interest, animate the 3D object moving through 3D space on the z-axis. For example, have it start further back then move closer towards the viewer.
Use masking to selectively hide portions of the 3D object. For example, mask out a section of a 3D cube to make it appear partially cut away.
Combining 3D objects with other 2D layers, particle effects, and more allows for unique composites and motion graphic illusions.
Lighting and Shadows in 3D
Proper lighting and shadows are crucial for creating realistic 3D effects. Alight Motion provides various lighting tools specifically for crafting believable 3D scenes.
Take advantage of the five 3D light types – point, directional, spotlight, area, and ambient. Use point lights or spotlights to mimic real light sources.
Pay close attention to light positioning, distance, fall-off, color, and intensity. Observe how changing one setting impacts the overall lighting effect on your 3D layers.
Add shadows to your spotlights and point lights for natural, occluded shadows on 3D objects. Use “Shadow Softness” to control the blurriness of shadows.
Try using muted ambient lighting behind the main directional lights to fill in the shadows and emulate global illumination.
Experiment with adding extra 2D lighting effects layers like lens flares for bonus illumination accents.
With thoughtful lighting setups, you can create everything from stark, dramatic contrasts to soft, subtle brightness in your 3D creations.
Animating 3D Effects
While static 3D effects are impactful, animation truly brings them to life. Alight Motion provides robust keyframe animation options for 3D properties.
Animate the positioning, rotation, scale, shearing, and skewing of 3D text and objects. Even slight motions can make them feel more organic and realistic.
Use keyframes on the z-axis “Depth” property to make layers move towards or away from the viewer. This creates the illusion of movement through 3D space.
Animate 3D objects and text reveal by scaling up the size or decreasing the extrusion depth over time.
Add moments of impact with quick scale pops, rotation spins, or flashes of light timed to audio. This dynamism grabs the viewer’s attention.
Incorporate animated camera movements like dollies, zooms, and pans to reveal the 3D scene.
You can transform your static 3D effects into truly immersive and kinetic motion graphics with animation.
Advanced Techniques for 3D Effects
Once you grasp the basics, you can begin exploring more advanced techniques for taking your 3D effects to the next level. Some pro tips include:
- Use 3D null objects as parents to animate groups of layers together in 3D space.
- Animate 3D bevel edges and depth opacity for slick metallic morphing effects.
- Incorporate 3D particle effects like Starfields for epic space scenes.
- Fake 3D camera depth blur by increasing the blurriness of layers based on their 3D position.
- Use Hold keyframes for smooth automatic motion interpolation.
- Create complex 3D scenes by duplicating, warping, and repeating objects.
- Add simulated 3D camera wiggle for handheld camera acrobatics.
With the right combination of tools and techniques, you can achieve incredibly polished, professional-quality 3D motion graphics entirely within Alight Motion.
Integrating 3D Effects with 2D Elements
Knowing how to seamlessly blend your 3D effects with other 2D layers and assets is an important skill. Here are some tips:
- Use layer masks to selectively hide portions of 3D elements behind 2D layers like shapes or footage.
- Match the lighting on 3D objects to the scene’s environment using 2D adjustment layers.
- Animate 2D graphics to move realistically in 3D space using the z-axis position.
- Obscure the edges of 3D elements with depth blurs, Fog, or Glow effects where they meet 2D layers.
- Wrap or distort 2D video content over the surfaces of animated 3D objects like spheres.
- The transition between 3D effects and 2D scenes using animated cameras, masks, and transparency changes.
- Compose 2D particles in front of 3D elements to integrate them into the same 3D environment.
With the right compositing techniques, your 3D creations will truly come alive within the context of your broader 2D projects.
Tips and Tricks for Realistic 3D Effects
Here are some additional pro tips for taking your 3D effects to the next level of realism:
- Add surface bumps or normal maps to 3D objects to simulate tangible texture without heavy modeling.
- Use Hold keyframes and Bezier interpolation for smooth, organic animation free of robotic motion.
- Dolly and zoom your 3D camera subtly to mimic natural handheld cinematography.
- Study the principles of 3-point lighting and cinematic lighting ratios for digitally recreating realistic lighting setups.
- Look to real-world lighting moods and colors for lighting inspiration rather than defaulting to stark whites.
- Manipulate opacity and blurs based on depth to replicate a real camera’s depth of field.
- Pay attention to the relative scaling of scene elements to maintain proper spatial relationships.
- Mask out 3D elements interacting with the scene edge to hide unrealistic clipping behavior.
With an observant eye and these tips in mind, you can fool viewers into thinking your Alight Motion 3D scenes are real footage rather than digital effects.