Creating a Cityscape in 3D

I want to share an example of one of my tutorials that I’m very proud to say inspired a great piece of work, “Black Day to Freedom” by the amazing Rob Chiu. I met Rob after watching a very inspiring talk he gave at the Flash on the Beach conference a few years back. I approached him after the talk to tell him how much I enjoyed it and was blown away when he told me that the movie he had shown was partly inspired by my own tutorials. We have since kept in touch and Rob has contributed to my latest book, Design Essentials for the Motion Media Artist.

I’ve recently recorded the tutorial on video and want to share it with you. I’m in the process of updating some of my most popular demos and tutorials for my video2brain Adobe After Effects CS5 Learn by Video DVD.I’m featuring one FREE tutorial per week for the next five weeks here in my blog. If you like these free tutorials you can also buy the DVD here.

My 3D Cityscape tutorial is one that I’ve had great feedback on and it really was one of the biggest compliments when an artist I admire told me that this demo had inspired some of his own work. Rob Chiu (AKA The Ronin) is a well respected live action commercial director and photographer. Black Day to Freedom was one of his first films, an animation entirely built in After Effects. This was actually inspired at least technically by this tutorial where a very basic city is built with skyscrapers and lights. Rob took this as a starting point and created his own world to help anchor the story. You can find out more about Rob on his website or you can read the foreword he wrote and see exmples of his work in my latest book, Design Essentials for the Motion Media Artist.

The tutorial was developed co-written with myself and my good friend, Paul Tuersley, visual effects artist and After Effects guru of the highest order. Paul has worked on various feature films including Kick Ass, Angels and Demons and 10,000 BC. Paul came up with the initial idea to build a real 3D environment from basic flat layers within After Effects. This technique has now been used widely in a variety of different ways both in Motion Graphic designs and animation projects. Paul is also the moderator at AE Enhancers, a fabulous resource for After Effects artists that you should also check out.

In this updated tutorial you’ll see how easy it is to create graphics from absolutely nothing, directly within After Effects. You’ll also see how to create 3D environments and build scenes for your animations. I’ve also included the project file you’ll need to go through the tutorial here 3D_City.aep. After going through the tutorial I’d love to see examples of what you’ve done with it so please post links in the comments section.

Creative After Effects Bonus Tutorials

Creative After Effects Bonus Tutorials

These Creative After Effects Bonus Tutorials are ones created specifically for readers of my “Creative After Effects”books but are also freely available to everyone who visits my website.They were designed for previous versions of After Effects but still contain useful tips, tricks and techniques. These books contain many more in depth tutorials on Adobe After Effects and related topics. It also includes a free CD full of goodies and training materials for your delectation!I welcome feedback from readers as it is essential to the growth and development of the book and website. If you have any comments or feedback please feel free to leave comments.
Keylight Training movie This is a sample movie from my book “Creative After Effects 7″. The tutorial focusses on how to use The Foundry’s Keylight in After Effects to key out really badly shot DV footage. Angie shares tips and tricks on how to avoid problems and to fix them once they occur.
Character Animation tutorial I’ve done a fair bit of character animation using After Effects, mainly cut-out animation, similar to the style Terry Gilliam used in the Monty Python animations and not too dissimilar to South Park’s style of animation.Till Parenting was introduced, I always used complex nesting procedures to link the individual parts of my characters together. I would draw them in Illustrator with each part on a separate layer, bring it in as a Comp and then Pre-comp the body parts together as needed.Parenting gets rid of the need for complex nesting hierarchies, I can now link the body parts together in one composition. This tutorial simplifies and demystifies the processes, making them less intimidating to those who have never used Parenting.
The Talking Dog Lip syncing Tutorial for After Effects 6 is based on the After Effects 5.5 Production Bundle but can also be followed using the version 5.0 PB. If you want to get hold of an updated After Effects CS5 version of this tutorial, complete with new footage, it’s available as part of my After Effects CS5 Learn by Video DVD in association with Adobe’s Todd Kopriva.
This tutorial shows you how to use Motion Math scripts and Time Remapping on a 3D – rendered character to automate the process of lip-synching. I used this technique in an animated program which was broadcast on a major UK TV network.
Multipass for After Effects 5.5 and Cinema 4DXL These comprehensive tutorials cover techniques for creating multipass renders as well as importing and manipulating the multiple passes in After Effects 5.5.Using a whole host of old and new features to bring your 3D scene to life you will learn the basic principles and discover the power and flexibility that can be achieved by rendering out your 3D scene in passes.

Download files:

Cinema 4DXL (Version 7.303)

Multipass tutorials

Tutorial notes: Cinema 4D Multipass Project files: Cinema 4D project files

After Effects 5.5

Multipass tutorials

Tutorial notes: After Effects Multipass Tutorial Notes

Project files: After Effects project files Footage files: Movies, Lights, Footage files

The Cinema 4D tutorial was co-written by myself and Tim Clapham of HelloLux. Find out more about Tim and HelloLux by here.

Updates & Fixes

Updates & Fixes for my Creative After Effects 7 book
Sadly, even though the book and accompanying DVD were tested and proof-read, some errors were still overlooked – very annoying for both myself and the readers. I hope that it doesn’t stop you from enjoying the book and learning from it.

CAE7 DVD Error Fixes

The DVD contains extra bonus information that I could not fit into the pages of the book. These documents are referred to in the book as seperate documents named individually, for example ‘Workflow.pdf’. These have now been consolidated into a single
PDF document named ‘CAE7-BonusInfo’.

CAE7 Book Error Fixes

Throughout the book; Due to some last-minute re-ordering
of chapters, some of the folders referred to in the Training folder have been given the wrong Chapter number. Please refer to the name of the chapter as opposed to the number in these cases.

Page 40 – RMS_Logo file
In the Import chapter a file named ‘Logo’ is referred to. This has been named wrongly, the correct file name to use in this tutorial is RMS_Logo.psd.

Page 53 – Step 40 – lines 3 and 4 should read;
‘Hold down Shift after you start to drag’

Page 121-123, Fig. numbers 4.2 and 4.6;
One of these screen shots shows the red car following the top-most path, the other shows the car following the bottom-most path. The Red car should follow the top-most path.

Page 154 – Step 3 should read;
Change the frame rate to 5 frames per second

CD Error Fixes

Chapter Nine: Time

There is an error in the T_Remap.aep project in Chapter nine: Time.
When you open this project there will be a missing piece of footage named “closeup”. The movie is, in fact on the CD, it is simply named differently so AE can’t locate it without your help!

To resolve this, please open up the project and double-click the missing “” in the Project window. Locate the “” file from the Training>Source Movies> Angie Movies>MacDonna folder. Double-click this file to select it (or hit the Import button) to replace the missing footage. Finally, re-save the project to fix the problem.

Chapter Fourteen: Expressions
On page 206 you are instructed to open the project named ‘BasicExpStart.aep’. Due to a last minute oversight, this project does not exist in the Training folder. The project you need to open is named BasicExp.aep, the end project for this chapter (with all steps completed).

Below is a down-loadable file containing the missing project. Please download the appropriate file and continue the exercises using the project file and footage contained within. BasicExpStart.aep

Chapter Sixteen: Type
On page 296, Chapter 16: Type you are asked to import a file which is,
in fact missing from the CD. The file is named Here is a link to download this movie file.

Creative After Effects 5

Creative After Effects 5

Creative After Effects 5
Reviews for Angie Taylor's books Resources for Creative After Effects 5 Buy Creative After Effects 5

In this dynamic new text Angie Taylor provides a comprehensive guide to the fundamental workings of After Effects, explaining how to think creatively with the software, so that you can achieve the most unique and professional-looking results.

The free CD-ROM provides the necessary files to complete each tutorial in the book, as well as a plethora of free fonts, footage, plugins and demo software (including Adobe’s After Effects 4.1 Tryout version). Readers are also encouraged to build their own, custom project, applying the techniques learned in each chapter, and completing the book with a totally unique piece of work. The associated website ( contains links to interesting related sites for up to date news, as well as inspirational work from other professional After Effects artists.

If you are a designer already using After Effects and want to improve and reconfirm your working methods, brush up on your creative skills, and improve your graphic and animation techniques, or if you simply need to learn After Effects from scratch, then this is the book for you.