Adding reflections to 3D objects
In the real world, objects cast reflections in certain lighting conditions. Those reflections add depth and interest. After Effects can’t cast real reflections on surfaces, but you can add them by duplicating layers and applying a blur effect.
Creating a simple reflection
A reflection is a mirror image of an object, though it’s usually a little distorted, depending on the light source. You’ll duplicate objects to create a simple reflection.
- Go to 0:15, if you’re not there already, so you can see the text.
- Select the 3D Text layer in the Timeline panel, and press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS) to duplicate the layer.
- Select the duplicate layer, press Enter or Return, and rename it 3D Text Reflection. Press Enter or Return again.
Move the 3D Text Reflection layer below the Ground layer in the Timeline panel.
The duplicate layer is in the same position as the original 3D Text layer. You’ll flip it to create the reflection.
- With the 3D Text Reflection layer selected in the Timeline panel, choose Layer > Transform > Flip Vertical.
Press the T key to reveal the Opacity property, and change the Opacity value to 30%. Then press the T key again to hide the Opacity property.
You’ve created a reflection for the text. Now, you’ll do the same thing for the book.
- Select the Book layer in the Timeline panel, and press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac OS) to duplicate the layer.
- Rename the duplicate layer Book Reflection, and move it below the Ground layer in the Timeline panel.
- With the Book Reflection layer selected, press S to reveal the Scale property, click the Constrain Proportions icon to unlink the values, and change the y-axis value to -100%.
- Press the T key to reveal the Opacity property, change the Opacity value to 30%, and press T again to hide the Opacity property.
Adding an adjustment layer
A simple reflection is pretty good, but a blur would make it look more realistic. You’ll use an adjustment layer to apply a blur effect. Effects applied to an adjustment layer affect all the layers beneath it.
- Choose Layer > New > Adjustment Layer. After Effects adds a new adjustment layer at the top of the layer stack.
Move the Adjustment Layer 1 layer below the Ground layer in the Timeline panel.
Moving the adjustment layer below the Ground layer ensures that it will affect only the reflection and Backdrop layers.
- With the Adjustment Layer 1 layer selected, choose Effect > Blur & Sharpen > Directional Blur.
- In the Effect Controls panel, change the Blur Length to 20. Leave the Direction setting at its default, as the reflections are perpendicular to the floor.
- Lock the Adjustment Layer 1 layer to prevent any accidental changes to it.
- Choose File > Save to save your work so far.