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Activity Forums Adobe After Effects Layer Styles and 3D shadows

  • Layer Styles and 3D shadows

    Posted by Eric Suquet on September 8, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    I’m doing a text animation with 3d text. I’ve got a camera and lights in the comp in order to get shadows as the text flies in. For some reason when I apply a layer style to the text, the shadows go away. Anyone know why this is happening? Everything else is correct and shadows come back if I delete or turn off the layer styles (bevel and emboss).

    James Buttes replied 15 years, 2 months ago 5 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Mike Clasby

    September 8, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Try putting the styles on the text, precomping it, then make the precomp 3D. Just guessing here as I don’t have CS3.

  • Harry Frank

    September 9, 2007 at 1:33 am

    From the help file:

    You can apply a layer style to a 3D layer, but a layer with a layer style can

  • Mike Clasby

    September 9, 2007 at 4:09 am

    Can you duplicate the layer with the Layer Style, remove the layer styles, then set it to Cast Shadows: Only, so that it casts the shadow you want ?

  • Eric Suquet

    September 9, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions. Both will work fine. I find it odd that you need to use workarounds.

  • Mike Clasby

    September 9, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    ‘Tis curious, I bet that’s on the top of the list for next version.

  • Adolfo Rozenfeld

    September 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Not so curious and probably not in a list for a future version 🙂

    Let me explain: The whole point of having layer styles in AE is that they behave identically as they behave in Photoshop. If they didn’t work this way, you simply would not get a predictable result (or the same exact result, more precisely) when bringing a PSD with editable styles (which was the main focus of the feature, applying them directly is kind of a bonus).

    Now, it’s in the very definition of layer styles that they have a fixed (and very specific) rendering order. Please note that AE already had effects for drop shadows, glow, gradient overlays or solid color overlays, etc. If you could work around this rendering order, they wouldn’t be PS layer styles…. Layer styles have rather complex blending operations that are not compatible with the intersections in 3D layers.

    You can use the workaround that was correctly suggested, but it’s not really because of a “flaw” in the implementation of feature.

    A frequent, related question is also why can’t you reorder layer styles in the timeline, to alter their stacking order… no need to explain why now, right?

    One thing that is really worth checking out: Even if there are not direct UI control for them, AE supports many of the Advanced Blending operations in PSD files. For example, conditional blending (blend if). By using this, you can “insert” (say) a text layer behind a person’s red shirt, even if this person moves. Because PS now handles video…. and because AE can import PSD files with video… 🙂


  • James Buttes

    April 17, 2009 at 12:06 am

    so would it be accurate to say the “complex” blending operations from photoshop are not fully compatible with after effects? it certainly seems that way, considering one of the central uses of after effects — 3d layers — is essentially broken by implementing this feature. one cannot reliably expect layers from photoshop to properly depth sort or cast and receive shadows; nor can one expect the rest of one’s composition to do either thing properly. this is unacceptable, and has lead to hours of head-scratching and troubleshooting in high-stress production environments all around the world.

    i suggest you either remove this “feature” or make it work properly. the current half-implemented form ruins one of the best, most used, and most important features of after effects.

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