It's easy to add extra depth to your motion graphics work using Illustrator's Collapse Transformation function to create simple 3D objects. Regular JJ Johnstone gives you all the know-how you'll need...
Thinking in a 3D space isn't new to designers, but designing in it can be tricky. Approaching each dimension as though it is a flat image can help, and Illustrator is the perfect tool for that.
Being able to draw an image using perfectly geometric objects, along with the ability to rescale and align, is a crucial part of designing in 3D. After Effects' 3D tools are often never used to their full capacity. Big camera moves and clever lighting techniques can only go so far when you're working with flat objects.
Here you'll be shown how to create 3D objects in After Effects using Illustrator files. Applying the Collapse Transformation function with pre-comped objects, you'll fold a flat Illustrator image into a three-dimensional truck before using After Effects' powerful cameras to bring it to life. No more flat, paper-thin objects - now you can take your first steps into 3D without having to buy any new software.
Moving into 3D is a big hurdle for most motion graphics designers and the gap feels huge when faced with learning how to use new software and techniques. Use your honed Illustrator skills to create simple 3D objects that will bridge the gap between 2D and 3D. This isn't a substitute for 3D, but a means of getting closer to using it.
The objects will be simple, but you're only limited by the time you want to spend building them. Feel free to build anything you like here, but bear in mind that the truck in this tutorial was specifically designed to make the process easier.