Orient a new 3d layer towards the camera in AE

Written instructions:

In this tutorial we’ll show you a way to position and orient 3d layers so that they face the camera view straight.

Here we have a composition with a simple text layer that we’ll turn into 3d. Then we’ll add a camera and create a quick animation for it. Let’s make the camera animation move really far from the scene origin and also rotate the camera into a random orientation.

Now we’ll add a new text layer and make this one read b. We want to position B so that it’s facing our camera straight. But when we turn it into a 3d layer, it disappears from the view. That’s because new 3d layers will always get positioned in the origin point of our composition. If we scrub the timeline to the beginning, where the camera is still looking at the original position, we’ll find our B layer there.

We can tell after effects to center the B layer in view, which will bring it into view, but it’s still not oriented straight towards our camera. Let’s instead undo that, and show you our preferred way.

Begin by creating a second camera to the scene. This camera will be oriented straight towards the global 3d world in after Effects. Parent your B layer to this camera. Then select the transform property of your first camera and hit control c to copy it. Select the second camera and press control v to paste. What has just happened is that you have moved the second camera into the same exact location and angle of our first camera.

What’s important, is that our parented B layer has also moved to this location, because of the parenting. Now we can simply move our playhead to the desired position in time and un-parent the B layer. We no longer need the second camera so let’s just delete it.

The B layer is now perfectly straight in the camera view, despite the weird angle and position of our camera. This trick can come in real handy, especially with complex 3d animations in which your camera is moving and turning a lot.

Thanks for watching and see you next time on OneMinuteVideoTutorials.com.

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