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Dive deeper into the camera and use the 3D space to position elements in your scene for a multiplane effect. Learn the advantages of working in a 3D space, even if your assets are 2D, and how to effectively render the animation of your scene elements in a more realistic fashion.
Welcome to the tutorial How to Create a Multiplane. In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to spread out the various elements of your background along the z-axis in order to give the illusion of depth in your scene. To begin, let's think about how our scene would behave in a real-life scenario. If we had a camera pan, for example, elements in the foreground as well as elements closer to the front, such as these rocks, would appear to move faster than elements in the background. For example, if we had a car driving with the wheels turning, but that car remained in the centre of the camera frame with the background elements being panned from right to left, these elements would still appear very directly in the camera frame to be moving very rapidly towards the left, whereas the city would be moving slightly slower towards the left and these rocks in the background or the mountains in the background would appear to be moving very slowly towards the left. In order to create these types of effects, what you actually have to do is space the elements apart along the z-axis. The elements that we have in our scene, if we uncollapse the background layer in the Timeline View, and actually let's unlock any of the ones that have been locked, if we click on them, they appear in pink in the Camera View. The first layer being the sky, which right now is also acting as the ground, the moon, the background rocks, the city and then the rocks that are in the mid-ground essentially.
Right now in the Top or Side View, you can that the element that is selected in both the Camera View and the Timeline View, that being the moon, also appears highlighted here in the side column of the Top Menu or the top column of the Side View, so you know which element you are about to move. This is particularly important in the Top and Side View because your elements look like lines, so it's a little bit more difficult to discern. If we click on the Side View to put the focus around the Side View, we can then zoom out a bit. Then if we reselect the moon, as we can do from the elements that are displayed here, you can see that the element, in this case the moon, is highlighted in the Side View. It also takes on that intense pink colour. You may also have noticed that it's near the top of the Side View, which we know to be accurate since it sits near the top of our scene in the Camera View.
Before we continue, we need to make sure that one thing is disabled. Let's go to the Top Menu and select Animation and what we're looking for here is the No Z Dragging. The fact that there is no check mark beside the No Z Dragging option is a good thing. Were there to be a check mark here, you should click on the No Z Dragging menu item to uncheck it so that you'll then be able to move elements along the Z-axis in the Side and Top Views. Now let's take a look at a new tool in the Advanced Animation Toolbar and it's this one right here, the Maintain Size Tool. Let's click on it to select it and then in either the Side or the Top View, select your first element. Even though the moon is highlighted, let's actually select the background. What I'm going to do is grab it here and then move it back. You'll notice that as I move it back, it's expanding in size to always touch the edges of the camera cone. What it's essentially doing is maintaining its size. Even though it now exists further back along the Z-axis, which is the axis right here, it looks the same in the Camera View. It didn't get smaller as it normally should were we to use any of the other animation tools. I'll show you what I mean. Let's select another element, let's say, the moon for example. Let's select the Translate Tool this time. If I grab on the blue arrow here, which if you remember, is the arrow for the Z-axis, and I push it towards the background, you'll notice that it is not expanding in any way to stay within the boundaries of the camera cone. When it was up here, it touched the edge of the camera cone and as we push it back, it's slowly moving away from the camera cone, its edges no longer touching the edge of the camera cone and as you can see here in the Camera View, it's gotten smaller. Depending on what you're looking for, you can either use the Maintain Size Tool to move your elements or the Transform Tool or the Translate Tool to move your elements.
Another thing you can do to keep your object moving straight and that's besides grabbing this arrow here, is to hold down the [Shift] button. I'm actually going to undo that because I do want to maintain the size. If we select the Transform Tool this time, you'll notice that the pivot with the arrows does not appear and that's because the Transform Tool is a little bit more of a free form tool. You're able to grab your object and move it around. It's not restricted to only moving backwards or forwards or scaling or rotating. You can kind of do anything with it. Let's undo that. With the Transform Tool, if we wanted to do something like the Translate Tool and that's to have the moon move back in a straight line, we could just hold down the [Shift] key as we pull back and as you can see, it's now working the same way that the Translate Tool is working. It's being pulled back in a straight line. In addition to that, it's also maintaining its size because, it's funny to say that this is the Maintain Size Tool, because it maintains the size of the drawing in the Camera View, when in fact we know that as the background is being pulled back, it's actually getting larger in order to look the same at a greater distance in the Camera View. If you hold down [Shift], you actually maintain the size of your object, which means that if it's back in space, it's smaller. If it's closer to the camera, it actually looks a lot bigger. I'm just going to select the Maintain Size Tool again and actually, if you hold down [Shift] with the Maintain Size Tool, you sort of lose its function. It does exactly what the Transform and Translate Tool do if you want to just pull your object backwards. It maintains its real size, but it doesn't maintain its size in the camera frame, which is actually what we want. I'm going to undo that one more time and this time, pull our moon back. Our moon now is separate or staggered along the Z-axis or in depth from the background, but it looks the same as it did before. It takes up the same amount of space in our Camera View.
While we're moving our objects around, it's important to use all three views as much as possible. Even if I'm doing all of the moving here in the Side View as it seems, I'm still checking to see where things are in the Top View and in the Camera View to make sure that everything is as it should be. Let's move a few more of our objects with the Maintain Size Tool. Right now, as it stands, I don't know if you noticed this, but I moved the front rocks forward instead of backwards like I did with all the other elements. If you recall our Hero Master, if we enable it, is on this white line right here, which is our zero point. It hasn't moved forwards or backwards and we can see it here again in the Top View. We should be able to see our superhero character here behind the front rocks in the Camera View. I just realized why we can't. Let's go to the Network View and then let's enter our background group by clicking on the furthest grey arrow. Then within our group, we can see that all of our background elements are attached to a composite. If we click on the yellow square of the composite to bring up its layer properties, we can see that its mode is set as Bitmap. If we click on the drop-down menu and change the As Bitmap to Pass-Through, we'll see that in the Camera View, our hero character has appeared right away. Once again as a quick reminder, all composites by default are set to bitmap, which means they'll take all of the elements attached into the composite and flatten it into a single bitmap image. However, if you want to group a bunch of elements with a composite, but you still want them to remain as individual vector elements, then all you need to do is change your composite to pass-through. As you can see here, now another element can exist between the elements of a composited group, despite the fact that it's not in the group or part of this composite. I'm going to go back to the top and even though here in the Camera View, we can see this doesn't look realistic, you get the idea of what you can do by moving elements along the multiplane. That's it for the tutorial How to Create a Multiplane. Stayed tuned for the next tutorial How to Import Sound and Add Lip-Sync.