What is Projection Mapping?:
This is the process of generating a 3D space through the usage of 2D images. To do this you must lay out the layers you are using at different distances from each other while having a camera enabled to navigate through, which creates the illusion that the layers are now a 3D scene.
What is 3D Layering?:
This is essentially 2D layers in a 3D space, which After Effects then gives you the ability to move on Z axis (as well as the X and Y) and using tools to change many of properties, such as rotating without any warping.
These can be used with in-software cameras to create what is called ‘parallax’.
What is Parallax and why do we use it in Matte Paintings?:
What we mean by ‘parallax’ is the effect of objects closer to you moving faster than objects that are at a further distance away from you.
Applying this knowledge with matte painting allows us to perceive depth, creating an almost 3D environment.
This is a picture layer of your scene (matte painting) that can then be composited with other layers to create the complete picture.
I first got my matte painting from the last exercise, and then began to break it down into render passes to export as PNGs, and drag into After Effects. I then made a new composition starting with the sky, and then dragged and dropped the layers following it after, keeping it in the intended order.
I then checked each layer to become a 3D layer, and opened up a camera in the Layer drop down menu, and then selected it to observe the scene in a top view.
I then started selecting each layer and dragging them out, leaving a small distance between each one:
Which then created the illusion of depth in the ‘active camera’ view, however it looked a lot messier as the images weren’t sized for this purpose.
After fixing the proportions up, I then added a keyframe and began adjusting the camera’s position in the X,Y and Z axis, and allowed it to preview, which left me with this final result.