Fake 3D with Shape Layers in Ae

Move Shapes shows how to create a fake 3D effect using shape layers in After Effects.

You don’t need 3D to create 3D. Since the invention of perspective people have drawn in 3D on a 2D plane, essentially creating “fake 3D”. In After Effects, animating a fake 3D effect is pretty straightforward. As long as you can animate the points of a vector shape, you can trick the eye into thinking an element is 3D. Some things will be harder than others with this technique, but for something like a spinning box or a moving car, it’s perfect.

Check out this tutorial from Peter Arumugam, also known as Move Shapes who shows how easy it is to create a fake 3D car turn using shape layers in After Effects. The video shows direct animation for the After Effects layer elements, likely to convey the concept a little easier. It is worthwhile to note that any time you want to key something, you should have a rig to accept those keyframes, not the element itself.

A great example of using a rig with a fake 3D turn is this tutorial from animator and illustrator, Hunan Hunanyan. The tutorial covers how to rig a car using DUIK in After Effects, making use of the Morpher tool there. Check out that tutorial here.