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Mimic the lighting of a phone screen in lit 3D space

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Ryan Hannebaum
Mimic the lighting of a phone screen in lit 3D space
on Jan 31, 2014 at 6:03:13 pm
Last Edited By Ryan Hannebaum on Jan 31, 2014 at 6:34:03 pm

Hello again Cows,

I have a 3D environment with some fairly dark lighting, and I want to have a phone screen floating that looks...well, like a phone screen.

I can dummy the effect by simply turning off Accepts Lights for the layer, which allows me to completely control the color and keep it as bright as I want. However, a real phone screen would have some glare to it with lights shining on it, and I want to get that.

The problem is, with Accepts Lights turned on, I cannot find the right mix of attributes (Ambient, Diffuse, etc.) to get the screen even close to bright enough. In other words, it looks just like a piece of paper would with the environment's lighting; you can tell it's white, but it's very heavily darkened and shadowed. I need it to give off its "own" light just like a digital screen would.

Is this achievable in a simple manner? I don't want to break the time bank for this.

As always, thank you!


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Walter Soyka
Re: Mimic the lighting of a phone screen in lit 3D space
on Feb 1, 2014 at 4:45:32 am

[Ryan Hannebaum] "I can dummy the effect by simply turning off Accepts Lights for the layer, which allows me to completely control the color and keep it as bright as I want. However, a real phone screen would have some glare to it with lights shining on it, and I want to get that."

You might try two layers here -- one for the content (accept lights off) and one for the glass (accept lights on, tweak the specularity, and screen or add blend mode).

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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Ryan Hannebaum
Re: Mimic the lighting of a phone screen in lit 3D space
on Feb 1, 2014 at 4:32:53 pm

I thought about that, but the problem is that I'm in Ray-traced 3D, so no blending modes are available! (And I need to be in Ray-traced because I have extrusion elsewhere in the comp.)

Sorry, I should have mentioned that in the original post.


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Darby Edelen
Re: Mimic the lighting of a phone screen in lit 3D space
on Feb 1, 2014 at 6:18:53 am

Something I very often do in cases like this is use an environment map or secondary 3D layers to build reflections. If you place these layers on top of the surface that should be reflecting and use a Set Matte effect to restrict the reflection layers you can end up with a pretty convincing look.

This technique requires that the reflective surface has collapse transformations/continuously rasterize turned on and that the reflection layers are either full comp sized or also have their collapse transformations switch enabled (so that Set Matte works correctly).

I've attached a quick sample setup.

7080_phonescreenfolder.zip

Darby Edelen


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Ryan Hannebaum
Re: Mimic the lighting of a phone screen in lit 3D space
on Feb 1, 2014 at 4:34:16 pm

I'll need to learn more about environment maps and Set Matte. As I mentioned above, I am in Ray-traced 3D; will that affect my ability to implement your solution?


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Darby Edelen
Re: Mimic the lighting of a phone screen in lit 3D space
on Feb 2, 2014 at 5:32:15 am

[Ryan Hannebaum] "As I mentioned above, I am in Ray-traced 3D; will that affect my ability to implement your solution?"

Should make it somewhat easier. The solution I was offering is a faux-ray-tracing solution in the standard 3D system.

In the case of the Ray-traced 3D renderer you can use an Environment Layer and layers set to Appears In Reflections: Only to throw reflections on the screen. Read more on the material settings and environment layers in the Adobe help.

Darby Edelen


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Ryan Hannebaum
Re: Mimic the lighting of a phone screen in lit 3D space
on Feb 3, 2014 at 9:03:47 pm

Thanks Darby. So essentially I just need to duplicate the screen layer, make it an environment map, and set its Appears in Reflections to "Only"? Then mess with lighting settings to get the look I want?


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