How to Make Space Aliens Invade in After Effects | Adobe Creative Cloud

Use the 3D and Track Camera tools to animate your character in After Effects.

Start from scratch, or download practice files [] for a head start. Steps below.

Prep your project:

1. Open the project in After Effects (File – Open Project – success_starter_alien.aep). Make sure the playhead on the timeline (Window – Timeline) is set to the marker labeled START.
2. Enable 3D manipulation: Click the 3D Layer box (under the cube icon) on the ALIEN layer.
3. Open the space alien character: Right-click the ALIEN layer, choose Open, then Open Layer.
4. Set the anchor point for the character’s movement: Move the anchor point to the heels. Click the ‘x’ next to the layer name in the Composition panel to close the layer window.

Create the 3D camera:

1. Enable the camera tracker for the footage: Right-click the FOOTAGE layer and choose Track & Stabilize – Track Camera. Wait until After Effects finishes analyzing and solving the camera before moving on to the next step.
2. Create the 3D Camera Tracker and its settings: In the Effect Controls panel, make sure 3D Camera Tracker is still selected. Then, set both Track Point Size and Target Size to 1000%. Click Create Camera.

Animate your space alien:

1. Create the background position: Right-click the purple tracker point just below the anchor in the Composition panel and choose Create Null. Select the new ‘Track Null 1’ layer, press Return or Enter, name the layer BACK, and press Return or Enter again. Tap the ‘p’ key on your keyboard to display the Position setting.

Tip: Make sure the FOOTAGE layer and 3D Camera Tracker are selected when you do this step.

2. Copy the position: Use Cmd+C or Ctrl+C to copy the position.
3. Paste the position: Expand the ALIEN layer, expand Transform, click the stopwatch icon next to the Position label, and use Cmd+V or Ctrl+V to create a keyframe with the pasted position value.
4. Change the Scale to 6000.
5. Move the playhead to the marker labeled END.
6. Create the foreground position: Select the FOOTAGE layer. Select 3D Camera Tracker in the Effect Controls panel. Right-click the red tracker below the alien (closer to you in the scene) and choose Create Null. Name the new ‘null’ layer FRONT. Display the Position setting (‘p’ key), copy it, then paste it on the Position setting of the ALIEN layer, creating a second keyframe.
7. Move the playhead back and forth to preview the movement. The alien should walk back and forth between the two positions.

That's it! Play your sequence to start the alien invasion.

To learn more, visit our After Effects Tutorials page:



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