After Effects 3D City

Still inspired by my trip to New York, I decided to make a graphical 3D city in After Effects using flat planes and images. It’s not ‘photo-realistic’ but it has a nice stylistic look; great for motion graphics or background elements. Keep your eyes out for a tutorial…

I should be honest and let you know that it is pretty slow to render such a complex scene even on my dual Pentium 3! Yar’ be warned!

Rich D
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:45 pm
Very cool! Please do a tutorial!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:47 pm
haha that's awesome
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:48 pm
So sweet Kramer!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

I've tried that and failed....COOL MAN!!!


now.....wheres ther tut? :P
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:48 pm
I can't wait!
you are a legend!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:49 pm
you beat me to the first post.... XP
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:49 pm
video wonderland copilot !
thx mrK (the man before mrT)
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:49 pm
that looks awesome, a tutorial on that would be great!
Thanks :)
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:49 pm
Great, you always find a way man. You are amazing! Looking forward to the tutorial Andrew!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:50 pm
Cool. Can't wait for the tutorial
Some Guy
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:50 pm
Wow! Nice. I always wanted to learn how to do it fast and easy in 3ds Max. But I think After Effects will do it too. I'm waiting for the tutorial.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:51 pm
wow i've been trying to create something like this thats perfect
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:51 pm
when is it coming?
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:51 pm
Freakin' Sweeeeeeeeeeeet!!!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:52 pm
Make the text look 3D extruded and fly the camera through the city and add some cars adn more text.....:)

and then make a transformer render from max and stick it in there too :D
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:53 pm
Good thinking, maybe a 3D terminator while I'm at it... Lol
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:56 pm
every minutes a comments ... i think we'r addicted , no cure for the vcp desease imo
April 2nd, 2009 @ 3:59 pm
I was literally looking into do this very same thing in ae just yesterday. My first roadblock was finding good building textures. Where can you find those?
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:02 pm
nice andrew... Very NICE...
you're better then all...
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:07 pm
WOW!!!! amazing!!
The hacker11
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:25 pm
with some glow effects will be cool. but this is awesome without it too.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:29 pm
loooool look how much Kramer is involved with his community, he's so close with us. VC ftw. <3
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:34 pm
Nice :).
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:38 pm
That is cool. I made something like this a while ago with just one building. Turned out pretty good.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:44 pm
that is very nice. I am trying to imagine the sick camera movements you did in it.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:45 pm
That would be a VERY cool tutorial!!!!


(even a short one!!!!!)
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:46 pm
Dude. If you made a tutorial on a transformer. I would buy every single of your products 3 times. Not even kidding. My mind has been amazed by that movie so many times. California love <3
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

Love your stuff bro. keep it up
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:54 pm
Wow...that looks pretty good!
pat k.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 4:55 pm
wow I cant wait for this.......this looks like it will take a long time to do
April 2nd, 2009 @ 5:08 pm
Pentium 3??
April 2nd, 2009 @ 5:15 pm
I can't wait for another of your tutorials!!! :)
April 2nd, 2009 @ 5:28 pm
Nice font, I am pretty sure it's called "Capture it" Just if anyone wanted to know.
Peter (TC-Productions)
April 2nd, 2009 @ 5:29 pm
Very nice!
2 questions:
- did you compose the building textures in PS, or in AE?
- are the 'flares' a blurred dust layer, or a particle effect?

Massive respect from Belgium!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 5:37 pm
I've already done this in class. Yeah took 10 minutes to render a 5 second animation (1920 x 1080), and I ended up with 200 layers or something.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 5:55 pm
Wow!How long did you work on that one?
April 2nd, 2009 @ 5:58 pm
What! No radiosity coming from the glowing text!? (joking)

In my experience it is much faster and easier to do this kind of complexity in a 3D package.

Good practice I suppose.

April 2nd, 2009 @ 6:03 pm
holy crap, SHOW ME!!!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:15 pm
Im very impressed with this. Im going to give it a try tonight and see what I can come up withl
D4 Manager
April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:16 pm
Anyone knows where to buy Dual Pentrium 3??? I only have Dual Core, that's sux...

- compose in PS faster, imho.
- too obvious about flares, he loves to use Particle and apply lens blur over it
April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:29 pm
Yess please do a tutorial for this
April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:36 pm
Hey! NYC isn't that crime ridden anymore....that's an old stereotype!! lol
April 2nd, 2009 @ 6:41 pm
That's Awsome. If not a free tutirial, that would be something Id buy a dvd to learn!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:44 pm
is it just me, or is part of the "B" missing? XD
April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:44 pm
its looks great!!
cant wait the tutorial....
April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:51 pm
I love the fact that you have the Sears Tower aka soon to be Big Willy Tower.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:52 pm
Im not going to lie, that is freaking amazing!!!!!!!!
nice work.
April 2nd, 2009 @ 7:58 pm
I just... WOW!!! don't... words missing.... AWESOME!!! DEMASIADO CHIVA!!! TOO DAMN INCREDIBLE!!!!... don't know what else to say.... inspirational... that's the word....
April 2nd, 2009 @ 8:16 pm
I agree with Kevin. A couple of times I've committed to large scale 3d after effects comps, then regretted it when my comp got bogged down trying to refresh tiny changes.

Looks awesome, and no doubt valuable skills to be learned (and awesome if you don't have access to a 3D app) but in terms of speeding up workflow, a 3D app is much faster for this kind of thing, and you also have the possibilities of all the awesome effects available in the 3D apps
April 2nd, 2009 @ 8:17 pm
I've actually been thinking if that was possible and I thought it was, but awhile ago (2008) a friend did it. Can't wait for a tutorial!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 8:37 pm
You don't have limits, that's good, seems you are doing somethin you like... so much.
And we can learn a lot from you.
Barry Barrera
April 2nd, 2009 @ 8:46 pm
Woah! Very fast machine...where can i get one andrew? :)
April 2nd, 2009 @ 9:39 pm
ehehehe that's nice!!!!
Don't forget we should buy his product for support him!!!! ^__^
April 2nd, 2009 @ 10:07 pm
This is something im really interested in . cant wait
Eugene Opperman
April 2nd, 2009 @ 10:11 pm
Ben Kom
April 2nd, 2009 @ 10:32 pm
April 2nd, 2009 @ 10:59 pm
Looks awesome!

You love the font CaptureIt too, don't you? :p
It'll actually be our new font in a week or so.

keep it up!
Jake The Muss
April 2nd, 2009 @ 11:09 pm
Nice one, looks mustard. Looking forward to the tut.

Many thanks :)
Alby Smith
April 2nd, 2009 @ 11:16 pm
man... you are a AE Superhero!!
Alby Smith
April 2nd, 2009 @ 11:16 pm
man... you are the AE superhero!!!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 11:41 pm
that man is unstoppable!
April 2nd, 2009 @ 11:44 pm
Looks great )
Rehan Mirza
April 3rd, 2009 @ 12:04 am
Penitum 3 Dual Core .. hahaha yaar u r just Awsome .. and that is for person .. in graphics u r guru
April 3rd, 2009 @ 12:47 am
Very intensive render
it will take forever to render on my PC :).
I think there's a useful plug in called "Plane Space" from redgiant can do all the stuff here it's perfect.
but we need the tutrial without addition plug in if you can.
Thanks & looking forward to the next one
Anthony Miller
April 3rd, 2009 @ 12:50 am
That's awesome, Andrew. Great work as always.

Looking forward to the tutorial on that one for sure!

I can't believe how much I am learning just by hanging out on the site and checking out stuff. Oh, and I ordered 4 more products from ya. Those help immensely, of course!

April 3rd, 2009 @ 1:06 am
hhahaha...make spiderman in this video..
April 3rd, 2009 @ 1:10 am
Dual Pentium 3... puh, I don't think my Core2Extreme can handle that :p

April 3rd, 2009 @ 1:18 am
I've done something similar to this before but not that much of 3D!I was trying to simulate a small company in AE to make an ad,it's very amazing to work with flat images and create something 3d :D
- - - - -
Can't wait to see this tutorial! Seems fabulous...
April 3rd, 2009 @ 1:31 am
Wow ! :-). I've made something like this, but it was bad :-). I love rain, smoke, lightnings, so you can add it, and show to us how to make it so realistic (i mean on lightnings, thunders, rain) :-) in this "3D" city...
And... You can ADD some car with 3D option for Photoshop images, am i right ? You can use in After Effects CS4 3D objects like in real 3D ? Hm...? I've seen that anywhere...

Best Reagards, Djordje !
April 3rd, 2009 @ 1:38 am
Hey Andrew !
I was serching on a tutorial how to do a 3d city, and guess what ? you'll make a tutorial on it !!
Thank you very much,
From Japan.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 2:07 am
andrew, you are the best! please make a tut about that! it looks so awesome!!
greets from germany
April 3rd, 2009 @ 2:14 am
Nice work and looks stylish to me...
How about adding a flyby camera, a bit of skyglow and some city traffic? ;)

Good work!
See you soon with the new tutorials,
April 3rd, 2009 @ 2:53 am
Looks pretty realistic to me. Can't wait for the tutorial. You are famous even here in Latvia (somewhere in Europe). You rule A.K. You and Sam Loya are a great team!
April 3rd, 2009 @ 3:18 am
this will make a very sexy tutorial
crumpy crimpets
April 3rd, 2009 @ 3:26 am
thank you. look forward to this
April 3rd, 2009 @ 4:27 am
this scene would be awesome in stereo while we're at it .. :)
April 3rd, 2009 @ 4:52 am
hiiii iliked zis site
April 3rd, 2009 @ 5:06 am
Looks awesome. But to make it photo realistic you just need to take real pictures of building as a texture.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 5:18 am
Hi Kramer,

Awesome look on that pic. I was just wondering, would it not have been easier to create say 8 buildings in 3dmax on a ground plane then texture them (inc street ground plane) then import the render & camera data into AE. Then add a 2d city back ground and use the pan move data from 3d max to animate the scene?
April 3rd, 2009 @ 5:34 am
Hi Andrew! Can you tell me how did you do that? I mean the blury water droplet "in the lens" of the camera? Did you use a still image and add a blending mode to it or use one of a previous tutorial made by you and Aharon?


April 3rd, 2009 @ 5:39 am
*sorry for two post in a row, we cannot edit our post*
I ask that because they look's soooooooo realistic!!!
Btw sorry by my poor english, if there is some errors.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 6:12 am
THis looks great. I can see massive potential for really enhancing a film and increasing its percieved scale if use appropriatly
April 3rd, 2009 @ 6:33 am
Thats pretty cool

Does it include something like a ground plane, street map?
would be pretty cool to get down on street level
David W.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 6:36 am
Somebody was asking about this effect on the forum and nobody had an exact answer for him. I hope the tutorial is soon.
Prodat TV
April 3rd, 2009 @ 6:46 am
Became stronger than before, many entries in a short time, that's the attitude.

Thanks as always, That's looks very interesting.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 7:29 am
We all know Andrew only made this so he could fly the camera around and pretend he's Spiderman.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 7:39 am
I don't comment often, but I am SUPER psyched about this one. The still looks incredible! This one looks to have some good depth to it that others of this type have been lacking.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 7:56 am
Know That we all know your technique to use a hot air baloon you can't fool us lol just kidding
Can't wait for the tutorial to come out :D
April 3rd, 2009 @ 8:25 am
Really nice work Andrew, as always!! I would definately really enjoy a tutorial on how to create something like this and to see your workflow.

Just to ventilate some thoughts :) I don´t know about the rest of you guys here, but another thing I would really enjoy is to see a video capture of you Andrew, working on a "real" project. What I mean by that is it would be really nice to see how you work from beginning to end when you come up with your ideas and to see your everyday workflow. To see how you tackle things when things go wrong, the shortcuts you take and how you solve every day problems and issues. How you try out different effects and ideas that eventually leads up to the final result.

Even thou tutorials are extremely great and I love to watch them and learn, all tutorials I ever see are always of finished and already tried methods and ideas. This is of course one the whole ideas of tutorials, to teach and share ideas of things you know and have figured out etc.. But to see how you would go about starting out a new project from scratch, working with the ideas, how you try out various things to get to the final results that you always manage to create so great, would be awesome to see.

So to see you hit the "record" button when you start working on creating a new "real world" project from scratch, or when you decide to create a new tutorial about something and to see how you work from beginning to end would be totally awesome.

I´ve tried finding these types of "workflow" videos, but I can´t seem to find any made by anyone basically.. Ever project starts somewhere, and even how well trained you are and how much you may know, every project is a new challenge, and to get to follow along with someone as great as you Andrew and see how you tackle these challenges would be awesome :)

Just a thought :)
April 3rd, 2009 @ 8:33 am
It looks realy good I'm going to use it for my new film I can't wait for the tutorial!!! an afcorse the new DVD!!
April 3rd, 2009 @ 8:37 am
This is awesome!

But, to the slow render...... I think you should get Adobe to pay for a new computer, That will PERFECTLY render anything you need in less than a minuite!

(We all can have a fantasy right?)
April 3rd, 2009 @ 9:05 am
Hard Time? Intel Pentium 3?
Then I am quintessentially buggered, Kramer, old chum. I'm running AECS3 on a laptop with Centrino Core 2 Duo. CS3 being annoying, rendering from only ONE of my 2 processors. Ah, crap.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 9:06 am
could you post the project file?
I would love to see exactly how you did it.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 9:29 am
looks amazing, ive always wanted to make a blade runner esque city shot
April 3rd, 2009 @ 9:31 am
I totally agree with you!
that would be really cool to see AK figuring some of this stuff out. I think it would be very enlightening.

@Rob Coxxy:
haha, you think you have it hard?!
I don't even have a duo processor!
I am running AE CS3 on 512 mbs of ram on a windows xp 2004!
Pretty much the worst case cenario, because I am trying to work with HD footage. :P On just some footage with basic effects it will take about 15 minutes for 10 seconds of footage to render!
yeah, so you get the idea.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 9:31 am
Please make a tutorial, this is awesome... you are awesome!
April 3rd, 2009 @ 9:40 am
I'can`t wait to watch it!
I want to learn more of ilumination in AE, and this looks perfect!
thank you!
April 3rd, 2009 @ 9:47 am
A tutorial would be greatly appreciated.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 9:48 am
This it TOTALLY better than getting Mugged, lol. Looks friggin awesome!!

Here's a quick thought, with soooo many VC peeps here really interested in your process in a 'real' project, ever thought about doing it up doc styles for a behind the scenes look, clearly it'd be shown way after the actual work aired as I would assume with most projects confidentiality is huge until its aired.

I could see that doc selling out quickly if you guys decided to sell it or include it on one of your product dvds.

Either way I own 4 DVDs myself, love em all, and I've had my eye on the Pro Scores for months now.

For an editor only a few years in, your innovation is inspiring.
Tanner D
April 3rd, 2009 @ 10:09 am
Rich D wrote: "Very cool! Please do a tutorial!"

It is fairly simple just get or make a picture of the side of a building make it 3D and position the anchor point at exactly the dissents behind the image as half the width of the image. precompose this and turn on the colapse transformation switch. alt click on the stopwatch for the x rotation and tipe: index*90 now duplicate this layer 3 times. now that you have the basic shape you can add a top by making a square solid that is the size of the width of your original picture and make it gray. place the anchor point at half the height of the original picture behind the gray solid and offset the x rotation by 90. now go back into your original comp and duplacate and offset the sky scraper. add a light, a background, some text, and a camera and your done.
the Mentalist
April 3rd, 2009 @ 10:17 am
thats great ....!!!! can´t wait for the tutorial
April 3rd, 2009 @ 10:18 am
I've been waiting for something like this.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 10:19 am
April 3rd, 2009 @ 10:20 am
You are my idol!
April 3rd, 2009 @ 10:28 am
I was in Inner Mongolia, a Mongolian boy, I very much admire you! My English not good, I can only use translation software to communicate with you.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 10:36 am
I do not know the translation is correct or not, I hope you can understand. In China now you can not see the tutorial, which is a big regret. I have read many of your tutorial, very cool! Really thank you! ! !
April 3rd, 2009 @ 10:40 am
Well it looks like a simple effect, of course if you have cool photos :>
April 3rd, 2009 @ 11:28 am
@ Rob Coxxy:

Hehe, guess I'm better off then you :P

(1 GB Ram, XP Service Pack 2, AMD Sempron Processer 3400 [is that good? I don't know a lot about PC parts], but I do only have 1.80 GHz which is horrible. Can't even play Brothers in Arm Hell's Highway!)

Still love the city.
April 3rd, 2009 @ 11:31 am
Need to correct myself:

I meat to say "@david" since he said that. Sorry.
April 4th, 2009 @ 1:43 am
Amazing Work Again!!! Working on the border covering news, I always turn to Video Copilot for different ways of adding elements to a Story.
April 8th, 2009 @ 7:27 pm
Hey Andrew i really got to say this..u r just amazing, all ur wrk inspires nd gains me confident in what i do...coz i am half way thru ma course(Editing & VFX)in India nd nothin up to this level has been thought in i am learnin mostly frm yr wrk..thnx nd keep postin more of these...U r really a perfectionist...
April 10th, 2009 @ 4:58 am
inpossible to possible
April 12th, 2009 @ 3:33 pm
Le serviteur d'AFTER EFFECTS a encore frappé, KEEP ON GOING ANDREW.
April 21st, 2009 @ 3:27 pm
Man what are you eating ? You are awesome !
khaled iQ
July 11th, 2010 @ 6:53 am
great tutorial
but i can’t complete it because i don’t have the “vector paint effect”
can anyone tell me where can i find it
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