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Alpha Channels Can Be Tremendously Powerful

Alpha channels can be tremendously powerful when dealing with complex scenes or special effects. For instance, the image rendering placed in front of a blurred background of a forest scene. The forest is one layer in Photoshop that has had the Gaussian Blur filter (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) applied to it.

The 3D Animation Process

There are several ways to animate or place keyframes. Each program handles it a little differently, but most applications allow for some form of automatic keyframing. Automatic keyframing allows the user to simply move the current time marker to a point in time, alter the model, and the 3D application will automatically place keyframes to all altered objects. For example, look at the timeline of your favorite 3D application.

Post-3D Rendering Effects

There are a number of interesting effects that rendering engines can perform after the image is finished rendering. These “post-rendering effects” are essential effects drawn on the final render after the render has been calculated. For instance, glow is a post-rendering effect. That is why a glowing light bulb does not show up in a reflection.

Working Within Your 3D Application

Working within your 3D application, we now need to create a shape to take advantage of this new transparency map. To create the round shadow that we are aiming for, create a flat disc that is the same diameter as the sphere.

Seeing the Power of 3D Rendering

After the scene has been modeled, textured, lit, and animated, it comes time to decide how we, the audience, are finally supposed to see the project. The computer process of taking the three-dimensional model with its accompanying textures and lights and turning that into a two-dimensional image is called rendering.

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