User Guide > Working in a 3D Space > Creating a Multiplane Space

Creating a Multiplane Space

 

One of the most exciting features in Storyboard Pro is the multiplane or Z-depth. In the multiplane, you can create backgrounds in several layers, spread them on the Z-axis, add depth, and then move the camera through this environment to create an impressive perspective illusion. You can add backgrounds, use layered 2D drawings, or add 3D objects.

This section includes the following topics:

Viewing Objects from the Top and Side
Creating a Scene in 3D space
Converting a Scene to 3D

Viewing Objects from the Top and Side

The Top and Side views are representations of your scene’s space viewed from the top and side. The views also display the viewing area that the camera can see.

When you move your element along the Z-axis, notice that it seems the object becomes smaller or larger. This is because of the perspective effect. That is, the elements closer to the camera appear larger and elements that are further away, appear smaller. Because of this, you may need to resize your elements once they are positioned.

The Stage view displays the NS/EW/FB offset positions, but you can also use the Side view and Top view windows to reposition elements:

Top View: Displays the EW and FB positions.
Side View: Displays the NS and FB positions.

Changing an element’s position affects all the contents in that element.

Because these are 2D layers in your scene, they appear as lines in the Top and Side view windows (since you are viewing them from their sides). When you import 3D objects, you will see the full 3D object in the Top and Side view windows—see Adding 3D Objects to the Storyboard.

Creating a Scene in 3D space

Storyboard Pro adds a new dimension to the layout process by allowing you to plan your 2D scenes in a 3D space. The 3D space is described in terms of three planes:

EW: Maps the horizontal plane in terms of East and West, this is the X coordinate.
NS: Maps the vertical plane in terms of North and South, this is the Y coordinate.
FB: Maps the depth of the plane in terms of Front and Back, this is the Z coordinate.

When you add elements to a scene, they appear in layers in the initial position of zero fields NS, zero fields EW, and zero fields FB within the 3D scene space. Before the 3D space feature, you could only change the layer position—see Arranging Layers.

But in 3D space, you can use the EW (X), NS (Y), and FB (Z) coordinates to place your elements at different distances in depth from the camera and from each other, adding a three-dimensional effect to your two-dimensional animation.

Once you place the elements in your scene, you can move, rotate, or scale your elements in 3D space. Storyboard Pro automatically applies the changes to all of the contents in the element.

Converting a Scene to 3D

By default, newly created scenes are set to the 2D mode, so your project is not encumbered with unnecessary features if you plan to work in 2D for more than a few scenes. Once your scene has been converted to 3D, you can move and rotate 2D and 3D layers in 3D space. This means that even if you do not have any 3D objects in your scene, you can still move 2D objects along the Z-axis to create a multiplane effect. A 3D scene will also allow a camera to be moved in 3D space using the Camera tool.

NOTE: Converting a scene to 3D applies only to the selected scene, not the entire project.

To enable the 3D option:

  1. In the Thumbnails view, select the scene you want to convert to 3D.
  1. Do one of the following:
In the Storyboard toolbar, click the Enable 3D button.
Select Storyboard > Enable 3D for Current Scene.
Select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Storyboard Pro > Preferences (Mac OS X). In the General tab, select Enable 3D Functionalities. Optionally, you can also select the Enable 3D Experimental Features to add the Camera Function view to the Windows menu.
NOTE: Selecting these options in the Preferences dialog box requires you to restart Storyboard Pro.
  1. Drag and drop a 3D object, that you have imported into the Library, to a panel or into the Stage view—see Adding 3D Objects to the Storyboard.

This section includes the following topics:

Resetting Your Scene to 2D
Positioning Elements in 3D Space

Resetting Your Scene to 2D

Storyboard Pro lets you reset your scene to 2D. When you do so, the following happens:

Imported 3D models are removed.
3D camera moves are removed.
2D layers that have been moved and rotated in 3D are be set back to 2D, removing those transformations.

To reset a scene to 2D, do one of the following:

In the Storyboard toolbar, click the Reset Scene to 2D button.
Select Storyboard > Reset Scene to 2D.

Positioning Elements in 3D Space

Because you will be placing these objects in 3D space, you should have the Top View and Side View windows open.

Top View: Select Windows > Top View or right-click the tab area and select Top View.
Side View: Select Windows > Side View or right-click the tab area and select Side View.

To position a 2D element in 3D space:

  1. Open your project library and drag one or more elements into your scene. By default, the elements appear in the NS/EW/FB offset position of zero in the 3D space.
  1. Click the First Frame Transformation button and select one of the elements in your scene from the Stage view.

A bounding box appears around the element and the layer appears highlighted in purple in the Top and Side views.

  1. Drag and place the object in the 3D space. Use the view that will allow you to move the element to the right position:
Stage View: Changes the EW and NS positions.
Top View: Changes the EW and FB positions.
Side View: Changes the NS and FB positions.

As you drag the element around in 3D space, the position of the element automatically changes in the other views.

To animate a 2D element in the 3D space:

  1. Click the First Frame Transformation button, select one of the elements in your scene, and place it in the initial position. Use the view that allows you to move the element to the right position.
  1. Click the Last Frame Transformation button, select the same element, and place it in the final position.
  1. Click the Play button to see the animation of the element as it moves from the first frame to the final frame.

The speed of the animation depends on the length of the panel, which is displayed in the Timeline view (Windows > Timeline)—see Changing the Panel Duration.