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Add a Camera to a Composition to create a 2.5D environment.

In order for a Shape Layer to respect a Camera, the 2.5D toggle must be enabled in the Scene Tree. When a Shape Layer is set to 2.5D, a third Z axis will be revealed in the Attribute Editor. This can be used to create the illusion of depth within a Composition.

A Camera is considered 'active' when its visibility is on at the current frame. Where more than one Camera is visible on the same frame, the Camera highest in the layer hierarchy is considered the active one.

Draw in 2.5D

Checking the Draw 2.5D option found in the Tools Settings window for some of the tools will enable the 2.5D toggle meaning that if a Camera is present, Shapes can be drawn in 2.5D.


Type - Set the type of Camera:

  • Freeform - A camera which orients around itself.
  • Look At - A camera which is oriented towards a second point.

Position - Set the position of the Camera.

Rotation - Set the rotation of the Camera.

Look At - Set the position of the Look At point.

Zoom - Increase/decrease the Camera zoom.

Camera Position Offset - Offset the position of the Camera. This is useful for creating secondary motion.

Look At Offset - Offset the position of the Look At point. This is useful for creating secondary motion.


Fit to View...

Launch a window that can be used to set a Camera's Position and Z Rotation to fit a single selected Shape into the view. This can be useful when creating camera movement from one Shape to another. Use a Group of Shapes where more than one Shape is required.

Margin - Set the margin from the Composition edges for the Shape to fit within.

Fit to View - Run the script. Note that the Camera's Type will be set to Freeform if using a Look At Camera.

  1. Create a Camera.
  2. Create two 2.5D Shapes.
  3. Set different Position and Rotate Z values for each Shape.
  4. Click the Camera's Fit to View... button.
  5. Select Shape1.
  6. Click the Fit to View button.
  7. Set Position and Rotation.Z keyframes for the Camera.
  8. Move the playhead.
  9. Select Shape2.
  10. Click the Fit to View button.
  11. Press Play.

Distribute and Scale...

Launch a window to distribute the selected Shapes in the Z axis and scale them so that their visual appearance remains unchanged. This script should only be run once on Shapes with a Position Z of 0.

Nearest Layer Distance - The z-depth for the nearest Shape.

Furthest Layer Distance - The z-depth for the furthest Shape.

Distribution Mode - Determine how Shapes will be distributed:

  • Selection order - The first selected Shape will be positioned nearest the Camera and the last the furthest away.
  • Distance from view centre - The Shape nearest the view centre will be positioned nearest to the camera.
  • Random - Shapes will be randomly assigned z-depths.

Reverse Order - When checked, the resulting distribution order will be inverted.

Distribute and Scale Layers - Run the script. Note that any selected 2D Shapes will be set to 2.5D.

  1. Create a Camera.
  2. Create several Shapes and position them in X and Y (ensure Position Z = 0)
  3. Select all the Shapes.
  4. Click the Camera's Distribute and Scale... button to launch the window.
  5. Click Distribute and Scale Layers.
  6. Move the Camera.
Adjacent Edges

When Shapes are perfectly aligned edge-to-edge, seams can appear between those edges due to anti-aliasing. Try using the Alpha Add Blend Mode to create a seamless join. Note that this is only supported when the background's alpha = 0. To remove the Composition's background go Composition > Toggle Background Alpha. This is not exclusive to Cameras but a common issue when creating 2.5D boxes from multiple rectangles.


  • Shapes inherit the state of their parent so if a parent is set to 2.5D, then the child is also treated as a 2.5D Shape
  • Layer tools are disabled when Cameras are active. This includes 2D Shapes.
  • Try and avoid working with co-planar Layers (Layers oriented along the same axis and at the same position) when using Cameras as this may result in draw order issues. The 2.5D draw-order can be adjusted/improved by simply re-ordering the Layers in the Scene Window where co-planar Layers are required.
  • The Camera tool currently only supports the Look At Camera.
  • Sub-meshes (like the Duplicator) do not support a z-axis.