Video Copilot Element 3d Version 2.
Element 3d is a plugin for after effects which takes a lot of pain away from working with full 3d objects and scenes in after effect compositions. It’s had great success as more and more motion graphics artists are using programs like cinema 4d in their work for compositing and text based designs.
The great thing about it (for me at least) is that it makes working with 3d a lot more approachable without having the learn a whole new skill set from the ground up. And while I know some 3d modeling and workflows with Cinema4d, I’d be hard pressed to create the kinds of compositions in those programs by themselves.
While there is a great 3d pipeline now in After effects using the Cineware plugin to bounce back and forth between C4D and Ae, there is a little bit of disconnect. And that’s where Element 3d really shines.
It’s basically a middleware plugin that lets you import Obj files into After Effects. But in addition to that it lets you stack several models with separate materials and has a built in animation engine to get some pretty complex animations within seconds.
Up to this point however, there has been some limitations to what could be done in Element 3d. For example there hasn’t been anyway to really adjust the meshes themselves. Additionally you could only import objects, but didn’t have anyway to really create with Element 3d. There’s been a few other things too, but I just want to highlight what I really liked from the Sneak peek.
Othagraphic views directly in Elements interface. Transform handles to move things around. And probably the most exciting to me is what looks like mesh hierarchy. To be honest it looks a lot like a super condensed version of C4D but just with a simplified interface. Sure If I’m going to create something really complex I might want to be able to fully tweak every setting, but a lot of times I just want to assemble things and get to animating. Another thing was the ability to put certain materials on sub meshes of objects letting you get really deep
Deforming Mesh- Andrew talks about being able to actually deform the different meshes in Element to really get some fun going. I’m curious to see exactly how this is implemented and how far you can really take this.
Shadows and Reflections-
And what reflections are basically from what I can tell so far are mirrored copies that can be reflected onto other materials. In the example they show an engine on top of a plane with a bump mapped material as well as a car with a shadow. What’s really exciting about this is the fact that you can have objects basically cast a light of reflection and selectively turn off the render to camera function meaning you get the reflection but not the actual object giving the illumination or environment map.
There’s also something called auxiliary animation that I really couldn’t pick too much up on but it looks like you can create animations on certain sub-meshes of an object.
Regardless of what new features may or may not be included with Element 3d chances are that Andrew Kramer and the rest of the crew at Video Co Pilot will probably be at the very least releasing a new set of objects that can be used in a variety of programs and they have hit on a wider audience than either 3d designers and Motion graphics artists.
Be sure to check out http://www.videocopilot.net/ for release date and more information.