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Video Copilot Releases Their Stunning New After Effects Plug-in: Element 3D

If you thought the new 3D capabilities in Adobe After Effects CS6 were impressive, you haven’t seen anything yet. Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot just released the Element 3D Plug-in for After Effects CS3 through CS6 on both Windows and OSX. It’s a 3D object based particle array system with a fast Open GL render engine, and a simple yet powerful animation engine. Check out these demo videos to see Element 3D in action:

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What I really like about this plug-in (aside from the cool features and all the possibilities they suggest), is its wide range of compatibility. Since it doesn’t utilize CUDA cores, you can run Element 3D on either Nvidia or ATI cards (Nvidia Geforce 8800 and newer and ATI 3870 and newer). And for those of us using older versions of After Effects it adds a lot of functionality –including features akin to those found in After Effects CS6– such as text and mask shape extrusion and environment map based reflections.

Element 3D itself will run you $150. For an extra $50 you can also get the Pro Shaders Pack, or for another $100 you can get the Pro Shaders Pack and the Motion Design Pack. And for those of you who want to the whole shebang, for $500 you can get all of the aforementioned goodies plus model packs for food, projectile weapons, sports, money, and sound & music.

Link: Video Copilot – Element 3D


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  • I was skeptical as to how fast it would actually render but watching Andrew scrub through multiple 3D objects with motion blur etc. at full quality that is pretty amazing.

  • shaun wilson on 07.11.12 @ 11:03AM

    I’ve already used Element and can tell you its faster that what their website suggests, its quite remarkable and the render capabilities are out of this world. I could go on all day about why its the most important plugin for my work flows but it just allows a lot of new possibilities for creative outputs. I don’t work for VC or know them personally so Im not getting anything out of saying this (I wish) but… am telling everyone out there who uses AE to buy this program, you have to see it to believe just how good it is. Have used a lot of crap software for years and don’t get me started on other AE plugins on the market but it is very much digital viagra at its best (spoiler alert- its not just for helicopter models and headphone displays – thats merely on the surface stuff, what it can do for architectural backgrounds and particle generators for greenscreen shoots makes quick compositing appear seamless – what took me three minutes in Element would take me four days in MAYA and AE and thats not an exaggeration either.

  • Sold, This will let me do some stuff in AE that I usually do in Nuke

  • An After Effects-related post on nofilmschool! No way! ;-)

  • This plug in is very powerful. I have been messing around with it all day now and I can do text stuff in 10 minutes that would take me an hour in Cinema4D. A must have for people with a lot of 3D experience (since it could cut time) and for newbies.

  • This is going to let Kramer retire for sure. I’m not going to buy it, at least as of now, but I do think its a good idea. But I do think that it’s going to have a negative impact on a lot of people, they will just learn this and won’t know how to do more if they need to, 3d wise.

    • I don’t know, I have been using 3D programs for a while now and it performs a lot like a Cinema 4D or something. A lot of the knowledge newbies learn in here will transfer directly to a dedicated 3D program.

    • Do you have any tests of what you did with it yet?

  • Lliam Worthington on 07.11.12 @ 6:56PM

    Im a video copilot junkie. The Kramers are making some good money out of me, and there about to be making some more :) Very exciting product.

  • This is amazing – but It’s a real shame that it is limited to After Effects. The first 3D (professional) that would be able to use this render method in their program would be making a lot of money, I think.

  • I think it’s also worth noting that one of the “materials” you can choose is “Matte Shadow”. This allows you to to make a surface that will be opaque but not rendered, so any models (or part of models) on the other side will not be rendered.
    3D programs can use it a lot, especially if you want to matchmove a giant crater into a scene.
    But AE CS6′s new raytrace engine did NOT allow you to do this (you had to go way out of your way to simulate it), which is VERY notable for Element. For me it will allow me to animate 3D text coming out of a wall or the ground or something. Very handy. I’ll post a couple tests in a bit.

    • Hey, I clicked you’re name “Wren” and it linked to you’re youtube channel, nice following.

      What camera(s) do you use and what kind of software? and what audio?

  • Awesome. Andrew is one helluva funny guy too. Will have to check out

  • Game officially changed forever…Now, to deal with higher clients demands…if only clients didn’t know this existed ;)

  • Now, if only Adobe would buy this engine from him and insert it as the middle-ground renderer between the classic and the ray-tracer. And add the ability for fully spherical distortions, Then CS6 (or 6.5 or whatever) would, you know, really kick ass. :) Because, right now. If you don’t have CUDA. The ray-tracer’s performance is downright embarrasing… :(

  • Here’s an example of what’s possible using Element for Vfx.