Element 3D Tutorial Round-up: Environment Maps, Particle Replicator, 3D Compositing, and More!

Last month I wrote about the new Adobe After Effects plug-in from Video Copilot: Element 3D. The initial demo videos were pretty amazing, but Andrew Kramer is delving deeper into Element 3D's functionality in his most recent tutorial videos, covering the creation and manipulation of materials, powerful animation options in the Particle Replicator, environment maps, and 3D Compositing. And if that wasn't enough, there's also a tutorial from Serge Mustu on a Cinema 4D to Element 3D workflow and animating titles:

Kramer also has another tutorial that goes into creating and manipulating materials, lighting, rendering and the plug-in's interface and presets. I'll update this post if he puts up an embeddable version.

Here's Serge Mustu's tutorial on making 3D objects in Cinema 4D, fracturing them, and importing and animating them in Element 3D (Note: the audio quality isn't the best, and may come through a bit loud):

And as mentioned at the end of the 3D Compositing video, there are a number of improvements that were made in the Element 3D 1.0.34 update:

  • Added Super Sampling option.
  • Improved extrusion engine.
  • New Path Resolution mode “Extreme”
  • Several stability improvements.
  • Fixed fading custom textures.
  • Fixed crashed with multiprocessor rendering.
  • Fixed licensing issues.
  • Fixed scale normalization and anchor point issue.
  • Fixed missing texture preview.

What do you think of the features in Element 3D? If you've been using Element 3D, what has your experience been with it thus far?


Via: Tool Farm (Beyond the Basics, Particle Replicator, 3D Compositing, Environment Tips, Cinema 4D to Element 3D, and Element 3D 1.0.34 Update)

Your Comment


it will drastically change the way 3d and composting software used. Kramer just made history in the vfx world!

August 6, 2012 at 7:09AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


First of all, many thanks to the folks at nofilmschool for the number of posts related to After Effects lately! I like production gear, but post could use some love on this site more often :)

I've been using it, and I like it. It's very limited... but Kramer admits that. It's meant to be fast, not powerful. So to that end, it's great. It's super fast 3D, with a good (but limited) animation engine - I really like his consideration in making it accessible to absolutely anyone who has any AE knowledge. It's really a great tool. The particle engine is really great!

Do I think it's a game changer? No. I think that term is thrown around way to casually.

However, as 3D is becoming more and more expected on mograph reels, this pushes that expectation even further - you don't have to know C4D, Blender or 3DS to have access to 3D graphics! That's cool.

August 6, 2012 at 7:48AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Agreed, Especially Blender And C4d

August 6, 2012 at 7:50AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Firstly it is an brilliant bit of software which is seeing interest from pro's to casual 3D guys / motionographers and compositors alike. A game changer No but it is very disruptive given it's features and price point. Nuke and Fusion have many 3D tools available but are out of reach of most and this tool will give the one man band / bedroom film maker even more options. I've been doing3D for almost 14 years now and thing like this still blow my mind.

August 6, 2012 at 8:46AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


For me this is an absolute game changer! I'd just started getting into C4D (and it's a beast) so I was ultra excited about the Ray Trace engine in AE6 - and though it's good, it's pretty taxing on the CPU. Element is insanely fast, stable, and allows for a ton of experimentation. I've only had it for a week and I've already booked four jobs using Element - I was able to show each client a quick mock up of what they wanted in less than a day of our initial meeting. I'm still learning C4D (I want to be able to create my own models), but Element has brought a fast, affordable, and effective functionality that has changed my game! And it's amazing how many tutorials Video CoPilot have cranked out since the plug in launch - they really seem to be listening to their customers.

August 6, 2012 at 2:16PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


This is great for titles and motion graphics, but it's incredibly basic and doesn't replace max, maya, zbrush, or anything old school at all.

August 6, 2012 at 8:52PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Nor is it trying to. It's not intended to replace any full-fledged 3D software, it's just meant to be a quick solution for adding 3D elements to a project.

August 7, 2012 at 9:43AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM