Video Copilot has released Element 3D, its new plugin for rendering 3D objects within After Effects in real time.
Element 3D can import models in OBJ or C4D format, and renders changes to an object’s materials set-up or lighting on the fly. It supports environment mapping, motion blur and depth of field, and can export render passes.
The plugin also has a nifty Array feature, which enables 3D objects to be used as particles and positioned in 3D grids, spherical clouds, rings, planes or boxes; or aligned to the vertices of an OBJ model.
There are also toolsets for animating pre-fracturing effects and creating 3D text.
Element 3D is OpenGL-based, so it works with any Nvidia or AMD GPU supporting OpenGL 3.3, DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4. (In practice, an Nvidia GeForce 8800 series or ATI Radeon HD 3870 or newer.)
It also works with “Quadro 4000 and similar cards on the Mac”.
The Video Copilot blog post announcing the release has already had almost 300 comments inside 12 hours, with “greatest After Effects plugin known to mankind!” being a fairly typical response.
Comes with add-on libraries
Video Copilot has also released Pro Shaders, a set of 200 readymade tiled materials for Element 3D; and six 3D model packs designed to work with the software.
Element 3D is available now for After Effects CS3 and above on Windows and OS X, price $149.95. Pro Shaders and the individual model packs cost $99.95, and bundle deals are also available.
See more feature demo videos on the Video Copilot site (Includes purchase link)