Get an overview of Element, a third-party plugin, to create a fancy 3D tennis ball animation.
- [Instructor] In this video, I'm going to show you how you can create this spinning tennis ball, even if you have zero knowledge in 3D. And in order to do so, we are going to rely on a third party effect that goes by the name Element 3D. Now, if you want to learn more about this effect, go ahead to videocopilot.net and check the details that they have over there. I'm just going to show you a quick overview. It's not going to be a course about Element 3D. This is a very, very deep tool.
I'm just going to show you how I used it in order to create what you are seeing on screen. It's also worth to mention that I'm not including the project files for this one. I already showed you how to use the outcome of it in the previous movies. I just think that it is worth knowing how I've created it. So, I'm going to go to the beginning over here. Switch off the visibility for this solid layer, and I'm going to start by creating a new solid layer. So, going to layer, new, and creating a new solid.
I'm going to choose a black color for it, doesn't really matter. And I'm just going to name it 3D Tennis Ball. Make sure it's Comp Size and click okay. Next, I'm going to go to the effect menu, and under video copilot, I'm going to launch Element 3D. So once again, I need to emphasize this is not bundled with After Effects. You need to actually purchase this plug-in, and unfortunately, during the time that I'm recording this, it doesn't have any trial or demo version.
So either you go with it or not. Anyhow, in order to work with Element, you need to click on the scene setup, and this will open a propriety interface on top of After Effects. So this is a softer inside the softer. It runs under After Effects and it's going to use After Effects in order to animate everything. But when you want to create stuff, you're going to use this interface to create it. So, you have a couple of primitives options over here. You can start with a sphere, or a cube, or all of these other shapes.
You can even extrude text, but I'm just going to rely on the models. So, even if you are not coming from a 3D background, you can still buy packs of libraries of pre-made 3D models and this is what I'm going to use. I'm going to select the sports folder over here which is, again, a package that you can buy from videocopilot.net. And over here, you can see different kinds of stuff of 3D objects. I'm going to scroll down and here is our tennis ball.
I'm going to click on it and it will add this object to the review area. If I'm going to hold my mouse and click, it will allow me to orbit around this 3D object. Now, in order to create the wire frame, what I did is just duplicated this group and then I'm going to select the tennis ball itself, which is the material, actually this is the object, the material is underneath, so we need to select the material and then we have this wire frame option that I can enable, as well as changing the color and other stuff to suit my liking.
So I can scale it to be a little bit bigger. I can change the color to something else. I think that I've chosen something like very light blue, almost a cyan color. And then, we can also tell it to use a different group. This means that once I'm going to say okay over here, I'm going to sit here in the After Effects interface and each one of the groups is separated. So I can disable or enable the groups, depending on what I need.
I can animate each one of them separately in order to create the animation that is just so. So, I'm just going to select this solid. I'm going to delete it and then I'm going to enable the version that I've worked on earlier and I'm going to review it with you, so I'm going to open up group number one and two. This is basically the same thing. So if I'm going to click on scene setup, we can see that we have a tennis ball and a wire frame. Each one is separated to a different group. So, it means that I can control it here inside After Effects.
For example, I can use the rotation in order to rotate each one of the individual groups and I can open up, let's say group number two, and then I can change the particle size to fit my liking. So this is how I created it. And then, after animating everything, we've got a couple of render settings, which will help you to determine the amount of glow, the amount of shadow and a lot of other stuff related to 3D. So, even if you are coming from a 2D background and you don't understand too much in terms of 3D objects, you can still use this plug-in to create these amazing graphics here inside After Effects without too much work.
Now, another advantage of this plug-in is that it is supporting the builtin lights inside After Effects. So in order to add some drama, I've added two lights. I'm going to switch them off, so you can see this is the way that Element is rendering this and if I'm going to add my own point light over here, you can see that it is affecting our model. And then, if I'm going to select the other light over here, a parallel light and enable it, I'm using it as a field light so the shadows won't be so dark.
Now, once everything is being combined together, I can render this file and I can use the Alpha Information in order to maintain the transparency and this is what I'm going to show you in the next movie.
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