Element 3D is a plugin made by Video Copilot where you can create 3D text and objects quickly and efficiently. You can even create 3D replicated patterns as well as access to 3D models and objects. In this video, author Nick Harauz guides you through a few of the features available to users in Element.
- Element 3D is a plug-in made by Video Copilot. It's so fast that it can create 3D text and objects efficiently. You can even create 3D-replicated patterns as well as access 3D models and objects. While showing you all of the features of Element 3D is too much to cover in this movie, there's an entire course in the library by author Chad Perkins. For now, let's take a look at a few features available to users in Element. So to find out more info we can just head over to videocopilot.net, and come over here to check out the product section.
And if I scroll down, you can see a couple things, including some new model packs and shader packs to help you with your 3D creation. I think one of the greatest things about this is your ability to have GPU-accelerated rendering. It's just going to make you working in After Effects that much faster and efficient. We can also take a close look at what's available, and let's just close out of this webpage, and go back into AE. So, I've got my Chapter 4_2 composition open in the timeline, and there's a piece of text in here that I want to extrude.
And you could also see that there's a solid layer that's been turned off, so before I send this text over to Element, I want to use something else rather than Helvetica. So with the text selected, I'm going to go up to the File menu, and choose to add a font from Typekit. This is included with your CC subscription. I want to do a search for a font I like called Proxima Nova. You can see there that it comes up. And I want to go down here to choose the complete Proxima Nova family. Once that's selected, I'll click on Proxima Nova again here, and you can see here all different types of styles that come with this font family and my favorite type tester.
So I'm going to clear this out, and type in the word Splash. And once that's typed in, I can increase its size, and choose different types of fonts, just going through this here. So I'll choose to use the fonts. You can see here that I want to sync the selected font, but I want to make sure all the fonts are selected. So I need to show all the fonts here, and then choose to Select All. After that, I want to hit Sync Selected Fonts, and that's going to sync up to my Creative Cloud system.
I'll close out of Typekit here, or my webpage, and I'm now back in After Effects with my text still selected. In the Character panel, I'm just going to do a search here for Proxima, and Nova comes up, that is awesome. And I can choose that semi-bold style right now that it lets you use. So this is all set up. I'm actually going to come down here and turn off my text layer and let's turn back on the Element Solid layer. We'll head to our Effects & Presets, and let's do a search for Element, which we'll find in the Video Copilot categories.
Select it, and place it onto our solid. Now let's go up to Effect Controls right away, and before we go into the Scene Setup, we're actually going to head down here into our custom layers. So I'll hit the disclose triangle, and hit Custom Text and Masks, and in in Path Layer 1, we will use the SPLASH text layer as a reference. I'm just going to close this section out, and now we're ready to go into the Scene Setup. To extrude our text, it's as simple as clicking on the Text Extrude button here at the top, and right away, we've got some 3D text there in our Preview window.
I'm clicking and dragging to navigate around the scene, just to take a look at that lovely 3D text, and I'm actually going to click to zoom out a little bit as well. And a handy little tool with my text selected here in the Scene panel is to hit the Z key, and that just going to basically frame our text. Now this text is known as naked. We want to be able to decorate it with some materials, so a great way of doing this is to go down here to the Presets tab, and I'm going to go here to my physical shaders. So we're in this, we'll be able to see a ton of different preset shaders that we can apply onto our text, and I want to select the shader right here, this red one, and drag it onto my extrusion model in the Scene panel.
And once I release that, you can see that our text is now decorated with that material, ready to go. I'm going to apply one from the Pro_Shaders category now, I love some of the ones here in the Translucent section, and in the Translucent section, I'm just going to go all the way down and select this lovely little orange soda material, I'm going to apply it to the extrusion text model, and you can see there that that updates really nicely. So quite a beautiful way that we can decorate our text really simply here with presets. Now if I look at my default, we can only apply one material to our text, but that's not the case.
What we could do is add an additional bevel. With this text selected in the Edit section, I'm going to go down to Bevel Copies and change that from one to two. You can see there now when I reveal under my Extrusion Model not only an orange_soda bevel, but a Bevel 2 as well. We're going to replace this one, but let's first of all change our perspective view to a top view to get a different perspective on our scene. And with the Bevel 2 selected, I'm going to increase the extrusion size in the Edit panel. You'll see another bevel coming from the front of it.
And I'll also expand the edges or decrease the expanded edges amount to be a little bit lower here, and if I take a look at this in Perspective view, you can see there, I can see that second bevel very clearly. I'm going to head down here and play around with the extrusion just a little bit as well. Now it's time to add the material to the Bevel 2. So I'll go down here to my presets until I see a preset called Cola, and I'll apply it to that Bevel 2. You can see there that I've got now two materials on my Splash text without having to do a lot of work, and if I needed to, I could always go into these materials and edit their parameters and properties as well as how the look of the text is as well.
Great. I'm going to close that out this here in the Extrusion Model, we're actually going to go here to the Model Browser to search a few models that are available. Some ship as presets with Element 3D, and after hitting the disclosure triangle, I can see I've got a couple categories. Let's go into the Starter_Pack. And in the Starter_Pack, I've got this lovely little soda can, and if I click on the soda can, you'll see it gets added to the scene, it's on the same plan as the Splash text. So what I want to do is, using the Edit parameters, I want to go to the Position XYZ, and push it back in Z space, excellent.
I'm also going to orient this in a different fashion, I'm going to make it zero degrees instead of 180, or until I see the Diet Cola text show up. So with those subtle changes, I was able to add this Cola to the 3D scene. So, besides this model that we're playing with here, there's in fact a entire 3D store. Just by clicking this button, it'll bring me to videocopilot.net, and on this website I can purchase a ton of different models packs. One of those model packs, in fact, let me just close out these V1_Models, is the Motion_Design_2 package.
I've got categories for Beams ,and other categories for Buttons, and if you scroll down, one of my favorites is actually this Liquid category. Some beautiful organic liquid. I'm going to click on the Abstract_Liquid_06 and it gets added to the scene in the same plane as my Splash text, and to see it a bit better, I'll turn off the other two items. And first thing I want to do is go to the Edit panel, and scale this up just a little bit. Now inside the Preview window, I'm going to Option + click the X arrow, to make a copy of this liquid.
So Option + clicking and dragging here to the left, can see a secondary copy of that liquid has been added, and in the Edit panel, I'm going to go to the Flip Parameter X, just to flip this on its x-axis. I'll bring them close together so they are mirrored opposites. This is looking great. Let's turn back on the soda can and the extrusion model, you can see that that liquid is still in the same plane, so I'll select both of those objects, and reorient my scene. I'm going to play with the z-axis, pushing those back in space. I'll turn back on the soda can and the extrusion model so we can see how everything is looking in 3D space.
This is a really good starting place. I'm just going to tweak with those a bit more. Things are looking pretty good. Now I want to have the ability in After Effects to basically change the position and rotation of each of these models, but they're all on the same group. So the first thing I'm going to do is take this extrusion model, and I click and drag it down. So you can see I'm clicking-dragging it down until I see that red line, and when I do, I'm going to release. I'm going to do the same thing with the soda can. Now each of these are part of what's called Group One.
Group One has position and rotation properties, but we can have these set up in different groups. So to do this, the first thing I'm going to do is actually take the extrusion model and drag it down. I'm going to keep that on Group One. I'm just going to make the soda can part of Group Two. I'm going to take those liquid elements, and make that part of Group Three. The amazing part about this is now each of these objects are going to have their own position and rotation controls. Press OK, right now back into After Effects and you can see there that my scene updates as was planned.
So because we took the time to separate each of these objects, if I go over here to Group One, and I'm going to go inside the Particle Replicator that you see here, and I'm going to start to play with the position X value. So I'm juts moving that left and right. See, I'm just updating just the text. Let me go into Group Three and I'm going to go here to the Particle Replicator. Nope, the Particle Look. And inside the Particle Look, I'm going to increase the size a bit, just to affect my liquid only. But, we have control over each of these elements separate right here in After Effects, and we could animate each of these as we see fit.
Something to mention, let me just close out the Group Three, and let's go to our Group One. We could animate our text characters separately by going to the Particle Look. And here in the Particle Look, there is a section down here called Multi-Object that I'll show you in a second. Now if I go into the Multi-Object section and enable it, I again can start to use some of these parameters such as rotation, and if I start to play with the Y rotation you can see that each character is animating separately and not as an entire word.
I'll do the same thing here with Displacement. And just after Displacement, keep in mind there's other things such as Scatter that we could play, or even, let me hit Command + Z to undo that, position or noise amplitude. So we could have some really fun effects here, basically by enabling that Multi-Object property on our text. We also have some Deform properties. This was available as of version two, and you can see here Taper, Twist, and Noise. What I'm going to do is play around with some of the Twist properties, or the Bend properties.
I want to go here to Enable Bend. I'm currently enabling on the x-axis. And I want to increase that angle to about 32, the bend angle. So there's my text, it's bending there. I'll also change the bend direction a little bit to 90 degrees. So you can see it's bending back now on our Diet Cola can, but we could bend our text and twist it, and all of those parameters are indeed updatable. I'm just going to rotate around my scene here with my camera. I hit the C key to enable this, but just give this another perspective on the scene. So you can see here that Element 3D has a lot to offer, so much so that we're actually going to be covering some more properties in the next video, and we really just scratched the surface of getting an idea of how we can work really easily creating 3D text as well as adding pre-built 3D models to our After Effects scenes.
- Using plugin packages
- Working with particle simulations
- Simplifying complex keyframe animations
- Working with expressions
- Enhancing beauty
- Using lens flares