I’ve been experimenting with a technique that uses a series of AE expressions that allow me to create sort of a 3D fractal.
It took about a minute to render this at this resolution.
The basic gist:
1. Create a layer with a fractal noise and set the layer to SCREEN
2. Offset the multiple copies of that layer in Z space
3. Offset the evolution for each layer based on the Z position
In other words, make the first layer have an evolution of 0 degrees, the second 5, the third 10, the fourth 15…
By offsetting the fractal evolution slightly, you create instances that appear to be “connected” in Z space, thus allowing the illusion. One drawback is that you can only move around it about 120 degrees or so. Once you get to the side they either disappear or you can tell they are not connected. Certainly this effect is limited and takes a fair amount of time to render, but a fun project. Someone here suggested I do something challenging for a tutorial, perhaps I could get into this one.
Peder over at www.trapcode.com is working on a plugin for After Effects that allows you to create even more amazing 3d effects like this but with much more control, speed and fully 3 Dimensional. I was lucky enough to see a demo of it at NAB 2007. I’m looking forward to it.
EDIT: I made it in AE 7 Professional without any special plug-ins