No Helicopter Parking!

It’s hard enough to find parking but why do people have to use up two spots!

Here’s another experiment using Element 3D to simulate shadows for this mid-sized helicopter. Mini-Chopper are Compact and great for traveling! Also great for shadow examples in small spaces.

Element 3D doesn’t do native shadows (yet…) but using some simple techniques I was able to cast realistic looking shadows underneath the helicopter. Sometimes a simple black solid with a mask will work and for more accurate shadows you can even use a copy of the model from a top view.

I even placed colored lights in the scene to match the environment lighting from several angles.

Element DOES have Ambient Occlusion so if you need inner-object shading, don’t forget to use the Ambient Occlusion options to add depth to your scene. See the example below:

I’ll be making some short tutorial tips for this technique and others and remember these work well in other situations besides working with Element 3D, like using particles or stock footage that need shadows to integrate with a scene better.

See sample image

July 18th, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
wow Helicopter in parking !! it's very cool , thank you man
    July 18th, 2012 @ 11:39 pm
    I wonder how they got it into that parking lot?
    Ashley Staggs
    July 19th, 2012 @ 2:38 am
    They disassembled it, put the pieces in the parking area, and then reassembled it.
    July 19th, 2012 @ 2:59 am
    How they can Eject it from parking ? :D
    July 19th, 2012 @ 6:12 am
    Hey, I know; they had Sam take it apart and then take all the pieces in and put them all together! :)
    July 19th, 2012 @ 6:42 am
    Andrew , how you want eject it from the parking ? :D
    July 19th, 2012 @ 8:36 am
    There are wheels... They rolled it in... use your heads guys
    July 19th, 2012 @ 3:50 pm
    Sam Loya did that park!
    July 19th, 2012 @ 3:56 pm
    Sam Loya did that park!!:)
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:26 pm
The chessboard is beautiful.. w/ AO of course. thanks for sharing!
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:27 pm
Element 3D doesn’t do native shadows (yet…)

Now thats' an illuminating statement.
    July 18th, 2012 @ 10:29 pm
    Maybe some foreshadowing?
    July 18th, 2012 @ 10:32 pm
    He's foreshadowing that Element 3D may be used for shadowing. Foreshadowing for shadowing.
    July 18th, 2012 @ 11:51 pm
    Guys, I'm in the dark, here.
    Are you saying that native shadows are the light at the end of the tunnel or the darkness before the dawn?
    Ty Anderson
    July 18th, 2012 @ 11:59 pm
    I see what you did there
    July 19th, 2012 @ 1:19 am
    Danny Relfe
    July 19th, 2012 @ 7:12 am
    I'd love to see that beyond the shadow of a doubt.
    July 19th, 2012 @ 5:30 pm
    Oh come on now let's not make light of this issue
    Jay Five
    July 19th, 2012 @ 7:34 pm
    Brilliant comments!
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:27 pm
You guys are so awesome you make me want to smash my crotch with a cinder block!

July 18th, 2012 @ 10:28 pm
Inspiring, how to get the Helicopter inside the parking?
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:40 pm
This plugin is awesome. Imported a space cruiser as 5 separate OBJS, each with 4k texture maps and animating with world transform.....and it ACTUALLY works! In After Effects!
    July 18th, 2012 @ 10:41 pm
    Cool! You can really do quite a bit especially with a good GPU and enough vram!
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:41 pm
OMG!.. Very cool Andrew! Can you do the tutorial?
Vfx Arun
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:42 pm
thanks for sharing andrew
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:44 pm
ok thanks! That answered my question in another thread :)
Vfx Arun
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:44 pm
thank for sharing
Paul S
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:49 pm
I'll give this a try tomorrow, let's see if someone beats me to it... Maybe Andrew?

Proposed procedural solution:

Precomp and duplicate the top composition. In the new top comp, parent the camera's position to the light source and its point of interest to a shadow catch layer. Put this comp back into the first as a 3D layer with the same transform as the shadow catcher. Tint black and voila? Turn depth of field on for (completely accurate?) shadow blur.

This should be fully procedural and animatable, so very simple once one gets past the tricky setup.
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:59 pm
It's so worth it I'm very happy that I purchase this awesome plugin,
The lighting looks perfect.
July 18th, 2012 @ 11:01 pm
Hahahahaha yeah why not.. ;-) you could have used your car.. but i guess your kinda fond of the chopper by now ;-)
July 18th, 2012 @ 11:03 pm
Oke.. smart, i'll grab a copy of Elements 3D and going to try this myself..
July 18th, 2012 @ 11:07 pm
hey andrew
can you do a little tutorial on per-fractured objects in 3ds max.
how do u make them?
July 18th, 2012 @ 10:23 pm
Ok, now lets See how you gonna fly out of there :-)
July 18th, 2012 @ 11:37 pm
andrew, can u do some new tutorial with element 3d like a destruction of a city and stuff like that?
Isaac K. Jenius
July 18th, 2012 @ 11:44 pm
Is Element 32-bit compatible?
Or should this give me even more reason to upgrade my pc?
I have Win XP x84, 2GB Ram, GeForce 7100 GS DDR2 512MB.
Also I have, Adobe After Effects CS4.
It would be a waist to get it and not even be able to use it :(
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:02 am
    That card does not support the minimum requirement but the plug-in does work with 32-bit After Effects.
    July 19th, 2012 @ 5:08 am
    I have GTX 580 and it bounces element on one finger while it cleans its fingernails with additional digits! You should try it :). It is worth the investment since you have obviously invested in Element. To me buying Element and NOT getting the most from your video is like buying a DC-10 with 3 engines, I mean who would do that. It will get you from LA to New York in 5 hours, however if you had 8 you would get there in like 20 minutes! AND to top it off 8 engines will generate some nice ambient occlusion.
    July 20th, 2012 @ 9:23 pm
    Buddy, should I buy and match my motherboard if I get the GTX 580? here's my existing motherboard: Z68MA-D2H-B3
July 19th, 2012 @ 12:19 am
Could you please also make an extra tutorial which explains the Animate with Element 3D. For me it is not clear if i can animate between different objects, groups or just soemthing else.
Thanks in advance!
July 19th, 2012 @ 12:23 am
Im glad to hear that its 32-bit compatible, last thing I want to do is re-istall windows.. My GPU is 64-bit compatible but my OS is 32-bit. Silly Huh :P

What kind of requirement does my graphics card not meet up to?
Memory? 3D support?

Is there any help page about Element I can check out with minimum graphics card requirements?

Thank you :)
-Isaac K.
July 19th, 2012 @ 12:24 am
Andrew element 3d really so attractive. i still wait your trailer video for element 3d. i think you will not do:) i love your trailer videos for product
July 19th, 2012 @ 12:31 am
peut'on fair tourner 3d element avec PNY GeForce GT 430 Carte graphique - 1 Go - DDR3 SDRAM merci
July 19th, 2012 @ 12:34 am
peut'ont faire tourner element3d avec une carte PNY GeForce GT 430 Carte graphique - 1 Go - DDR3 SDRAM
July 19th, 2012 @ 12:54 am
That helicopter looks like it is actually there. That is the whole purpose of integrating 3D object in real live footage, to seel the image, and you've done an excellent job with that. You have split my life in two. A life before and after Element 3D.
July 19th, 2012 @ 1:06 am
can I import 3d max object in to your element 3D?
    Shadow Dancer
    July 19th, 2012 @ 1:18 am
    No, Just 3D objects from the moon!
    Shadow Dancer
    July 19th, 2012 @ 1:19 am
    And actually your answer is NO! You cant import any objects in my Element!
    July 19th, 2012 @ 3:11 am
    Don't tease guys.
    Yes you can, just export it from 3dsMax as a .OBJ file
July 19th, 2012 @ 1:31 am
He Andrew, is it or will it be possible to link a Element object to 3d tracking data? like tracking a table and put the Element on the table, If you know what I mean? Hope my question makes sense it's hard to explain what I mean ;-)
    July 19th, 2012 @ 1:49 am
    like your 3d set extension tutorial. but instead of flying towards mountains, flying around an 3d object. :-)
    July 19th, 2012 @ 4:46 am
    same problem here. i can kinda emulate the 2D layer to look like moving in 3D space by parenting the element layer to 3D tracked null object, but it's very limited in use and doesn't look good when i start moving around.

    the thing i noticed element position data has separate XY and Z. there was a tutorial where Andrew was using an expression to split up the position data of 3D layer and use X&Y and Z separately, but I can't remember which tutorial was that. help anyone?
    July 19th, 2012 @ 7:03 am
    it very simple actualy and AE does it for you.
    pickwip the XY pos of Element to the 3d position of the original object and AE will create an array splitting the only x&y values. for the Z pick wickwip Z of Element to the position Z directly and that is it.

    take care.
    July 19th, 2012 @ 7:52 am
    It kind of depends whether it's primarily object or camera movement. Rather than creating a null movement you should use "Track Camera" (assuming you have CS6) or a third party 3D tracker like CameraTracker, Mocha v3, syntheyes, etc. to make a scene with an animated camera. This will yield far more accurate perspective, and your entire scene (lights, 2.5D layers, and other Element objects) will move through camera-space together.
    July 19th, 2012 @ 8:08 am
    I think you dont need to link it to a tracking data.. simple place it in 3d space and as long as the camera is moving, the perspective in Element changes
    July 19th, 2012 @ 9:37 am
    yeah sure
    I did that just yesterday
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:17 pm
    @POISON, thanks it worked.
    @Paul, i am using CameraTracker, basically doing exactly like Lucien here suggested - camera moving around the table.
    @Impaczus, i totally agree with that logic BUT if you don't link it to tracking it just floats in space and yes you can match it just like i did in that video i posted above with the trees. but if you start moving in more complex routes especially zooming, the object tends to feel like floating. its more realistic when you link it to tracking data.
    July 19th, 2012 @ 7:16 pm
    Thanks for the tracker tip Poison.
    To confirm, you are pickwhipping the "world transform" values and not the individual "particle replicator" values correct?
    I tried linking the individual group values in order to have multiple object on multiple tracks but it didn't seem to work.
    So it looks like we have to use separate Element instances for different object on different tracks.
July 19th, 2012 @ 1:32 am
I like some of the built in environments. Is it possible to actually use these in the project as well or is it strictly for viewing in the scene setup?
July 19th, 2012 @ 1:43 am
hi andrew,

i am using dell xps l502x laptop with
6 gb ram,
nvidia 525m 1gb graphics,
2nd gen i5 processor,
win home premium x64,
and after effects cs5.

will this plug in work form me?????
July 19th, 2012 @ 2:49 am
OMG! It's a dream! I'm dreaming, it can't exist! So much work! You are amazing Andrew!
Travis Wade
July 19th, 2012 @ 3:47 am
Maybe it's just because I'm not as smart as everyone else, but is there anyway that you could explain how you made those texture maps in the last tutorial from Cinema 4d.. referring to the diffuse, spec, AO, bump, etc. I tried baking the object with no success.. I must be missing something.. Thanks in Advance.
hugo strange
July 19th, 2012 @ 3:52 am
(I even places color lights in the scene to match the environment)
It should read I even "PLACED" with -ed-..... not -es- ;-)

My girl always tells me to read 2 or 3 times to check for errors in my emails. she's old school.

cool stuff.Great plugin.
July 19th, 2012 @ 4:09 am
Andrew can u do motion tracking or matchmove to an element 3D Object?
July 19th, 2012 @ 4:14 am
That's a very small helicopter.
Bob K
July 19th, 2012 @ 4:35 am
Are the reflections off the windows from both environment maps and the additional AE lights?
I thing the environment map feature is absolutely awesome, and really made this product one of the best values imaginable!
July 19th, 2012 @ 5:05 am
I want to give you Andrew suggestion for a tutorial or a short film..

1 . Sam holding rocket launcher
2 . He is shooting and then with Element 3D on new scene 3D Rotating missile
3 . Then the missile hit 3D car from Element 3D and then adding some Explosions,Sparks,Smoke ETC from Action Essentials 2

Hope you like it. xD
July 19th, 2012 @ 5:25 am
Thanks Andrew! That gave me a chuckle after a long day!
Those composites are just beautiful work, I am continually impressed by this amazing plug-in.
Also just want to quickly compliment the support team who were very professinal and helpful with a issue I had.

Kind regards
    July 19th, 2012 @ 7:07 am
    using the opportunity to say big thanks to the very very serious support who also helped me out more than 3 times in the last couple of days...

    Owe you guys loads of BECKS beer !!!
July 19th, 2012 @ 5:32 am
Hello Andrew...I love this Helicopter!!! :)
Is the Helicopter or the Jet in Elements 3D or in the Weapon Packet includes?
July 19th, 2012 @ 6:18 am
Cool. I don't have element yet so I spend all day thinking about it! I was thinking yesterday about when I do get element: I remembered andrews tutorial on particular and how to make it cast realistic looking shadows. I was going to try that technique as soon as I get element. Sounds like that same idea is what andrew is referring to in his text above. Very cool. Now I want to watch that shadow tutorial again!
July 19th, 2012 @ 6:27 am
Very nice! Can't wait for the tutorial....You need to have micro-choppers in there too because they are extremely lightweight + they have cameras and even specialized robots can fly them. They're good for annoying people and making lots of copters fly everywhere! Actually, the best thing to do would be to land them on peoples cars.:) (they are lightweight because that way you can be lazy bringing them in, actually, you could fly them in)
Matt McDaniel
July 19th, 2012 @ 6:28 am
I love Element! I noticed that this sentence seems incorrect.

"I even places color lights in the scene to match the environment lighting from several angles."

Also, I made this with element 3d:
July 19th, 2012 @ 6:29 am
Someone at Video Copilot has a parking garage fetish - Oh, and I'm going to be buying the plug-in as soon as my wife gives me my allowance.
    July 19th, 2012 @ 11:36 am
    OH yah... So dark and mysterious, in there..
    July 19th, 2012 @ 9:05 pm
    I just hope they never combine a parking garage map with a 3D Harrier model. No homages to Battlefield Earth, PLEASE.
July 19th, 2012 @ 6:32 am
I'm struggling a little bit with animating the camera around my 3d objects. I normally animate my objects instead. Would it be easier to apply Separate XYZ plugin to my camera. Also, I noticed you use 28mm lenses. Would 50mm be better for most situations? Does it matter if I use Unified, Track XY or Track Z? Keep in mind Element 3D is a world you have introduced to many of us just last week. Can you do a tutorial with camera tips for Element 3D? Thanks you AK.
July 19th, 2012 @ 6:44 am
This Mini-Chopper will look much better if Sam Loya is in it!! Flashing some Guns!! haha!!.. Nice job Andrew.. when can we see the tutorials?
July 19th, 2012 @ 7:21 am

Can you give a short demo on integrating Element object in to a tracked scene? I tracked a scene with the CS6 tracker and dropped an Element 3D Bullet in and I think it used the existing camera but there is a jerk at the beginning in my example here. I also had to change the bullet to a 3D layer. Comments or thoughts?

Kirk Productions
Jason Bourne
July 19th, 2012 @ 7:40 am
Its pretty amazing to think how easy the bullet 3d tutorial would be now with this plugin! Maybe that would be a cool way to show how this plugin can create impressive effects in little time.
July 19th, 2012 @ 7:43 am
Hello Andrew
Is it possible to render a depthmap from Element and composite with a different depthmap. In order to for example let the heli fly through a city or so. Something like this

Btw awesome plugin and sorry for my bad engish ^^
July 19th, 2012 @ 7:48 am
I know several people have suggested this before, but I just want to stress the fact that I would be VERY interested in a collection of 3d Vehicle models, such as helicopters, humvees, planes, etc. Shut up and take my money!!!
July 19th, 2012 @ 8:29 am
pls prepare some tutors about texturing concept...
July 19th, 2012 @ 8:43 am
Does element work with the cs6 camera tracker or matchmover?
Maxi Claudio
July 19th, 2012 @ 9:26 am
USING 3D TRACKER IN cs6 with Elements is my top priority to understand. I'm interested in using 3D objects in real world video. Like District 9 and other sci fi films, incorporating a 3D element in a hand held (tracked) scene.
    Eric Tualle
    July 19th, 2012 @ 9:30 am
    July 19th, 2012 @ 11:17 am
    Maxi! You've got to show us exactly how you did that shot. That is awesome!
    July 19th, 2012 @ 12:30 pm
    Absolutely. I think some 3D camera tips and tracking real footage using 3D Element, Motion Tracker or Camera Tracker is a tutorial we all need right about now.
July 19th, 2012 @ 9:53 am
Great thnx from Russia, Andrew, for the awesome plug-in and all the stuff you made)) Just one little mistake with the helicopter: you forget the shadow on the left wall))

I have a little question. So for example I want to place footage on the 3d object. Let's take a stadium from the sports pack... or something else, more simple. So the question is can I use the video as a texture for an object? or can you advice something in that case? It's easy to place video on the flat objects, but if they are round?
July 19th, 2012 @ 10:20 am
LOOKS great, but this must be the Blackhawk for people 3 feet tall and under, since UH60's are 64 feet long, and a standard parking space is about 24 feet long, there's some chopper missing here. Maybe you can get a discount since you only have 1/3 of a chopper ?
July 19th, 2012 @ 10:23 am
"this mid-sized helicopter. Mini-Chopper are Compact and great for traveling! Also great for shadow examples in small spaces." yeah..yeah..Don't bother correcting me. I just read it.
July 19th, 2012 @ 10:33 am
Hey! Andrew listen, the element 3d is very coo, but what i would like u to do, as u know many interface is very cool with shortcut, i mean, instead of do right clic and choosing the menu, u could do some icon shortcut to do it, like ray fire or fume fx, try to make easy the interface, plz.
Listen too... Plz try in the another version of element plz, make when u import a obj file, maybe that can read animation, by the way i mean, if u animate a object in Maya u can send it to element like Integrate Maya to real-flow mesh... If anyone like this... Say like, and i think when Andrew red this he will do what he can do...
July 19th, 2012 @ 10:39 am
Hi Andrew, is it possible to change the names of various objects inside the Element 3D Scene setup? it's not really that hard to keep track of things you have created, but it could help a little bit.
I am going to purchase the complete studio bundle for sure!
    July 19th, 2012 @ 11:32 am
    double click on the name.
July 19th, 2012 @ 11:34 am
Hey Andrew i have a big question.

Will my Geforce 210 (1 GB) Work with element 3d?

Because i saw the Graphics card list that you provided and my card is in the category of "Limisted Any 256MB Card"

Hope that you have a great day, and sorry for my bad english

July 19th, 2012 @ 11:56 am
Just a simple doubt...Can we create new materials in Element (like Pro Shaders)? Maybe like, import from 3dsmax or Maya or any 3D App.
July 19th, 2012 @ 1:01 pm
Any chance of tutorials on creating fractured objects to bring into Elements?

Pleeeeeeaaaasse !
July 19th, 2012 @ 1:16 pm
very nice plugin, I didn't buy it yet but watched all the tutorials, it looks AWESOME.

Can you import .FBX files from 3DS max with baked animations?
July 19th, 2012 @ 1:50 pm
When will you be releasing a model pack with jets and helicopters and such? I know you must have something up your sleeve. I am aware it may be a bit more costly for us but would be well well worth it to all of us guys with no 3d modeling experience.
July 19th, 2012 @ 1:58 pm
Ok, here's new test with 3D tracking with CameraTracker and Element with tracking data from it. thanks to Poison for the tip. not the best thing, still sucks pretty much, but at least it stays in place and doesn't float away.

One thing i noticed: in order to tie in the track point on the surface properly select "bottom" instead of "Model Center" for anchor point in Element, when you select the model under Transform menu.
    July 19th, 2012 @ 10:52 pm
    This looks super cool. i think the AO will make it "sit" better. otherwise its "there".

July 19th, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

That car sits in there exceptionally well!

Kirk Productions
July 19th, 2012 @ 3:23 pm
On some of the comps I do with motion blur and DoF, I'm noticing some blur artifacts =( !

Here's an example (screenshot of recent test):

But besides that Element is working wonders!
July 19th, 2012 @ 4:18 pm
Andrew I imported an OBJ copter I got for 150 bucks from turbo squid looked great on there page but its look like a skeleton and half stuff missing and alot of triangles type look ... Did I get jipped or should I import it some other way ??? confused :)
    July 19th, 2012 @ 4:19 pm
    PS--- Love ELEMENT though :)
    July 19th, 2012 @ 5:18 pm
    Unfortunately, turbosquid has various model standards and they are not all optimized for Element. But there are ways to adjust them. If you take a look at the help tutorial for exporting models and materials there are a few tips. Mainly converting objects to polygons and exporting as triangles with normals.
    July 20th, 2012 @ 1:11 pm
    Thanks Andrew :)
July 19th, 2012 @ 6:08 pm
Those rich kids. Taking up people's parking spots...
Hugo Strange
July 19th, 2012 @ 6:08 pm
HEY! for those of you still trying to figure out how bad ass this Plug in is....take a look at these 2 images..they blew my mind ..because they looked so beautiful. (they where not made by me)

**Noticed the use a "wireframe" mode with that second Text..looks ! cool.
July 19th, 2012 @ 7:04 pm
Daniel@ new exporting master in here goes by the name clacy30 the guy with elbow pads:. anyway. got a question for the lord of Element.
How can i apply names ,signs. decals on a model to make them fit where they belong on a part of the model.

any hepfull tips are welcomed.
July 19th, 2012 @ 9:49 pm
Here is my first scene testing and all that mambo jambo stuff.
July 19th, 2012 @ 10:53 pm
I have a note about Element preview window,
when you try to zoom in, its limited, then you cant have a tool like a hand to center the part you trying to texture.its a bit annoying when you cant get the part you need in view. ok i go away now..not to self.
Alex Wedlake
July 21st, 2012 @ 12:54 pm
Two quick questions! Firstly where did you get the helicopter models you use in all these demo videos, I have yet to find a decent one like that! Also my GPU is a Radeon HD 4850 512mb built into my i7 iMac with 16GB RAM. Is this card enough? Looking at the required specs I am not too sure :(
July 22nd, 2012 @ 11:03 am
Hey where can i get the helicoptere !! any pack ?
Logan Murdoch
July 22nd, 2012 @ 5:12 pm
I too would love to buy that helicopter model! but I haven't seen it in the list of any of the model packs. Perhaps a model pack of a few different vehicles - tanks, jet etc.
August 2nd, 2012 @ 6:42 am
Andrew how do you get the rear rotor spinning around properly? When I do it in Element it´s always spinning around the whole model…
I tried every anchor point option in e3d and also in c4d!
Any guess?
    August 2nd, 2012 @ 8:17 am
    Found it out myself. For everyone who has the same problem:
    In E3D transform options select anchor point "model center" for every group.
    Then go to the group section in the effects properties and activate for every group "Multi-Object" and there you transform it et voil it works :)
    Chad Dion
    August 14th, 2012 @ 11:07 am
    Were did you get model of Heli , Im so looking for one , but I cannot find one with rear and top rotors seperate
August 6th, 2012 @ 5:09 am
Oh my gosh I must have those chess pieces as 3D models. Please make that possible!
August 10th, 2012 @ 11:04 pm
Hey Andrew you are the best!! It would be allot of help to allot of us out here if you can put together a vehicle pack as well. Things like cars, vans, tanks, fighter jets, boats, etc.
    August 14th, 2012 @ 10:03 am
    YES , although I just bought the full thing and would have liked to have gotten cars at the same time...but def in need of a few things like that.....AK to the rescue
August 14th, 2012 @ 10:01 am
For those of us with no 3d skill set , how do we get say a Heli like the one you have , the ones I am finding all seem to group the rotors together so I cant spin one without the rear going crazy too..
November 15th, 2012 @ 8:55 am
When will the Helicopter be available for download? and same with the really cool buildings and the 3D earth?
November 20th, 2012 @ 9:41 pm
Hi Andrew. I have saw you helicopter animation in another tip but when I try it, it not work !. Because the pivot of it not in center. Please help to fix it. Sory my english not good. Thank
January 3rd, 2013 @ 12:45 am
Hi Sir I want Helicopter 3Ds Max Modle Please Give me with texture please give me
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