Our new massive training series is now online and it is FREE! Possibly the most advanced tutorial series we have created so you can see what it takes to work on a more in-depth shot. The first hour is compositing in After Effect then we learn to build advanced 3D assets!
Project files now online! Download Now
I just finished recording 3 hours of training for the Explosive Train sequence so while I finish editing that… check out this amazing demo from ILM on the VFX work for The Avengers. 3 Hours of recorded training is probably 1.5 hours after editing out rendering and bad jokes. Stay tuned, it’s a big series.
Here is the breakdown of my next tutorial! Should be fun… and no Element 3D
The 10 Free city After Effects templates included with our new model pack METROPOLITAN are now available on the product download page along with a tutorial for customizing them and optimizing render quality. Just log-in above to your account if you already purchased the pack!
(Sorry for the delay!)
The templates are setup in AE CS5 and will work with CS5.5 and CS6.
Tutorial for Optimizing Element 3D Renders: (Good tips for all Element 3D Users)
The year has just began and already the Element 3D update is available and our MASSIVE new 3D Buildings pack, Metropolitan!
The past several months, have been insane! A life consumed by rooftop-details like air-conditioners, heli-pads and industrial-antennas. Our team worked very hard to push the quality of the buildings to incredible heights and we are excited to finally make it available!
Watch Metropolitan Trailer in HD on Youtube
We’ve also added some serious new features to Element 3D such as Animated OBJ Sequences, Real Time Glow with Chromatic Diffraction. Plus Custom Anchor Point Control, Draft Rendering mode and even ambient occlusion per material. Plus this update is 100% Free, past customers can log-in and download right now!
Watch the Element 3D V1.5
New Feature Video
Free Upgrade to V1.5:
Download Element 3D V1.5
Our new 3D model Pack Metropolitan is now Available!
Visit Product Page and watch new Promo!
Metropolitan features over 100 buildings and skyscrapers for creating stunning 3D Cities and Virtual skylines. This pack is optimized to work with the new Element 3D V1.5 so please update before using the new Pack!
Download Element 3D V1.5 (Use full installer, no patch yet)
Log-in to Download
As we await the release of our new Building & Skyscraper pack METROPOLITAN, I’m excited to show you what’s coming to Element 3D: V1.5. This upgrade will be FREE to customers when it becomes available and we recommend everyone upgrade before using METROPOLITAN to take advantage of new speed improvements!
The new features offer something for everyone, from big features to small productivity enhancements. Don’t take my word for it, check out the video now!
And also, if I flew through a feature too fast or you want to know more about a certain feature, just ask!
I’m excited to announce that ELEMENT 3D V1.5 will be available next week as a FREE update to customers! This update will include cool new features, enhancements and some bug fixes! One of the new features is our Real-Time Glow engine that allows you to add glow directly to illuminated materials or even image highlights. It’s extremely fast and offers even more realistic results than just using the standard Glow Plug-in. We have also developed a custom Anchor Point control system and impressive workflow enhancements.
OK, Before I go on… this update will unfortunately not be featuring 3D Shadows but we KNOW this is a top feature and are confident it will be available in V2 later this year (we’ll get to that later). We are really working hard on it! Creating OpenGL shadows is not a trivial thing but we are experimenting with several innovative & hybrid solutions.
That doesn’t mean we haven’t been killing ourselves to make Element 3D the most powerful plug-in in the world and we know only way to do that is to keep adding features and improving the tool-set.
PLUS, we still have many new features to announce for Version 1.5 along with our massive Skyscraper and Building Pack called METROPOLITAN so stay tuned!
It’s 2013 and like many of you, I use After Effects a lot! One of my goals this year is to make working in After Effects more efficient, through Presets, Scripts, Camera Rigs… you name it!
Usually when I start creating something in After Effects with Element 3D, I like to create a Parallel Light, an Ambient Light and a Camera connected to a Null. What if there was a script or button that automatically did that all at once? As your Copilot, I want to stream-line your workflow so you can be creative!
We are working on creating various time-saving scripts and presets but we want to hear from you too. What would be your time-saving script? Big or small, explain it here and maybe we’ll build it for you!
Have you ever wanted to be an unlicensed building contractor? Today we are announcing the release date for our new 3D model pack METROPOLITAN. This collection features over 100 3D buildings and specialized reflection maps for creating incredible city shots with Element 3D! The pack will be available Tuesday, Jan 22 2013!
In addition to Element 3D, we have also taken the time to build each object for your favorite 3D program too. Including Cinema 4D, 3D Max and 3D Max with Vray, as well as OBJ and FBX with materials pre-setup. This model pack is our most comprehensive and there may be a few surprises yet to come. Trailer and demo videos to follow. Have a safe new year!
Recently I had the opportunity to work on the Intro and Title for a new Bad Robot show called Revolution by NBC. The show takes place 15 years after the power mysteriously goes out. The objective of the intro was to show the transformation of time passing in a stylistic time-lapse ways to help establish the world. And although we were visualizing 15 years in only a few seconds, the reality is that we only had a few weeks to get it done! I thought I would highlight some challenging aspects of the project and share some insights with you.
THE MAIN TITLE:
The main title was created in After Effects using Element 3D and some proprietary tools we are developing. The majority of the work was manually animating masks to flicker each letter but also hinting at the word “EVOLUTION”. Since the title had a lot of glowing to it, I decided to use 32BPC to keep the glow intensities consistent and natural looking. There is also a bit of smoke from Action Essentials 2 behind the letters.
We wanted to show that time had passed from after things stopped working. We filmed real plants using a slow shutter and low frame rate of 1 fps to create a time-lapse plant growing vibe. This makes the plants flicker and shake in the wind. We then took the plants and animated them to grow taller with the backgrounds.
THE COURTHOUSE SHOT:
What is an apocalypse without the ruined courthouse?! We wanted to make the emptiness and destruction less depressing so we leaned towards a more green and lush vegetation. One of the shows Matte Painters helped give the building a nice worn out look with IVY and then I used our plug-in Element 3D to animate some of the leaves and Ivy. The trick here was getting the ivy to wrap around the pillars and to obscure the plants as they intersect the concrete. The white pillars here show the matte geometry that was used to cut the edges and cast ambient occlusion on the surface. I also used the animation engine to progressively animate the leaves outward.
Using Element 3D and the multi-object system, I was able to load 3D plants and animate the rotation to fake the wind blowing. To get the plants to grow where I wanted I also used a layer for the replicator where I wanted plants to grow.
THE GAS STATION:
Using multiple copies of Element 3D, I placed growing plants all around this scene some even show ivy climbing the gas pumps.
See plant growth in action!
Overall this was a lot of fun to work on, very challenging and with the time-constraints we had to find a workflow that would get the project done on time. It’s always fun to mix motion graphics with visual effects, my 2 favorite things!
Our Pro Shaders for Cinema 4D is now available to New and Current owners of the Pro Shaders pack. We rebuilt each shader to work natively in Cinema 4D as a free upgrade to those who would like to use them. Just sign in to your customer account to download, we even created an easy installer! Enjoy.
Previous customers will see the Cinema 4D installer under the Pro Shaders product.
UPDATE: Make your features come true, File a Feature Request with ADOBE!
Our buddy Todd Kopriva at Adobe just posted an article outlining top feature requests from the After Effects community in 2012 and while you browse the comprehensive list, do you see your top features there?
Here are a few of my top features that should be on that list!
Improve Expressions Speed:
As I outlined in 2010, expression run-time should be much faster! This feature is still high on my list because expressions are very powerful but can weigh down a project if they get too complex. I notice major speed hits when using complex expression like those generated from using Sure Target 2! http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/sure_target_2/
POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Red Bull!
Duplicate Layer Instances:
The option to make a copy of a layer with effects like Particular or Element 3D and have the effects sync throughout the project when edited. So if you change one instance, they will all change, but at anytime you can disconnect it from the group and customize individually. Basically when you repeat certain effects it can be cumbersome to go through the entire project and update the effects for each copy. This would save time and avoid forgetting about a rogue copy.
POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Copy option called “Copy as Instance” then when you paste it, the parameters have a highlight color so that you know it is connected to other parameters. Then maybe an icon next to the effect name that can be clicked to disconnect an instance and make it independent.
Must we pre-compose everything!?
It would be great if pre-composing wasn’t required every time you want to reference a layer from a plug-in. We all have been there, you want a plug-in to use a layer but it won’t work until you pre-compose or flatten that layers effects. So you pre-compose it even though you really don’t want to! This problem is even worse when you have 3D layers, because then you need to copy the camera into the pre-comp as well and keep updating it every time you want to change the camera.
POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Have a layer switch like the 3d or motion blur switch on the layer that is called “Render First” or “mimic precomposing”. This way you can mimic pre-composing when you need to.
Render Output in folder:
Having just completed graphics for a trailer that needed to be translated into 8 languages, it would be nice if I didn’t have to create a folder for every single output sequence. It would be nice if there was an output setting to “Place in Folder” that could be saved into a template. Then whatever you name the files will be the name of the folder. Saving precious minutes!!!
POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Output option check-box ”Place in folder”. I know there are scripts for this but C’mon!
Improved Light options:
AE lights could use some upgrading now that 3D is becoming more common. Here are a few suggestions:
- Controllable Light range. Not just falloff but cutoff.
- Ambient Light with distance range. Instead of ambient light everywhere, it would be cool to have a radial range for things to illuminate objects evenly without the specularity from a point light.
- Better Light icons and representation in the viewer
- Exclude specific layers from Lights. Maybe.
Bonus Feature: Kill shape layers! Well at least disconnect them from the mask tool.
What are your top feature requests for After Effects?
Optical Flares 1.3.3 has been released along with a free bonus pack of presets. As some of you may know we are in development on Optical Flare 2.0 and we were able to fix some bugs and we wanted to make these fixes available now!
The bug fixes include OpenGL fixes, Quadro Crashses on OSX and speed improvements.
LIMITED TIME CYBER SALE:
Remember we are currently having a sale for 25% off all Video Copilot Products, don’t miss it!
See Coupon information
Wow, this post is long! In this new tutorial we’ll take a look at creating various simulated scenes such as a Camera POV, sniper scope and even night vision. The tutorial also includes a project with 13 templates ready to mix and match plus 9 REAL lens textures to build your own.
And yes some of the templates include chromatic aberration using the channel blur.
After a little bit of work, I discovered an experimental technique for generating Image Based Lighting with Element 3D!
So what is image Based Lighting? Basically is when you use an environment map (or HDRI) to simulate the lighting in a 3D scene without adding any individual lights. The specular highlights and overall illumination is generated from the environment automatically. This is a common technique for dedicated 3D programs for high-end Visual Effects work so they can match the practical lighting as accurately as possible.
This technique uses 2 additional copies of the Element 3D plug-in stacked on top of each other to generate the lighting but you can also add additional lights to your scene as well.
Apologies for the raspy voice, getting over a lingering cold…
TIP: You can import the environment maps from Element too!
Who doesn’t love a good VFX reel? I sure do. Being able to see what went into some of these amazing shots makes me appreciate the long hours of every vfx artist and gives some insight as to how the shots were conceived.
And for those who aspire to do amazing shots like these just remember these shots were not created overnight. One layer at a time…
We may not be changing our name to Video Kill-Pilot but today we are releasing a free Halloween Model pack with 13 spook-tastic models! “Spook-tastic”? … What am I talking about?
These models are ready to use with Element 3D inside of After Effects or import the OBJ files into your favorite 3D program, the texture files are universal too.
UPDATED: Fixed Skull model bug and UV’s in C4D.
Now… why are we doing a lot of 3D stuff? Is Video Copilot Changing? Should I investigate that strange sound outside near that trail of blood?
I would say that Video Copilot is evolving along with the industry to keep pace with the ambitious demands of modern advertising and film. More and more we see movies and commercials that use elaborate 3D animation that require a dedicated 3D application.
So we came up with a plug-in called Element 3D that bridges that gap between After Effects and a full 3D program. It offers many great capabilities of a traditional 3D program and majorly expands the capability of your favorite software After Effects. This way the skills that you have learned over the past few years can continue to grow with the plug-in’s new capabilities.
YES we earn money by selling our Plug-ins and that is the main source for keeping the website running and our 10+ employees. But Element 3D truly offers capabilities that were simply not available before. Like realtime 3D models in After Effects with all of the advanced features like Depth of Field and Ambient Occlusion to name a few. I can’t even count how many tutorials I’ve created in the past dedicated to making things LOOK 3D-ish…
We also get people telling us that we could have charged much more for the plug-in but we wanted to make it as affordable as possible. Of course, we will continue to do traditional compositing tutorials like before but we also want to add more 3D stuff to the candy bowl.
Stuff like the Airplane from the Mid-Air Emergency video is actually easy to do with Element 3D but might otherwise be difficult with a dedicated 3D program. I even used Element 3D to create the recent Fringe Intro for FOX and the animated vegetation in the REVOLUTION intro on NBC. So when you think about all the small things that are possible with Element 3D, it’s actually kinda SCARY.
Happy Halloween and enjoy that Candy Corn!
We posted a free iPhone 5 model recently and some people asked if we were paid by Apple to promote the phone and the answer is NO. They didn’t give us any free phones or computers we did it because we love you… in other words, that plan back-fired!
But today, we are releasing a free Galaxy S3 phone by Samsung and maybe those guys will send us some free TV’s or something. Can’t wait to watch TV on my new Samsung TV! Thanks guys! Hello? … Lousy internets.
Unzip the files to your “My Models” folder to use with Element 3D or import the OBJ file into your favorite 3D program. You can also watch the iPhone 5 tutorial to see how to animate the screen and other useful tips.
We’ve included the Element 3D files for both the white and black version of the phone too!