Video Copilot - Tools for Digital Artists
Extruding Text
Custom Text and Masks
Under the Custom Layers use the Custom Text and Masks slots to choose text or solid layers with masks to extrude in Element. Go into the Scene Interface and hit the Extrude button at the top to extrude the text or mask layer. There are ten custom path slots to load text or masks into.

When you go in the Scene Interface, click on the extrusion model name and with the Custom Path drop-down choose which custom path to extrude.

To adjust bevel options click on the material, and the bevel options are available. See this video tutorial for more bevel tips:

Extruding Illustrator Files
You can copy and paste splines from Illustrator to After Effects solids, then load that solid into one of the Custom Text and Mask slots and extrude in the Scene Interface. Make sure that text in illustrator have been converted to paths (right click on the text and hit Create Outlines). You may also have to use the some of the Pathfinder tools in illustrator to combine shapes that overlap.

Bevel Copies

Create an additional bevel and material.

Working with multiple bevel copies
Change the Bevel Copies value with the drop-down next to it, you can set it from 1 to 5.  When first creating the Bevel Copy, you might not notice a change, but you will see that an additional material has been created. Click on the new material and you can adjust the Extrude, Expand Edges, ect. to see the changes. Sometimes what you may want to do is make the Extrude value smaller, and use the Z-offset to slide the text back or forward to center with other bevel copy.

Offset Mode
Relative and Absolute offset modes will change how the extrusion’s bevels will offset in their position.

Adjusting Materials for Extusions
You can add materials to objects the same as with regular models. You can build materials or drag presets to the material slots. Bevel settings appear in the material settings, but are not saved in the material settings, but rather that material slot. See Texturing & Materials for more on textuting objects.

Separating Characters for Multi-Object Animation

You can use the Multi-Object function if the text has multiple characters or if the mask has separate pieces. If it seems the like some of the letters or mask pieces are sticking together, you might need to change the Separation Mode from By Bounding Box to By Geometry.

By Bounding Box
Uses the bounding boxes created by the font or the masks to determine how objects are separated. If letters or masks are too close to each other with the bounding boxes overlapping, they will be seen as one object by the multi-object function.

By Geometry
Looks at the separate pieces of geometry to determine what are separate objects. Performs slightly slower than By Bounding Box but is more accurate with the multi-object function.


Advanced Text Animations

Using the Multi-Object settings
Check the enable multi-object switch in the Element effects control panel. 

Using the Animation Engine
You could use the animation engine to animate from one array of text to a new array shape of text. You could also use it as a tool for animating a title, setting up the same text model on two groups with different positions and use the Animation Engine with the multi-object function to animate between. See Animation Engine for more info.
Auto Preset Scale & Bevel Scale
Auto Preset Scale
Auto normalizes the scale of your bevel presets. Keeps the scale the same as length of text increases. Uncheck to have more control of your bevel scale. 

Bevel Scale
Adjust this to have manual scale control of all bevels applied to your Extrusion Model

Path Expand
Adjust the overall extrusion expansion.
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