Preface - Lightning Fast Animation in Element 3D (2014)

Lightning Fast Animation in Element 3D (2014)


This book is a principle-based lesson plan to learn Element 3D (an Adobe After Effects plugin). This lesson also includes information on creating and preparing content for Element 3D using external 3D software. Although Maya 2012 is used in these examples, the same principles apply to any 3D modeling software that you wish to use. This book follows tutorials designed to teach the reader the tools and thought processes necessary to create virtually any content and push Element 3D to the limits of its capabilities.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Introduction to the Element 3D Animation, gives you an overview of what you can expect from this book.

Chapter 2, Welcome to Element 3D, provides an orientation and overview of how Element 3D works.

Chapter 3, Your First Objects, covers the basics of 3D modeling for Element.

Chapter 4, Painting Your Geometry (Textures), teaches you how to export your objects from the 3D modeling software, prepare textures, and apply surfaces to your objects.

Chapter 5, Preparing Your Scene, uses Element 3D to set up complex 3D scenes for animation in After Effects.

Chapter 6, Animating Your Geometry, covers animating Element 3D objects using the After Effects interface with null objects and keyframes.

Chapter 7, Particle Replicator, teaches you how to use Element 3D to create arrays of objects that might animate together, or in sequences.

Chapter 8, Optimizing Performance, tells you what affects performance and render times, and also covers techniques to efficiently squeeze out the best quality.

Chapter 9, Some Other Techniques, covers advanced techniques with Element 3D, such as integration with the live footage, 3D-aware masks, and using external animations (object sequences).

Appendix, Final Thoughts, is a brief summary of the lessons learned, some personal tips for users, and hopeful predictions for the future versions of Element 3D.

What you need for this book

You will need Adobe After Effects CS6 or Creative Cloud, Element 3D, a photo editing program (such as Photoshop), and a 3D modeling program. Although Maya 2012 is used as the example for this book, any modeling software can be used. If budget is an issue, it's recommended that you use Blender 3D (a free downloadable 3D animation/modeling tool). Additionally, there is downloadable content that is necessary for this book. Please see the next section on acquiring the example project(s).

Who this book is for

Anyone with any skill level will find this book useful. However, it is assumed that you have a working knowledge of Adobe After Effects at the least. Additionally, a working knowledge of your 3D modeling software's interface will be helpful.


In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text are shown as follows: "We can include other contexts through the use of the include directive."

A block of code is set as follows:

thisComp.layer("Audio Amplitude").effect("Both Channels")("Slider")/2

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "Right-click on the new audio layer and select Keyframe Assistant and then select Convert Audio to Keyframes."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.