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3D is easy in After Effects!?

In the eternal quest for lifting the bane of After Effects‘ slightly defunct and painful 3D, one more option now seems to be on the table with this. Aside from the Mettle people being aggravated that this leaked somehow, there’s an interesting lesson here. Of course I’m totally and completely biased, having used FreeForm Pro for ages and a harddrive full of half-finished other cool experiments with it in addition to Symmetrion, but actually what is shown in the video is the kind of 3D that we need – simple, straightforward, interactive, unified. That may sound like stating the obvious, but so far nobody has truly tackled this.

We have many great plug-ins, yet pretty much all of them exist only in their own world and we only get a peek at it through the tiny window that is our comp. That by all rights also includes the raytracing and extrusion stuff in CS6, since in order to use it, you will have to forego other features and/or still use completely separate comps. Also many of these tools are simply too convoluted, promising to do too much, using their own custom editors or sacrificing the fun for fancy features. While I see the relevance of e.g. AtomKraft in a bigger production pipeline, I’m not really sure I would ever use it. You know, you’d have to deal with setting up 3Delight and learning how to make nice renders using its settings and a million other things, including the fact that you still need a 3D program to export your geometry from in the first place and then it becomes a matter of why not do it there alltogether? That to some degree is also the case in tools like Trapcode Form or Plexus – they always entail an extra step in the pipeline when you want to use OBJ sequences.

Additionally, what’s potentially so nice about the stuff shown in the video is that it takes a “sensible” approach in that it seems to focus on exploiting and building on what we already know from FreeForm Pro and Shapeshifter and just making it better. The funny thing is that all of that might in fact be more useful than 3D extrusions, after all. If you have one more look at this year’s smoke* demos, you know what I mean and how useful some bendable layers and geometry displacement might be. It will sure be interesting to watch how this one pans out…

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One comment on “3D is easy in After Effects!?

  1. Maybe I miss something but your post seems to indicate that AtomKraft requires any knowledge or setup of 3Delight. This is not the case. You do not need 3Delight to use AtomKraft. It is a common misconception and if you have any suggestions how we can better communicate this, we are all ears. Also see our AtomKraft FAQ.

    The fact that 3Delight is even used is totally opaque to the user. We just mention it because this is a high end renderer used blockbuster VFX production.

    See https://atomkraft.hk/nuke/faq#rib and https://atomkraft.hk/nuke/faq#3delight

    As far as geometry generation inside After Effects goes: we have planned a full toolset for geometry generation that will run natively inside AtomKraft/After Effects.

    For the time being, generating geometry requires learning a tiny subset of a 3D app. Learning how to setup render images is commonly the most complex task in 3D and this is exactly the part of the pipeline where we know 2D artist will benefit most from AtomKraft as they don’t have to leave their natural habitat. :)

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