2) Quick and Dirty. Not that dirty really. For a quickie that looks fine unless you linger side on, just add this expression to a text layer (make it 3D):
Now duplicate the layer as many times as you want it to be thick (the expression tells the layer to be offset 1 pixel in the z direction for each layer it's down in the layer stack). If you want to move the letters as a unit, parent all to the first text layer, then rotate/move it.
You can change the color of the front by changing the Color of the text in the Character Palette ( and the back too) You can even bevel the front and back with Perspective>Bevel Alpha (quite nice, really)
Note: You may get a warning for certain plugins to use AE's Advance 3D Rendering, so go Composition>Comp Settings>Advanced>Render Plug-in: Advanced 3D.
3) Also you can use Shatter:
Make your text, duplicate it, add a Black Solid, arrange as below:
Now Select and precompose the bottom two layers (move all attributes), this precomp will be as a custom Shattermap.
Custom Shatter Map: Precomp
Extrusion Map: This controls how deep the letters are
Strength: 0 (this keeps the letters from being blown away)
Physics>Gravity: 0 (keeps the letters from succumbing to gravity)
Textures... You can control the Front, Side and Back Modes with precomped layer (a red solid precomped choose, Side Mode:Layer, Side Layer Red Solid Precomp.
Camera System: Comp Camera
Add a Camera to the Comp, Layer>New Camera (C toggles the Camera Orbit Tool).
For a more detailed walk through, click on Roland R. Kahlenberg
Just thought I would mention a few resources to go with the slice method (number2) as it is a novel idea and some people have pushed it to the limits in the world of flash programing...maybe someone might do something similar in aftereffects...Least moving the camera around would not be such a pain.
one quote : -
"Slice 2D to Create an Extra Dimension
Suppose you are slicing an apple parallel to the core. If the slices are cut really thin, you end up with many 2D cross sections. By stacking them in the order they existed in the original apple, you can re-create a 3D apple.
This hack works on the same principle: create a lot of 2D slices of an object, then move them as if they were stacked together in the original object. If done properly, the result looks like it is a 3D shape that has volume. " (http://www.devarticles.com/c/a/Flash/Flash-Hacks-Simulate-3D-and-Add-a-Vector-Edge-to-a-Bitmap/)
and also ....
Some examples of 3d shapes made using the idea of the slice engine can be found at http://www.arseiam.com/3d_frames.htm
Of which the coder has a book on flash which explains the working method he uses to create the slices, kinda fun reading if you can get a copy from your library or from a friend thats into programing :-P . His site is well worth exploring a little, there are many wonderful things there to doodle and play with.
a little of topic but might make useful reading :-D