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Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter

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Anastacia Tohill
Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 23, 2014 at 9:23:35 pm

Hi Just wondering if anyone could give me some advice on which plug-in to buy for creating 3D objects in AECS6 from Illustrator files. I have been looking at Invigorator Pro, Pro Animator, Element 3D and Shapeshifter. I have never done 3D before so I am looking for something which is easy to learn initially and one which renders quite fast. I would like to create 3D objects, like cogwheels, wheels, line patterns and map a texture onto the surface of it. I have a Mac Pro 6 Core Processor. The price of these products varies quite a lot so I am leaning towards the cheaper ones at the moment but would appreciate any advice. I have tried the trial version of Shapeshifter but found it quite hard to learn. Many Thanks


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Edward Wu
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 25, 2014 at 5:58:43 pm

Hi Anastacia,

3D Invigorator PRO is the easiest program to jump in. If you are familiar with After Effects and Illustrator already, there is almost no learning curve in terms of working with 3D Invigorator PRO. You would simply import the Illustrator paths, drag and drop any materials or object styles that you like onto the objects, and animate the object using After Effects keyframes. It doesn't get any easier than that. As we been talking through emails, I mentioned that you can also map different images onto your objects. So if you are working with the stained glass shape you were talking about, you would also be able to apply the stained glass image onto the Illustrator object as well.

If price is an issue, you can also consider 3D Invigorator Classic. It does everything you wanted, but at a much lower price point. Personally, I would go with 3D invigorator PRO because you are getting a much larger feature set such as our advanced lighting systems, ray-trace rendering, and other features such as deformations and the ability to import and export 3D models. If price isn't an issue, I would go with ProAnimator hands down. It's simply the fastest in terms of creating advanced animations with all the fancy effects such as lighting, flares, and setting up cool animation paths. It does have a little bit of a learning curve, but the speed of the workflow is much faster than any program out there once you watch a few tutorials about the controls. To watch our video tutorials, visit our training page: http://zaxwerks.com/training/

Hope this helps. If you have any questions, you can reply to the post or to my emails.

Best,
Edward


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Anastacia Tohill
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 29, 2014 at 12:13:02 am

Hi Ed

Thanks for your advice and your emails, you have been really helpful. I decided not to buy Element 3D as there was no trial version of the software and without being able to try the software I felt I could not buy it. I decided not to buy Shapeshifter as I tried to use it and felt it was too advanced for me. The software can do amazing things so I think it is just I am not technical enough to use it at this time having never really animated in 3D before. As you know I have decided to buy either Invigorator Pro or ProAnimator mainly because I found the software so intuitive and simple to use and that was from just playing around with the software. It is a very visual interface and I managed to import my Illustrator File and was amazed at how it automatically creates it in 3D which can then be edited. There are a lot of editing features so you can customize the design, as long as you create the shape correctly with paths in Illustrator the 3D part of the process is easy to use. I like how all the textures can be mapped onto the graphic shape and also that you can create your own textures to map onto it which is exactly what I wanted. For me it was ease of use and finding something which would create what I wanted without having to know too much technical 3D knowledge. I am now working through the tutorials to decide between Invigorator Pro and ProAnimator. Thanks again for all your support and help.


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Brent Willett
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 28, 2014 at 3:29:37 am

Hi Anastacia.

Edward gave you a good rundown of the difference between Zaxwerks products. But I thought I'd give you a little insight into Element 3D. Element is a great plugin, and a really good way to be able to use existing 3D models inside of After Effects. But from my point of view as a motion graphic designer, it seems to be more geared toward special effects work.

Element is extremely tough to deal with if you want to put a logo together, especially from Illustrator files. It is able to extrude masks that are on an After Effects layer, but if your Illustrator file is a logo, or something else with multiple parts and different colors, you'd have to have each separate part of the logo as one mask on individual After Effects layers. Then you have to go into the setup window, extrude and color each one individually, then go back into After Effects and line everything up. Even if you have your masks in place in relation to each other on the After Effects layers, since you have to handle each one individually inside of Element, they all come out centered and at different sizes. It can be an extremely frustrating process.

Plus, Element doesn't have any true shadows, only ambient occlusion (which darkens the areas where pieces meet), nor does it have reflections. It does render fast, though.

Zaxwerks ProAnimator and Invigorator are both geared for turning an Illustrator file, such as a logo, into 3D objects very quickly and easily. All you do is import the AI. Whatever is on a layer in Illustrator comes in as a layer in Zaxwerks. All the pieces are in place and already extruded. You just have to adjust the Z (front and back) position of the pieces (of course you can adjust a lot more if you want). You can even have the file come in with the Illustrator colors.

Like Edward said, if you already know After Effects, Invigorator is the easiest to learn. But I prefer using ProAnimator as a plugin. It has a bunch of ways to animate multiple objects almost automatically, it has real shadows as well as ambient occlusion, reflections, the ability to warp objects, fantastic lighting features with flares and trusses and fixtures, refractions when using transparent materials, easily customizable edge profiles, and more.

It's versatility is what makes it so great. You can do something as simple as flying in a logo, or you can build a big 3D scene with lots of animating pieces and complicated camera moves (especially if you use the After Effects camera).

I've never used Shapeshifter, so I can't speak to that one.

I hope this helps at least a little.

Thanks,
Brent


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Chris Bobotis
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 28, 2014 at 10:53:49 am

Hi Anastacia,

I am surprised to read that you find Shapeshifter difficult to learn. Use the AE text tool then use Shapeshifter AE right on that layer right in the AE comp window. Same with AE masks, shape layers, imported eps etc.etc. Check this out: vimeo.com/81165213

For what it is worth, I think all 3 products are great and each has it's strength and weaknesses. Mettle (FreeForm Pro & Shapeshifter), VCP (Element 3D) and Zaxwerks have each done a wonderful job with their offerings and I would recommend that you, eventually, get them all.

They are all very powerful in their own ways and complement each other very well.

Cheers,
Chris
mettle.com

Cheers,
Chris
mettle.com


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Anastacia Tohill
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 29, 2014 at 12:56:42 am

Hi Chris

Thanks for replying to my post and for all your help and advice as I have also been in contact with you by email. I have to say all of the help and advice I have received from everyone has been excellent, both through this forum and through emails from you and Ed. I also have been in contact with Videocopilot and they have been very helpful as well.

I am very impressed with all the 3D plug-ins and totally agree with you that each of them have strengths and weaknesses. If I could afford it I would buy all of them but I can't so I made my decision in the end not on price but ease of use for me - that will be different for everyone. Someone else would probably find Shapeshifter very easy to use but I am just starting out so I wanted something which was really intuitive and visual. I managed to create the frame of my 3D window quite quickly which for me is amazing. If you understand Illustrator and closed paths then the process is very simple to use.

I am also as you know intending on buying Freeform Pro as I am following the tutorials on the Tuts Website for Animating and Rigging a character puppet (Daniel Gies). It has taken me quite a while to get through the tutorials but I am getting there. I intend using Freeform Pro to hopefully create my 2D character into a 2.5D and this tutorial shows you how to do it using AE, Freeform Pro and a lot of scripting.

Thanks again for all your help Chris and will let you know how I get on with Freeform Pro.

Anastacia


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Chris Bobotis
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 29, 2014 at 11:19:55 am

Thanks Anastacia,

Thanks for the kind words and I am intrigued to see what you are doing with Invigorator/Pro animator. Please post samples images here when you can.

Cheers,
Chris
mettle.com


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Anastacia Tohill
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 30, 2014 at 7:58:13 am

Hi Chris

I did not know I could post sample images. Unfortunately I can't really at the moment as I am working on my animation which will hopefully be finished in 2016 so I can't show anything online until the film comes out. I am doing a stop motion and 2D animation film so quite a lot of work ahead of me. Thanks Chris will be in touch. Anastacia


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Anastacia Tohill
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 29, 2014 at 12:35:13 am

Hi Brent

Thank you for your advice, I do appreciate it. This is the first time I think I have used this Forum to ask a question and it has been so helpful. I read the forums quite a lot for advice and learning.

I agree that Element 3D is an amazing program from what I have seen of its capabilities as indeed all of these plug-ins are. I ruled out Element 3D as there was no trial version of the software and felt I could not take a chance on buying something which I could not try first. I think it is important to try the software or you may not be able to use it and it may not be what you are looking for. As this is the first time I have used 3D I don't have 3D skills in making models or own any 3D software so I would be unable to use this tool in Element. From what you are saying it is quite hard to do a simple logo and it uses Illustrator masks and not paths.

I just left a reply to Ed and I have decided to buy either Invigorator Pro or ProAnimator as I found it so simple and intuitive to use, amazing software. As you mentioned you can create something very quickly and it automatically extrudes the Illustrator file for you which you can edit. When I managed to do it I was blown away by how quick and easy it was as I have no experience of 3D, so it has opened up a whole new world for me.

I didn't know it could bring the Colours in as well from Illustrator that is great. I am working through the tutorials now to decide on which software from Zaxwerks to buy. The only thing which I am not sure about with ProAnimator is that you animate within the plug-in with preset behaviours and not on the AE timeline. I am not sure how much you can customise the animating but will have a go at the tutorials.

Thanks again for your help and replying to my post.
Anastacia


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Brent Willett
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 29, 2014 at 3:28:10 am

Hi Anastacia.

I'm happy to help. And I agree with you, Element 3D is a great plugin. I use it frequently in conjunction with Zaxwerks ProAnimator for one reason or another to composite together different types of elements. One great thing about both of those programs is that they can use the After Effects camera, so everything stays together in the same 3D space. I also like to use Zaxwerks 3D Flag, and 3D Serpentine in this way too, mixing them in with the scene.

Another great feature of both ProAnimator and Invigorator is that they can import 3D files, like obj and 3ds files, so if you need to bring an airplane into After Effects, you don't have to have Element. You can do it with Zaxwerks too, making either ProAnimator or Invigorator kind of an all-in-one solution.

I'm glad you were able to check out a Zaxwerks demo, and have found it easy to use. They really do make it easy to dive into 3D without knowing anything about 3D to begin with.

For what it's worth, I would recommend ProAnimator over Invigorator in the long run, I use ProAnimator for all my heavy lifting. Edward's right, there is a little bit more of a learning curve with ProAnimator, but that only applies to the timeline. Everything else is very easy to pick up right away. The only thing about the timeline is shifting how you think just a little bit, but not drastically. It uses poses instead of keyframes, but you can think of a pose as kind of a container for a whole bunch of keyframes.

Basically, you get your object where you want it in one pose by using the position, rotation, and scale controls. What you've done is essentially set keyframes for all of those properties all at once. Then you move down the timeline, and double click to add another pose. Now you move your object to where you want it to be. All the parameters you change are held in that pose, once again kind of like setting a whole bunch of keyframes, but it does it automatically. And now you have your animation.

At the base level, that's all you have to do. You can end up doing a lot more with your animation by using the controls that are in the transition that is created between the two poses, and with the controls inside of the poses themselves, but you don't have to. If you want it to stay simple, keep it simple. And you are in complete control of how long an animation is by dragging the poses back and forth. It's just like moving After Effects keyframes around except you don't have to select a whole bunch of them, it's just one pose.

There are some presets that you can choose if you want, but you don't have to use those. Personally, I always create my animations from scratch.

And, yes, this is all done inside of the ProAnimator interface. But there are a couple of things you can do in After Effects. I already mentioned using the After Effects camera. But you can also link tracks in ProAnimator to an After Effects null (or other layer).

Definitely check out the tutorials. Zax and Alex have put out a bunch of good ones lately that explain the basics very well.

You can't go wrong by choosing either Invigorator or ProAnimator. But as you get more comfortable with things, ProAnimator will give you more options for different kinds of animations. Some of which are very cool. Did I mention fragmentation? ;-)

Good luck, and have fun!

Brent


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Anastacia Tohill
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 30, 2014 at 8:37:27 am

Hi Brent

Thanks for you message and useful information.

I think Zaxwerks is great for someone like me who has never done 3D before and just starting out. As I said before it has opened up a whole new exciting world for me.

I started using the CS6 extrude feature and was amazed but it is quite slow and then I could not find a way of mapping a texture onto my object and I found it limiting. It is Ok for simple shapes and text but then I am not an expert. I then decided to look at plug-ins so I was quite pleased to discover so many plugins out there, thank goodness there are people who make this software. I have also bought several plug-ins from aescripts and aeplugins which is great and they are quite cheap as well.

At the same time I discovered Freeform Pro as I am following quite a big tutorial by Dan Giles on how to create a 2.5D character using scripting in AE and the puppet tool and Freeform Pro . I have mainly be concentrating on the face and I am soon to try the Freeform Pro part of the tutorial so will post what I have found. I have never done scripting and although it is hard even I have managed to get it to work, well sort of. Dan Giles makes it look so simple. I have never done scripting either in AE.

It is also good to know that these plug-ins work well together but unfortunately I can't afford to buy them all but who knows in the future if I get into it I may well do.

That is something that I am keen to have - being able to animate everything in the same 3D space but within the AE timeline as I know how to use it which is why I am not sure about ProAnimator but I am still going through the tutorials so will post what I have decided to buy once I have done that. I think poses sound good but not sure how much you can customise them and as I am animating the scene in After Effects including characters etc I am not sure how that will work for me at the moment. I like the idea of creating the 3D object and then being able to bring it into the AE timeline where I have animated the rest of the scene. It is quite a long animation I am doing for the 2D part of the film - around 5mins. If ProAnimator could do both then I would buy it as you have the best of both worlds. You did mention that you can create a null to control it so I will try that as well. It is important to me to be able to control everything so you can animate it exactly how you want it.

Thanks for explaining the poses, it does sound very good so will have a play and let you all know what I think. As long as I can put it back into the AE timeline to incorporate it in the rest of the animation then that would be fine. And that sounds good about fragmentation. I want the glass to separate and break/shatter but not sure how to do that yet just pleased I have managed to do the frame.

I would be interested in seeing some of your work on how you combine Zaxwerks and Element to use the camera and keep everything in the same 3D space. Have you done an online tutorial of this? I have not looked at Zaxwerks flag or serpentine but will do. Just thought do they do add on texture materials you can buy for Invigorator and ProAnimator?

Thanks Brent and will let you know how I get on.
Anastacia


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Brent Willett
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 30, 2014 at 1:50:15 pm
Last Edited By Brent Willett on Apr 1, 2014 at 4:42:51 am

Hi Anastacia.

It's great to hear that you are having a good experience delving into new plugins. That's what I have always loved about working in After Effects. It such a versatile tool, especially with all the 3rd party plugins, scripts, and presets that really open up the creative possibilities.

At first glance, ProAnimator might seem limiting since it's timeline is apart from the After Effects timeline. But it's easy to go in and out of the setup window. And after you get used to it, it really does offer more possibilities.

You could think of the setup window kind of like a pre-comp. In After Effects you could have a comp with a bunch of things animating that you have nested inside of another comp. To adjust the animations of the items in the pre-comp, you have to go into that comp to move the keyframes around. The workflow for ProAnimator is very much like that.

But like I said in a previous post, you can't go wrong with either ProAnimator or Invigorator. And it's great that you can try them out to see which one will work the best for you.

Here is a link to my YouTube channel with a bunch of examples of my work: http://www.youtube.com/user/brentcwillett

The "IPTV Sports..." open starts off with a combination of ProAnimator (for the state of Iowa) and Serpentine. And at the end of that open I incorporated some instances of Flag with the ProAnimator elements.

In the "WHO-TV 13 Soundoff Open" I used Serpentine throughout, but at the end I used ProAnimator, Serpentine, Flag, and even Zaxwerks Reflector all together. And in the part where the camera flies through the tube as the logo comes together, I used ProAnimator's fragmentation capabilities to break that part of the logo up and have the pieces fly together.

The "WHO-TV 13 Breaking News Open" is a good example of using Serpentine with ProAnimator. The shiny "ribbons" were all Serpentine.

There are other examples in there too. Feel free free to poke around. :-)

I have not done any tutorials. It's something I've though about doing, but I've never gotten around to it for various reasons.

Once, a long time ago, I ran into a site that had put together a bunch of materials for Zaxwerks, but unfortunately I don't remember any more where that was. Other than that, I have never seen anywhere that has Zaxwerks materials either for free or for sale. Luckily their materials are very easy to make. You can find lots of free textures available on the internet, and it's very easy to create your own materials using any image you want.

Good luck with your continued exploration!
Brent


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Brent Willett
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 30, 2014 at 1:58:11 pm

It looks like the link to my YouTube channel didn't show up in the post.

To find my channel, go to YouTube, do a search for my name - "Brent Willett" - and look for the logo you see at the top of my posts. All of my videos are motion graphics; mostly show opens.

Thanks,
Brent


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Anastacia Tohill
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Apr 7, 2014 at 7:59:45 am

Hi Brent

Sorry for delay in getting back to you. Wow, I looked at your website link and your work is amazing, you are clearly very talented and it is good to see what software can do. I hope one day I can do motion graphics like this.

I think you should do some tutorials as I think a lot of people would be interested in how you create your work. I think tutorials are an excellent way to learn.

Thanks for the info about Animator Pro. I am still ploughing through tutorials but had to stop for a while as been so busy. Ed also sent me the tutorial guide which is really good to start with. I really like the interface as it is so intuitive. Not tried AnimatorPro yet but will do. When I have done all the tutorials I will post what I have decided to buy and why.

Thanks again for all your help and support. This really is a great forum and people are so helpful and I have learnt so much.

Will be in touch.

Anastacia


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Edward Wu
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Mar 31, 2014 at 8:02:12 pm

Hi Anastacia,

Wow, this post has really taken off! It's nice to see all the discussion on the different products that are available in After Effects. Like Brent said, there are so many creative options to choose from and really makes it a lot of fun being a 3D artist.

It's great to hear that you're having fun with the stained glass piece you are working with! If you need help with anything, just let me know. One thing you were talking to Brent about was shattering the glass. This is a feature of ProAnimator and is not available if you are working with Invigorator PRO. ProAnimator will allow you to apply fragmentation to any of the Object Tracks you are working with. The great thing is that once you apply fragmentation, it's very easy to apply a random spread on the Object Track and have the pieces fly out in different directions.

One other thing I wanted to bring up about ProAnimator is that you are not editing blind while you are in the ProAnimator Set-Up window. We have a feature called the Editor Background. This control is located in the Effect Controls Window when you have the ProAnimator layer selected in After Effects. With the Editor Background, you can select any After Effects layer or Pre-Comp and have that act as the "background" in the ProAnimator Set-Up window. If you are using a Pre-Comp as the Editor Background, you can see all the changes of the Pre-Comp while scrubbing the ProAnimator timeline. This means, you can line up your ProAnimator objects with the After Effects elements without having to go back and forth from After Effects.

In addition, as Brent has brought up, you are able to track/parent any of your ProAnimator objects to After Effects layers. The cool thing about this is that even though the ProAnimator objects are tracking After Effects layers, you can still apply some Actions such as rotations, etc.

One other thing is that everything you set up in ProAnimator is completely customizable. So, if you ever need to make changes to the animation, any of your shapes, any of your materials, you can do so without having to worry about re-creating the entire animation. You brought up that you were not sure how customizable the ProAnimator Poses are, so rest assured, you can make any change at any time. You can even make changes while the animation plays back and the changes update on the fly!

You may have already noticed this, but if not, we have over 200 materials that we provide with ProAnimator. This includes a lot of metals, wood, and other textures that may be helpful for your projects. As Brent mentioned, it is also easy to load any image to use as your texture map. Also, you can use Pre-Comps as a texture map as well. What is really nice about using Pre-Comps is that you can load the Pre-Comp as the texture map, and make as many changes as you like to the Pre-Comp. You don't have to worry about re-loading the Pre-Comp and doing anything to the material. The material will update automatically and you'll be able to see the changes to the object. So, with your stained glass project, you can also load the stained glass into a Pre-Comp and apply that as a Layer Map onto the object you created. Then, you can animate the Pre-Comp such as applying different color changes to the stained glass, fading/wiping to another image, etc for a really cool look.

Lastly, you mentioned working with a 2.5D character animation. One feature you may not be aware of is our Layer Cycling Object. A Layer Cycling Object allows you to import multiple layers from Illustrator similar to how old school animations were created. This means, you can change the look of your Illustrator object layer by layer and the Layer Cycling Object will change frame by frame. Think of it like the program is flipping through, or playing back your Illustrator layer frame by frame. To do this, simply enable the options "Open By Layers" and "As Layer Cycling Objects" when you are importing the Illustrator file. Then, once you have imported the Illustrator file, simply scrub through the ProAnimator timeline and you can see animation play back. What's fun is that the Layer Cycling Object is an extruded 3D object so you have a full 3D object with depth and bevel. This may or may not help with what you are looking to do, but is a neat process to play with nonetheless.

There were a lot of topics being discussed and I hope I covered each one. If I am missing anything, please let me know and I'll be happy to help.

Best,
Edward


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Anastacia Tohill
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Apr 7, 2014 at 8:17:01 am

Hi Ed

Have been corresponding with you by email which is great. Still working through tutorials. Yes this thread has taken off and I did not expect that so thanks to everyone for your help.

Thanks for the info about the shattering glass as that is something I need to create and it is good to know you can do that effect in ProAnimator. I just concentrated on the frame to start with but I have created all the individual coloured layers in photoshop but I will probably have to redo them in illustrator. Thanks for offering to help me that is kind of you and will contact you when I get round to do this.

That is good to know about the background and not working blind as that is something I was worried about as you have to see the rest of your scene. I am looking forward to trying ProAnimator so will post what I have found about both programs. Been somewhat delayed with stop motion puppets so will get back to the tutorials this week and continue.

Are there any tutorials on the Cycling object feature you are talking about? The characters I am going to animate will be created in Photoshop with layers. I intend then using Duik tools to animate the Character which is an amazing piece of software for character animation. Or I will try some of the plug-ins I bought from aescripts and aeplugins - iExpressions, which is very easy to use and similar. I then intend using Freeform Pro for the head and features using scripting in AE. Well that is the plan anyway. I am not sure that I would need the ProAnimator to animate the character.

Will be in touch and thanks for all your help.
Anastacia


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Edward Wu
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Apr 8, 2014 at 9:53:44 pm

Hi Anastacia,

Right, I understand that animating in ProAnimator may be a concern because you may think that it will be hard to integrate with the After Effects elements, so that is why we have the Editor Background feature.

As for Layer Cycling, we don't have a tutorial available, but if you check the ProAnimator folder that you've downloaded, you will see a Layer Cycling Examples folder. Import the file into ProAnimator, and scrub through the timeline and you will see the objects being animated. Then, you can open the file in Illustrator to see how the layers are set up. It should be a pretty simple process with most of the work done through Illustrator. If you have any questions though, I'd be happy to help.

You can also check out an animation with Layer Cycling objects in action. Check out Eugene Gonzales's video:
http://www.zaxwerks.com/movies/media/eugene_smart_bid.mp4

It has a nice character that moves and jumps fluidly. Have fun!

Best,
Edward


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Anastacia Tohill
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Jun 15, 2014 at 9:55:29 am

Hi Everyone

Just thought I would update you all on the software I decided to purchase.

I bought Zaxwerks ProAnimator in the end and I have to say it is brilliant. I decided to buy this software mainly because of the easy interface which is very intuitive to use. It is also amazingly fast at rendering 3D and being able to bring Adobe Illustrator files into the interface and convert them into 3D objects very easily is another reason for my decision.

It was really making my mind up between Invigorator or ProAnimator which was really hard as they are both really good. I decided to take the plunge with ProAnimator after using the trial versions as the animating and speed seemed so good and easy to use. Using poses instead of keyframes wasn't too bad and it is just a matter of getting used to it. Having said that I would not mind buying Invigorator as well in the future because I like the way that you can animate within the AE timeline and you have a lot of control with keyframes - depends what you are doing.

For my particular project I am trying to use 3D animated objects within ProAnimator with a animated 2D character in AE so I have not found that easy - to get the character to interact with the objects is quite hard but I have done some research and found expressions with nulls but it is limited. The customer support from Zaxwerks has been brilliant and so I am sure there is a way around it which I will post. I have spent quite a long time initially getting my files ready in Illustrator and mapping Photoshop images onto the 3D objects which is really easy to do after a little practise.

I think Zaxwerks software is really good and wouldn't mind buying the 3D flag as well as some of their other products. Their software is so intuitive and for people who aren't experienced in 3D or technical it is a great way to get introduced to the amazing 3D world of animation. They often offer discounts on their products which is brilliant.

I will post more comments as I use the software, had a break due to other commitments but so far I think it is really good and enjoying learning this software.

Anastacia


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Brent Willett
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Jun 16, 2014 at 2:30:10 pm

Thanks for the update, Anastacia.

That's a great endorsement too!

I don't know if this applies to your situation, but one thing that might help in using After Effects nulls to control ProAnimator tracks is to keep the objects in the ProAnimator track at the starting center point (at least to begin with). The the track you assign to a null will jump to the position of the null in After Effects, however you won't see any change in position in ProAnimator. It takes a little bit to get used to, since things aren't necessarily in the same relative position in the ProAnimator setup window as they are in After Effects. If you need to adjust the position after it is parented, you can move it in ProAnimator. But most of the time, the whole process is easier if you start with everything that's to be parented to an After Effects null at the zero point of the ProAnimator scene.

Brent


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Edward Wu
Re: Advice on which After Effects Plug-in to buy - Invigorator Pro, Element 3D or Shapeshifter
on Jun 16, 2014 at 9:40:42 pm

Hi Anastacia,

I'm happy to hear that you're having a great time learning and using the software. Like you said, ProAnimator has an initial learning curve, but after learning the controls, it is very easy to set up 3D animations even if you had little or no 3D experience previously.

As Brent mentioned with tying in the 2D and 3D objects together, it may take a little playing around to get used to how things tie in together. If you are able to bring the 2D elements into the ProAnimator scene, that would make everything a lot easier for you as they would all be in the same 3D space. I'm not sure if this may be possible for you since I haven't seen your project yet, but it may help with what you are doing. If you're having any problems, please do not hesitate to send the project file to me. I'll be happy to assist with your project any way that I can.

Have fun and we would love to see what you come up with in the end.

Best,
Edward


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