Book Review: Lightning Fast Animation in Element 3D

Categories: /17 Jun 2014

Lightning Fast Animation in Element 3D(http://bit.ly/1j8zZZj) is a book intended to get you up to speed with the After Effects plugin quickly while also explaining its shortcomings and some methods around them. My knowledge about Element 3D before this books was very limited. Up to that point all I had done was import a model and apply basic textures. So I had a good idea of what the plugin was but not necessarily how do all the tasks need to complete a full animation. The book does a good job of going through all these task step by step with a good number of images to reference as you follow along. It serves as a nice primer to using the plugin, as Element 3D is not so intuitive that you would want to navigate it without some sort of explanation of how it works. One area of the book I felt was a bit unnecessary was the chapter on modeling. It certainly is a necessary skill to be able to utilize the plugin to its full potential but if you don’t know how to model you certainly aren’t going to be purchasing Maya(as he uses in the example) just to make your own Element models. Also the modeling demo should have been done in Blender as it is the best free 3D software out there and he makes mention to it several times throughout. The other chapters about prepping models for Element were very helpful though, again, maybe a bit too Maya specific. The rest of the book is very thorough about setting up lighting, texturing, replicators and even shows a few workarounds to areas the plugin falls short. He shows this through practical application of setting up various scenes that should cover the spectrum of most Elements users including examples of Motion Graphics and VFX. Overall this book gave me a great look at what is possible and how things are done in Element 3D. If nothing else this book will tell you if this plugin is the right fit for your workflow before you go ahead and make the purchase.