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Zaxwerks

Explorer ,
Apr 15, 2024 Apr 15, 2024

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I hope Adobe will buy the code for zaxwerks invigorator and proanimator. These plugins are far superior to c4dlite (which functions mainly as an advertisement for the full version of c4d). I've used most of the major 3d apps and I would not pick c4d for better quality work. I do most of my work in Houdini, but loved the benefits from easy and fast rendering g of zaxwerks plugins when they worked. Unfortunately with newer osx versions they are too old to work.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 16, 2024 Apr 16, 2024

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I used to have a copy of Invigorator.  It was amazing and easy to use, especially considering how early on it was. 

The new 3D import tools of AE are going from strength to strength.  I've not played around with the beta yet, but apparently it has 3D animation features in it (not just position/scale/rotation).

You mention using most 3D apps, have you used Element 3D from Video Copilot.  In my opinion, it is the easiest 3D product to use (once you understand it).  You can assemble primitives, clone objects, the materials are pretty good, the tutorials are excellent, but for me, the most important thing is what I see in the comp window is what renders out.

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Explorer ,
Apr 16, 2024 Apr 16, 2024

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Having purchased dozens of expensive plugins, only to discover they were discontinued when the companies ceased to update them, I don't like the idea is getting another minimally maintained one. I had the cactus Dan's plugins for C4D and they are not functional. Xaxwerks gave control over bevels that c4dlite lacks. The rendering engine of even the full version of C4D lags behind its competitors. For semi3d work, zaxwerks was the best I've seen, especially with illustrator files.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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I think that's a fair point and cannot point to much evidence that Video Copilot is here indefintely. 

 

Given your experience, I think Blender is probably your best option.  It's free, community supported and while not directly linked to AE, there's a couple of tools out there to make it easier to pass camera data from AE to Blender and vice-versa.  It has a steep learning curve (something I've tried to flatten in a series of tutorials designed for After Effects users: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvHwTk8ZhG8&list=PL58-kYtQUHvM9P-pLJSTG7gDayw6mZ-Vp)  but if you have to invest the time in learning something new regardless, it's probably the best option.

(Unless Adobe start including Substance 3D in Creative Cloud)

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Explorer ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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Thank you for the tutorials. Your recommendation of Blender is reasonable, but I preferred Zaxwerks Proanimator for simple extrudes and bevels and material/light assigning of text and illustrator files. Blender is more powerful but slower and has some weird artifacts with some of the illustrator 8 files I've imported and extruded. Illustrator itself has a simple extrude and bevel effect and can export obj files, but the geometry is aweful. I've used Blender a fair amount but actually prefer to model in Houdini (because it is procedural and easier to go back and adjust an earlier step). However, exporting a png sequence with alpha and bringing that into AE is time consuming and has to match exactly the duration and framerate of the AE project. Zaxwerks just adjusts and it has/had some nice tweaks to avoid spike artifacts. I haven't seen an lot of development/updates of Element 3D, which matches my experience with several other expensive plugins I've purchased (zaxwerks, quadremesher, Rizom UV). It seems companies are getting sold to big investment firms or changing ownership (the Foundry, Genarts Sapphire, Avid, Redshift, Zbrush, etc.) and that is bad for users. I was one of those that invested heavily in Softimage in the past, and that was a total dead end.

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Explorer ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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BlenderIllustrator.jpg

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Explorer ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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C4D is vastly overpriced but does not have these artifacts. C4D lite is mostly useless.

C4Dillustrator.jpg

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Explorer ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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Houdini also has problems with illustrator files. Realistically, I have to retopo to get a good model. This can be fairly time-consuming.

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Explorer ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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If you are interested, I can show images of the problems with illustrator 3d export as well as illustrator files brought into Modo, rhino, and moi3d. The basic issue is that Bézier curve and bitmap files (Adobe), nurbs curves (CAD files) and subdivision surface all quad models (3d content creation programs) do not translate well to each other's formats. That was the brilliance of zaxwerk programs in illustrator. The proanimator 3d exports were pretty good if one tolerates ngons. The problem with zaxwerk programs was that they were 32 bit and OSX only likes 64 bit programs. That is why I hope Adobe will buy the code and change it to 64 bit. For the vast number of text and illustrator files, it worked brilliantly in AE and us ahead of modern programs in this respect.

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Explorer ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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MoiIllustrator.jpg

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Explorer ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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Of the various programs, C4D and Moi 3D have the best imports/exports. But Proanimator wins for ease of use and integration with AE. If one retopologizes the model, one can get the best output of all, but that is time consuming. Here is what it looks like (with a few modifications) in Houdini.

IHSsapphire.jpg

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Explorer ,
Apr 19, 2024 Apr 19, 2024

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IHSfontBlack.jpg

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Community Expert ,
Apr 22, 2024 Apr 22, 2024

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I think these are all viable examples for what Proanimator can do.  It might be worth making a new post with the ideas tag instead of the discussion. Right now, if people filter the posts by the tags and are wanting to comment on a new idea to express interest they'll miss this post and all your valid arguments.

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Explorer ,
Apr 22, 2024 Apr 22, 2024

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I'm not sure how to create a new post with the appropriate idea tags. I do know that even the full version of C4D is not great for extruding an illustrator logo (which is appropriately a 2.5 dimension benefit in Illustrator). To add a bevel in C4D for this, one has to make the image editable and then this is what you get:

C4DillustratorIssue.jpg

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Explorer ,
Apr 22, 2024 Apr 22, 2024

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The C4D file looks better if the extrude and bevel are done procedurally but one cannot assign materials to different parts without making that object editable in C4D. That is when the geometry artifacts become problematic.

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