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throb36

Element

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Game changer IMO.

 

I want to test it against AtomKraft though. With AtomKraft coming from a nuke background, I would immediately suspect that its more hardcore VFX minded whereas VCP is known for tell-tale presets. But I checked out the VCP overview video and all signs point to Element being the most professional tool VCP has ever come out with. I'm absolutely stoked.

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Not being able to have animations is a serious limitation, but its still a must-have.

 

*In the video he said that he will get back to the animation engine later because it will "blow your mind" but never got back to it.

Edited by AromaKat

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This looks fricking AMAZING! It will replace most of my workflow in C4D for Type.

 

I am just worried that like ZAXwerks the AE files will become to huge and if they get corrupted it sucks. Have to wait and see what the gotcha's are. Wil ti work on a renderfarm? How do you get type into it? The texturing looks great on the type examples.

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I've been beta testing it.

Ashamedly, I haven't had much time for it lately, and haven't given them much feedback. but i think it's a good product in that it understands the gaping void that it's trying to fill and has taken the task very seriously, with good results. It's a version 1 release, so there will be things on the wishlist for future versions. But it knows what it's trying to do now, and does a very very good job of it. i mean, look at it.

 

There will be people who will find Element mildly useful, and there will be people who use it on everything. And for $150, it'll probably be the best tool that most will buy, either way. For the average user, as with anything it'll be about knowing when you want to use it and when not to. But that's not particularly hard to figure out. Think of it as a way to bring real 3d objects into AE and put a camera to them, individually or as clones in a malleable array. As said in the demo video, if you're working with static meshes and don't need physically accurate reflections and refractions, this is golden.

 

Currently, working in AE, you see a necessary change in your 3d render, so you bounce back to a 3d app, adjust a value like the bump intensity on a single material, take a render break between 5 and 5000 minutes long, import it back into AE, and... then probably go back to change something else, or give up. Now, you just change it in AE right there and then and... well that's it. When have you ever been able to change the camera animation and see the result in HD as you do it? Um, never?

 

There are some wandering functions and distracting toys included that may be of some use but are not central. They will evolve. There are presets. You can buy them separately. But Element's power is not reliant on presets. GSG's Transform is a preset bucket. This is a tool. It will become more and more useful with time, but it's already a no-brainer purchase for people in this industry, I'd think.

 

Andrew will spill more specifics when he's ready, I'm sure.

Edited by Binky

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Like Binky, I was on the beta but had very little time to actually give them useful feedback. Without giving away anything that Andrew will announce, my thoughts: for the price it's unbeatable. The goal of making things fast and the real time and the energy to make it actually work with c4d (which seemed like it was a huge pain) shows they know who the market is. Most of what it is lacking is what you turn off for speed in a production environment anyhow (ray-trace reflections, GI). They seemed to be looking at the ease of use of trapcode plugins, too.

 

It's also just a (super-fun to use) tinker toy unless the artist has the ability to model and texture their own 3D models, so a "real" 3D skill set isn't going away or anything. I still think that the best thing you can do with your time if you are interested in working in the industry is learn 3d software.

 

Still, this is a "real" product. Crazy awesome that young dudes from a small company with not a huge amount of money could produce something so full-featured and focused.

 

c

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Guest Sao_Bento

Cool stuff for sure - the DOF and AO alone are worth the price. The UI needs work though. Looks like the user has to do a lot of scrolling because the screen space is used up by panels that aren't necessary for the task at hand (like having to use Photoshop with Bridge sharing the screen the whole time). Pretty much the same thing that nearly all custom plug-in user interfaces suffer from (minus Magic Bullet / MB Looks). Not a deal breaker though, just an opportunity for improvement.

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I could use it on some projects and it's a great price considering how much time it could save.

 

I would prefer things came from the other direction thou. As in true 3D being easier and faster to integrate in AE rather than OPENGL 3D being tacked onto AE's 3D space. If changes in C4D renders and scene files could be updated in AE with the push of a button it would be a bigger help to me than this plugin.

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Thanks for checking this out guys, here are some additional follow up notes.

 

Polygon Limit:

Element doesn't have a polygon limit but your GPU dictates how much you can do which is pretty decent.

The liquid models in the demo are around 100k polygons each and you they don't slow things down much.

 

This motorcylce renders in .5 seconds at Full 1080p and that is with Ambient Occlusion on.

View Image

 

User Interface:

Yes, the UI looks a bit crammed at my tutorial resolution BUT, it is fully customizeable and works at full screen. Here is a screenshot at 1920X1080 you can see all the parameters pretty clearly.

http://goo.gl/i8ecf You can also move the Model Browser next to the materials and make the preview really big too.

 

Render Farm:

We don't reccomend using it on a render farm because the GPU variations could cause inconsistencies and most farms don't have GPU's usually. But if you need to send to a farm, we suggest pre-rendering the Element Layers and then sending the project off.

 

Things not supported in V1: Ah-ha!!

- Only Static 3D objects can be imported but we have serveral interesting animation capabilities that I will discuss soon.

- Lights do not cast shadows but we do have a fast ambient occlusion system for object shading. We even have a matte shadow material type for doing object occlusion. Example Here.

 

Thanks again, I'll try to answer any other questions when I can, but right now I have to make about a million tutorials for the product page and help section!

Edited by AndrewKramer

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Not being able to have animations is a serious limitation, but its still a must-have.

 

Oops... ;-)

 

Mylenium

Edited by Mylenium

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looks super fun, cant wait to get my hands on it, then again, in a real world env. the producer will want that arrow super animated, and probably bent in 10 different ways/shape.

 

if you have those replicators animated, can they be used as 3d assets, for let`s say, trapcode form or plexus?

 

super nice!

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Is it possible to use more than 1 instance of the plugin in a comp?

 

Yes. Just like the rest it will depend on your graphics cartd's resources, though.

 

Mylenium

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Thanks for the quick response Mylenium, so what are the specs I have to look for in my Video Card?

What kind of Video Card are you using and did you tried to use more than on instance of Element?

if so how many till your Video Card gave up?

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Been testing this one too, also been a bit lax with feedback - poor Andrew, I doubt he'll ask us lot again! - although that's mainly because after a certain time it just stopped crashing :D

 

Just got to 15-ish instances of Element before the navigation got too groggy, this is on a MacBookPro with 1Gb VRam, using a fluid mesh (50k polys). Adding effects slow the rendering down, and it can get quite sluggish with full HD frames or higher.

 

Note though that this isn't really how you're meant to use it - you've got multiple channels for holding 3D objects, so the idea is you build up your scene in a single instance of Element, grouping the objects intelligently so you can animate the layers independently. You don't have to add instances of the effect just to be able to include multiple objects in your scene.

Edited by ChrisC

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Thanks for the quick response Mylenium, so what are the specs I have to look for in my Video Card?

What kind of Video Card are you using and did you tried to use more than on instance of Element?

if so how many till your Video Card gave up?

 

I'm using an GTX 285 with 768MB VRAM. The average is about 8-10 instances of Element per project. However, I'm rarely using elaborate texturing. A single huge texture can blow things out of the water and of course other OpenGL/ CUDA plug-ins will want their share of your graphics power, further subtracting from available resources. So in the end, it's the same unsatisfying answer as with many things in AE: It will depend and only your experience will teach you which combinations will work and which won't.

 

Mylenium

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Yes, you can use multiple instances of Element and the texture resources will actually be shared.

 

The drawback is the rendered frames have to be transferred from the GPU back to After Effects for each instance. This process isactually slower than the actual rendering but in order to access the render we need to send it back to After Effects.

 

When you play a video game, the GPU is outputing the frames directly to your monitor directly, so the graphics don't go back to the CPU. This way the latency is instantaneous. But to make the image available to After Effects we have to transfer it back to you and so multiple instances of Element will seem slower than rendering everything inside a single instance because the transfer only takes place once.

 

Element has 5 individual groups which are designed to be used for separate objects to avoid multiple instances when possible. Mylenium makes a great point, about finding the sweet spot and once you pass that threshold of speed VS function then decide what the best approach to take. Best!

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Not being able to have animations is a serious limitation, but its still a must-have.

 

 

 

Oops... ;-)

 

Mylenium

 

??

 

Did you write something that you weren't supposed to say yet? I still haven't seen anything regarding animated / animating 3d objects, and that the curiosity of whats inside that little 'animation engine' tickbox is kinda driving me mad.

Edited by AromaKat

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@AndrewKramer

 

Thanks for the additional info ... it's glad to see that high poly objects won't be the death of this product. I look forward to playing with it (who am I kidding I just wanna throw my money at you)

 

all in all it looks pretty slick bro!

 

~Florio

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this looks very promising, especially for projects with ridiculous deadlines. i'm also glad that this tool doesn't render my 3d knowledge useless. :) in fact, i can see it enhancing my current workflow, especially when I just need that extra "depth" to sell an idea/concept. great work vcp team!

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