By Kevin P. McAuliffe (doddleNEWS)
A while back I posted my multi-part review of Video Copilot’s Element 3D (click here for part 1, part 2 and part 3), and, if you didn’t read it, you now probably know that it’s easily the absolute best 3D plugin for Adobe’s After Effects on the market today. In this review, I want to talk about one of the expansion packs for Element 3D (E3D), and that is “Metropolitan,” which is a city building extension for E3D. Let’s get in and show you how you’re going to add this great expansion pack to your shiny new E3D plug-in.
WHAT YOU GET
What’s important to keep in mind is that Metropolitan is not another plugin. It’s a pack of building models, high resolution textures and 10 AE preset projects to get you rolling in the right direction. Once installed, and licensed (this can all be done via the internet inside of the Element 3D interface, with no need to enter licensing information.
Simply enter your Video Copilot (VC) account information, and the bundle will license itself), you’ll now see in the Model Browser the Metropolitan pack, and three sub-categories. Graphic Buildings (buildings with no textures – there’s 30 of them, Metropolitan (Day and Night modeled buildings – there are $156 of them), and Metropolitan – No Antennas (Pretty much as described: 115 building models with no antennas).
At any time you can double click on one of the modes to call it up into the scene, and then navigate around it using the mouse, mouse wheel, and the OPT/ALT keys to pan and zoom in and out.
HOW IT WORKS
Once you’ve decided whether you want to your scene to be a day or night scene, now you can start placing buildings where you want them to go. For me to create a good group of buildings, I’m going to choose 6 daytime buildings, and, by double clicking on them, place them into Group 1. You can have up to five groups, and to be honest, I’m not sure how many buildings I’d be able to put into each one but it would be a lot, and the more powerful your CPU, the more buildings you’ll be able to have.
After you have double clicked on six different buildings, you can now position the buildings wherever you want them to be be in 3D space, right in the Preview Window.
When you’re happy with what you have, click OK, and head back to After Effects. Now, inside of the Effects Interface, you can make adjustments to Group 1’s Particle Replicator, to take your 6 buildings replicate as many as you want be in your frame. You can adjust the replicators size to space them out, and even adjust the scaling of the particles (buildings) themselves to give things a different look.
What’s important to keep in mind is that we’ve added buildings to one group, but you could add different buildings to up to five different groups to really create a cityscape that will impress your clients. Remember this, because E3D interacts with your After Effects camera, you can create some stunning animations by just setting up your city scene, and then animating the AE camera.
The price of Metropolitan for Element 3D is not cheap. It will run you $124.95 on the VC website, and it is NOT available from other re-sellers out there for a slightly more discounted price, so unfortunately you are out of luck there.
Do I think it’s worth the price? Well, consider what you’re getting: 3D models of buildings already set up and ready to go with super high rez textures, so no matter what side of the building you’re looking at it from, it’s pretty much a lock that it will look awesome! So yes, I think that the $124.98 is worth the price.
In the end, if you’re looking to create some cool day or night city scapes pretty quick and easy, you need to check out Metropolitan from Video Copilot for Element 3D. If you’ve already got the plugin, you can start yourself out with one of the included AE comp presets, or build your own complex cities from scratch, with a very, low learning curve!
If you want to save some money, make sure you pick it up as part of the Ultra Studio Bundle [affiliate link], which is a savings of over $350, as opposed to purchasing the plug-in and packs on their own, or keep an eye out for seasonal deals, such as Black Friday sales, as all the major effects companies normally have deals around that time.
For more information on the Metropolitan Model Pack for Element 3D, click here [affiliate link].