Motionworks just released a new product called MovieType for Element 3D, a younger brother of the original MovieType for Cinema 4D that will run completely using Element 3D in After Effects. Luckily for you, I was able to get an early sneak peak of MovieType for Element 3D and am here to bring you a full and honest review of the product. Although I am an affiliate of Motionworks, I was not paid to review the product and all opinions mentioned in this review are honest and are my own. First off, MovieType for Element 3D is a library of presets that will help you create awesome looking, movie blockbuster style type within After Effects. The product also comes with a ton of materials, bevels, and backgrounds so you can really customize and fine tune the look of your type. Here are the main features that you should know:
- Over 200 type presets
- 60 camera rig presets
- 450 material presets
- 150 bevel presets
- 35 3D backgrounds
- 64 full compositions completely rigged and ready to be used
- AE camera rig
- AE light rig
- Comes bundled with MoBacks, a library of 50+ HD Backgrounds for AE (normally $39 separately)
- Price: $89
That’s right, for only $89 you can get a ton of stuff to trick out your Element 3D renders. With such a low price tag, this product is a steal. Pro Shaders, a library of materials by Video Copilot has around 200 material presets and cost $99.95 (which is a great product for its price as well), but doesn’t compare to MovieType for E3D in terms of content, number of presets, and price.
One word describes these type presets: convenient. They’re similar to the original MovieType style presets and they have almost every sort of possible type animation you can think of in E3D. If you can think of a type animation in E3D, MovieType probably has it somewhere if you can find it – more on this later. Overall, the quality of the presets are great, there are tons of variation, and they work just as you’d expect. Simply find a preset you like, open the composition and work with it, or copy it into your own composition. The presets use tweaked E3D parameters and utilizes the Animation Engine to drive most of the type animations, so you can always adjust things to your likings. In summary, the type presets are professionally designed with no junk, work as advertise, and I have no complaints.
Camera Presets & Rig
Also included in the product are a series of camera presets to give your animation an even more dynamic motion. You have stuff from simple zooms to interesting and complex orbits. Utilizing them is similar to how you’d utilize the type presets via copy/pasting. These presets could really save you some time if you’re wanting some basic movements or simple intro/outro stuff (basically trailer type stuff), but I found them hard to utilize in more dynamic shots where presets aren’t really going to cut it. In my opinion, the camera presets are great for what they do, but I personally won’t be using them a lot just because I’m usually doing crazier things with the camera anyways. The dynamic type presets are usually great enough for me, I’ll do the rest.
The camera rig included is actually pretty interesting as we all know how difficult it is to use AE’s virtual camera without creating some sort of rig using nulls. With the rig, you can do basic stuff such as offset and rotate in the XYZ direction, but you can also control stuff such as aperture, blur amount, focus distance, camera shake, tilt, pan, and some other nifty things. It’s not the most advanced camera rig, but it certainly organizes thing in one nice easy place instead of digging through all the menus. Again, no complaints.
Materials & Bevels
John and Brett may hate me for saying this, but I was more intrigued by all the materials and bevels than with the type presets themselves. I’m a sucker when it comes to expanding my materials library! I can never have enough and the fact that I’m getting an extra 450 materials for E3D is a killer. I would pay $89 just for the materials alone, so the type presets, bevels, rigs, and backgrounds are a huge bonus. The materials themselves aren’t as diverse as the Pro Shaders pack, but they have everything you’d need for great looking text (none of that weird grass material or ugly fabric that you’d never use anyways from the Pro Shaders pack).
Bevels are a great addition as well. MovieType bevels are well crafted with lots of variation, and are conveniently created to where we can see the same bevels with different materials. If you’re goal is to have great looking text in E3D, the materials and bevels should be the reason why you buy this product. I hate creating and importing materials in E3D, so having a large arsenal of materials where I can slap things on and get instant results really saves me a lot of time.
Lighting Rig & Backgrounds
You can find the lighting rig in the “Full Compositions”, which are pretty much fully configured compositions with type presets, backgrounds, camera animations, and lighting all setup for you to play and experiment with. Similar to the camera rig, the lighting rig is very simple with controls covering rotation, brightness, color, shadow diffusion/darkness, cone angle, and a bit more. Again, not really advanced, but very handy to have in one central location.
The backgrounds are fully 3D backgrounds modeled in Cinema 4D and textured using the included MovieType materials. The backgrounds actually look pretty great and can be used for a lot of abstract things. The only comment I have is that I wished they were a bit bigger in size. I am willing to take a render hit for a larger resolution model. There are 3 backgrounds that actually caught my attention, and they are the studio backdrop ones. We’ve all used that nice white infinite floor background in Cinema 4D and it’s nice to have an alternative in AE.
MovieType for Element 3D is professionally crafted, they work as you’d expect, and you get so much for your money. There’s no junk in this product, something that is very common when buying a library preset pack for anything. This pack is fantastic for creating titles using Element 3D and you have so many options to choose from. Whether you want to save time in type animations, camera animations, or texturing, MovieType for Element 3D is going to save you time and make things very convenient.
One thing I disliked about using MovieType for E3D is the workflow. I know this isn’t really MovieType’s fault, as it’s a series of presets and these are how presets work in AE, but navigating, finding presets, and utilizing them starts to become irritating. To avoid going back and forth from window to window, I’d suggest just importing EVERYTHING into AE, including the galleries. This way, you can stay in AE and browse/work instead of bouncing back all the time.
Again, I do not blame MovieType for this as the product is great and John and Brett made it as convenient as they can to browse, find, and apply presets. It’s just the nature of how AE and Element 3D works, it’s a bit difficult to apply and browse presets that aren’t natively in E3D’s UI window (perhaps one day E3D will be able to save and apply full on type presets with expressions and previews, but for now, this is the best we can do). So if you’re a person that may not like this modular workflow, this product may not be for you.
Buy this product. It’s insanely cheap, yet the quality and quantity of this product is superior in every aspect. You get so much for your money, it would be stupid not to buy this product if you do any type of Element 3D work. In my opinion, MovieType for Element 3D is the ultimate expansion pack of E3D and really provides you everything you need to start making fantastic type animations. If you had to buy one add-on product for E3D, this is the one you should buy, hands down. With MovieType for Element 3D, you’re getting a professionally designed product with a lot of everything so there’s definitely something for you and your work. Honestly, why didn’t Andrew make something like this?
So what are your thoughts of MovieType for E3D? Have you used the original MovieType for Cinema 4D? Are you going to be buying this expansion pack? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!