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The 3D Invigorator PRO for After Effects plug-in has once again proven to be the must-have software of the year.
3D That Feels Familiar
3D Invigorator PRO is the program that brings big-time 3D motion graphics to your After Effects work. 3D Invigorator PRO renders quickly and can create beautifully sculpted 3D models quickly and easily without extensive training.
At Zaxwerks we believe the key to workflow is familiarity. We feel that if we give our users tools they are familiar with, they learn the program faster and can be more productive. To that end we've made 3D Invigorator operate as a plug-in for After Effects so you never have to leave your main program.
The tools in 3D Invigorator act like tools you are already familiar with. If you know how to draw Bezier curves, like the ones you find in Illustrator or Photoshop, you already know how to model in 3D.
The modeling is done as you are drawing the curves so you can see exactly what you are getting as you draw. There is no guesswork and no multi-step process to learn.
The models stay live so if you have to make changes, a quick adjustment to the curves will rebuild the model in 3D without you having to do anything.
This type of immediate feedback and easy control makes the modeling very familiar and friendly. It helps you feel at home right away.
The most familiar animation controls are the ones you already know. Every animation system has its own peculiarities, so do you want to learn a whole new animation system or would you like to use one that has the controls you already know? If you didn't have to learn a new system wouldn't it be easier to learn?
3D Invigorator PRO uses the After Effects timeline for all of its animation. There is no new animation system to learn, period.
If you know how to set keyframes in After Effects you already know how to animate in 3D Invigorator PRO.
FAMILIAR LIGHTING AND LENS FLARES
Light comes from somewhere, right? It doesn't just magically come from some invisible point in space. To help you create lighting that looks and acts real, 3D Invigorator PRO has lighting controls based on real world lights.
It's pretty cool. With a mouse click you can arrange your lights in a ring or on a truss. Then create industry standard fixtures like ellipsoidals, fresnels or motion control rigs with another click. One more click lets you see the beams coming from the lights, and a final click turns on lens flares. 4 clicks for all of that? Think about it.
But what makes it truly familiar is that all of this can be done using After Effects lights too. This means you can position and animate your familiar AE 3D lights, and then get the trusses, light beams, fixtures and flares to go along with them.
If you know how to use After Effects lights, you already know how to use 3D Invigorator PRO's lighting.
FAMILIAR SURFACING AND TEXT STYLES
What could be more familiar than drag and drop? 3D Invigorator PRO comes with over 200 seamless materials that are applied by dragging a thumbnail picture and dropping them directly onto your object.
Adjusting the surface materials is done live with no need for rendering so the feedback is extremely fast and interactive.
3D Invigorator also introduces the idea of 3D Text Styles. These are thumbnail pictures which encapsulate everything needed to model and surface a text or logo design. This lets you set up the look of a design and save it as a preset, after which you can completely model and surface any number of other versions by simply dropping the thumbnail onto your text or Illustrator shapes.
If you know how to drag and drop, you already know how to texture and use 3D Styles inside 3D Invigorator PRO.
3D Invigorator PRO's bevel creator is the most advanced custom bevel creator in any 3D program. It will also feel the most familiar to you because it uses regular old Illustrator-style, Bezier curves.
The program comes with over 100 professional bevels to get you started. You can always edit them or create your own. The ability to create your own bevels can't be understated. This ensures your designs will always look fresh.
As with modeling, the bevel drawing is live, so you see the final 3D model as you draw the bevels. Bevels can be made of multiple pieces. They can also be divided so different materials can be applied to each part. In fact the term "bevel" doesn't begin to describe what's possible.
BEST OF ALL, NO ROUND-TRIPPING
Round-Tripping is what happens when you use After Effects with an external 3D program. You render a movie from the external program, import the movie into After Effects, maybe import the camera data too. But then the client makes a change. Uh-oh!
So now you have to go back to your external program, make the changes, re-import the movie, re-import the camera data, fix whatever problems this causes, etc., etc. Each change creates another round-trip. Every round-trip is a headache that just wastes time.
With 3D Invigorator PRO round-tripping doesn't exist. As an After Effects plug-in there is no time lost re-rendering, moving files back and forth or fixing mistakes. It is literally the fastest 3D workflow possible because you stay inside of After Effects 100% of the time.
The Classic version will serve you well, but the PRO version greatly enhances what you can do.
More Power. The PRO version gives you the incredible ability to bring 3D models right into After Effects. This is truly a designer's dream because you can mix 2D layers with live 3D elements in the same project.
More Speed. Set up variables in 3D Text objects and then drive the variables with a text file. This takes versioning to the next level by enabling you to create one animation and then render countless additional animations based on changes in the text file.
More Flexibility. The PRO version enables you to draw your own bevels. This enables you to create the fresh new looks you see in today's spots and promos. In addition, Object Warping will let you create state of the art effects!
Includes all the features of Invigorator Classic, plus...
Ray-Trace Reflectivity & Shadows! (NEW)
Ultra Realistic Shadows with Ambient Occlusion(NEW)
Create Glass or Water with Refraction(NEW)
Super Easy Grid Creator(NEW)
Increased Number of Sets and Layer Maps(NEW)
Ray Trace Reflectivity and Shadows
The Ray Tracer Renderer renders gorgeous, highly realistic surfaces for all of your 3D objects. Customize settings such as the Reflectivity, Falloff and Blurriness to increase the amount of realism.Change the Position, Rotation, or Scale of the material. Enable Tiling to repeat or mirror in both X and Y direction. Being able to edit the position, rotation, or tiling means no more going back and forth into Photoshop to adjust the texture maps.
Ray Traced Shadows allow you to create extremely realistic shadows that fade out with distance.
With Ambient Occlusion, areas of an object that are close to another object are automatically darkened.
With Transparent Shadows, Lights will calculate shadows differently if the object is transparent.
Refraction (Glass, Ice, Water Materials)
With the Refraction setting, you customize the amount of Refraction for the Material and how fuzzy the transparency is. This allows you to create interesting surfaces for glass, ice, water or more.
By adding Bump Maps, this adds even more possiblilities such as creating Frosty or Fuzzy looking glass materials.
In ProAnimator you can take any object or logo and break them into little pieces. The amount of pieces can be customized and you can also generate random shapes for the pieces to get a random shattered look. This effect works great for crumbling a logo or having a piece of glass shattering.
In addition, this effect can be animated so you can start with a logo or object and have it break up into hundreds of pieces. Or you can have an animation where you start out with a lot of little pieces and fly together to form the logo or text.
Automatic Object Creation
This feature will auto-create 3D models out of an image. Usually you have to measure the image, create a plane that's the proper proportions, create a material using the image and then apply the material to the plane. Whew, that's a lot of work!
The new auto-image creation feature lets you import an image and it will automatically do everything else for you. It's a one-click model creator and mapper function. In fact we super charged it so you can import an entire folder of images and turn every image in the folder into ready-to-animate 3D objects, again with one single click.
The 3D Invigorator PRO interface has been completely revamped. This lets you customize the workspaces in whatever ways you want, and allows you to jump from one workspace to another easily with the use of workspace buttons.
With the new workspace setup, you can open or close as many, or as few panels as you need. This enables you to create complex workspaces where you have access to all the controls at once, or set up simple workspaces where you only need a few controls at a time.
Resizable/Repositional panels lets you position every panel so that it's the right size and position. You can also preserve workspace by placing panels into tabs. To maximize a panel, hit the the ~ tilde key. This lets you quickly fine tune all those little details.
By being to save and load your own workspaces, you have all your favorite workspaces at your fingertips.
Realtime Drawing Tools
Use familiar tools such as the Pen, Pencil, Shape, Text, Selection to build and edit professional logos. New vector drawing tools such as the Auto-curve, Corner Rounding, and Parametric Shapes lets you build objects faster than ever. The Auto-curve tool is a Pen-tool that automatically smoothes out the curves that you draw. The Cornering tools allow you to drag on any corner, and transforms it into a rounded corner or curve. Customizable Parametric shapes enables you to create simple shapes quickly, and edit them by changing the parameters.
You can now edit imported Adobe Illustrator files directly within 3D Invigorator PRO. This means, if there's a little curve that needs tweaking, you can adjust the bezier curves right inside the drawing window. There's no need to switch between programs.
Many keyboard shortcut commands have been implemented so you can switch effortlessly between the most commonly used tools such as the pen tool, convert anchor point tools, or the point selection tools. Creating cutout is also an easy process. Put shapes into the same layer, and by overlapping one shape with another, the program is smart enough to know which shape to cut out.
Draw bevels in the new Profile Editor window. Any shape or design you create in the profile editor instantly gets applied to your object. You can also save and load any custom bevels that you create, and edit the bevels with any of the vector tools in the drawing window.
The Object List allows you to quickly move objects from one Set to another by dragging. This lets you organize your objects quickly, and also set up parenting and grouping easily. The Object List Preview window also lets you preview your objects so you know exactly what you are editing.
The Editor View Sets enable you to save up to eight separate View Sets. Each View Set lets you customize layer settings such as the Layer Visibility, Lock, Editor Visibility, and Object Solo. Switch between different view sets to avoid having to toggle all the settings on and off over and over.
New Object Creation buttons allows you to create objects with just a single click. This also enables you to convert vector shapes to Lathe Objects, and vice versa, group and ungroup objects, and delete layers with ease.
3D Text Handling
The 3D text engine can use Post Script Type 1, True Type, and Open Type fonts that reside on your computer system to directly create 3D models using any of the 100 edge bevels included with the program.
The Font Preview list shows you what a font looks like, without having to first select the font. Using the up/down arrows, you can quickly preview your text with the selected font. To jump quickly to a font, type letters in the font list. Typing "t" will jump you to "Tahoma,"and adding an "r" will bring you to "Trebuchet".
Each letter can have its own font, size, kerning, tracking, baseline shift, horizontal and vertical scale, color, bevel, position and depth. But the most astounding hallmark to this feature is the ability to change the text at any phase of the production process and retain the color, modeling and animation. Also, with the new feature to save a Font Favorite, you can save all the font information such as the Font Size, Kerning, and Spacing.
This means that after the first version of a promo is created, 50 other versions can be created by simply changing the text. The new 3D text will retain the same coloring, text attributes, 3D beveling, texture map placement and even the animation data. This makes for an unbelievably fast production process when many changes or extra versions are needed.
In addition, 3D Text objects can be edited directly within the drawing window. This means you can edit the bezier curves of each text character to make instant changes to the shapes of the 3D text objects. But guess what? The text objects are still live, so if you need to make text changes, like fix a spelling or add a word, you can still do it and all of your bezier edits will remain intact. What? That's right, this is the first and only place you can find this level of editability and flexibility in handling text.
3D Text Substitution
If you are interested in making money, this is the feature for you. Text substitution lets you set up an animation once then create variations by simply changing the words in a text file. This means you can create a template animation and render, literally, hundreds of variations without having to rebuild every animation.
For instance if you have to build a title graphic for the head of every department, just set the animation up once, then create a text file including every department head's name, department name, office location or anything else you wanted to include. During rendering the data is substituted, automatically turned into 3D text objects and animated just like the original. This is truly a high-productivity workhorse feature.
Create lathe objects such as wine bottles, glasses, bowls and more by just drawing the profile of the object. The lathe object automatically updates with every edit of the bezier curve. In the Profile Editor, you can edit the shape of the lathe so you have oval containers, or any other shape that you draw.
3D Invigorator PRO enables you to set up 3D logos, titles and 3D text, color them, apply the materials, maps and object settings, and then save them into files which you can reuse over and over in all your other 3D Invigorator PRO projects, or even other 3D applications. This is a huge time saver for repetitive work. Not to mention, the import feature is a great resource for users who like to take advantage of all the free 3D models that are available for download.
3D Invigorator PRO supports 3D Motion Blur. Anything that can be created or imported into the 3D Invigorator PRO can be motion blurred. This includes models made in other programs such as Maya, 3D Studio and LightWave.
Tracking AE's 3D Objects
Another great new feature is the ability for Invigorator objects to track, or mimic, what an AE 3D plane is doing. On the surface this feature might not seem that significant, however for the advanced After Effects user this feature opens the doors to incredible new abilities.
By tracking AE's 3D planes an AE user is now able to use the standard 3D manipulation tools within AE to create motion paths and keyframes for the Invigorator's objects. This means that everything you can do to an AE 3D plane can now be done to Invigorator objects. You get visible 3D paths, function curve control, animation assistants and even expression-based control over your 3D animations! And all you have to do to make it work is to pick a simple menu option. Incredible.
Gradient & Noise Editor
In 3D Invigorator PRO, resolution independent shaders can now be used for Color, Highlight, Bump, Transparency, and Reflectivity maps. Use blend modes such as Screen, Multiply and Overlay to overlapping shaders to create complex materials. Independent masking for every map or shader gives you custom, pixel-level control over how each map or shader is used.
In addition, with our new Gradient and Noise Editor, you can create amazing gradients and noise shaders all without leaving the program.
With the abilities of Gradientwerks, included in the Material Editor, now you can make and customize a mind boggling variety of resolution independent gradients
The Noise Editor works wonders when creating Reflectivity Maps, Bump Maps, or even unique designs such as the army camoflauge. The Noise Editor comes with over 20 resolution independent graphic element noise generators. Apply them with our new Blend Modes feature for even greater customization.
You can also copy and paste shaders to easily expand and reuse your material swatch libraries.
Object Deformation & Warping
Bend, fold, twist your 3D objects with all the exciting features of 3D Warps. With over a dozen different deformations that are all fully customizable, you have endless possibilities.
Animate the warps to create shape-changing effects. This means, you will be able to create smooth bends for page flip effects, or even a springing effect. You can stack multiple warps for customizable creativity.
Use UV, Spherical, Planar, Cylindrical, Cubic, or Camera View mapping to create different looks for your 3D Objects. This enables you to create smooth gradients across your letters and logos, and still keep all the pieces separate.
Change the Position, Rotation, or Scale of the material. Enable Tiling to repeat or mirror in both X and Y direction. Being able to edit the position, rotation, or tiling means no more going back and forth into Photoshop to adjust the texture maps.
Highlight Mapping, or Specular Mapping as it is sometimes called, is a type of texture mapping that only affects the highlights on an object.
Much of the textural feel of a surface is contained in the highlights. The base paint job on an object may be fine, but over the top of the paint job the surface may be worn or dirty, and this type of surface detail isn't seen until you line your eye up with the glare from a light.
Creative uses of highlight mapping include hidden messages like writing on a mirror, streaks, hand prints, scratches, dents and smudges.
3D Invigorator PRO also supports render farming using the After Effects render engine. Multiple computers can be used to render your 3D Invigorator PRO animations in record time.
Wireframe and Hidden Line Rendering
For the visual designer, Invigorator PRO has many ways to paint the final picture and broaden your options for being visually creative.
Wireframe rendering is that "techno-looking" style where 3D objects are rendered only as the lines that define their shape. This is uniquely appealing because objects look more like drawings rather than big clunky 3D objects.
Hidden line rendering is a special kind of wireframe where you only see the lines that define the visible parts of the objects. In standard wireframe you see all of the lines no matter if they are on the front or the back of the objects. But with hidden line the back lines are hidden and you only see the lines that best show the front side of the object.
Something very exciting about the way Zaxwerks has implemented line rendering is that our lines respond to lighting! This means that the lines will get brighter or darker depending on the placement and intensity of the lights. This gives shading and increased appeal to the lines rather than having plain solid-colored lines. Another unique ability is that the lines can be texture mapped! This lets you apply any of the standard maps (color, reflections, bump, etc.) to the surface of the lines. Want to make the lines look like brushed metal? Now you can.
Line weight can be set in tenth/pixel increments, are professionally anti-aliased, and even the space between the lines can be filled with a color if desired.
Fresnel Coloring use two sets of values to create a material which does not behave the same way in all directions.
Fresnel materials are used to create watery textures and metallic materials, which look different depending on your viewing angle.
One material is seen when looking straight at the surface and the second material is seen when looking at the surface at a glancing angle.
This one is really fun. It renders the 3D objects as though they were drawn by a poster artist or an animator painting animation cells. Standard 3D rendering paints the objects in continuous tones creating a photo-real look, but Cartoon Color rendering paints the objects in bands of color . The bands block in the color of the highlights, shadows and base, giving you a big bold look with lots of punch!
This kind of rendering is useful when you want a color to be absolutely the same after rendering as it was before. For instance if you are doing a job for a corporate client who demands that their corporate colors be used and that the colors cannot be affected by the lighting or shadows in the 3D scene. This rendering option is also useful to put colored strokes around objects, for doing extremely graphic Pop Art looks, or to make 3D TV screens where the images in the TVs look as though they are lit from within.
Best of all, these new material styles can be mixed and matched within the same 3D scene. For instance you can have a wireframe sphere, casting wireframe shadows, revolving around a cartoon logo with a shadow catcher floor making the 3D scene merge into your 2D background footage! Wow!
There are also two other material styles which are useful when compositing the 3D imagery with other video or background footage.
This is a special material option that makes a 3D object act like a mask. When an object with this material is visible it creates a traveling matte. (Prints black in the alpha channel.) This is used to block out objects that you don't want to appear in the final rendering. For instance you can use a placeholder cylinder to create a "3D Mask" that to enable 3D stars to circle around an picture of a bottle.
It is also useful for creating transition effects out of 3D objects. For instance, start with a 3D star. Color the star gold. Then apply the Matte Color material to the back face of the star. Now create an animation where the star flies to the center of the screen, flips over and then flies straight at the camera. When the star flips over it reveals the back side that has been given the Matte Color material. This will create a "hole" in the 3D image which will reveal a background layer behind the 3D layer. As the star flies toward the camera the hole gets bigger and bigger revealing more and more of the background image. Once the star has covered the camera the transition is complete.
Shadow Catcher Rendering
You are going to love this one! This enables the shadows from your 3D objects to fall onto the objects in a piece of background video. The way you do this is to build 3D objects that mimic the shape of the objects in the background footage then give those objects the Shadow Catcher material.
For instance say you have a video of a package sitting on a table, and you want to animate a title that flies in and lands on the table next to the package. To make it look more realistic you want the shadow of the title to fall onto the package and the table top. Normally this is an impossible problem. The shadow will have to bend to take into account the height of the package and how it is positioned on the table, but the 3D Invigorator PRO makes it possible.
To create this effect, all you have to do is to use the new primitives modeler to create a box and a plane that will act as place holders. Adjust the box and plane to match the size of the package and the table top, and then position them in register with the background image of the real package and table. The last step is to give these placeholder objects the Shadow Catcher material. Now when you render the animation, the shadows from the title will fall onto the placeholder objects which will "catch" their shadows. The place holders themselves won't be seen. Only the shadows that fall onto them will be seen. When composited with the background video, the shadows of the 3D objects will look as though they are falling onto the package and table in the video, merging the two images into one very realistic image!
What's New in version 8.5?
Added: global reflections. You can now use a single map for all reflections in the scene.
Added: global reflection rotation. By setting a rate of rotation the global reflection will keep moving so the reflections don't go dead when objects stop moving.
You can now parent Light Tracks to Objects so an object can carry a lighting track along with it. This is especially good for adding blinking lights to graphics.
Added a new type of auto-rotation for lens flares that enables you to make flares trace the edges of 3D objects.
Materials can now be dropped onto trusses and each truss can have its own material.
Fragmented objects render much faster.
Added foreground compositing, so you can overlay screen UI or pre-rendered scene elements.
Fixed memory leaks, especially when using motion blur or depth of field, that were causing crashes during long renders.
Lots of stability fixes.
On the Mac you can now load a project file by dragging the project file onto the application icon.
The split arrows now stick to the end of your cursor better.
AutoSave files are now cleaned up better.
Shape tools can now be used to draw custom profiles without crashing.
Reflections using multiple shaders now render properly.
Fragmented objects new render better using the OpenGL renderer.
Stretched glows are no longer clipped.
Selecting and editing objects that are children of other objects works better.
I have been a Zaxwerks software user for almost 10 years, and their products are a big part of how I evolved into the Digital Media Professional that I am today. If you're looking to learn 3D modeling or animation, then this is, without a doubt, the best program to start with (as is its counterpart "ProAnimator" - each have slightly different advantages depending on how you prefer to work). Even if you are an expert user of another 3D program, there are many aspects that you will find advantageous, and you will wonder why such an approach hasn't been integrated into other software of this nature. While the interface and workflow are very quick and easy to learn, the results are nothing less than stellar. There are Ray Traced soft shadows, reflections, and refractions, ambient occlusion, an Open-GL renderer, and much more, that make Invigorator Pro and ProAnimator my go-to tools for 3D logo and text production. Their interoperability with Adobe After Effects allows you to integrate the animations you produce with them, seamlessly with the AE timeline, camera, lights, and multitude of effects. Lastly, the customer service and support I have received from Zaxwerks over the years has always been exceptional. They are polite and quick to reply, whether it is to help with a problem, or to listen to a suggestion; they are a company that treats each one of its customers with care and respect. If you are looking to branch out into 3D, then the Zaxwerks family of software are the tools for you! Have fun!
Would you recommend this product to a colleague? Yes
By: Michael Gulley Date: February 09, 2013
Great in theory
While this product seems to fill a niche at a decent price point, the benefits for me have been nullified by the total lack of decent support. I've had nothing but extremely slow performance, most of the time outright crashes, when trying to use Invigorator Pro. This is on a very powerful workstation that has had no other issues whatsoever. After many attempts to resolve this with tech support, it remains unusable and therefore a waste of budget money. At one point my issue was to be elevated to the programmers for input but then I stopped even hearing from this company. Very disappointing. I would skip this one entirely and go with the new functionality coming in CS6.
Would you recommend this product to a colleague? No
By: Steven Casey Date: April 27, 2012
Earns the Microfilmmaker Magazine's Award of Superiority
I came across Zaxwerks at NAB as I was flying through the Plug-in area, and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a demo where they created a 3D logo from scratch in 5 minutes. Any program that can give you those kind of amazing results in such a short amount of time is with a look, and I'd say Invigorator Pro is a must have for any editor.