Rounding out 2019 I spent some collected money on one of my long-term wishlist items, Element 3D from VideoCopilot.net.
E3D isn’t a 3D modeling program. You can import 3D models in OBJ format, can lay down some primitives like cubes and cylinders, and can import text which is extruded into a 3D object. Then, using drag and drop, you can assign textures to your object. If the model came from a program like Maya, C4D, or Blender and is broken out into different…eh…models? I guess? Parts…then you can apply textures to those parts, either by dragging in the constituent parts of the original texture (diffuse, specular, illumination, occlusion, etc) or by using one of several nice textures provided by E3D.
Once you have your 3D model set up, you can kick it directly into After Effects where you can animate it or the world around it.
There’s a lot of cool things that can be done with E3D, although I’m not the person to be doing them. It doesn’t stop me from trying, though, like this video of a star-fighter flying over Philidelphia.
Or this droid with somewhere else to be as if he were partly responsible for blowing the place to Hell:
Or this Wombat Seal of Approval, for those times when you want to give someone a meaningless award for no good reason:
In the Right Hands (i.e. Not Mine), combining a 3D object with real world footage, proper coloration, and lighting, Element 3D can be a powerful tool. While I’m not super-adept at using it right now, having means that I can learn how to use it, which is really about 75% of the battle.