Zaxwerks Blog

Eran Stern Releases 3D Typography Course
Highlights 3D Invigorator PRO 8

August 18th, 2014


The great news about version 8 keeps coming in!

After Effects guru, Eran Stern, has done a course on 3D Typography for the lynda.com training site. Eran compares six methods for creating 3D type inside of After Effects.

The six methods are:

The After Effects CUDA Ray Tracer
Maxon Cineware
Mettle ShapeShifter
Boris Continuum
Zaxwerks Invigorator PRO
Video CoPilot Element 3D

Eran builds a hero frame in Photoshop, then shows you how to build that same frame and animate it inside of After Effects using each of the six methods. This unique course is a fantastic resource because Eran rebuilds the same project six times, comparing each method and discussing the advantages and limitations.

Eran also points out special features that are outside the scope of his project, but which show you how far beyond 3D text that you can go with each plug-in involved.

Here are some snippets of what Eran says about Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator PRO v8.

"I really love this effect. I think it is very intuitive and the new version is much faster and more responsive. It performed very well in our tests."

"Invigorator PRO is quite unique in terms of render options. It actually supports both Open GL as well as Ray Tracing. I think Zaxwerks has one of the most realistic results."

"The plug-in's 3D unified space is very useful in terms of shadows and shading, and we got excellent results. Note that we barely scratched the surface here. This tool can do much more."

"Invigorator PRO has so much to offer, it would be almost a crime not to give you at least a glimpse of the extra features. For example, you can import 3D objects, bend layers, also add reflections, refractions, complex textures and much more."

"This version of Invigorator PRO is without a doubt a game changer for 3D inside of AE."

Thank you Eran! You rock!

If you'd like to watch Eran's excellent course, (we highly recommend that you do!) please go to http://goo.gl/wnBm3R

If you don't have a lynda.com membership Eran has offered a free trial through this link: http://lynda.com/trial/EranStern



SPECIAL NOTE: Eran was given an advance copy of 3D Invigorator PRO v8. As we ready this software for release we noticed that some of the limitations he mentioned in his course are no longer limitations of the soon-to-be-shipping version.

For instance, Depth of Field will be in the shipping version so there's no need to fake it. Invigorator's Shadow Catcher feature enables you to cast shadows from Invigorator objects onto AE's 3D planes so you get an even better unified 3D look. Also, Invigorator PRO's renderer has been further optimized so the rendering times are even faster than he reports. In some cases much faster.

Go Zaxwerks rendering elves!

Review - Zaxwerks 3D ProAnimator 8 Review
by VFXer - VFX & Motion Graphics

August 8th, 2014


The experts at the VFXer website have taken a look at ProAnimator 8 and pronounced it good! They've done a detailed review of the software and posted it on their site vfxer.com. Remember, these guys come from a high-end viewpoint where production quality and speed are everything.

The reviewer is also proficient in Element 3D and Cinema 4D and took the time to point out the advantages of ProAnimator compared to those two programs.

"I've spent the last few weeks experimenting with ProAnimator 8. Having not used ProAnimator before, I was surprised by what the software had to offer."

"The ray trace renderer has been completely re-written for ProAnimator 8 and the speed is extremely impressive - even on older machines."

"The impressive part of the ambient occlusion, image-based lighting and camera focus effects is that they don't appear to slow down the render time at all, which they tend to do with other 3D software."

"ProAnimator 8 is a no-brainer purchase if you are a video editor or graphic designer who wants to use 3D design elements, or you are a working motion artist who does a lot of broadcast and corporate work. The software will save you a huge amount of time and will pay for itself in no time at all."

"For motion design work, I don't know of any other 3D tool that would allow you to get the job done as fast as ProAnimator 8."

Not too shabby!

To read the complete review, as well as watch some fine tutorials, get free downloads and other goodies, go to the VFXer.com website here: http://www.vfxer.com/zaxwerks-proanimator-8-review/

3D ProAnimator Tutorial - Distributing and Animating Duplicated Objects Into 3D Shapes

August 4th, 2014


Download assets here:

In this tutorial we go over the basics of object distribution and object duplication in 3D ProAnimator. Learn how to duplicate your 3D objects and then distribute them into any 3D shape. Then take those distributed shapes and animate between them extremely fast and easy. You will also learn how to mesh a ProAnimator object to subdivide an object and give it more vertice points.

To watch more Zaxwerks tutorials visit: http://zaxwerks.com/training/

To find out more about 3D ProAnimator Standalone visit: http://zaxwerks.com/proanimator/index.shtml

To find out more about 3D ProAnimator Plug-in for After Effects visit: http://zaxwerks.com/proanimatorae/index.shtml


Real-Time 3D - Zaxwerks 3D ProAnimator 8 Is Now Available!

July 22th, 2014


It's finally here! 3D ProAnimator 8 has been released and is now available for purchase! 3D ProAnimator 8 has hundreds of new features, all dedicated to making your 3D motion graphics more beautiful and rendering them at breakneck speeds.

If you've been watching the sneak peeks you are already familiar with the Reactor Rendering System and how incredibly fast it renders. Real-time GPU rendering. Near real-time ray tracing. Camera Focus. Juicy Textures. Millions of polygons. The list goes on and on.

All together version 8 is our biggest release ever. 3D ProAnimator 8 gives you the speed and power to create stunning motion graphics right on your laptop or desktop computer.

Download the demo, or go buy it today! Click here.

3D ProAnimator 8 is designed to pay for itself in the time you save and the higher quality of work you can produce. Besides the new stuff, 3D ProAnimator comes with the most easy to use, workflow-designed feature set in the motion graphics business.

Whether you are a seasoned After Effects professional, or a beginning video editor you will find no other software that combines this level of powerful features with the ease of use and blazing rendering speed to get the job done.

Take a moment to watch our release video here, and share it with your friends.


Sneak Peek! 3D ProAnimator 8 - New Features Revealed (Part 4)

July 10th, 2014


Can you believe that we are already on the fourth set of new features for 3D ProAnimator 8! We told you this was a big release, right? But eight major new features in one release is crazy! It's like a treasure chest of goodies. Every feature is a gem designed to get your work done faster and make more beautiful images.

If for some reason you missed a feature or two, you can find email links to the first three announcements at the bottom of this email. Believe me you will want to discover just how special the Reactor Rendering System, and all the other great new features are. During this next week we'll continue to sell v7, but you'll get v8 for free once it ships.

Today's two big new features are focused on increasing the production quality by making your scene look more interesting. In earlier emails we revealed features that make your work look more real. Well these two do that too but in a different way. Today's big new features focus on randomness and texture.

So let's take a look.

New Feature #7: Randomize Yourself Silly

Randomize any object's scale, rotation or location.

Nothing in the real world is totally perfect. Unfortunately most things in the computer world are perfect. So you have to take extra time to make things un-perfect. That's where our new randomization features come in.

Randomization works hand in hand with the instancing and distribution features we talked about in announcement 2. Instancing creates hundreds of objects and distribution arranges them into shapes and patterns but what happens when the patterns are a little too regular? You randomize them!

These three features together are fantastic at populating your scene with lots of "stuff". Sometimes you just want to fill the frame up with stuff and you aren't too particular about the fine points of where that stuff is. Want an extra 100 objects? No problem. Randomize their rotation? Done. Randomize it a little more? Done. Now animate their Y position while slightly drifting in some random rotation? Sounds complicated but in 3D ProAnimator it's really just a couple of clicks.

And what if you are particular? What if you do want that third object from the left to be rotated an extra four degrees? Well 3D ProAnimator has you covered there too. Even though your objects are being distributed and randomized you can always come in and tweak an individual object so it's in just the right place.

That's where you get the "powerful" and the "easy" parts combined. You get the project done quicker and easier, but still have the ability to fine tune individual elements to make your project perfect. Overall it saves you time and reduces your headaches.

To watch Randomization in action, click here.

New Feature #8: Normal Mapping

Normal Mapping makes your textures look extra juicy.

3D ProAnimator has always supported bump maps to give your textures realistic bumps and dents. However, it's now time to take Bump maps to the next level.

Say hello to Normal Maps. Have you seen those blue and pink pictures that look kind of funny? Well those are Normal Maps and they will make your textures look ultra realistic!

We have upgraded all of our materials to use normal maps. This means that when you buy 3D ProAnimator 8, you are also receiving 200+ realistic materials with normal maps, reflection maps, specular maps, transparency maps and diffuse maps. This is a huge value in itself, and we're including it for free with the program. Dang, we're really nice.

We'll still support bump maps so all of your old textures are safe, but if you know how to build, or buy, or download materials with normal maps built in, you'll be able to add luscious-looking textures to your everyday work.

To watch Normal Mapping in action, click here.

Now that we've shown you all eight of the big new features of 3D ProAnimator 8 we're sure you're squirming in your seat to get your hands on it. Well, we are just as stoked about this release as you are, so you won't have to wait much longer. 3D ProAnimator 8 with the new features, real-time rendering and over 200 free materials will be released mid next week! So stop waiting on your renders and get ready for the fastest raytrace rendering system in motion graphics. Seriously.

If you missed any of the first six big new features, then you missed a lot! Learn about the Reactor Rendering System, Camera Focus, Instancing, Object Distribution, Image-Based Lighting, and Interactive Ambient Occlusion here.

Be sure to check your email for the release announcement of 3D ProAnimator 8. Coming soon!


Sneak Peek! 3D ProAnimator 8 - New Features Revealed (Part 3)

July 8th, 2014


Remember how we said in the first announcement that 3D ProAnimator 8 is all about speed and beauty? Well it's time to announce two more big new features. These two are all about beauty, but done in a way that's really fast.

In case you haven't heard yet, we're releasing version 8 next week. If you didn't see the first two sneak peeks you missed the announcement of four big new features that will significantly change how you create 3D motion graphics. You'll be able to make unbelievably realistic pictures at incredible speeds. Features that are extremely flexible and will save your project's budget when it's time to make changes.

At the end of this email find links to the first two announcements and discover just how special the Reactor Rendering System is. During this next week we'll continue to sell v7, but you'll get v8 for free once it ships.


At the end of this email find links to the first two announcements and discover just how special the Reactor Rendering System is. During this next week we'll continue to sell v7, but you'll get v8 for free once it ships.


New Feature #5: Image-Based Lighting

In this image a single picture is used to create the shading and reflections

Image-Based Lighting, or IBL for short, is a way of lighting your entire scene by using nothing but a picture! You read that right. All you need to do to get completely realistic lighting is to choose a picture of the environment and 3D ProAnimator 8 takes care of the rest for you! There's no need to be a lighting expert or even take your own pictures.

Change the lighting from an exterior beach to an interior studio to a nightclub with a single click. The image sets the mood and the software creates the lighting, shading and reflections.

It's a really easy way of getting an epic look. And it's really really fast.

New Feature #6: Interactive Ambient Occlusion

Ambient occlusion darkens the places that don't receive much light.

The sixth big new feature in 3D ProAnimator 8 could be called the reality feature. The formal name is Ambient Occlusion but you can think of it as corner darkening. This feature darkens the corners and crevices of 3D objects in a way that gives the effect of bounce lighting but without the enormous rendering hit. It makes your objects look much more realistic, and thankfully we figured out how to add Ambient Occlusion in production at real-time speeds. There is no more excuse for your work to not look incredibly realistic.

Watch the demonstration video to see ambient occlusion in action.

So there you go. Big New Features #5 and #6. We said in the last sneak peek that Big New Features #1 through 4 would make getting 3D ProAnimator v8 a no-brainer. But with the addition of Ambient Occlusion and Image-Based Lighting this new version becomes a tremendous value.

Remember too, all of this 3D happiness works directly inside of After Effects so there's no wasted time round-tripping to external programs. Of course, if After Effects isn't your cup of tea, then you can use the standalone version of 3D ProAnimator to create your motion graphics, then go directly to edit.

Be sure to check your email for the next sneak peek and spread the word! The next big new features will be revealed in just a few days!

If you missed the first two sneak peeks, then you missed a lot! Learn about the Reactor Rendering System, Camera Focus, Instancing and Object Distribution here.


Sneak Peek! 3D ProAnimator 8 - New Features Revealed (Part 2)

July 3rd, 2014


It's time to reveal the next two new features of 3D ProAnimator 8!

In case you haven't heard yet, we're releasing version 8 soon. If you didn't see the first two features you missed a doozy of an announcement. At the end of this email there's a link to read Part 1 and find out just how special the Reactor Rendering System is. During these next two weeks we'll continue to sell v7, but you'll get v8 for free once it ships.

So without further ado let’s get to the next big new feature!

New Feature #3: Instancing (Automatic Object Duplication).

This animation has one sphere instanced 8,000 times and turns from the face into the number.

The third big new feature in 3D ProAnimator 8 is called "instancing". Instancing, in simplest terms, is object duplication. However it duplicates objects in a way that's incredibly fast, and makes it easy to populate a scene with hundreds or even thousands of objects and still keep the rendering speed nice and fast. You can instance objects made of one piece, like hearts or stars. You can instance objects made of multiple pieces, like houses or cars. You can instance words or logos and you can even mix all of these kinds of objects together! There are lots of creative uses, so watch the video and see the power of instancing in action.

New Feature #4: Object Distribution

Distribute any number of objects into any possible 3D shape.

The fourth big new feature in 3D ProAnimator 8 creates big things out of small ones. Object distribution has always been a part of 3D ProAnimator but in version 8 we've made it much more flexible and powerful. We've added many new distribution styles which make it easy to create environments, backgrounds and objects made up of other objects.

Simple distributions are like arranging objects into rows, rings or grids. There are lots of uses for simple distributions like this. But the cool part comes when you can distribute objects into the shape of other objects, such as logos or other 3D models. That's when things get fun. The flexibility of 3D ProAnimator lets you try simple or fancy in a way that's so easy and fast that you don't limit your designs based on the amount of time it takes to see if something is going to work. You can just try, try, try and get where you want faster, with fewer steps.

The merging of flexibility with increased workflow speed can't be understated. With most 3D programs your budget gets wasted when clients make changes. Each change causes a domino effect of rework. But changes in 3D ProAnimator are quick and easy and can be made at any time in the production process.

For example, say you start off with a circle of stars, then you turn it into a sphere of stars, and then you turn that into a sphere of words. You end up in a completely different place than where you started because the design evolved as you created.

Now as if that's not enough, all of these distributions can be animated in the timeline. So you can turn one massive distribution into another with the objects swarming and flying from one to the next! Total creative brilliance!

It's all incredibly easy and, before 3D ProAnimator, only available in the most complicated of 3D softwares. Watch the video to see it in action.

So that's a quick overview of Big New Features #3 and #4. Add those to the new Reactor Rendering System and you can see why 3D ProAnimator 8 is going to be our biggest release ever! The sort of release that will pay for itself by increasing your creative output and saving you time, especially when there are changes.

Be sure to check your email for the next sneak peek and spread the word! The next big new features will be revealed next week!

Did you miss the first two big new features? Learn about them here!

4th of July Sale Reminder

Right now you can get 25% off all Zaxwerks products! If you buy 3D ProAnimator 7, you will receive version 8 for free once it is released. Use discount code: PROMO at checkout. Buy here.


Sneak Peek! 3D ProAnimator 8 - New Features Revealed (Part 1)

July 1st, 2014


Don’t you hate it when marketing people gush about the smallest things? We hate it too. Well 3D ProAnimator 8 is not going to cure cancer or stop global warming, but if you make your living doing motion graphics or video it may change your life.

Change your life? Seriously? OK, let me explain. If rendering speed is important to you, then you may be interested in learning more. If beautiful pictures are your sort of thing, then again you may be interested. Getting both beautiful and fast at the same time? That’s where things get really interesting.

Over the next few weeks we are going to reveal the new features of 3D ProAnimator 8. The features are deep and will significantly change how motion graphics are created. During this time we’ll continue to sell v7, but you’ll get v8 for free once it ships. At the end of the sneak peeks we’ll release the software and everything will be fun and games after that!

The first two features we are about to reveal are awesome. If you could only get these two features they would be worth the price of the software, but of course there are many other features that make the software an even better value. Are you ready? Here we go!

New Feature #1: Real-Time 3D Rendering

Boy isn't that an over-used buzzword these days! So let's put some quotes around the claim and tell you what this really means. Zaxwerks has developed a new rendering engine called the Reactor Rendering System. It is a hybrid GPU/CPU system that will do GL rendering and Ray Tracing. It uses the latest advances in rendering technology to give you broadcast quality final rendering pretty darned fast. Actually, "pretty fast" doesn't do it justice. Our testers say "incredi-freakin-ly fast" is a little closer to the truth.

We've done comparisons between Maya, C4D and Reactor and what takes a couple of minutes per frame in the other programs is taking a few seconds per frame in Reactor. By "real-time" we mean millions of polygons, with textures, on real-world hardware like laptops and moderate desktops, rendering at .03 seconds per frame or less.

Can you slow it down? Sure you can. Depends on what you throw at it. But to get real shadows and ray traced reflections this fast is shocking and very very liberating.

This is a million polygon raytraced scene that crawls in most 3D programs.

New Feature #2: Real-Time Camera Focus with
Depth Of Field

If the beauty of an image is your thing then being able to control the focus of the camera is huge. 3D ProAnimator 8 lets you set what's in focus and then move the focus distance as an animated value. This gives you the ability to highlight a subject, focusing attention on the part that matters, then change the focus to highlight another subject. It's a truly cinematic look reserved for special occasions.

The best part is that it takes almost no additional rendering time. So when we say real-time we really mean it.

Camera focus adds incredible realism to your scene.

Now that we’ve shown you the first of many new features, you can see why we think 3D ProAnimator 8 with the new Reactor Rendering System will soon be your new best friend.

Be sure to check your email and spread the word! The next two features will be revealed soon so make sure you add customerservice@zaxwerks.com to your address book.

To order now, click here.


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