There are a few unique tools out there that will allow you to use 3D models effectively in After Effects. That list gets smaller when talking about tools that will let you create 3D models in After Effects.
Mask based 3D modeling and precise 2D warping. Also great for character animation!
Since the demise of the 3D Ray-tracer in After Effects, there is little choice for knocking out a really 3D model in Ae. Some third party tools offer the ability to model and render right in the compositor, most notably Mettle’s Freeform Pro.
Mask 3D Warper
Now, there is another. BAO Mask 3D Warper, will let you create and build out 3D models right in After Effects using Ae’s native mask shapes. You can easily create a 3D shape by using masks, and BAO Mask 3D Warper is GPU accelerated,so you can use the 3D shapes with other layer in After Effects, using them with composition cameras and lights.
Mask 3D Warper can export whatever you create in After Effects. You can easily export out the 3D shapes as standard OBJ, or OBJ sequences and use them with the 3D applications that you already have and use.
Live Dependency to the Mask
The cool part, is that the 3D shapes you create are still live-linked to the actual mask shape. So changing, or adding animation to the make will then affect the 3D shape in the same way. This is partly where the “warp” in Mask 3D warper comes in.
You can link the original mask vertices to nulls, using BAO’s Mask Avenger and have a true 3D rig for characters or any other animation rig.
Mask 3D Warper includes a 2D mode as well. You can warp images using the same mask, rather than messing around with the puppet tool in After Effects. This can be useful for some kinds of character animation, such as changing facial expressions on an image.
BAO Mask 3D Warper Plugins
The plugin is actually a set of three that work with each other in Ae. Mask 3D Warper, lets you create 3D shapes from masks, Distorter lets you animate geometry for the 3D shapes that you create, and the Renderer – which renders the 3D shapes together. This means you can
intersect the 3D shapes together, intersect them with native 3D layers, use lights and cameras.
BAO Mask 3D Warper is available at rescripts + aeplugins for $149.99.