It would be great to have a real 3D workspace in After Effects with possibility to import 3D models. Here's a couple of features we could have:
-Possibility to import 3D models (this used to be possible through a clunky and slow photoshop workflow)
-PBR Shaders with inputs for textures
-Default generation of UVs (Cube map, Sphere map, etc) for models without UVs
-Possibility to project textures from a camera or a special projector object
-Simple deformers for 3D models (Bend, Twist, Displace, etc...)
-Possibility of extruding shape and text layers
-Simple Open GL render engine
-Raytraced Render Engine
-Possibility to use 3rd party renderers
In node based compositors that do have a 3D workspace usually the 3D work needs to go through a render node so that it can then be composited back with the normal 2D nodes. This could be accomplished with a new type of comp called 3D Comp which would contain all the 3D models cameras, lights, etc… and render out a flat file.
I know some of these features can be accomplished through Cinema 4D, but the chinaware workflow is clunky and slow, also it requires an external software.
In my opinion I think that is no the best idea for that thing. Because the 3D discipline is not the discipline of After Effects, such as sound editing into After Effects (it has some sound effects, but thats it) I think the best thing Adobe and Maxon could do is improving the dynamic link between Cinema 4D and After Effects to a higher level, such as between the other Adobe video apps (more or less in real time).
8 years ago i asked here for a real 3D engine inside of After Effects to not loose ground against other compositing tools - my advice was to invest in Cinema4D. And yes, you did something like that but you made only a link between that tools - but that is by far not enough!!!
In 2018 even 399€ gimmick tools like "Hitfilm Express" have more advanced 3D engines than After Effects and therefor no one use After Effects in the movie-business anymore.
Its realy a shame that even beginners and hobbiest can´t do there simple 3D comps without an extern plugin from Andrew Kramer (3D Elements) inside of After Effects.
3D is standard and everywhere!
So what we need is:
A good and solid 3D engine direct in After Effects were we can import textured and animated .fbx, abc-files, cameras, tracking data, 3D particles,3D pointclouds etc.
A tools to create simple 3D geometry for camera projections, VFX and Motion Graphics.
Simple tools to deforme, texture and animate objects
A intelligent bone-tools with presets for simple animation (also in 2D!!! (like a modern Duik-Tool))
A inteligent, nodebased 3D particlesystem
A GPU based render
A 3D tracking tool were we can help the algorithmen in a advanced mode.
-Set relations between points (distance, line, flat surface ect.)
-Export/Import to other applications.
... there is a lot to do because the future will be a combination of real footage and realtime 3D - also in composting tools! - so get rid of that 25 year old core!
And please do not integrate the 3D Element plugin!!! - We need a real, solid 3D engine and no gimmick anymore!!!!!!!!!
Annoyed Adobe user for over 20 yrs commented
Nvidia Optix technology, drastically increase rendering speed and integration of 3d models and raytracing.
Pascal Fürst commented
Working in the 3d space of AFX is such a pain! Often I try to avoid it or look for workarounds(someimtes using C4d to set up cameras and lights to than pass it over to AFX just to not have to navigate it in AFX)
It is not easy to navigate the 3d space as it doesn't use industry standart shortcuts to start with.
In addition it is so hard to grab these little 3d widget handles. I constantly select another layer when I try to move the one I focus on. If we would have the option to restrict the movement of a layer (to XY, YZ or XZ a standart in all the 3d apps) it would be so much easier to move a layer.
Than there is the constant problem with the different 3d spaces:
1. Please unify the 3d space so that also Plug in Developers can use it and not have to set up there "own 3d space" which would make it so much easier to have different Plug ins interact with one another.
It is probably a huge task to develop but for me it would make so much sense in a long therm.
2. To have the 0,0,0 Point in the upper left doesn't make sense anymore in my eyes. This would exchanging data with 3d apps a lot more streamlined (even though all the scripts and plug ins seem to deal with the offset)