updated 11:20 pm EDT, Wed August 5, 2009
3D Serpentine plug-in
Zaxwerks has released 3D Serpentine, a new plug-in for Adobe After Effects that enables the creation of 3D path-extrusions, also know as animated noodles. The software works by using 3D paths to control the position, size and orientation of 3D graphics, and enables the creation of 3D effects such as shooting starts and film reels. Features include auto-orientation technology to prevent twists and distortions, end cap control, the ability to import custom head and tails objects from both ProAnimator and Invigorator, and image rendering and lighting functions.
3D Serpentine offers a series of customization features for noodles that allow users to animate the length and location, to color them with pictures and movies from an After Effects Layer, as well as the ability to intertwine them. Noodles can also be rendered in a variety of ways including cartoon, wideframe and hidden line styles, or have texture added to them by using "bump maps".
In addition, tools are provided for integrating noodles into existing footage, along with support for After Effects masking tools for drawing cross-section shapes. Alpha channels are included within the maps which can be used to punch holes in 3D objects, or create sprocket holes in a movie. The previously mentioned end cap control makes it possible to create instant rounded, domed or pointed ends. Lastly, 3D Serpentine comes with basic cross-section shapes to get users started, which include rectangles, stars, lines and circles.
3D serpentine requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher and After Effect 7 or later, and is currently priced at $200.