In this video tutorial, Jerzy Drozda Jr (aka Maltaannon) demonstrates how you can extrude any vector based layer to give it a real 3D look inside After Effects.
I did it! I did it again! I solved the biggest mystery in history of After Effects. With my new CustomEffect called ShapeExtruder you can take any vector based layer (known as Shape Layers) and extrude it to give it a cool 3D look.
Great thing about this CustomEffect is that the extruded layer still behaves and reacts like any other 3D layer so you keep total control over its appearance, animation and other things. It casts shadows, you can parent it to a null, and do all that good stuff.
Above all other features... it consists only of one layer. I'm pretty proud of this one. Not only it can be textured, but it can also reflect the world around it. And because it still is a Shape Layer you can apply any Shape Layer modifiers (like Offset Paths, or Round Corners) to create a custom look.
This tutorial is turned out pretty long, because there are so many things to cover in it, and there are still some things that I didn't mention in the tutorial itself, so make sure to download the project file and take a closer look on how things are built and put together.
I hope this will turn out useful for all of you. I can't argue that the best results comes from external 3D applications, but I think that most of the time you'll be able to get away with using my CustomEffect. It has all the benefits of the old techniques of extruding in After Effects, none of the flaws, and there are some extra features so make sure to check it out.
If you don't know about my CustomEffects yet, make sure to read this short article when you finish the tutorial.