ChadandToddPodcast shows how to create 3D text in after-effects without plug-ins. This can be accomplished by an effect called shatter. First turn off the text layer, then apply shadow to your text image. Change your pattern to custom; it will go blank. Take the custom to text layer then increase extrusion depth. If you take up extrusion you can play with the style of the text. If you play around with fronts your whole image can also be 3-D.
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