The advantages that Element 3D gives you, are several… and I’m still in the beginnings of exploring it
the big advantage is speed. as the GPU is rendering the model in openGL it’s almost instant feedback when adjusting shaders.
It’s a replicator and array system. so,. if you import a spaceship 3D model,. you can instantly make a fleet of spaceships, with different scaling and position offsets, and animate the position using controls within after effects,. and do it in “near” real time.
or,. you could load in a couple of different spaceships, add them to element 3D, and create flying space traffic, where each different ship is a “particle” within a group and there’s a bunch of size, rotation, position and noise adjusters to create really complex scenes which would normally take much longer to render in a 3D program than in AE.
so, whether you load in some 3d buildings to create a city layout with different scaled buildings, or an animated figure to create a clone army,. is up to you, the advantage is that you see what you’re getting in near real time, and
for animated objects, there’s a bunch of animation adjustments which means that you can have each figure animated, starting at a different frame within the loop, and have different scaling and position offset to make it look more natural.
there’s also an Animation engine to transform the “state” of one particle group, into another particle group.
So you could have a 3D (multi-part) model, which bursts into it’s parts, then flies around and assembles into a different 3D model.
there are a bunch of example, tutorial / guide videos on Videocopilot.net which explains it’s features.
it’s not a replacement for compositing 3D footage and 2D footage, and it has it’s limitations,