Years ago while rummaging through the $9.95 software at Office Depo I came across a little program called Simply 3D. For 10 bucks I bought it. Figured I'd try my hand at 3D modeling. Well, I'm no animator but the software turned out to be useful in another unexpected way. As a titler for video. Simply 3D has a wizard for making easy-to-animate text. It didn't take me long to figure out that any text I animated could be placed against a green screen and layered over video for really cool titles! Micrografix went out of business but the software is still floating around on the net if you look for it. EBay usually has a copy somewhere. My point here is you can make some very attractive animated text for video by using easy and simple 3d software. Simply 3D gave me the ability to bring in text from off screen, rotate it and dress up my videos. I still use it from time to time.
layered them on lower thirds, made titles that fly on and of the screen and done some pretty amazing things. Granted the software is not an expensive 3D titler nor professional, but I've gotten some outstanding results. The video above is a simple title of my name. I rendered it in less than 5 minutes. Using MEP 12 or 14 I can key out the black background and layer it over any video I want. Hows that for cheap and easy!
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to use the software, it's pretty straight forward. And you have a ton of options to dress up the font. It is limited though so don't expect to make network quality graphics unless you plan to spend a lot of time tweaking and designing. But for a quick and snazzy title to spice up a otherwise boring slate, you can get some impressive results. And yes, it will raytrace.
Micrographix had a good thing going with this software, too bad they went out of business. If you happen to run across it, it's well worth the cost. If you're not ready to plunk down $600.00 for a pro titler or effects box, Simply 3D may get you what you need. For a hobbyist, it's a dream.