Dean Velez posted some ideas for St Patrick's Day on Motion Graphics Lab. Dean found the sweet spot using the After Effects CS3 Echo filter to build 3D-ish ribbon-like things and other cartoons. The customizable AE projects are free up until March 17th . You have to register and add them to a shopping cart individually, but you can preview the renders at the website.
Also, Steve Whatley did a introductory-level video for Terry White's Creative Suite Podcast 3D layers, light and Cameras in After Effects, and Alan Shisko posted an interesting fake 3D video tutorial several months ago in Creating Trees in After Effects.