...at PVC rounds up resources on Shatter, an older 8-bit plug-in that ships with After Effects. Originally developed by Brian Maffitt under the Atomic Power banner, Shatter is mostly used for shattering glass, brick walls, puzzles, and so forth (they're presets), but also used to generate 3D text or shape blocks. Brian moved on to form Total Training, but he released his original training video for this effect.
Of course, you can shatter objects with combinations of other built-in tools, and with the Voronoi Shatter script and with Video Copilot Element 3D.
...read the rest at The Shatter Effect in After Effects.