The ray-traced renderer is not something to worry about. (You can tick the box so that the error message doesn't show up anymore.)
The After Effects team is not putting any more development into the ray-traced renderer. They are, however, putting a lot of development into a more powerful way to do 3d in AE: Cinema 4D comes free with After Effects!
The CPU version of the ray-traced 3D renderer is extremely slow... so much so that it is considered essentially unusable by most folks (including me).
But you don't need to worry about this, since it is a minor feature that is already supplanted by better ways of doing 3D in After Effects.
Ok I figured as much. And Yes!! I just got a nice surprise that Cinema 4D is free. It automatically launched after I was futzing around with 3D options. They're so generous nowadays!
I want to create a spinning chronological timeline on the side edge of the circle, and spin it around to different points of the "timeline" (dark gray edge of circle in image)
As you can tell, I'm fairly new to 3D design and animation. My boss splurged on this fancy iMac so now I'm putting it to use.
While I have you guys here, any tutorial you can point me to that makes it easy to create a 3D object?
The link I pointed you to in my post has good resources in it. Granted, it's not a tutorial to do exactly what you want to do, but it's pretty basic and, if you don't get the basics down, you're going to be wasting your time anyway.