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7.4 3D Text in After Effects

Check out how to make some really great looking 3D text in After Effects, with no third-party effects!

How to Animate in After Effects

Learn how to animate in After Effects in our in-depth course. Learn how to create impressive After Effects text animations using a variety of useful animation techniques. You’ll start by learning about keyframe animation and how to reveal text with masks and shape layers, before moving on to three practical projects.

Related Links

1 lesson, 00:49


2.Getting Started
5 lessons, 42:55

What Is After Effects?

Main Panels


After Effects Tools

More AE Tools

3.Compositions and Layers
3 lessons, 26:35

After Effects Composition


After Effects Layer Properties

3 lessons, 25:21

After Effects Keyframe Basics

After Effects Keyframe Easing

Spatial Interpolation

5.Masks, Shape Layers, and Text
5 lessons, 45:36

Learn How to Mask in After Effects

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 1

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 2

Text in After Effects

Text Animation and More

2 lessons, 13:42

What Is 2.5D?

More 2.5D

7.Motion Tracking
4 lessons, 34:04

Motion Tracking, Camera Tracking, and 3D Text

More Motion Tracking

Camera Tracking in After Effects

3D Text in After Effects

8.Mattes and Cool Effects
4 lessons, 43:43




Mind-Blowing Third-Party Effects

9.Build a Lower Third
2 lessons, 21:35

How to Make a Lower Third in After Effects

Final Touches on the Lower Third

1 lesson, 09:11

Exporting From After Effects

1 lesson, 01:16


12.Bonus Lessons
4 lessons, 2:14:00

How to Make an After Effects Text Animation

How to Use After Effects Intro Templates

How to Create Handwriting Animation in After Effects

How to Create Brush Effects in After Effects

13.Frequently Asked Questions
8 lessons, 1:34:42

FAQ Introduction

How to Export Video From After Effects

How to Export Video From After Effects Using PreRendering

How to Mask in After Effects

How to Animate Text in After Effects

How to Make a GIF in After Effects

How to Duplicate Layer in After Effects

FAQ Conclusion

7.4 3D Text in After Effects

In this lesson, I'm gonna pick up right where I left off in the last lesson and show you how to convert this two dimensional text into native 3D text without using any third party plug-ins. In order to do that we need to change a few settings. Let's bring up the composition settings and you can do that by hitting Ctrl+K on the keyboard or coming up to the menu, Composition, Composition Settings. So far we've explored the basic tab here in the Comp Settings, things like Resolution, Frame Rate, Start Timecode, Duration, Background Color. What we need to do is jump over here to the 3D Renderer. Now, by default, you probably have been working with the Classic 3D Renderer, which is great. It's the default renderer, it does lots of stuff, but what it doesn't do is real 3D geometry. But if we click, we have some options here. We have Ray-traced 3D. We also have CINEMA 4D. Let's check the CINEMA 4D option. And when you do, you see we have two lists that pop up. We have something that says these are the features that are enabled. So with the 3D renderer set to CINEMA 4D, we have enabled, extruded and bevelled text and shapes, reflections, curved footage layers, material, overrides on text and shape, bevels and signs in, environment layers in reflections only. But there are some things that are disabled, blending modes, track mattes, layer styles, masks and effects on continuously rasterized layers, text and shape layers, collapsed 3D precompositions, and some other stuff. The point here is that although this enables us to extrude and bevel our text and other shapes and get cool looking reflections, this disables some things as well. In this scene, it's gonna work fine so I'm just gonna click OK. Once you have changed the 3D renderer, if you drill down in the text layer, we now have a property called Geometry Options and that is enabled. So with our geometry options, we can now extrude the text. And you can see what's happening there. It looks pretty terrible because we don't have any lights. And so everything is just like 100% bright. Even if we change the color of this text, it still gonna look pretty nasty. So to make this look a little bit better, let's add a few lights to the scene. I'm gonna right-click here, go to New > Light. I'm gonna grab a point light, and I'm gonna pick the color of this light over here, or something in that neighborhood, and then press OK. I'm gonna press AA. Bring up the lights options, and I know that the radius and the fall off are pretty low. So I'm gonna set them both to 1200 for now. And now what we need to do is position the light so that it's in front of the text, because it's too far away to be doing any good. Because, by default, it's probably not gonna be in the right location. One way that may help you is to take a look at some of these different views here. Right now it's at the active camera. So we're actually looking through the camera that we created earlier. However, if we switch this to top view, and we scroll back a little bit, we can see some interesting things here in the scene, and this may help you position your lights. So this is the camera, and you can see as you scrub along in the timeline, the camera is moving and it's rotating. And then this is your 3D text that you created and this is your light. And so trying to position the light through the perspective of the camera can be pretty tricky because the gizmos are pointing in strange directions relative to the camera. So what looks like the z direction, changes because of the angle of the camera. And that can be difficult to position this. So I'm gonna try and eyeball this and get it in front of the words. And then I'll look at the front view. You can see it's a little bit below. Let me make that a little bit bigger here. So I'm gonna bring it up. And now when I switch back to the active camera, it should be pretty close. Yeah. That's pretty close. That looks okay. Just move this back a little bit, maybe turn down the intensity. [SOUND] Pull down the radius. I'm actually gonna move my text up a little bit because it looks like it's being composited in front of the pyramid and that's not what I want. All right, that's a little bit better. Now we can see some shading and it's looking okay. Let's switch back to the top view and I'm going to duplicate my light. And this time, I'm just gonna click and drag on the light. I'm not going to be dragging on one of the gizmo handles, and so I should only be affecting the z-direction and the x-direction and not the y-direction. If you hover your mouse over one of the gizmos, you can move this in just one direction. But I wanted to move it in two directions, but I didn't want to affect its height. So if I switch back, here to the front view, you can see it's still the same height, and that's what I wanted. I wanted to put a light on the other side of this. Yeah, that's looking great. I'm gonna I go back to the top view one more time. I'm gonna put another light. So I'm gonna duplicate this, Ctrl+D, and I'm gonna move this behind this layer, here. Take a look at that. Cool, that's looking great. Now I'm gonna hit AA. And I'm gonna change this to more of this orange color here. Gonna change this guy to maybe more of this orange color right here. Maybe brighten that up a little bit. That's pretty good. And I'll change this to more of this color here and I will brighten that up. Let's try to dial in the look a little bit. Now this looks like you could use maybe one more light but this time an ambient light, so I'm gonna to go New, Light, set it to Ambient, I will color pick kind of this gold yellow color here, set this to 10% just to fill in a little bit of those details And now what you can do to make this look a little bit better is you might take your lights here and maybe color pick some of the sky color and animate this over time. So maybe this color here. And then as we move along, We can change those to more of this gold color. So that it looks like it's getting a little bit of the skylight. And that looks pretty cool. One final thing that we can do, Is we can make another composition here with the HYPERLAPSE MOVIE, and we'll called this, Environment. And then I'll pick something right here, I'll go to the middle Or maybe somewhere in here. And I'll right-click on the layer, go to Time Freeze Frame and then what I'll do is I'll pull this composition down into my project. I'll right-click on this and choose Environment Layer. And now when I go into my Material options on my text, I can set the Reflection Intensity, and I'll start to pick up some of the details of my Environment layer. Now the Environment layer creates a 3D sphere around all the object, and you can use that to create reflections. You can see I can see some other reflections of the LOUVRE in here and some of the letters and some of the buildings, and the other stuff. And so now as I play this, it's gonna look a little bit nicer. But before I do, there's one final thing that I want to enable on my text under the geometry options. Is I wanna set a bevel, because before we had just a 90 degree angle between the front face and the side of the text, and if I switch it back to No Bevel, you can see that we lose that little highlight around the edge of the text. If we add just a little bit of a bevel it's going make the reflections pop, just a little bit more. Let's preview this, and the environment layer will slow things down pretty significantly. And it will actually make more sense to use an environment layer that was the right size, so something that was like a 360 degree panorama. [LAUGH] It would be best to use one that was created in the environment but that wouldn't really work for this shot, so instead, we are faking it just a little bit. All right, let's just see what a couple seconds of that looks like. Not too bad. The reflections are not great, I would probably turn down the reflections quite a lot. But just leave a little bit in there to give the sense that there arel other things in the scene, that this is a little bit reflective. I would also probably, turn off the, reflection Rollof. Yeah, something like that might look pretty good. So there's definitely more to explore here with creating 3D text and 3D objects and compositing them in your scene, but this gives you a really good head start. Coming up in the next lesson, you are going to learn about mats. So check that out, coming up next.

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