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How to Make 3D Text and Logos Using Cinema 4D Renderer in After Effects

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Learn how to convert 2D text and shapes into 3D with After Effects. Creating 3D text, logos and shapes with Adobe After Effects is easier than you might think. In this tutorial we will learn how to use the Cinema 4D renderer that comes with the latest version of After Effects, and how we can use it to extrude text and shape layers to create your very own 3D logo.

What You'll Learn in This Tutorial

In this tutorial we'll show you how to activate and use the Cinema 4D renderer to create a 3D project within Adobe After Effects. You'll learn:

  • How to convert 2D text and shapes into 3D 
  • How to activate Cinema 4D renderer so that you can access the 3D tools available in After Effects
  • How to use Lighting
  • How to navigate around a 3D scene in Adobe After Effects

How to Activate Cinema 4D Renderer

First let's create a new composition in After Effects. Take care to look at the settings and make sure that they are suitable for your project. For this example we will be using the following:

  • Width: 1920 px
  • Height: 1090 px
  • Frame Rate: 30 fps
composition settingscomposition settingscomposition settings

Next let's create a text layer by using the Text Tool (Control + T) and type in some text that you want to create.

text tooltext tooltext tool

Decide what font you want to use for the text. For this example we will be using RNS Sanz which you can find from the Envato Elements website.

RNS SanzRNS SanzRNS Sanz

You can also add some color to the text at this stage by using the Character Panel and choosing a specific fill color that you want to use.

character panelcharacter panelcharacter panel

Click on the small cube icon next to the text layer to turn it into a 3D layer. This will allow the layer to be manipulated in three dimensions and will also add some extra options to the bottom right of the preview panel. 

turn text into 3D layerturn text into 3D layerturn text into 3D layer

And by clicking on the Renderer Dropdown Box you can choose between Classic 3D and Cinema 4D. Classic 3D is the traditional After Effects renderer whereas Cinema 4D will give you more advanced options and arguably a better final look to the project. So let's choose Cinema 4D.

cinema 4D renderercinema 4D renderercinema 4D renderer

Another way to activate the Cinema 4D renderer is by going into the Composition Settings and choosing the 3D Renderer tab.

From here you can choose the 3D renderer you want to use, and also see the details of what sort of functions and enabled or disabled when using them. 

3D renderer settings3D renderer settings3D renderer settings

How to Create 3D Text

Once the Cinema 4D Renderer has been activated, you can go into the text options in the layer panel. Under the transform options, you'll notice that there are some new geometry and material options available to use.

new 3D optionsnew 3D optionsnew 3D options

Under the Geometry options, increase the Extrusion Depth value to create some depth to the text and make it 3D.

extrude the textextrude the textextrude the text

To make the 3D effect clearer, let's add a light layer to the project (Layer > New > Light).

create new lightcreate new lightcreate new light

For this example we'll be using the following light settings:

  • Light Type: Point
  • Color: FFFFFF
  • Intensity: 127%
  • Falloff: Smooth
  • Radius: 647
  • Falloff Distance: 969
  • Cast Shadows: On
  • Shadow Darkness: 96%
light settingslight settingslight settings

With the light now applied to the project, the 3D effect should now appear much stronger than before, with some lighting and shadow effects that help enhance the look of the text.

3D text3D text3D text

Next choose Angular for the bevel style and increase the value to your liking. For this example we'll be using a value of 5.

Once applied you'll notice that an angular bevel has been applied to the outside of your text.

angular bevelangular bevelangular bevel

How to Convert a Flat Logo to 3D

For a flat logo, the process is very similar. First you need to import your logo. For this example we are using a vector logo created in Adobe Illustrator.

Click and drag it into your composition and then use the transform options to scale and position it in place.

import logoimport logoimport logo

Once you are happy with the way that it looks, right click on the logo layer and choose Create > Create Shapes from Vector Layer.

create shapes from vector layercreate shapes from vector layercreate shapes from vector layer

This will create a new shape layer. Click on the small cube icon next to the shape layer to turn it into a 3D layer.

click small cubeclick small cubeclick small cube

Then under the Geometry options, you should find the same type of options that were available to you with the text layer. Adjust the Extrude and Bevel options to your liking so that they match the look of your 3D text.

extrude logoextrude logoextrude logo

How to Add a Camera and Light

Select the light layer and in the viewport you'll notice that it will be represented by a 3D gizmo. It's a little tool that has three handles or arrows that let you position the object or rotate the object in three dimensions (you can adjust the X, Y, and Z dimensions).


In fact, if you open up the object options and take a look at the transform properties, you'll see that a lot of these now have a third dimension that we can adjust. Adjust the position of the light to your liking so that the light effects both the logo and the text.

light position optionslight position optionslight position options

Next let's throw in an after effects camera. You can do this by right clicking down in a blank area and going to New > Camera. 

add a cameraadd a cameraadd a camera

Select a 35 mm preset and click okay.

camera presetcamera presetcamera preset

From there you can use the different camera controls to manipulate the scene and get a view that you want. Simply press the C key on the keyboard to go through each of the camera controls which include:

  • Orbit
  • Pan
  • Dolly
camera controlscamera controlscamera controls


Congratulations! And that's how you can make convert 2D text and logos to 3D in Adobe After Effects. Now that you've learned the basics, check out some of the other tutorials we have on Adobe After Effects below.

I hope you've found this tutorial useful and I'll see you next time on Envato Tuts+!

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