After Effects: Making Text 3D.

5 03 2009

In my previous post we learned how to make text transition into different colors. If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest you read up on it because we’re going to be moving slightly faster now. You can find that post here.

With that, let’s open up After Effects and make a:

1. New Composition (cmd+N for Mac, ctrl+N for PC). It will be black at first.

2. The go up to Layer – New – Solid and choose whatever color you want.

3. Then go back up to Layer – New – Text. You can then change the text in the character palette. (Like in Photoshop) if you don’t see it then go up to workspace (in the upper right hand corner) and go to “reset standard” in the drop down menu.

If you followed those steps correctly you’ll have something like this (minus the word DEFgraphics).


All right, since we got the hard part over with, it’s now time for the fun part. Making it move in space. With that we’re going to look at the comp window below where you see your layers. In the layers palette there are several different things – but the one we’re focusing on is the 3D tool. (If you don’t see this, then at the very bottom there should be a bar that says “Toggle Switches/Modes”, click it and you will see what I have) It looks like this:

With the picture above you want to click on that 3D box, thus making your text now 3D. You will notice that when it is in 3D space your text looks like this:

The green arrow represents your Y axis, the red arrow represents your X axis, and the blue arrow represents your Z axis (I like to call it zoom, since it pushes your text farther back or forward).

Now for the fun part. Go back into your layers palette and click on your text layer (mine is DEFgraphics). Click on the drop down arrow (to the left of your layer name, right next to the colored box). Go down to Transform and click that drop down arrow. You can now see there are more options for 3D text than there was for 2D Text in the previous tutorial.

For this tutorial we’re mainly going to focus on the Orientation more than anything. So you can forget about the rest of the intimidating stuff, which I’ll cover later. – For right now, go ahead and play with it without hitting the stop watch and see how your text moves. Pretty cool stuff huh?

I’m just going to do a simple 360 rotation. So if your text is all in a weird place just go back up to where it says Transform and to the right of it, it should say Reset and reset it. There, now everything is back to normal.

First off we want to hit our stop watch next to Orientation – don’t change anything right now. Then we want to go to our blue: 0;00;00;00 which is to the left and click on it. We want to move 2 seconds in time, so type in 0;00;02;00.

It should look like this right now. Though if you didn’t specify a time you can always go into Composition – Composition Settings – and then change the time. For this tutorial I made mine 4 seconds. That would be written 0;00;04;00. Then click OK.

All right, so in the Orientation part you want to click on the middle figure and type in 180.You will see your text appears backwards. Then move ahead in your blue 0;00;00;00 1 second in time. So therefore, you would write 0;00;03;00. Then you want to go back to that middle figure and type in 359. Now your text rotates like this.

Rotating 3D Text

So I added what we learned in the previous tutorial with this one. Though if you forgot, this is how we make our movie.

How to make it a movie:
Now you want to go up and click on Composition – Make Movie. Mind you if you haven’t saved your project I’d recommend saving it now. All right so once you click on Make Movie (cmd+M for mac, ctrl+M for PC) your Render Queue will open up. This will be next to the comp window you were working on earlier. So With the settings you want to go down to Render Settings and make sure that Best Settings is showing. Now you want to go to Output Module: and click on Lossless

You then want to go to Format Options then go to Compression Type and change it to Sorenson Video 3 (What I’ve been using and have been taught). You want the Quality to be at Best then click OK. Make sure that your Format in Main Options area is a Quicktime Movie. Then hit OK again. Now you can name your movie by clicking on the Output To: area and naming it. This is where you can choose where to save it to.

After that you want to hit the Render Button – Now depending on your Ram it could take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple mins. Mind you my video is only 3 seconds long so it shouldn’t be that bad. Once you hit Render wait for it and it should playing a ‘bringing’ type of noise, meaning your video is finished. Now double click and enjoy.

If you have any questions or suggestions leave a comment. Anyways hope it was helpful guys.




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