3D Extruded Title Design with After Effects: Extruding and Coloring Text

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Instructor Nick Harauz

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Extrude and color text in After Effects by enabling the C4D renderer.

In this video, we go under After Effects' Composition Settings to enable the C4D renderer. The C4D renderer gives us access to geometry options that will allow us to extrude and add a bevel to our text. Finally, we will color the Front, Side and back of our text.

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Transcript

In this movie, we're going to look at extruding and coloring our text directly inside of After Effects using the Cinema 4D renderer to get a result similar to what you see up here. So you should have a project file available to you, it's called AE C4D Render. And once you download this file, you should see that you have a couple compositions in the project panel available to you. One is the Cinema 4D Renderer composition, and this is what we're going for. So this is the end result, we're going to try to complete this over the next few exercises. The other thing we've included is the Cinema 4D Renderer Start, and this is where we're starting from in this chapter. So, what we see here is that first of all there's a text layer, and it has a fill as well as an outline. The fill is orange, the outline is white. We also have an Illustrator file but we can't quite see it because it's a black outline. And in order to see that I'm going to toggle on my transparency grid. A camera has been added to the scene, and these two layers are in fact 3D, we can see these little cube checkboxes. And the camera has been re-positioned in order to angle itself across this text as well as this Illustrator file. Now what we want to do is extrude everything that's in front of us here inside the composition. In order to do this we need to be able to switch our renderer from the Classic 3D to the Cinema 4D renderer. A way of achieving this is to go to the Composition menu and choosing Composition Settings. Here we're going to move from the Basic tab over to the 3D Renderer tab. I want to change the renderer from Classic 3D over to Cinema 4D. Now you may be asking, "What's the Ray-traced 3D Renderer?" And this is After Effects' first response for allowing you to have 3D texts as well as shapes. The problem with the Ray-traced renderer is that it basically had to leverage a particular graphics card, and if you didn't have this graphics card it would be a very slow process in order to even view or render your scene. So we're going to choose the Cinema 4D Renderer, and with this we're going to enable a bunch of possibilities and disable another bunch of possibilities inside of After Effects. And we can see that right when it's selected that what's enabled is our ability to have extruded and beveled text and shapes. We're going to get reflections. We're going to be able to actually curve flat footage layers. We're going to add some text and shape bevels in sides that are going to overwrite other materials that are on our objects, or in this case fills. We're going to be able to actually have an environment layer, which is a way of just taking an image and wrapping it around a sphere so that it reflects across our text. But, you have to be cautious if you have an existing composition. So if you have blending modes in your composition, are using track mattes, layer styles, you've got masks, there are also a bunch of options in terms of light transmission and adjustment lights, which are accepted in Classic 3D that aren't accepted here in the Cinema 4D renderer. So if you've already started to work and aren't just doing text as well as shape extrusion, you want to be careful because some of the things that you've done in your After Effects project might not be supported. So with that warning, let's press OK. Let's go to the first thing, which is to just simply extrude our text layer. We can select the text layer now inside this composition, and you can see here that the render on the top right-hand corner of the composition panel is indeed set to Cinema 4D. Because of that, when we click AA, which reveals the material options of a layer in 3D, now we also have these geometry options. And under these geometry options is your ability to extrude this text. I'm going to take the Extrusion Depth and enter a value of 20, and you're going to see that our text now becomes extruded. It has some depth added to it. If I increase this number that text is going to become a lot more extruded. Let me take that back down to a value of 20. Now, what happened to our outline or the stroke that was around our text? You'll notice that it disappeared. In order to reactivate it we need to choose a bevel style. Instead of none, what I'm going to do is set this to concave, and you'll see there that that white outline/stroke now appears around our text, and we can choose an actual bevel depth just to give a little bit more of an oomph to our text layer. So I'm going to enter a value of three, and you can see there that it gets a little bit bigger. I think that two was actually a good start-off point, but now we've made some nice adjustments to our text layer by extruding it. Let me twirl up all the properties on my text layer. Now we also have this Illustrator file and we would like to extrude that as well. However, we can't extrude an Illustrator file in the Cinema 4D renderer. All we need to do is actually change this vector layer into a shape layer. So if I go to the Layer menu, you'll see that we're able to create shapes from vector layer. And once I do that, you can see that a shape layer has been added to my project, it's been turned on, and my Illustrator file has been just turned off. So here's those outlines, that's looking pretty good. Now because it's a series of outlines, it's not going to really be filled very well. So what I'm going to do is add yet another shape layer to this project. I'm just going to deselect everything, and head up here to my Shape menu. You press the letter Q you can cycle between all of the various shape options that are available, and I want to choose the Ellipse Tool. Now it's important to note that if you have a layer selected it's going to add a mask to your layer, and if you don't have a layer selected it will create a shape. You can of course switch those options up here if you have a selected layer. Now I'm going to click and then press Shift+Option to constrain how this circle is being scaled up from, and to make sure that it's a circle rather than ellipse. Since I've just added the circle you can see that its fill properties are based on this color up here. I'm just going to click and change that to something other than the black value. Orange looks nice. And right now it's not being affected by our 3D space, and that's because this 3D cube isn't checked. So let me give that a click. You can see now that it's basically rotated like all of the other layers inside of our project. Sometimes when you draw a shape layer you just notice that its anchor point might be off. And a really handy trick is to go over here to the Pan Behind Tool, and if you Cmd+double-click it, it's going to center it right there on the shape layer. Let me press the V key just to go back to my default selection tool. And all I'm trying to do now is get this circle in a better place so that it's behind our lovely clock face and roughly also the same size. So I'm just doing a little bit of movement here. You can also use your arrow keys on your keypad, and I'm just trying to set it up here. That's looking pretty good as a default. Now I'll just move it a little bit back. It doesn't look like it's quite scaled just perfectly but if I just enter a small value of 102, and then maybe make a couple position changes, that's looking pretty good. So I'm going to change the shape layer name by pressing the Return key and calling it Clock Back. With it selected, I'm going to press Cmd+[ on my Mac to just move it underneath the AE outlines. And I want to be able to essentially move these together. So I'm going to take the pick-whip over here in the parent column and then pick it to the...or basically pick-whip it to the outlines. With the outline selected, I'll just press the arrow key a couple of times just to center this slightly better, both that back as well as the outline face so it's moving together. Now, here, what we can do is with the clock face also extruded, or the Clock Back, so I'm going to press AA because it's a shape. You can also do it with the outlines but it's going to be better to do with the filled-in background. And I'm going to just go here, and now increase the Extrusion Depth under my geometry options. And once I enter a value of 20 you can see how that looks. I want to make that even thicker in this case of the clock face to a value of 40. Now, you might notice that, compared to the last example, it's not looking very good or 3D extruded text. But the minute that we start to add some lights into the scene, we're going to see a huge difference. And for that, you have to join me for the next movie.
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