Animating and Creating 3D Objects in After Effects

Creating and Animating a 3D Text Layer

Your browser needs to be JavaScript capable to view this video

Try reloading this page, or reviewing your browser settings

This video segment demonstrates creating, keyframing, and setting Geometry and Material options on a 3D text layer.


  • Animating
  • effects
  • solid
  • layer
  • text
  • 3D
  • trimming
  • extruding
  • geometry
  • materials

About this video

Jeff Shaffer
First online
14 March 2019
Online ISBN
Copyright information
© Jeff Shaffer 2019

Video Transcript

I’ve created all my lens flare layers now, and I want to add a type layer next. So I selected my text tool. And I selected a font called Armada, which I got from Adobe Typekit. I downloaded it by clicking Add Typekit fonts, searching for Armada, and I downloaded all the different versions of that, because I want to use the bold version. I’m going to be at 80 pixels, tracking of 35, a white color, and all caps.

So I’ll take my cursor and just place it in the middle here and type in the word Death Star. Then, I’ll toggle my switch modes if I can’t see my switches here. I currently can, so I want to make this a 3D layer by clicking that box there. And I’ll twirl down some of its parameters here. Let’s do transform, see what we have there. You should have x, y, and z rotation available to you, as well as all the normal x-, y-, and z-coordinates for position and scale.

So I’m going to go out to 2022 here, because this is really where I want to start animating these frames. So at 2022, I’m going to make a key frame for position. I’m going to make a key frame for scale. I’m going to make a key frame for orientation here, as well as x-, y-, and z-coordinates here. Then, I’m also going to twirl down geometry options. And if you’re not seeing geometry options, your renderer should be set for cinema 4D. If it’s not, that may be why you’re not seeing those.

Because I’m going to plug in the characteristics of the type here. I’m going to make the bevel style convex. I’m going to make the bevel depth 4.5, and the extrusion depth will be 15. So that’s extruding the type. It may be difficult to see while it’s white here, but once we get a light on it, we’ll be able to see it. And my material options, I’m going to cast shadows. And then I’m going to change only my specular shininess here to 75% for this.

So at this point, I can twirl up the geometry and material options. And I’m just going to animate some of these coordinates here. So I’ve got my first key frame set. I’m going to move my playhead a little bit before that, and I’m going to trim again with my option left bracket, again, or you can just drag it in there. I’m also going to turn off one of my lens flares here so I can see this a little better. So that’s off for the moment.

All right, so I’m going to go ahead now to make a key frame at 2106. And at 2106, the orientation will change from 0 to 0, 347, and 0. My position now needs to go back one frame to position, one key frame to position, so I can get my position set correctly. I ended up, by moving it around with my Selection tool, at 441.4, 443.5, and 97.3. So that’s the starting position of the type there. All right?

So the x, y, and z orientation are also going to change here. That first one is going to be minus 11 on the x rotation. Then, on the y rotation, it’s going to be minus 26. And the z rotation will be zero. So now you can see where that orientation is, OK? And my scale on that first key frame is actually going to go to zero, but you can see it there. It’s emerged. I’m going to have this go to zero, because the very next key frame, if I click my button here for scale, that one will be slightly different.

I will uncheck this, because I want to have this scale sort of disproportionately. So in my first number is going to be 100%. The second one is going to be 85.2 and then 100% again. There it is, OK? So you could see that position there. Then, I’m going to make my last key frames at 2203. And at 2203, the position is going to change to 308.7, 251.3, and 839.9. The scale is going to change to 150%. There we are.

So at this point now, I’ve got the animation set on this. I’ll do a quick grand preview here, just to check what’s going on. OK, so it’s going to emerge from the nebula and stop right about there. And then, in the next video, we’ll add the light, which should complete the project.