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Tutorial: Giving Your Text a 3D Look

This tutorial explores how to add another dimension to your text and titles using some basic 3D capabilities in Adobe After Effects.

3D text is a great way to make the type in your video and graphics really stand out.  With that being said, 3D can be a very complex subject and there are animators and artists who devote their entire professional lives to working in 3D. This tutorial is only going to touch upon a few basic ways to give your text the extra dimension using Adobe After Effects. These techniques can help engage viewers and have them focus on the words most important in your video.

Creating an After Effects Composition

Starting with video on your Premiere Pro timeline, right-click on the clip and select the Replace with After Effects Composition option. This will launch Adobe After Effects. Next, you will be prompted to give your project a name and select where you would like to save your project.

Once After Effects is open, you will notice that your video clip from premiere is now on an After Effects timeline and that this last step has created a composition for you. Now anything we do to this video in After Effects will be applied back in our Premiere Pro project.

Adding Text to the Video

Next, we will add text to the video. Navigate up to the top and select the T option. With this type tool selected, we can click anywhere on the composition window on our video and begin typing text.

For this project, we will want each of our words to exist on separate layers inside of After Effects. This will allows us to control the placement of each word individually. As you begin typing, you will notice that this word has become a text layer down in the timeline window. A nice feature with the Type tool is that you can click in another area of After Effects and then click back over the video and start typing again which creates a separate text layer.

Once we have our words, we can now position and move each of them to the place we want them to appear on top of our video. First, we will adjust the timing by moving each text layer in the timeline panel with a single click and dragging to the right. For this video, we want our text to appear at 4 seconds into the video and have each word fade in after the other. Once we have everything in the right place, we can adjust the actual position of our text. You can do this in several different ways, but the easiest way is to grab the selection tool, which looks like an arrow and then hover over your words until the thin red outline appears and then begin to position the words accordingly.

Many editors and motion graphic artists agree that it is easiest to start with the end in mind. This is so that you can see what the final placement looks like before we start to animate anything. We know that the NYC text layer is the one we want to apply the 3D look to so we will navigate to the 7-second area on the timeline and select the NYC text layer.

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