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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.

Enabling 3D Options

Next, we will enable the 3D options. Make sure that you see the 3D option, which looks like a cube. Select the Toggle Switches/Modes button if you do not see this. Now, apply the 3D option by clicking in the cube area next to the NYC layer. From here, we will extend the layer options by clicking on the dropdown arrow and again clicking under the transform options.

Here we will focus on the orientation options, which we can adjust for our X, Y, and Z parameters. We will adjust the first option so that text begins to arch back on top of the horizon line. As you can see, these 3D options give us the ability to adjust our text differently than in Premiere Pro.

We can take this even further by adding extra dimension to the NYC layer. Navigate over to the Effects and Presets panel and type drop shadow. Drag that effect over to the NYC layer and let go. We can now adjust the drop shadow options in the Effects Control panel.

Duplicating a Layer

Another look we can do for even more dimension is duplicate our NYC layer. With your NYC layer selected, navigate to Edit in the toolbar and select Duplicate. Now open up the duplicated layer’s dropdown options and select transform. Here, you can adjust any of the X, Y, and Z rotation parameters. I will change the X rotation so that the duplicated layer is falling behind our original NYC layer.

Next, I will adjust the opacity of the duplicated layer so it subtly blends with the original layer. I will also eliminate the drop shadow if desired. Now you can begin to see the entire dimension of what we have created with these 3D options.

Applying a Fade In Effect

Now that we have all of our words where we want them to end. We will apply a Fade In effect for each word by animating our opacity properties. The quick way to do this is to select your layer and press T, which is the shortcut for a layer’s opacity. Starting with the word welcome, we will move the playhead to where the next word to appears. Now select the clock button and you will see that a keyframe has been added to this point in time. We are telling After Effects that at this time, we want the welcome word to be 100% visible.

Next we will backtrack to the start of the welcome layer and add another keyframe, but first we need to click in the percentage field and change it from 100% to 0%. Again, we have told After Effects that we want this layer to animate over time from 0%to 100% in opacity.

Repeat the opacity steps on the other layers. You can also adjust the size, font families, leading, and other items in the Characters panel to any of your text layers if desired.

You can see how adding 3D to your text really starts to bring out more of word as it carries more weight and has that extra dimension to it.


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