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Text Effects

How to Create Colorful Wooden 3D Text

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Photoshop is a powerful tool for creating all sorts of imagery but it does have its limitations. While Photoshop does have some fantastic tools for creating 3D text, there are other applications that are often better suited for the job. That is why many illustrators use a combination of Photoshop and some other 3D application to help create 3D text. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use Cinema 4D to create wooden 3D text and then how to use Photoshop to add the final touches. Let's get started!


Tutorial Assets

Please download the following assets before beginning work on this tutorial.


1. Create the Background

Step 1

We start in Cinema 4D. Create a New Document (Command/Ctrl + N or File > New). Give the document equal width and height of 1000px in Render Settings (Render > Edit Render Settings).


Step 2

Create a background object.


Step 3

Create a new material and give it the name 'Background'.


Step 4

Give the material the desired color for the background. The original image uses the following color.


Step 5

Apply this material to the background object by dragging the material from the materials panel, up to the background object in the objects panel.



2. Create a Character

Step 1

Create a MoText object (MoGraph > MoText).
Under the Object tab in the MoText Object input the following values.

  • Depth set to -500cm
  • Subdivision set to 50
  • Text set to E
  • Font set to Knockout HTF71-FullMiddlewt (if you do not own this typeface then choose another)

Step 2

Under the Caps tab in the MoText Object input the following values.

  • Start set to None
  • End set to Fillet Cap
  • Steps set to 3
  • Radius set to 1cm

Step 3

In the Coord tab in the MoText Object input the following values. These values will centre the MoText object so that they align with the deformers we will add in the next steps.

  • Z set to 250cm
  • Y set to -67cmp


3. Apply Deformers

Step 1

Adding deformers to the MoText character will give us control over the bending and twisting of each. First we will add a bend deformer. Add one to the scene, and make it a child of the MoText object.


Step 2

In the Object tab in the Bend deformer Object input the following values.

  • Size set to 250cm - 510cm - 250cm
  • Mode set to Within Box

Step 3

In the Coord tab in the Bend deformer Object input the following values.

  • Y set to 67
  • Z set to -250
  • H set to -90°
  • B set to 90°

Step 4

Now add a twist deformer to the scene, and make it a child of the MoText object. Give this deformer the same values as the bend deformer in its Object tab.

  • Size set to 250cm - 510cm - 250cm
  • Mode set to Within Box

Step 5

And again we will give this deformer the same values in its Coord tab.

  • Y set to 67
  • Z set to -250
  • H set to 90°
  • B set to 90°


4. Create Remaining Characters

Step 1

Now that we have a MoText object setup with a bend deformer and a twist deformer, we can duplicate this object to create the remaining characters.

Rename the MoText Object 'E'.


Step 2

Copy and paste the MoText object, and Rename the new MoText object 'V'.


Step 3

In the new MoText object change the value of the Text field to 'V'.

  • Text set to V

Step 4

Change the view to Front.


Step 5

Reposition the V MoText object beside the E.


Step 6

Repeat steps 1-5 for the remaining letters. Renaming each MoText object and changing the value in its Text field. You can typeset the characters manually, or give them following values to each of the MoText objects:

E

  • X set to 12
  • Y set to 485

V

  • X set to 150
  • Y set to 485

E

  • X set to 270
  • Y set to 485

R

  • X set to 385
  • Y set to 485

Y

  • X set to 495
  • Y set to 485

T

  • X set to 8
  • Y set to 340

H

  • X set to 132
  • Y set to 340

I

  • X set to 235
  • Y set to 340

N

  • X set to 336
  • Y set to 340

G

  • X set to 463
  • Y set to 340

I

  • X set to -6
  • Y set to 190

N

  • X set to 95
  • Y set to 190

I

  • X set to 250
  • Y set to 190

T

  • X set to 340
  • Y set to 190

S

  • X set to 460
  • Y set to 190

P

  • X set to 13
  • Y set to 40

L

  • X set to 123
  • Y set to 40

A

  • X set to 240
  • Y set to 40

C

  • X set to 354
  • Y set to 40

E

  • X set to 470
  • Y set to 40

The result will look like the following:


Return the view to Perspective.



5. Add a Camera

Step 1

Add a camera to the scene.


We need to position the camera low with a slight upwards tilt to give the composition the correct perspective. Either manually position the camera until it matches the composition of the original image, or give the camera the following values in its Coord panel.

  • X set to 740
  • Y set to 116
  • Z set to -1035
  • H set to 27°
  • P set to 14°

Step 2

Once you are happy with the position of the camera in position, lock it in place using a protection tag. Right click on the Camera object and add a protection tag from the CINEMA 4D Tags menu.



6. Apply Deformers to Each Character

Step 1

We can now apply a combination of the bend and twist deformers to each MoText character to achieve the warped effect in the final image.

To apply the bend deformation on a MoText character, select the bend deformer that is a child of that MoText character and adjust the number of degrees in the Strength and Angle fields.

The number of degrees bend input into the Strength field will be applied in the direction specified in degrees in the Angle. For example a value of 90° in the Strength field and a value of 0° in the Angle field of the bend deformer will bend the character so that the character face now points directly up. A value of 90° in the Strength field and a value of 180° in the Angle field will bend the character so that the character face now points directly down. Experiment with these values to get a feel for how the bend deformer works.

To apply the twist deformation of a MoText character, select the twist deformer that is a child of that MoText character and adjust the number of degrees in the Strength field.

The twist deformer will twist the MoText character so that the angle of the face twists the number of degrees input into the Strength field. For example a value of 90° in the Strength field of the twist deformer will twist the character so that the characters face now lies on its side. A value of 180 in the Strength field will twist the character so that the characters face is now upside down. Again I encourage you to experiment with the twist deformer to better understand it.

You can manually apply these deformers to match the composition to the final image, or input the following values into the deformers for each character:

E

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to -14
  • Angle set to 43°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -19

V

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to -23
  • Angle set to 13°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to 10

E

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to -21
  • Angle set to -1°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to 13

R

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to 19
  • Angle set to -23°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to 5

Y

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to -9
  • Angle set to -59°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -22

T

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to -15
  • Angle set to -93°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -23

H

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to -18
  • Angle set to -31°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -8

I

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to 19
  • Angle set to -4°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -10

N

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to 18
  • Angle set to 145°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -7

G

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to -17
  • Angle set to 103°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -19

I

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to -9
  • Angle set to -87°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -13

N

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to -8
  • Angle set to 31°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to 0

I

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to 11
  • Angle set to 6°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -1

T

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to 13
  • Angle set to -29°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to 19

S

Bend Deformer:

  • Strength set to 11
  • Angle set to -69°

Twist Deformer:

  • Strength set to -8

The characters P, L, A, C and E don't have any deformers applied to them.

The result should look like this:



7. Create and Apply Materials

Step 1

Now that the composition is complete we can apply materials to it. There are 8 materials used in this piece. The background (which we have already created), the Side Grain material for the side of each character, the end grain material for the face of each character. Therer are also 5 different coloured paint materials for over the top of the end grain material.

Before we create the material in Cinema 4D we need to adjust the Wood Texture 1 image you downloaded at the beginning of the tutorial. Open the image in Photoshop and add a new adjustment layer by clicking the 'Create new fill or adjustment layer' button at the bottom of the layers panel.


Select 'Hue/Saturation' from this menu and give the adjustment layer the following values.

  • Hue set to -5
  • Saturation set to -40

Rotate the image 90° Clockwise (Image > Image Rotation > 90° CW) and the save the image as a jpg in the same location.

Step 2

Now return to Cinema 4D and create a new material. Give it the name 'Side Grain'. In the color menu within the material editor, click the arrow menu next to 'Texture' and then click 'Load Image'. Select the image from the location you saved it before.


Step 3

We can now apply this material to the sides of the characters. To do this we will first need to break the MoText Objects into Polygon Objects so that the textures can be applied to different areas of the characters.

Select all of the MoText Objects, then right click and select Current State to Object.


Step 4

Delete all of the original MoText objects. This will leave behind only the null and polygon objects created in the previous step. Expand one of remaining null objects and its children until it looks like this. To demonstrate I have chosen the Y in EVERY.


Step 5

We want to apply the Side Grain texture to the Polygon Object (Triangle icon) with the name 'Y'. Do this by dragging the Side Grain material from the Materials panel up onto this Polygon object. Now rename this Polygon Object 'Side'.


Step 6

Select the material tag for the Polygon Object 'Y'. Make sure that projection is set to UVW Mapping and set the value for Tiles U to 4.

  • Projection set to UVW Mapping
  • Tiles U set to 4

Note that later when you apply this material to the remaining characters, the value of Tiles U will vary for each character because the length around the edge of each character varies. For example the character 'I' only needs the texture to be tiled about 2 times because the length of the edge for an 'I' is less than the 'Y'. Adjust the Tiles U for each character until the scale of this material look consistent over all Characters.

Step 7

Next we will create the end grain material for the face of the character. For the end grain material we will use the Wood Texture 2 image we downloaded earlier.

Open this image in Photoshop. We need to resize and crop this image. In the Image drop down menu select 'Image Size'. Deselect the 'Constrain Proportions' checkbox, and then give the image a width of 1400px.

  • Constrain Proportions set to Off
  • Width set to 1400

Step 8

Now select the Marquee tool from the left menu.


Make a selection of the centre of the image holding the shift key to maintain a square selection. And then crop this selection through the Image drop down.


Step 9

Save the image as a jpg in the same location, and then return to Cinema 4D.

Create a new material, and give it the name 'End Grain'. In the color menu within the material editor, click the arrow menu next to 'Texture' and then click 'Load Image' and select the end grain image you just saved from photoshop.


Step 10

Before we apply the End Grain texture, we need to connect two Polygon Objects. Expand the Polygon object 'Y' that we applied the Side Grain texture to. This will reveal a child Polygon Object with the name 'Rounding'. Now expand this Polygon Object which will reveal another child Polygon Object with the name 'Cap'. We want to connect the 'Rounding” Polygon Object with the 'Cap' Polygon Object. Select both and then right click and select 'Connect Objects + Delete'.


Step 11

This has now connected the two Polygon Objects into a single Polygon Object with the name 'Rounding.1'. Rename this Polygon Object 'Cap'.


Step 12

Apply the End Grain texture to the Polygon Object 'Cap' that we just created. On the Texture Tag input the following values.

  • Projection set to Flat
  • Offset U set to -50%
  • Offset V set to -50%
  • Length U set to 200%
  • Length V set to 200%

Step 13

The next material to apply for this character is the Chipped paint. Create a new material and give it the name 'Chipped Paint 1'. In the Colour tab give the material the following values.

  • S set to 75%
  • V set to 75%
  • R set to 198
  • G set to 16
  • B set to 0

Step 14

Now turn on the Transparency tab in the Material Editor. In the Texture field, click the arrow and select Noise. This will make areas of the Material transparent in order to achieve the chipped paint effect.


Step 15

Click on the the 'Noise' button to the right of the arrow button. This will bring up a window that allows us to customise the noise shader. The black areas in the noise shader will make areas of the material opaque, while white areas of the noise shader will be transparent. Because we only want a small amount of paint to be chipped, we need to adjust the noise shader so that there are only a few well defined areas of white. To achieve this give the noise shader the following values.

  • Noise set to Electric
  • Space set to UV (2D)
  • Global Scale set to 300%
  • Low Clip set to 40%
  • Contrast set to 100%

Step 16

Next we need to add some Reflection to the material. Turn on the Reflection in the material, and put in the following values.

  • Brightness set to 20%
  • Blurriness set to 10%

Step 17

Now that we created the chipped paint material, we need to duplicate the cap Polygon object to apply it to. Select the 'Cap' Polygon Object in the Object manager, and copy and paste. Drag the duplicate Polygon Object back into the the parent 'Y' Null Object and give it the name 'Paint'. We can also drag the 'Cap' and 'Side' Polygon Objects up under the parent 'Y' object, which will give this object structure.


Step 18

We need to move the 'Paint' object away from the 'Cap' object slightly. Select the 'Paint' object and set its Z position to -0.05.


Step 19

Now apply the material 'Chipped Paint 1' to the object 'Paint' and make a render (Shift + R).
The render should look like this:


Step 20

You will notice that there aren't any 'Chips' in the paint. This is because by chance the noise field we created before in the transparency channel doesn't have any transparent areas on the face of the character. To fix this we need to offset the material to position a transparent area. Select the material tag in the object menu.


and give the texture tag the following values.

  • Projection set to Flat
  • Offset U set to 25%
  • Offset V set to -14%

The texture is now offset, which will reveal a chip in the paint. Note that this process involves some trial and error in adjusting the Offset U and Offset V values to get a chip to appear. Experiment with these values for each character until you achieve the desired result.


Step 21

Repeat steps 18-21 for each other character. A new material needs to be created for each colour. The colour values for the Chipped paint materials 2-5 are as follows:

Chipped Paint 2

  • S set to 100%
  • V set to 77%
  • R set to 198
  • G set to 16
  • B set to 0

Chipped Paint 3

  • S set to 85%
  • V set to 100%
  • R set to 255
  • G set to 99
  • B set to 38

Chipped Paint 4

  • S set to 100%
  • V set to 100%
  • R set to 255
  • G set to 148
  • B set to 0

Chipped Paint 5

  • S set to 0%
  • V set to 100%
  • R set to 255
  • G set to 255
  • B set to 255

Once all materials have been applied, render the scene once again. The result should look like the following.


8. Add Lighting

Step 1

Now that the materials have been applied, we can set up the lighting. The original piece used a lighting setup made components of the Greyscale Gorilla Light Kit Pro. The Light Kit Pro is a very useful addition to Cinema 4D, however if you don't have this, I will cover how to create a similar setup in the following steps.

Before we add any lighting though, we need to turn on Global Illumination in the Render Settings. Open Render Settings through the Render drop down menu.


Add Global Illumination. The default settings for are fine for the moment.


Step 2

Create a new material and name it 'Red Light. Turn on the Luminance channel and give it a Brightness of 200%, and the following colour.

  • Brightness set to 200%
  • S set to 10%
  • V set to 90%
  • R set to 229
  • G set to 206
  • B set to 206

Step 3

Now create a Plane object.


Step 4

Give the Plane object a width and height of 1200cm.

  • Width set to 1200cm
  • Height set to 1200cm

Step 5

Position the Plane object with the following values in its coord panel.

  • X set to 1050
  • Y set to 675
  • Z set to -675
  • H set to -33°
  • P set to -0°
  • B set to -100°

Step 6

Apply the 'Light' material to the Plane object. This Plane is now functioning as a Light source because of the luminous material that has been applied to it, so let's rename the Plane object to 'Soft Light'.

Now render the scene again, the result should look like this:


Step 7

Duplicate the 'Soft Light' object. Rename the duplicate 'Soft Light 2' and resize it to 400cm wide by 400cm high in the object panel.

  • Width set to 400cm
  • Height set to 400cm

Step 8

Give the Soft Light 2 object the following coordinates and rotation

  • X set to -450cm
  • Y set to 630cm
  • Z set to -470cm
  • H set to -170°
  • P set to -10°
  • B set to -115°

Step 9

Duplicate the 'Red Light' material, and name the duplicate 'Blue Light'. Give the 'Blue Light' material the following colour.

  • S set to 5%
  • R set to 223
  • G set to 230
  • B set to 235°

Step 10

Now replace the material on the 'Soft Light 2' object with the 'Blue Light' material we just created and render again. The result should look like this.


Step 11

Duplicate the 'Soft Light' object once again. Rename the duplicate 'Soft Light 3' and resize it to 900cm wide by 900cm high in the object panel. Give the 'Soft Light 3' object the following position in its coordinates panel.

  • X set to 300cm
  • Y set to 1000cm
  • Z set to 500cm

Now render the scene once again. The result should look like this.


Step 7

You will notice that the 'Soft Light 3' object is visible in at the top of the render. To fix this we need to give the Soft Light object a compositing tag. Right click on the Soft Light object and and select Compositing Tag.


Step 8

Now select the compositing tag, and uncheck the box next to 'Seen by Camera'.


Step 9

Render the scene once again. This time the result should no longer be obscured by the Soft Light object. Save this image and open it in Photoshop.



9. Post Processing

Step 1

First we need to crop the image. Using the rectangular marquee tool make a selection like the following, and then selecting crop from the Image menu.


Step 2

Next we will sharpen the image. Duplicate the rendered layer we have just cropped by dragging it down to the 'Create a new layer'.


Step 3

Select the duplicated layer and sharpen it by selecting Sharpen from the Filter menu (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen).


Step 4

Now reduce the opacity of the sharpened layer to 70%.


Step 5

Next we will adjust the curves a little. Add a curve adjustment layer.


Step 6

Increase the contrast of the image by adjusting the RGB curve like this.


Step 7

Adjust the Blue curve like this.


Step 8

Now adjust the Red curve like this.


Step 9

Next we need to desaturate the image a small amount. Add a curve Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.


Step 10

Decrease the saturation to -15.

  • Saturation set to -15

Which will give us the final artwork.


Conclusion and Scope

Let's quickly recap what was covered:

  • Creating Text in Cinema 4D with the MoText object.
  • How to use the Twist and Bend deformers.
  • Creating materials and applying them to objects.
  • Basic post processing in Photoshop using Curves and the Sharpen filter.
  • Most importantly I hope that you explore any techniques you have learned through this tutorial in creating your own artwork. Try using different fonts, materials and experiment with the different deformers in Cinema 4D. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

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