Post Production

Creating 3D Text Reveals in Motion

This Week on MacBreak Studio

This week on MacBreak Studio, I show Steve Martin from Ripple Training how to create 3D text reveals in Motion.

While Final Cut Pro X has the exact same 3D text engine that Motion does, so you can create, apply materials, light, and animate 3D text in quite sophisticated ways, you cannot have the 3D text interact with any type of environment like a floor or a wall. And the lighting of 3D text does not impact any other elements in a scene.

In Motion you can create these 3D text environments quite effectively but it takes a couple of non-intuitive steps to get there.

You create 3D text in Motion exactly like in FCP X, including applying materials and lighting. However, if you have other layers in a Motion project, you’ll find that the text doesn’t intersect those elements – it simply obeys the layer stacking order. Even with this initial limitation, you can use a generator to create a floor, turn off the 3D text’s built-in lighting and environment, and add your own light to have the text cast shadows onto the floor. That’s great for many applications but the text still doesn’t intersect the floor, so the camera can’t move below it, and the text can’t move below it.

The key lies in the fact that 3D text does intersect other 3D text elements. So the non-intuitive part is that you need to create the floor using a 3D text object.

The Emoji & Symbols palette comes to our rescue here, since Symbols are text objects. By using a solid square symbol, making it very large, turning it into 3D text, and reducing the width, we can create the same floor as we did with a color solid generator.

After turning off the 3D text lighting and environment for this floor, our scene light will correctly cast shadows from the text onto our new floor or wall – and in addition, our text will now intersect it so we can animate it to reveal itself by pushing through the wall.

All the good details above. If you want learn more about this subject, we have an entire tutorial dedicated to creating 3D titles in Motion.


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Mark Spencer is a freelance producer, videographer, editor, trainer and writer based in the Bay Area. He produces Final Cut Pro X-related training and plugins for with his partners at Ripple Training. He is an…