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Linking text to a 3D null object

From: Mograph Techniques: Animating with C4D Effectors

Video: Linking text to a 3D null object

In this movie you'll use the 3D camera data we saved out of CINEMA 4D to composite show name and time text seamlessly into our scene inside of After Effects. So again, we have our 3D cameras, our 3D lights, and our 3D null that's brought in that's tracked into our scene. So what we want to do is place text that will be tracked to that position of our null. So let's go ahead and create a new composition. We'll name this Text. This is where we'll make our text, and let's start creating some text here.

Linking text to a 3D null object

In this movie you'll use the 3D camera data we saved out of CINEMA 4D to composite show name and time text seamlessly into our scene inside of After Effects. So again, we have our 3D cameras, our 3D lights, and our 3D null that's brought in that's tracked into our scene. So what we want to do is place text that will be tracked to that position of our null. So let's go ahead and create a new composition. We'll name this Text. This is where we'll make our text, and let's start creating some text here.

So let's say the name of our fictitious show is going to be Mograph Madness. Why not? So let's go ahead and reposition this in the center here. And let's say this will be on at 8 pm. Let's just write 8 pm, let's move this up here, and let's just scale that down. We want this to be a little bit smaller. Let's change the color to be orange. It complements the blue in our main scene.

And let's change the weight to bold so it's a little bit more readable. And I'm just going to add a tiny element here, just a little graphical element. I'm going to create a solid. I'm just going to name this Block. It's going to be a block of color. I'm going to go to our Masks, get a Rectangular Mask tool. Just draw a mask here. And I'm just going to create a little rectangle, just a little graphical element to add to our retail font information here.

Zoom in and make sure it's lined up properly. That looks good. So since we're going to have these in a 3D scene, I'm just going to turn the 3D option on on these layers. So we can close out. We're done with our text. Now to position this in our 3D scene. So we've got our text comp here. I am just going to drag it into our scene. And right now it doesn't move with our scene at all.

It's because we need to connect it to follow the position of this null here. So if we twirl this down, you can see it has all of this keyframe information here. And it's actually following the 3D camera data right here, so let's close that down. So all we need to do to track this text comp to our null is just go to our text comp and pick whip and make it a child of the text null here.

So now if I scrub through--I missed a step. I have to go back and make sure that your text comp has the 3D switch turned on. And when I turned that on, you can see that it just disappears. What we need to do to make sure that it goes to the position of our null is go to our position on our text comp and just zero these fields out. So you can see that now it went to the anchor point position of our 3D null. So as I scrub through, you can see that it's tracking right as it should, following that 3D null position.

So let's just scale this down, and we can position this over a little bit. Let me scale it up a little bit more and move it down. And let's just add a nice drop shadow so it pops off the cube grid there. Let's go to Perspective > Drop Shadow. Let's up the Distance, add a little more Softness, and bring it down a little bit, so just a little bit of a subtle shadow there.

So it looks like it's casting a shadow on our cube grid there. Let's bring this down a little bit more. So we don't want our text up the whole time. We actually want to just wipe this on with that last wave of animation that's coming through. So we're just going to add a simple linear wipe to our text. I'm going to do this by going to Effect > Transition > Linear Wipe. And if I scrub through this, you can see that this will wipe on our text, but it's going in the opposite direction.

We want it to wipe on from left to right, so we're just going to change this to -90. You can see that this going to wipe on the way we want it to now. We can add a little bit of feather, so it's not so sharp of a transition, say 50. So let's scrub to where the wave comes in. We can go ahead and scrub so our text is completely wiped off, hit a keyframe, and let's scrub ahead to where the wave completely passes through, say about there, and let's make our text completely wipe on.

It's wiped on at about 10%. So let's hit 0 and RAM Preview this. So that's looking pretty good. Let's make sure that it's coming on. It looks like it's coming on a little bit too early, so let's go ahead and adjust this so it's coming on after this last cube is almost fully rotated back into place.

That's looking a little bit better. Let's RAM Preview that one last time. It may be a little bit too slow. Let's just bring that back. And that looks pretty good. So it looks like that third wave is motivating the text to come on as well.

So bringing the 3D camera information with nulls allows you to seamlessly composite 2D elements into your 3D space of After Effects. It always helps to have a clear plan of attack when building your animation inside of CINEMA 4D so you know what three position data you'll need and where you want elements placed inside of After Effects.

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Mograph Techniques: Animating with C4D Effectors

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EJ Hassenfratz
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