One of the other advantages of using 3D camera trackers is the ability to add text into a scene. Now, this could be extruded or just functioning in three-dimensional space. How do you add 3D text to a scene in Adobe After Effects? In this video, Richard Harrington walks through how to add 3D text to your scene in After Effects.
- [Instructor] Let's start by selecting a shot here in 3.2, and I'll right-click and choose New Comp from Selection. Now this particular footage is using non-square pixels. The size is 960 by 720 because it was shot on a DVCPRO HD camera. I can view this correctly by clicking the button over here in the timeline to compensate for pixel aspect ratio correction, and now it looks correct. Now in this case, we're going to insert some 3D text into this scene, and I want to evaluate the movement of the camera in order to add some text that the riders interact with.
Let's go ahead here and we'll select this. And what I'm going to do is bring up the tracking panel, and I'll click the button for Track Camera. That's going to analyze the shot and attempt to make a 3D camera that matches the movement of the real-world camera. Now this real-world camera was on the back of a moving truck, so it's fairly stable. I don't see any zooms happening, so I'll leave the shot type set to Fixed Angle of View.
And you see that there are additional options here under Advanced. I can tell this to solve this as a Typical scene. Now that the analysis is complete, it's solved the camera, and you can see miscellaneous tracking points that have been picked up. Now what I'm going to look for are some points on the front of the bikes here because I want this to interact really based upon the riders. Now what I can do is click on individual points.
I'll just hold down the Shift key. And once I have three points, it starts to make a basic selection. You can use more if you want. And this allows you to really start to make a choice here of what's happening. Now if you don't get the results that you want, just move forward a little bit and try different points, and you can look until you get the results that are closer. Now that looks pretty good there. What I'm going to do now is right-click and create text and a camera.
Now this particular text is not positioned in the exact place that I'd like, but I can easily change that. So with the text selected, I'll press R, and I'm going to adjust the orientation properties here to orient the text to the scene. And what I'm attempting to do is get this so that it's flat in the scene and that there are no additional rotation that's unwanted. Now you can use the numeric properties here to help you sort of judge, but ultimately it should come in pretty clear.
And in this case, I'm just going to position this to zero, zero, and zero, and you see that it looks pretty close to the scene. Now let's select this, and we're going to set a number. This is a charity bike ride, so we want people to be able to ride a certain number of miles. And these folks are going to be riding a hundred. With that selected, I can adjust the font, feel free to use any font that's on your system, and the relative point size.
There we go. Now once you have that, you can adjust this in 3D space. Instead of using any of the rotation properties, I'll press A for anchor point, and this allows me to make adjustments and position this. Now as we drag through, you'll see that the text is in the right spot. Let's start with that just off the screen. And as they start to ride forward, the riders eventually cross underneath it as they're riding and hit their mile marker.
That looks really cool. Now this is great with 3D text in the scene, and you can decide to adjust things as you see fit or even make small keyframe changes over time. For example, I can nudge that anchor point position there, so this starts just a little bit out of the frame and then suddenly drops in, so it's in a better position as the riders pass it. I like that, but let's take advantage of some more options here since this is 3D. Feel free to save your work to capture things to date if you'd like, but we're now going to promote this text.
Under Composition, Composition Settings, what I can do is take a look at the 3D Renderer. And right now we're using Classic 3D. However, I can take advantage of the CINEMA 4D engine to promote this text to a true 3D object. Now if we look at that text, we're going to have some interesting choices. Now let's open this up. And we'll go down to Geometry Options, and I'm going to adjust the extrusion depth.
This is creating text that has an actual depth. Let's press R for rotation for a moment, and we'll just slightly orient this text, so its angle better matches the road. There's a little angle to it. Now as you start to do this, you might notice that this would really benefit from adding a light to the scene. The 3D object needs something to illuminate it. So we'll drop in a light here, adding in an ambient light, and I'll set that to 80%.
That's going to help. And then let's add a spotlight and click. And you see that that starts to point at our object. We can adjust this for position, and it starts to shine on our object. There we go. Now this is looking pretty good overall from the material point of view, but I'm just going to better position that 3D light.
Let's switch to two views here, so we can see things. And over here, I can get an idea of what's happening. So on the left-hand side, I'll leave that set to Top view, and I'll tell this to Fit. Now we can judge where things are at. So let's find our text layer. There it is, and I'm going to zoom out. And I see the problem. The light is pointed in the right direction, but it's behind the text.
So this makes it a little bit easier. Let's grab that spotlight, and we'll simply move it along the z-axis, putting it in the right spot. By being able to look from overhead, it's a lot easier to judge where the light is going. Now as I start to make adjustments here on the light, for example, I can adjust the darkness of the shadows, making the dark areas of the text stand out a little bit.
I'll diffuse those. There we go. And let's just make the size here a little bit bigger. We'll open up the angle of the light, and you see that it hits it a bit more. All right, that's looking a lot better now that the light is pointed in the right direction. And I'm just going to assign a color to this as well, and you see that it starts to take that property on. So now let's take a look at this from the beginning. If we drag through, you'll notice that there's a 3D camera.
Here it is right here, and it's zoomed in pretty far on the scene. As it pulls back, it starts to reveal the 3D text, and you can see how that moves through the scene and interacts. And our light, in this case, is staying stationary on the object. Now you can get really fancy if you want and start to adjust things. For example, maybe I'll take that light up a little higher. Let's move the position higher on the y-axis there.
There we go. I'll grab the y-axis and pull and just adjust the point of interest a little bit. And you see the lighting in the scene is now better matched. I put the light on the 100 a little bit higher, like the sun is in the sky. And now it's looking a lot better. You see whether you want to put in standard text or even 3D text, the 3D camera that you generate, which accurately matches the scene, allows you to composite additional elements in for believable results and integrated typography.
- Analyzing footage
- Using the 3D camera tracker to stabilize footage
- Choosing and moving a target
- Adding 3D text to a scene
- Tracking an object
- Applying the Warp Stabilizer VFX
- Choosing a stabilization method
- Reducing rolling shutter distortion
- Matching movement
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 10/10/2017. What changed?
A: The following topic was updated: adding 3D text to a scene. In addition, new videos were added that cover masking out elements that can ruin a track, improving the Warp Stabilizer results by masking, and removing camera shake blur.