Join EJ Hassenfratz for an in-depth discussion in this video Modeling fantasy-movie titles with a chisel technique, part of Mograph Techniques: Movie Trailer Titles in Cinema 4D and After Effects.
- Fantasy based movies are very popular and they always seem to feature some kind of chiseled text. Think the Harry Potter movies. There are many techniques that will allow you to achieve this type of chiseled look but in this movie I'll demonstrate how to use a loft object to achieve this effect. So what we're gonna go do is first create a text spline and I'm gonna choose a font called Go Bold and you can actually download this for free at dafont.com/gobold.fonts.
Free download and I just like the use of the look of this font. You can use any font though and I will type in the letter E. So our titles gonna be called Epic. And what we need to do is actually create this title letter by letter. So this is the first letter and we will just go ahead and align the axis point to the middle. Let me zoom in here. Now to do this I'm going to make this text spline editable and I'm gonna rename it first.
So we'll just rename it E and then hit C to make the spline editable and then what I'm gonna do is create an inner outline so we can use the loft nerve or loft object to kind of sweep a skin along it to create our chisel. So to create this inner spline I'm gonna go up to Mesh, Spline, and Create Outline. Now I'm gonna make sure I have this Create New Object enabled so it doesn't just create an outline based off of my original spline and just write over it but it creates a new spline with this new inner outline.
So what I'm gonna do is zoom into my scene here and I'm going to just click and drag and you'll see that's creating an inner outline here. And what I'm going to try to do is just try to get it just enough that it's not, our splines aren't overlapping but we have a nice inner outline there. And since we had Create New Object selected it created a whole new object. So that is our inner outline. So I'm just gonna call this the E Inner Spline, and we'll just keep that the same.
Now what we're gonna do is create a Loft object. And again a Loft object kind of just skins two splines with geometry. So I'm gonna drag and drop my E first and then the inner spline second. And right now you don't see anything but if I move this E Inner Spline forward about ten centimeters you can see we're starting to get something that kind of resembles a chisel but what's going on and why this is so distorted right now is if I go in to my point mode and see my splines here.
Let's take a really good look and you can see that CINEMA 4D represents how a spline sequence moves in order by going from white to blue. So you can see that this spline line is going from white then it goes from light blue all the way to blue because our point starts right here. And on our inner spline here you can see that this gradient, this blue to white gradient is going the complete opposite direction.
So to make this work we need to make sure our spline or point sequences are going in the same direction. So to do this I'm just gonna select this inner spline point right here and since this is the point that is starting and ending so we can see white and then blue. So we need to make this also resemble the same spline there. So to do this it’s very simple. Just go up to Mesh and then just Reverse Sequence. And by doing that if I zoom out here you can see, voila, that we have our chiseled text here.
So what we can do is you can see that we're not getting nice sharp edges that we would normally want to see in a chiseled kind of effect and to do this we're just gonna go to our Mesh Subdivisions and bring it up and that's gonna really bring up the geometry and get these nice sharp edges. So a value of about 200's pretty good. So let's actually go into our wire frame mode here by going to Gouraud Shading lines. You can see that our geometry is fairly heavy.
Let's clean this up a bit so we're not dealing with such a high poly mesh here. And to do that we're gonna go ahead and bring down the subdivisions per segment. We're just gonna deselect that and bring down the Mesh Subdivision here to about five and you see that kind of optimizes our mesh a little bit gets rid a lot of geometry we don't need and that's looking good. One other thing I'm gonna do is by default a loft nerve object or Loft Object has the Phong Tag deselected with no angle.
I'm just gonna turn that on. That'll help save us from having any issues texturing or anything later on. So we have the front part of our chisel text. Now to actually create the backside. 'Cause right now the backside is just flat. So let's go and rename this the E Chisel and what were gonna do to create the backside is kinda like how we created the front side. We're just gonna start duplicating splines. So what I'm gonna do is this is the original spline. I'm just gonna duplicate this and move this backwards.
You're gonna see something very odd here's that we're getting this kind of rounded edge and this is because the loft nerve is trying to skin along these points in kind of a rounded bezier kind of way and we don't want that. We want this to be a sharp edge right here. So to do that I'm just gonna zero this out and so I have basically a duplicated spline that's in the same position as my original spline.
And I'm gonna duplicate this E again, move this back about ten centimeters. You can see that because I duplicated that original spline that's now a sharp edge. So if I move this spline... Let's go down here. If I move this spline back and forth you can see that we're starting to get a little bit of this rounded edge back in there. But the sharpen e just pull this forward and I just have it in the same exact position just so that's a super sharp edge right there.
And then what we're gonna do is do the same thing where we want a sharpened edge here. We're gonna duplicate this spline again. So that it's back here on this backside and then we're just gonna simply duplicate this inner outline spline and bring it to the top. And order is very important here because we're lofting sequentially down the hierarchy here. And I'm just gonna move this back here and you can see we now have this weird chisel as well. So looking good! So using the loft nerve we have a really nice chisel effect.
Now we're just gonna go ahead and duplicate this same technique and create our other letters. So let's go ahead and create a new text spline use this for the letter P for Epic. So this is... With the P it's a little bit more difficult and a little bit more involved but it's the same kind of technique here. Let's do the same thing we did with the E. And you can see this is a little bit more difficult. We have this inner hole section here.
So let's go ahead and rename this P and make that editable. And again we're gonna need to go and make our inner outline here. And Create New Object is on, perfect. And we're just gonna click and drag and make sure that this isn't overlapped at all. We don't want these two edges to overlap over here. So that's looking good and... Again we'll put both of these in a loft nerve but let's rename them first.
So this is P Inner Spline and let's bring in our... actually we can just duplicate this loft nerve. Just kind of clean all this out. And we'll do P Chisel right here. Drag the main spline first and then drag in the inner spline second. Move this about ten centimeters forward. And again we have to make sure that our spline points line up. So because we're dealing with both the inner and outer, let me just get rid of this loft nerves here.
Since we're dealing with both this inner spline the inner piece here with the P this little hole, and then the outer spline is what we'll have to do the reverse spline point sequence twice. So let's go ahead... I'm gonna select the same top corner point here and go to Mesh, Spline, Reverse Sequence. You can see that that fixed the outside but not the inner part here. So what I need to do I'm just gonna turn this off again go to my P Inner Spline again and select this inner part as well and go to Mesh, Spline, Reverse Sequence and if we turn this back on that will fix our letter P.
So a little bit trickier when you have a spline or a letter with a hole in it but then that's all set up and good to go. So what we're gonna do is since we have the E and the P I'm just gonna do the same entire workflow for the I and the C to form our word EPIC and we'll have our nice chiseled look created with our loft objects. Now I should note this technique works best with Sans Serif fonts. Since these pieces of text kind of have an even weight to them there's not a whole lot of issues that you will stumble upon with this method.
So unfortunately there's no one button quick solution to creating these chiseled bevels but by using loft objects it allows for a fairly easy work flow. The catch however is that this only really works with certain types of fonts. Specifically fonts with even font weights and Sans Serif fonts using the inner outline method.
- Exploring movie trailer trends
- Creating eye-catching bevels with Sweep NURBS and chisel techniques
- Texturing and lighting title text
- Animating the titles and cameras
- Setting up for render
- Adding optical flares, motion blur, and other effects
- Compositing motion graphics and live-action footage
- Color correcting composites