Animating 3D Lettering in Adobe After Effects | Part 1 of 3 | Sonja Geracsek | Skillshare

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Animating 3D Lettering in Adobe After Effects | Part 1 of 3

teacher avatar Sonja Geracsek, Motion Designer | Video Editor

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (41m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Setting Up the Composition

    • 4. Creating 3D Text

    • 5. Adding Color Controls

    • 6. Animating 3D Text

    • 7. Time Remapping the Pre-Comp

    • 8. Rendering Looped Animation

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class

About This Class

This class will teach you how to create and animate 3D lettering in Adobe After Effects. I will show you how to use the After Effects built-in 3D extrusion tool to create three-dimensional lettering. I will take you through the process of positioning your lettering in 3D space, animating the extrusion and setting up colour controls to add some depth to your letters.

Who This Class Is For

This class is perfect for animation and After Effects beginners. No previous knowledge of typography is needed. Some knowledge of creating keyframes and manoeuvring the software, might come in handy, but you don’t have to worry, I’ll take you through everything.

What You'll Learn

  • Creating 3D Lettering
    • I will talk you through extruding text in After Effects
    • You will learn how to position your text in 3D space
    • You’ll use the rotation and orientation properties
  • Animating 3D Lettering
    • You will learn how to animate the extrude property
    • You will create a looped animation of your lettering
  • Colour Properties
    • You will add colours to your letters
    • You will link colour properties to controllers
    • You will learn how to use controller to manipulate linked colours

Materials / Resources

We will be creating lettering in After Effects, so you don’t need to have any assets ready. It would help to prepare a short quote of 3-5 words. You will not need any other software to create this animation apart from Adobe After Effects.

Why You Should Watch

By the end of this class you will have a solid understanding of the 3D tool and how to use the 3D space inside After Effects.

You will be able to create three-dimensional lettering of your favourite phrase and share it on social media. You can also use this knowledge to create a 3D logo for your brand.

Upcoming classes

This class is part of a trilogy, which builds upon one other. You can follow along the whole series, or just take a class on its own. Each class has a unique outcome and can be taken independently from the series. So, keep an eye out for the other parts of the series!

Follow me on social media to find out about upcoming classes!

Instagram - Facebook - Twitter - TikTok - Website



Meet Your Teacher

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Sonja Geracsek

Motion Designer | Video Editor


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1. Introduction: Hi, My name is Sonya. I'm Emotion graphics designer. I animate entertaining educational videos, planned ads and a whole range of engaging online short form video content. If you spend any time on YouTube, you might have seen some of my work in my class. I'll be teaching you how to create and animate three D lettering in adobe after effects. This class is part of a trilogy, which builds up upon one another. Check out the other classes in the Siri's. You can follow along the whole series or just take a class on its own. Each class has a unique outcome and can be taken independently from the Siri's. In this class, I will show you how to use the after effects built in three D extrusion tool to create three dimensional lettering. You will not need any other software to create this animation. I will take you through the process off, positioning your lettering in three D space, animating the extrusion on setting up color controls. To add some depth to your letters, this class is perfect for animation on after effects beginners. No previous knowledge of typography is needed. Some knowledge of creating key friends and maneuvering, the software might come in handy, but you don't have to worry. I'll take you through everything step by step. We will be creating the lettering in after effects so you don't need to have any assets ready. By the end of this class, you will have a solid understanding off the three D tools and how to use the three D space inside. After effects, you will be able to create three dimensional lettering off your favorite phrase and share it on social media. You can also use this knowledge to create a three D logo for your brand ready Let's get started. 2. Class Project: Hi. Welcome to my class. Let me tell you about the class project you will be tackling today. The project for this class will be to create a looping animation off your three D lettering that you can share on social media. I have created this type of animation for the striving artist podcast that I produced, and I would like to take you through the process of creating that step by step For a successful project, you should find a short phrase off 3 to 5 words you would like to animate. For this project, you can such online, for a phrase, use a popular saying or try the WTF. Should I let a phrase generator by home sweet home please share a gift or a video of your project in the project gallery? I would love to see what you come up with. Let's jump into the class 3. Setting Up the Composition: This is what will be animating today. I'll go through how to create the animation and also how to create the three D extrusion that you can see here. You can use any phrase that you would like, but I would suggest it not be longer than five words so that you can have one highlight word in the center and some other words to complete the sentence. You can search for any quote, or you can use the WTF stay letter phrase generator by home sweet home. Short phrase like this is perfect. Something longer might be a little bit tricky, so let's jump right in on create a composition. I like to name my scenes with the VFX standard naming system, and that is putting the scene number in the center surrounded by zeros so that if you go into the tents, it will sort itself nicely when you sort them by name. And if you need to add a scene in between two scenes. So in between one and two, if I'd like to add a scene in between those I can usual eyes this zero and it will sort itself nicely. Now I'm going to name this three D lettering. Anything descriptive to tell me what the scene is? I'm going to use a hasty TV 10 84 months. So with 1920 by 10 80 pixel aspect ratio square pixels on. I animate at a frame rate off 60. This may be quite high for some of you that may have been animating in 25 frames or 30 froze per second. I like to use this frame rate because it's really nice to create looping animations just like the traditional 24 frames per second was nicely devise herbal into smaller frames and therefore easier to loop. It's the same for 60 francs per second, only that you have a smoother animation then with 24 frames per second. So I like to go for that. I then also start my animation at 59 minutes, so that means I have to make it a least one minute long to arrive at zero minutes. And as my animation is rarely longer than 10 seconds, it's one minute and 10 seconds, and I'll show you what that does. It now means the beginning of your animation. The beginning of your composition is that 59 minutes. If we go to one hour, uh, three dots gets you to one hour, that's kind of like a 10.0. I will put a market here. The reason why I like to do that is if I have a layer here, let's create a background layer that we can also use later. If I have a layer here on day, I want to create sequenced layers like this, and I want to push them back. If I was at zero, that would be that would look like this. I was a zero. I would then lose site of these layers if I had key frames of the on these layers, then that's always been super annoying to me. So I start my animations at one hour, which kind of fakes the zero Marca. And that way I can see everything that I push back but still kind of start my timeline at zero. If you want to know more about this workflow, I recommend you to check out my other class, be more efficient and after effects where I go into more detail about this, it's a let's get rid of these duplicates since we're creating this for social media Andi. Some social media platforms such as Instagram have a minimum length requirement for videos that you post, which are actually not gives, but videos for Instagram. Specifically, I like to make my animation six seconds long because again it's easier to divide. It fits within the whole 60 friends per second. So, like ties in together very nicely, I'll make a market here, said I. I know if I ever want to make this work area smaller, I know okay, if I want to render it out, this is the full length off my animation to make that more obvious. Together with my one hour leeway, I also cut my layers in the beginning, off the start off my work area just to visually make it clear that this is where the scene starts. I don't know if I was a little bit quick when I was creating this shape layer, but what you can do is you can go to the rectangle tool. Andi, you can drag it. Of course, you can always drag a shape play. I just created it on top of the existing shape layer. So if you don't want to do that don't have anything highlighted. Click direct angle tool, and you can just drag a new shape layer. If you want a shapely in the size of your screen off your composition, you can just double click the rectangle tool, and it will just create a shape layer that is the size of your composition. So that's how I created that. We can now add a color you can use any color that you want. I would like to imitate toothy color that I had in my original animation was something like this'll ike light, bluish type color Not too aggressive. Kind of falls into the background A little bit lighter. Yeah, that looks good. Okay, now, if I search here for the color, which we will need later, Ron, it will show me that the color is right here. Now I've got this composition just lying here in the middle off my project window. If I have multiple compositions, then it can get a little bit messy, so I'm going to clean this up. What you can do is drag your composition into a folder and call it something I like to call it pre comes. Or perhaps this is calms and then becomes is another folder inside. If I have very, very many compositions attend to split it up like that as well. But for now, this is fine. We have a pre compere freight that's us set up, Andi. Now we can start with our phrase. 4. Creating 3D Text: Once you've decided what phrase you would like to use hit control T to enter the type tool , Andi, right out your words. You want to separate the words into sections. So as you saw in my finished product, I have one word at the top. One word at the center and two words at the bottom. So you want to separate your phrase into three lines. Essentially, if you don't have your windows set up like mine, I would recommend you turning on stacked panel groups. What that does is you can click on a panel and collapse it, and you can have a whole bunch of Pamela panels on one side, so I'll show you what that looks like. If you don't have it. You basically have a whole bunch of panels, and next to each other you can have them below each other. But they take up space and you kind of into resize them. So what I like to do is have stacked panel groups like this. I can just click, not double click, but click on each panel and expanded as you need it. This comes in handy when you use a bunch of plug ins or a bunch of different after effects windows, and you need a little bit more real estate space. Okay, so let's continue with our text. I will use the text I used before. You can either duplicate the original text you created for the first line, or just use the type to again, and you want to make sure you have centered. Text in the paragraph window clicked. If you want to move your text, make sure you switch from the typing tool that looks like this to the move arrow. You want to hit V if you want to start moving your text, but make sure your text isn't highlighted. Otherwise, you just typing V into your text line. This is the phrase I'm going to use on dime, using Bieber's Neue as a fun family, but you can use any type of front you want. It will definitely work. I've not used every single fund, so don't quote me that. But any regular San Serif fund should be fined for this exercise. I prefer setting the size off the text by the font size over here, instead of changing the layers scale property because I might want to animate the scale later, Andi. Therefore, I want to keep the scale at its original setting at 200% so I don't want to change that. Instead, I'll change it in the font size properties. Now what I'm going to do, I'm going to actually, I'm going to position all of this text in the center of the screen. Andi, this is probably also the time you want to make sure that the distances the line height is kind of where you wanted to be. If you want to be able to see the title safe areas, you just hit the apostrophe key on your keyboard. Then you can also see the center cross. I'm going to position my text to be kind of in the middle, which means it's going to be in the middle off the screen. We will be repositioning the text later on. I just want to start out rights smack bang in the centre. Now what we want to do is turn on the three D symbol on our layers and we want to change the geometry options right now. We cannot access that because I'm inside of the classic three D render I have that one turned on. So if it's the case for you as well, you can just change renderers and you want to switch to cinema four D. You can do the same over here and then switch to cinema four d. You're going to have to have that turned on in order to change the geometry options. Now I'm going to extrude this. Let's say by 50% right now you can see that something happened. It became kind of fatter, but we can't really see that much. So I'm going to add this whole thing to my other texts as well. I can just highlight it. Andi hit control C to copy it. Then I can click on the color of the layer group and select Layer group and then just paste this to the the layers. And then it has added the extrusion death from the first layer to all the other layers. But yet again, we can't see that much. So what I would like to do add a null object to this To control all three of these layers, you can just create a null object by hitting control. Old shift. Why on then you can parent anything to that. You can also use motion three, which is a grace plug in with lots and lots of handy tools. It is a paid for plug in, so be aware of that, and you can definitely do all of these things without this plug in. It's not a necessity to have, but it is an immense time saver on what I like to do is use the now object creator and what it does. It puts a null object in the centre off all the layers that you have highlighted. So that's what I like about it. I'm going to rename this control text you can call is anything but I like to use no objects as controllers and their fire is name them control on and a descriptive word off. What it's controlling now we can do is we can rotate this. You can do this via the properties in your timeline on. You can do it here as well. If you had W, you can rotate these properties, but sometimes, like you can see now it's getting a little bit difficult to access that. So actually I'm going to wrote it here and Also, if you've rotating it on screen, it's changing the orientation rather than the rotation, which, unfortunately, I can't tell you the difference off because I don't know. I just know visually who when it's better to use one thing over the other, I kind of jumped between one and the other. But as you can see, this is actually rotating along the axes. So I do want that that's wrote it, the orientation rather than the properties because this is kind of more of what I want. So this is kind of looking good. I wasn't to reposition this into the center. What you can also do. He can hit reset, which means it's going to push this right into the center of your composition, which is what I want, so I'll do that. 5. Adding Color Controls: Now let's add some color to our font. You can do that by untangling and toddling. Your properties are open again so that you see text. You can also do the same by hitting you twice, and then the text appears. We want to animate the front color and to be, and you can immediately see that something has changed. Now we also want to animate the side color, so we'll adds that as well. Now we have front color inside color. Now we want a color control to control these two colors because we're going to add them to all of our text. And that way you don't have to jump in and out off these properties off each individual layer. So you want to open your infects and presets window if you don't have that open yet. Hit control. Five. This is where it ISS type in control, and you can see there's a color. Control here will add it to our text control that immediately opens our effects controls window. We can lock that so that we don't have to go clicking on this layer every time we change layers. That way, it's always stays open. We always see it. Let's change this name too fronts and duplicated and then the side, and will link thes colors to these controls by hitting old and clicking the stop watch. And then we can pick with this to our color control. I was holding all while I was dragging, the pick quipped. That creates this little one. Don't be roid. If your expression looks like this, this would be the expression if you weren't holding fault. But as a habit, I hit Alz, so this is now language independent. If you ever were to hand this over to a project team member and they had a different language after effect, you wouldn't need to change the expression language to whatever aftereffects they were using. This is now language independent, so I like to do it like that and we'll do the same for the side on. And let's change these colors and make them a little bit more flattering. Let's go for just a white top on Let's stick with the blue theme again. You can use any type of color that you want. You can see immediately as it changing, so I want to go. That looks nice I like this color. Cool. You can also animate most properties almost things that you add from the animate menu. If you creating a shape layer like we did before in a shape layer has content inside of it . Wreck single one. You can rename that by hitting, and so once you've highlighted it. So let's just change that you don't have to do this. It's just nice to be organized. If you have lots and lots of layers and lots and lots of animators sometime down the line, it can become a little bit overwhelming as to what's going on. So let's rename that Now we're going to copy this animator by hitting control. See highlighting the Layer group, which again will highlight all of the layers with the same label color. And then with control V, you will be adding this colors to all of the others. But of course, because I had the 1st 1 highlighted, it added it again. So I've removed that, and as you can see all my other layers now, have this colors property. Now, when I change this color to any other color, all the colors change rather than just the one off that one layer. Now we can move on to animating our text 6. Animating 3D Text: we want to do now is at animation to our letters. So we're going to find the extrusion death Onda. Add a key frame and then also the position by hitting P and add a key frame here as well. Actually, we don't need that for the other letters. We only need that for the center letter. But of course, if you want to animate on the letters, you can do that. But I'll focus just on my center word here. I will now make duplicates off this word because I need to split it apart to actually animate each individual letter. So I will create a reference off this and I'll duplicate it. I will make this a guide layer so it doesn't render if I forget to turn it off. Andi, I'll turn off the colors. It's really noticeable that this is not a layer that will be visible in the final. Animation also locked this. Now this will be the K off kind Onda. I'll double click and I will change this two K or moving into position. I can zoom into my screen by holding old and scrolling on my mouse wheel removed this interposition Andi I'll animate this letter first, and then we can duplicate it and all of the key friends will already be on all the other letters. So move forward by holding shift and page down. I'll actually do it for one second what you can, alternatively do. If you want something to be a certain number away, you can hit plus on and however many friends you want or since I want one second, I'll just hit one and dot on That's one second. And then I will extrude this to, let's say, 300. Oh, um, clicking my reference instead off my K. Let's change that. And now, as you can see it extruded down, which is why we also have to animate the position up so it looks like it's moving upwards instead of just moving down. This is why we have the reference guide, so I know until when I have to reposition our move this letter up so it looks like it's staying put on the ground on now. Eazy E's this by hitting F nine, I'll go one second further. Copy these key frames now. What I will do is I will duplicate this layer change it to the next letter. Also change the typography, and now all I need to do is highlight the entire position, not just a key frame, not just the layer but the actual position property. And if I now move my letter over to where it should be, it will have moved the Zet movement as well. And now it animates the correct way I'll do that for the rest of my letters. Now I can turn off my reference layer on, and my letters are animating up and down. This is great, but of course I don't want them to animate all at the same time. That's kind of boring. So I want to sequence them. And to do that, I can either highlight them on and move them forward by holding Ault and page down and just move them forward as many frames I want and then kind of unhygienic. It's the layers on, keep on pushing, or you can use a free plug in cold Does Joe Shifter, which I like to use to shift my layers. I'll just highlight them all on, and I'll shift these that say, 10 frames, and it tends to shift from top to bottom. I like it the other way around, so I'll switch this to descending, so I need to move it along to actually, for that all my layers and all my animations visit visible. But of course, this stops here. I also want my animation to start with the K at the lowest position. So if I want all of my layers to be visible, I cannot start at thes beginning key friends with me to start at the end. Kiefer's, which means we need more key friends. What you can do here is just highlight all of your key frames and copy. Paste them with control C Control p until you've filled out the space of your animation. What you can also do is use yet another plug in. Actually, it's the motion three Plug in, which is why it's so handy. You can just use the clone feature, which you can't highlight key frames on multiple layers and copy paste. Then you have to do that layer by layer because if I did do that, it'll just create duplicates off those layers because it doesn't understand that I want the key frames per layer duplicated onto each layer that I've already highlighted. Um, what the clone to does, Though it duplicates exactly the key frames on the layers that I've already highlighted, it doesn't duplicate the layers on. Actually, our animation finishes us two seconds, so bed with me, we will still have an animation of six seconds. But for now, we'll just crop this composition as two seconds. And pre rendering can take quite some time because it's a little heavy, depending on your machine to render three D. But you have an idea off what this looks like already, our words animating nicely there in sequence, which means they're not just going up and down at the same time. I'll just show you half the animation here. If you don't want the sequence to be so extreme, you can turn down the sequencing. Maybe you want this to be that's five frames instead of six. I think that's how I had it originally. Just need to make sure that you've got the key fames in the right position, and then the sequencing isn't quite so extreme. You could just play around with that and see how much sequencing you like 7. Time Remapping the Pre-Comp: no. As I said, we actually want our full animation to be six seconds long. Now we don't want to keep on repeating these key friends. That's just gonna take forever. What we can do is we'll just take our first loop, which is from 0 to 2 seconds in the scene. You can jump between the beginning and the end of your work area by holding shift and position one or home Andi end on. You can see nothing changes. That's that's a precondition for having a loop, the beginning and the end off your senior to be exactly the same. That way, you can just loop it endlessly. I'll close this, Andi, This is our comp, and what I like to do is I like to do this for any kind of composition. I like to have a main composition cell, take away the scene number and I'll add main at the end and I'll drag it out of the pre comes. And this tells me this is the final composition that I will render. It will have all of the sub scenes inside will have all of the things that I need inside, um, the maximum thing that will be out here is maybe an audio file. I will crop this by holding all to end hot bracket. Also, I'm a stickler for for a clean, workflow style crop my company. Add all of the markets that I need be for beginning because you need to hit be Do mark the beginning Off your off your work area here and n for the end of your work area as sorry. Six seconds. The end of the scene is that six seconds. Our animation is from, what, 0 to 2 seconds. Now we're going to loop this entire scene for six seconds on. We're going to do that by right clicking on our layer, going to time and enable time remembering. You can also hit control T Andi as a default. It adds key frames at the beginning, off the comp and at the end of the comp. But because we want to animate, we want to loop only between zero seconds and two seconds off our animation. We're going to jump to the beginning of our camp at a key frame and then add a key frame at the end off where we want to loop it and we will remove the key friends you can jump to. Previous and next key frames with these arrows will just remove the key frame the additional key frames in the composition. Now the scene goes from here to here. You can also use this to stretch on and speed up animation. So because these key frames signify time stamp and this is the two second time stamp, it will always play the amount of frames inside of the composition, but in whatever length you put them. So if you wanted this to go slower, you could theoretically just stretch these two key friends and make it longer. So that's just another tip how time remapping and be used. What we want to do is we just want to loop the two seconds over six seconds. So we wanted to be exactly the same speed as it is inside of our comp. We just wanted to keep on doing the same thing over and over. So hold old and click on the stopwatch. Then click on the arrow, go to properties Andi Lou, about cycle weaken. Of course, you can write this out, but I'm always too lazy to do that on DSO. This is easier for me. The important thing is, if you are writing it out, it needs to be a cycle not of Ping Pong. There are other loop out expressions aside from these were these are the two that I use the most. So who wants cycle? Because it means once you get to the last key frame, start back at the first key frame and just keep on doing that forever. And since two seconds fits very nicely into six seconds, exactly three times we will end up with a animation that is looped three times that you can use on Instagram or any type of social media that you would like to use it on. 8. Rendering Looped Animation: Now you're ready to render your animation. If you want to make any last week's like, perhaps this is a little bit too tight. I can move this up a little bit. I can move this down a little bit to give it a little bit more space. Once you're happy with your composition, you can hit control old M, and this will open media and codas can take a few moments before it's running. Once it's loaded, you'll see your composition here on. Do you can render it as anything as you want? You can create an animated GIF or on MP four. These are actually the Codex that you're choosing So hate to 64 will create an MP four file . If you want to know in more detail how to export gifts for social media. I have a class on that exporting guests with Adobe media encoder. We'll just give you a quick overview. I have a few presets here, since I would probably want to upload this to Instagram. I have a hasty 64 square preset because Instagram doesn't actually take gifts. It takes videos. Andi, So what this will do is crop. My 16 by nine Video to a square format will then look like this. Andi. I can also add a gift preset. Let's say I want to put this to dribble. I can either drag this or have this highlighted Andi double click on my preset. It will then add the preset. As you can see, I've also have the preset name attached to my file name. You can go to edit presets and have a pent, preset name to file name Ticked. Then that means it will automatically add the information that you saved in your preset. Now you can render this directly into your A M E folder. Adobe Media Encoder will create a render folder right next to your project file so you can just hit render, and it will render into their what I like to do. Though I like to create a finals folder or output or deliverables folder, where I then save my files and because for each project I might create different types of versions and different sizes for the GIFs and videos. I like to separate those two. So first I've highlighted all of them on found the full that I wanted to be in our click, OK, and then I'll go in on and maybe the gifts. I want them both to be in the gift folder. I'll save that, and then I can go in individually on and change the naming, so I'll take out the main part and I'll add the date in reverse order. So let's start with the year, then the month on, then the day, whatever day it is, today is the 19th of February 2020 I'll use underscores. I don't like using spaces because of land from a programming background that spaces in naming can cause trouble. Stuff just kind of gotten used to using that naming structure for everything on If you use the reverse date format, all of your files will sort by oldest to newest. If you have this clicked on in such a way, so you'll always see the newest version off that file. In the beginning, what I also like to do is add a version number. I sometimes put it directly after the name, so maybe this is the first version of this, or if you're working within a team, it's probably best to put the version number at the end off the file, so I used my initials on the version number. So when working in the team, you know who created this version and which version off that animation it is. This is like how I like to name my files. And then I just hit Brenda. Andi, I'm ready to upload it to social media. 9. Conclusion: That's the end of our class. Today you learned how to create on animate three D lettering in adobe after effects. How to add a color controller to manipulate multiple aspect off your lettering on how to create a looping animation to share on Social media Congress. It's well done on completing this class. I'm glad I could teach you something you getting. The knack of the three D space can be tricky. Feel free to leave questions and comments in the discussions forum, and I'll do my best to help. I'd also appreciate if you could leave a review for this class. It helps me tweak my future content, so you get the most out of it. It also helps other students to see the class. I'm looking forward to seeing a project in the Project Gallery using the techniques he learned in this class. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tic Tac To get tips and tricks about animation and motion graphics, check my stories for upcoming classes. Thank you for taking this class and see you next time