How To Create 3D Glass Text In After Effects


Hey everyone, this is Owen with Motion Array and in this tutorial I’ll be showing you how to make 3D text that has a nice glassy look all inside of After Effects. Alright let’s get started. 

How To Create 3D Glass Text In After Effects

This text has been transcribed from the video for optimal reading

I'll begin by making a new composition, and I'll make it HDTV 1080 29.97.   I'll name it "Glass Text" and then I'll hit OK.  The first thing I'll do in this new composition is use the text tool to type out "Glass".  And I'll add faux bold and faux italics, and I'll also scale it up to fill out the composition a little bit better.  Then I'll use the align panel to center it in the composition.   And last I'll turn it into a 3D layer.  

Next I'm going to bring in some footage to act as my background and the reflection for my glass text.  Now I've already pulled some footage from motion array, but feel free to use whatever footage you have.  This sky footage I'm going to use as my reflection so I'm going to drag that to the bottom, and I can go ahead and turn that layer off.  Then I'll go up to layer, new, light.  

In my light settings I want to make sure that it's a point light with the color white and my intensity I'll bring up to 75%.  And then I'll hit OK.

I'll pull up the position of the light with P, and then I'll make it centered to my composition by changing the x dimension to 960 and the y dimension to 540.  Then I'll go back up to layer, new, solid.  I'm gonna call this solid Caustics, and I want to make sure that it's comp sized, and then I'll hit OK.  Then I'll drag that layer to the top of the layer stack.  With the solid still selected I'll go up to effects, simulation, caustics.  Caustics is typically used to create underwater lighting effects but we're going to use it to create this nice glass effect.   In the caustics settings for bottom that would typically be like the bottom of a pool or something like that but we're going to use it as our background footage so that that's the wheat field.  You'll notice that it's tinted blue but that's just because it's trying to make it look like it's underwater so we'll eventually change that.  Back in the bottom settings I'm gonna change the blur to 0.5 and then for the water surface I'll select my text layer.   When I do that you can see that I sort of get beveled edges around the outline of the text.  In the water settings I'll change the water depth to 0.5 and the color to white.  

Then in the sky settings I'll change the layer to my sky footage.  I'll twirl down my lighting settings and then I'll change the light type from distant source to first comp light and that'll start referencing that point light we made earlier.  That's it for the caustics effect right now but we'll come back to it later on.

In the top right corner of my composition window you'll see this renderer text and right next to it it says classic 3D and that's the default for After Effects.   But I want to make my type 3D and there's an easy way to do that if I change from classic 3D.  So if I click that button there, it opens up some composition settings and I'm going to change my renderer from classic 3D to Cinema 4D.  And when I do that you'll see that there's certain features that are going to be enabled like extruding and beveling text.  But there's also a lot of things that get disabled.   Another downside of using this as a renderer is that it's going to slow down your composition a little bit.  So if you don't need any of these features then I'd highly recommend staying with classic 3D.  Since I'm going to be using it to extrude my text, I'm going to stick with Cinema 4D and then I'm going to hit OK.

Now when I twirl down my text you'll see that I have another menu here of geometry options.  And when I twirl that down I'll get a few more properties.   I'm only going to be focusing on the extrusion depth because that's what's going to be giving me the depth that I'm looking for with my text.  I'll change the value from 0 to 60.  It's a little hard to see right now but we'll fix that.  With my text layer still selected we'll go up to the edit tab and go to copy with property links.   Then I'll go to edit, paste, this create's an exact copy of my text layer that will follow any of the changes that I make on the original one.  So I'll drag this duplicate above my caustics layer and then I'll change my caustics track matte to alpha matte, and so now the caustics is only happening on my text.  

My text is feeling a little small right now so I'll go back to the original text layer and pull up it's scale with s and I'll bring up that value a little bit.  And we'll see that my matte scaled with the original.  Things are looking really good now, and I'll just refine the look of the glass to finish up.  I'll go back up to my caustics settings and I'll change the surface opacity to 0.2 and the intensity of the sky to 0.2 as well.  So that will give me a little bit more transparency as well.   Then I'll go up to effect, color correction, brightness and contrast.  And I'll turn up the contrast to about 50.  

Then I'll go back up to effects, color correction and got to tint.  And I'll change the amount to about 15% just to give the text that frosted look.  Then I'll just set in and out points for my work area and ram preview.  You can see the reflection and transparency in the glass and it moves with the footage which is great!

Now this effect isn't just for footage.  You can even do this on a graphic background and I have another example over here.  And in this example I did almost the exact same process.  The only difference was that I didn't add a sky to reflect the front on it so it's very transparent.  So there's really a lot of different things you can do with this caustics effect to get different looks.

Well, that concludes this tutorial. I hope you found it helpful, if you did, please give us a thumbs up and if you’d like to see more tutorials please go ahead and subscribe because we’re making new ones all the time.  I hope you guys found it helpful.  If you did, we’ve got lots of other Premiere Pro tutorials, After Effects tutorials and filmmaking tutorials!

Thanks for watching and see you in the next video.

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