Create Embossed Business Cards with Cinema 4D

January 20, 2014


In this tutorial Chris Schmidt will show you how to modeling using splines and extrude some embossed graphics on a card. Combining a variety of modeling, lighting, texturing, and rendering techniques you’ll create a series of subtle effects that when combined create a realistic image.


Tutorial Focus:  , ,
Software:  ,

  • Jonathan Tran - Vietnamese January 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Hello Nick!
    I really appreciate the experience and share your guide. Thank you very much!

    Previously I used Photoshop to perform visual tasks, but after learning your lessons, I’m moving to a new area.

    I love this design work, and what I learned through self greyscalegorilla is truly a wonderful thing to study.

    thanks for you from my heart.

  • It would be interesting to see the difference between this method and using a bump or displacement map. Could you point out the benefits and weaknesses perhaps?

  • I was waiting for this for a long time! 😉 I would love to see more tips and tutorials on how to make realistic branding mockups, especially best techniques, to make paper look like paper. I was experimenting with different textures and settings, but never made it realistic enough. Thanks guys.

  • Hi Chris,
    as always a nice Tutorial! Thank you!

    btw.: is there a reason to move the pivot for scaling the points instead of use the modeling axis?

    • Some words about camera-DOF:
      For a realistic result you should have model with real dimensions/proportions!
      In fact: your business card is way to large (350 cm)! In real-size the DOF calculates much stronger, because the relationship of f-stop and (beside that) the focal-length!

      For a nice blurry macro-shot try a focal-length about 80mm (for a nice close-up-zoom) and a f-stop approximately 2,0.

      best regards, Tommy

      • There you go, showing my lack of camera knowledge. I suppose it makes sense changing the global scale that much would have to compensated somewhere. I still might do it this way, because the procedural noises don’t like to get too tiny. Things can flicker.

  • Great tutorial with a lot of little tips I never knew!

    Fun fact – This is actually a foil imprint effect and not ink on those types of cards. It uses a hot die cast to stamp through a foil material that transfers to the card. Silk screened ink would have a similar effect, but the text would be raised over the surface of the card.

  • Thanks for the tutorial. Awesome as always!

    if i can make one request: I would really like a tutorial on:

    – sculpting tools
    – Motion cameras
    – importing/exporting textures
    – skeleton and joints rigs

    I know some of these has been covered a bit previously but something really focussed on making a character walk for example would really be useful. But yeah, it deviates from motion design a little bit i guess

  • Thanks for the tutorial Chris, I’m trying to copy the method but with a complex logo created in Illustrator rather than webdings. After importing (merge object) the spline from Illustrator and dropping it into a connect object some of the points become disconnected. Do you know why they would do this, or how to correct it? I’ve inspected the original in Illustrator and everything’s connected.

  • sup Chris
    thanks for the tutorial man!
    greyscalegorilla is DA best!

  • Thanks Chris for all your tip and tricks.
    You guys are amazing!

  • Delta settings kiss my….:)…Thank You Chris.

  • Cool tutorial, would work well if you’re designing a card for a company and wanted to show off what the card would look like if it was “real” or what the finished product would look like.

    One thing that I will mention is that you don’t really need to type everything out in illustrator to see what the different “*dings” fonts containt.

    There’s a whole menu/toolbar/window called “Glyphs”, which is especially good for Web/Wingdings because it shows ALL the characters available if you wanted to see your options – a very specific usage I suppose but there is that.

    (As you’re typing into a text layer, you can double-click on the icons there and it will add it to your text)

  • Thanks for the tutorial Chris,

    I wonder , if i coud take a image and make it black and white, you think it works to ?

    greetz from Jan in on holiday in zwitserland.


    • Of course, I barely did anything to the image in post. You could go nuts, run it through some hipster image processes!

  • Nice tips on the paper texture. I do a lot of packaging renders and would dearly love to see more tutorials about texturing and lighting paper stocks, inks, varnishes, foils etc etc.

  • Thank for the tutorial Chris!

    For future reference: Voronoi = “Vo – ro – noi” with a short “o” sound, like the “o” in “or”, for the first two syllables. The third syllable is pronounced like the “noi” as in “noise”.

  • Hi, thanks a lot for this tutorial. Though i experienced some problems when i connect all objects, rectangles disappear.

  • Great tutorial Chris, easy to follow very well explained. Excellent cheers Ian

  • Very nice approach with the Splines.
    The Connect Object seems to be the hidden Star inside C4D.

  • The F-Stop is not the only way to use DoF.
    I personally never owned a DSLR or any other camera that would give me such control over it. But I was always passionate about cameras and I can’t wait they day I’ll be able to afford one. I’ve seen tons of tutorials on cameras just like 3D graphics and what I learned is:

    1. Focal Length controls how much area around the focal point is still clear/not blurred.
    2. F-Stop controls how heavy the blur effect is wherever it is applied.
    3. And last but not least Sensor Size (Film Gate). Well, we all know Focal Length is also how wide/tele the lens is. Sensor Size affects also how wide/tele the “lens” is but instead of the lens, this takes part directly on the Chip that gathers the photons right after the light passes through the lenses.

    So you can control the first 2 options and if you manage to make the lens look like wide angle or narrow angle and you don’t want that, then you can tweak the 3rd one to change the “Focal Length”. It’s kinda tricky but it makes sense if you have a subtle idea.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.
    I do not encourage you to use it like that unless it is an artistic choice. It’s not the easiest thing to understand how lenses work (I still have trouble picturing it) but it is not that hard to learn what these 3 numbers are doing.

    And with all that I’m ending with a render I did quit recently with some bottles in C4D. Just a test, testing how “well” I could model/texture/render some bottles. The lighting is just and HDRI, but I used my camera settings as a real camera and the bottles are accurate as f*** in terms of dimensions in centimeters. Don’t forget you can change with what units C4D works so you can use feet or palms 😛 (super joke)

    • Those parameters don’t do ONLY these things. For example Fstop increases/decreases light and so on. But in 3D apps you have the freedom to not care about so many consequences as they don’t affect the renderer unless you SET it to do so.

      Also with the standard renderer you don’t even mess with these numbers to affect the DoF, instead these numbers only affect only how wide/tele the lens is.
      So you need to go the Detail tab of the Camera and set the “DOF Map Front Blur” and “DOF Map Rear Blur”. If my explanation doesn’t make much sense just right click on any parameter you want to learn and click “Show Help…”… It has images, text and what not. One of the best way to learn although it took me a while to just think of the Help Documentary.

  • Hello Nick!
    I really appreciate the experience and share your guide. Thank you very much!
    have a question about this, how this could be done in cinema 4d its an art work by Justin M. Maller. i was wondering about this
    need to have your help

  • Nice one Chris!
    Why did you use a dynamic “stand-in” instead of applying it directly on the card?

  • That was pretty good actually 😀
    They should make you a statue somewhere!
    THANK you !!

  • this is actually KILLING me !!
    when I connect the objects and drag the connect in the extrude nothing happens
    what’s wrong ?!!!

  • Thank you Chris for a nice tutorial! I learned a lot of new things from this one.

    Here is my take on it:


  • Thank you for your guidance?
    This is after I read the tutorial to do it
    THANK you !!

  • Oh man, I can’t tell you how glad I am you taught me about the Delta option in bump. That is going to change my life (well, at least my job).

  • There aren’t many tutorials on exterior architecture. Would you consider making any?

  • This is cool n more interesting

  • You can replace the “ink loft nurbs” with the”card dynamic’s cube” . it works the same way, the loft nurbs are unnessesary. Thanks for the Tut

  • Hey guys,
    Did you ever thought about doing something along these lines?
    A cool tuto on sketch and toon 🙂

  • Just to be clear, embossed is when the type is raised above the stock. De-bossed is when the type is recessed into the stock. AKA letterpress-ed.

  • Great tutorial! A little awkward with the falling into place and repeated mentioning of your lack of abilities. I learned about cool camera distortion settings watching this. Thanks!

  • Thanks Chris

  • Hi!
    This was actually a tutorial that I was very happy to get through. I work as a graphic designer and do a lot of mock-ups for my design. Something I would really like to see (I would be so happy) is one or a few really good tutorials on how to model (not necessary as it is easy to do), texture and lightning a beer bottle and a beer can so it looks good with condensation and all. I know that ther is two tutorials out there but i don’t think they are good enough and it’s put in a verry dark scene and i think it lokks better with a white background.

    References of what im looking for is this two examples. It would have been really cool! Lets rock the beer world, make this tutorial and we can the post a lot of cool beers up here on the site just to see how cool and creative a beer can be 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this tutorial,
    this one was much better then the van smash tutorial because this one was much more similer to the final result.
    Thank you and i hope to see more of your work.

  • Watchin this at 1am! really nice tutorial. i like the your speed of working in c4d..

  • I want tell you guy that you are doing a good job am new to cinema 4D and i have gained a lot from your tutorials watch out for may works

  • I’m trying this on version 12, and am not having any luck getting the extrude to work properly. It won’t extrude anything unless I click Hierarchical. When I do so it extrudes both objects without subtracting one of them ( the text ). Any tips?

  • can I know how you make object editable on 3:43

  • This is a great tut. Really nice timing as I was looking into mockups and was trying to do some using C4D.

    This tutorial helps a lot.
    Thanks a ton Chris & GSG

    You guys are the best!

  • Thanks for the tutorial! Small point but if you want to see all available characters (glyphs) in a font family they can be viewed and selected in Illustrator by selecting ‘Glyphs’ in the ‘Type’ menu.

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