How To Create a Glowing Text Effects in Cinema 4D

November 4, 2011

I loved this splash screen over at so I decided to have a go at it. I didn’t get it perfect, but it’s pretty close I think. Follow along in this tutorial to see the trial and error on how I tried to figure this out. Hope you like the tutorial. Keep having fun!

With Help From Nylon
Bryan From Nylon was nice enough to drop by the comments and let us know they built the original.

We made an object with luminance inside of another outer object to create the effect. We also made an entire rig of lights pointed outward.


Tutorial Focus:  ,
Software:  ,

  • Thanks for this nick, really cool effect.

  • Sir you are great.

  • How come your tutorials on videocopilot are so much cooler?

  • @PlopFace They are not the same person.

  • impressive tutorial indeed!)

  • Thanks for another great tutorial, this giveme a lot of ideas…

  • Oh, thats great, i go and make this, but i choice different way 🙂

  • Wow!! I remember asking how to do this exactly on your Facebook how awesome 🙂 thanks a million Nick, you are th man.
    And thanks everyone who pitched in the comments.

  • thx a lot Nick, great tutorial as always, keep it up man 🙂

  • hah! honored to have you make a tutorial, Nick. It’s very close to what our solution was. Though it took us around 2 weeks to figure out the look that we wanted. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  • Thank You Nick

  • Awesome Nick! I’ve always wondered how to make the glowing Engadget logo animation which might be a similar technique but I’m having trouble recreating it

  • I don’t know about everybody else’s impression, but I think the point is what Bryan said: “It took us around 2 weeks to figure out the look that we wanted”

  • Nice, but I still think the inner part needs more of a subsurface scattering effect. Maybe a gradient from the middle out so the inner most parts are brighter.

  • Great work Nick and overall I think you got quite close to Nylons version.

  • hi Nick you can always increase the GI strengh of the shader on ilumination tab, use fresnel on luminance and shut the brightness of luminance in self. For the GI render settings for this case it´s probably better use the secundary intensity to prevent light from spreading throughout the scene.
    this is my way i hope it helps with something.
    Great tutorial by the way, By the way, great tut as usual

  • you are the true Gorilla

  • Great stuff Nick been watching your tutorials allot, two things I would note is that when you were talking about using the sharpen filter to make it darker on the inside and lighter on the outside you could of inverted the colour in order to make it opposite.
    on a second note, to make that lighting effect Nylon was using on their text you could of used an SSS shader on the top text then placed luminance on the text inside it to light the Subsurface Scattering Shader.
    Worked great for me 😀

  • Is it just me or all the Viemo videos are not working? 🙁

  • Excellent tutorial Nick!

  • Hey Nick!
    Nice effects indeed! I gave it a try myself, without watching the tutorial.
    I used a plane light (not sure if it’s the right translation for flächenlicht…). You can attach a smaller text to it as shape that is placed inside the glass text. This way the inner text itself is lighting the scene as a standard light.

    That is what I came up with:


  • I saved the .ai file as Illustrator 8, but when I merged it into Cinema some of the text and logos were missing :/

    Any help?
    Great tutorial as always, btw!

  • @Aj: Did you convert everything into paths?

  • How would I do that?
    Sorry, I’m new to Illustrator.

  • Nevermind, Kay
    I saw what Gorilla did. But thank you for reminding me I needed to do that!


  • I really like your new haircut Nick ! Very cool.

  • Very nice, congratulations. Tks

  • great! i’ve seen this design over and over again throughout the years from various design disciplines and usually it’s super well done like Nylon’s and yours. thanks for sharing in the c4d realm, nick. you’re such a great teacher.

  • Thanks Nick for this Tut! But you forgot the 70mm Camera at the final render……

  • is my attempt on deviant art

  • I’ve layed everything out and got up to the part of texturing my “main word”. I’ve applied the luminance texture, and all that. But for some reason the texture doesn’t seem to light the rest of my scene. I’ve tried raising it’s Brightness but to no avail. Anyone have any idea what I could do?



  • Love the tut!
    I went out and tried my own style like you always advised.
    Let me know what you think.

  • thanx nick for the tut

    can you make a tut about this

    sorry my english not very good

  • Gorilla-man your too funny “Hireckik!.. Hirecickle!!… Hierarckickle!..”

  • Great tutorial. I followed and worked great! Thank you!

  • I’ve found other ways for an internal glow, i just put a glow on the inner material with no fillets, but just added an inner glow at around 50% and no outer glow with a radius of 2. turned out pretty well! 🙂

  • HI Nic

    this is what i came up with

    its not as good as yours,,:0)

    keep up the good tutorials.

  • thank you very much! good!

  • Another great tutorial Nick, thanks! Seeing how you touch up the renders in photoshop has been invaluable.

    Seeing the use of transparency made me want to mention something that may be useful to people (or may be obvious), but incase anyone doesn’t know the ‘refraction’ setting is a real physical value that can be matched to the material you’re wanting to make.. for example here is a table of different refractive indices:

    Also not wanting to be ‘that guy’ but your pronounciation of Gaussian is really funky. You’re adding a french feel to a germanic word. The name comes from Carl Gauss (rhymes with ‘house’) so it’s just Gauss – ian.

  • As always, GREAT WORK NICK! You are my C$D hero!

  • Can I make this text in photoshop cs5, and somehow import it in cinema 4d?

  • Hey Nick, Another great tutorial. Lots of good info. Thanks it will answer some challenges I have been meeting up with lately.

  • from following your tutorial and this is what i got;

  • Hy just want to know gorilla how about this tutorial on cinema 4d? here’s the link
    can you help me out

  • i do it but i have some problem from the shadows , which it is very harsh shadow , so how i can adjust it without affecting the overall look , and thanks.

  • I kinda wanna try the displacement channel for this. Just for kicks!

  • Great tutorial…

  • Used your tutorial for the Nylon effect for a design piece, came out great… looking forward to the next one.
    First time using Cinema, loving it already.

  • Hey Nick, where can I download some cool logos for my project?

  • Mattias Hallström December 1, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Great tutorial!
    I have unrelated question about the program you use when you open up files.
    The one with a black border around the “open window”
    Whats the name of that program/plugin?

    Thanks a lot!

  • Great Tuts Nick, Congratraz

    This is my try hope u enjoy

  • how i make a best 3d text in c4d 13 and it will use like text style

  • I could not figure out how to paste a white layer (extreme noob)….. So I could not do that part. But this is my final. Great tutorial!

  • Hi,

    Great tutorial!

    I have a problem. When I render without lights and (when GI and autolight are turned off) I get only reflections from Luminance material. So, I had to turn on GI to get some light on the scene. How can I settle it?

    Thank you.

  • Cool Nick!! but what about your old haircut?? 🙁

  • Jhonattan Rodriguez March 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Que buen trabajo … gran ayuda para mi formación en diseño 3d Saludos desde Bogotá-Colombia!!

  • That was great! I love the way you work!
    Thank you so much 🙂

  • Thanks for such a wonderful article.
    i just love your blog. Gud Job. 🙂

  • Nice tutorial…thank you.

  • Another way to create this “glowing from the inside effect” for the pinball text would be to select it in Photoshop, feather the mask to the inside of the type, invert it, decreasing the brightness of the masked area and then adding a gaussian blur to the correction layer. In CS6, this gave me this nice blurry glass effect and you could refine the darker edges of the type by adding a glow outside…Just Photoshop work…

  • Hey Nick, Awesome tutorial as always ! I tried adding a bit of luminance to the letters and logos and really made a difference. then i added a gradient, only keeping it at about 2 or 3 % and it made it look more like Nylons piece of work

  • It’s too difficult .how to make it easy

  • Thanks!, I really enjoyed this one. I decided to do a animated version:

    Please excuse the less than spectacular animation and typography. As you might expect, I’m still new at this. Still, I was pleased with the results 🙂

  • good!! thanks!! you are very helpful to me!! 😉

  • Nick – unreal.
    I have wasted a good few hours trying to figure out why the holes of the letters are not being calculated in the extrude. I checked and rechecked my steps and looked everywhere. I can manually fix it by going into point mode on my spline and deleting what appear to be duplicate points, however, I outlined my texts to paths and exported to Ai Version 8. I am using the latest version of Cinema 4D R19 Studio. Any ideas? I would be grateful.


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