Live Tutorial – 3D Text in Cinema 4D

January 7, 2010

Welcome to another Live Tutorial. I recorded this live on ustream where I ask what tutorial people want to see and I try to do it on the fly. The result is a different kind of tutorial. It’s one with all the mistakes left in but more importantly, with all the problem solving left in too. If you’re looking for a quick, step by step tut, look elsewhere. There are a TON of scripted tutorials out there that will get straight to the point and show you exactly how to do a technique. What I hope to do with THESE tutorials is to add more problem solving to the learning process.

Motion design is as much about problem solving as it is about technique. You need to be able to learn why to use things as much as you need to know how to. Hopefully these tutorials will be helpful in understanding the why as well as the how of setting up an animation. As always, let me know what you think.

Full Disclosure: I did edit out one part of this tutorial where I looked for a tool in illustrator for three minutes never to find it. I thought that it would be annoying to watch.

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  • Thanks Nick for doing this. I think it is helpful to watch others problem solve and see how they come up with a solution. I find myself doing the same thing with you in my own head.

  • Sorry I missed the live session. Thanks for taking the time to do this! I was watching another one of your tutorials yesterday and never even knew that 1,2,3 would control the camera zooms, pans, etc. (It’s the lil’ things!!!!)

  • Thanks sir.

    I really like this new method.

  • Always liked your approach. Process is a big ingredient in making cool shit and seeing as there is no real tutorial for that out there, this is a perfect forum to see someone do their thing along with resolving issues along the way.


  • thanx for recording this Nick cant always catch the live ones but its cool to get a recording to watch
    I know your trying alot of things out and some ppl like it and some dont but its all good to me and its “FREE” thnx again Nick….

  • type Nick! livestream full link plz!

  • hey nick i think grischa theissen mentioned the function to center the axis in his tutorial: modeling an realistic ipod nano! he did it with the structure menu! i have the german version of c4d and do not know what exactly it is in the english one!

  • Missed this live one this time! Looks good though, looking forward to watching!

  • Really like the new format!!

    its fun to watch, and you learn a lot about freestyle workflows and problemsolving than in most tuorials. keep on doing these,Nick!!

  • is there an archived version somewhere that can be watched if you miss the live one?

  • I have got to check twitter more to make sure to get in on one of these! Thanks for doing this style, completely original and definitely great to see the problem solving.

    Great to see ya last night at the C4D event!

  • Hey Nick,
    You know I am pissed that I couldn’t make your GSG Live event. But you know what I would really like to see? I would like you to take one of your 5 second project topics and work through how YOU would do it live the way you did with this video. Also, with Ustream user input. Man that would be cherry :)! Love to see that!

  • i would love to watch but i dont know the time it happen, Nick tell me the time you do the live tutorials.


  • Cool stuff! It really didn’t feel like an hour.
    Thanks GSC!

  • not loving the end results on this and the other last live tut.
    so the length of each one is over an hour, if im liking the end result i probably would not watch the entire thing.

    im just saying this so you’ll know, in my opinion – cut tuts in more than half. have something you know u want to do and know it works and impressive in advance.

    lf more of yours (not live) tuts,

    • While I agree with a portion of what you said. I enjoy the longer uncut tutorial because it helps me remember how to work out of those times where you are staring at something like a deer in headlights, unable to remember how to do something. By seeing the steps taken to figure it out, I have already learned a few tricks or alternative ways of producing similar results.
      I wasn’t ‘Amazed’ with the end result but sometimes you might work for a client that wants something specific that you may find really lame or just downright artistically wrong. Food for thought 🙂

  • Whoa!
    I wish I had the time to watch it.

  • Sweet dude! Would like to see more of these live ones for c4D

  • I did not see this live so I do not know what you cut while working with AI. I am guessing you were trying to make the text automatically center when you import into C4D instead of being randomly off in space. Here is how…

    While in AI, press CMD+R to show rulers. Then go to the top left corner of your artboard in the small white box that does not have any units of measure, right where the horizontal and verticle measurements come together. Click and drag down to the middle of your text. You will see crossed lines (vert & horiz) as you drag down. After you have them centered, release and BAM your artboard measurements are centered on your text. Save as usual and import to C4D. Your vectors should be centered.

  • I have a probleme with my rotate tool when i turn an object in Y axis it tunrn it in the X,just the Z axis how turn correctly .someone can help me please.

  • hi,

    the problem i have is,when i put my extruded text into the mograhp fracture object,my first letter (it´s a big “C”) becomes more angular,while the others stay smooth.

    hope someone can help me

    and thx for your live tuts,really good work!!

    • If you’re having problems with your different text material selections like C1, R1, etc when using Fracture object, one solution is to select all of your text splines, right click, and select connect objects + delete.

  • Hi Nick,
    Thanks for the tutorial, really liked the live session although I missed it and watched the recorded.
    I always learn some small detail, that comes in handy. BTW for what versions of Cinema will your lighting rigs work with?

    Anyway thanks for your work, really appreciate it!!


  • nick: thx for your exsist man ok ahh i use cinema 4d 6 mounth and have problam to use please help!
    ok ahm
    1º to use the “dynamic tags” like solver,gravity etc…

    2º tracer , sound effector amd all effector i can´t use so is strenger because c4d is easy to use but a cant find nice tutorials about this and i find you mester thx for the blog e please thing about this for post ok?
    2010 for big project, jogs,work for you nick

    OBS: sorry about my english ok , i promise i study more brazilian – flamengo

  • nice, I got to catch the next one!

    hey Nick, do you still play the drums?

  • Thanks Nick

  • can’t see what shortcuts yr using. can you turn the visuals back on next time? thx duder!

    lovin’ the problem solving though. keep ’em coming!


  • Thanx , for this tut, but what type of ring light you use GSG, any file to download PLZ ?

  • Hey Nick, once again a great show! Really love what you’re doing for the whole community! Just to give you a head up, with the newest update of Cinema you can now use “Open Type Fonts” too. 😉 Keep the show going!



  • hey nick,
    good job on the live tut.
    just wanted to know what were those lighting rigs u used and where can i get them?

  • Oh, yeah. Great tut 🙂

    And, Nick,
    you can apply the axis to be in the centre by moving the 0 points in Rulers in Illustrator.

    I mean in Illustrator you put the text in the 0 points and in c4d it’s again in the centre 🙂

  • question and oh, is it basic:

    when i attempt to center my text at world zero using the “use model tool” after I choose my axis points using the “use object axis tool”, the X, Y, Z colored markers are gone, and i can’t move my objects to world zero. I’ve figured out how to get them there in another way, but it’s much easier if i can click and drag those green red and blue lines (xyz).

    is this because I’m on an earlier versions of Cd4 (i’m using R10)?

    any help at all would be GREATLY appreciated.

  • Awesome, Thanks for another great tutorial.

  • Hi Nick,

    Thanks. The tool is called axis tool.

  • Nick,

    First of all thank you so much for your awesome tips and tutorials.

    Second, I have an issue with a project I’m doing that involves the random effector on a fracture object. I’m having the letters of a logo fly in and land into the title– which it does– however some of the letters fly through each other when setting in. Here is a screenshot of what I’m talking to about: (sorry for it being so blown out – I need to reduce some of the brightness). Is there anything that can be done for the letters to avoid each other when flying in?


  • I started cracking up at the insane movement of the background. Very good video, I actually learn more from these than like you said, more scripted tutorials. For example you making mistakes and fixing them, helps a lot.


  • Ha, gorilla? Monkey, chto li? A ya udav. Menya zovut “Ka”. Davay znakomitsya, bibizyan!

  • Eh, I seem to be having somewhat of a problem getting my background to actually show itself.
    Before I ask you or anyone else to answer my question I’d like to say that I love every one of your videos and they’re all extremely helpful.

    Alright so, somewhere around 40-45 minutes in we start with the background aye, I drop the bugger right in, above the random effector, and it doesn’t really do anything.
    I’ve created a new material, fiddled with the colors, still nothing.
    I’d just like to know if there’s anything I’m missing, I’m sure it’s something simple seeing as I’m rather new to this C4D business.
    If you could get back to me with some troubleshooting or maybe a solution I’d appreciate it.

  • Hi Great tutorials!!!!!!! I’ve been learned with your videos…….One quiestion, Where can i download the OverheadSoftBox tool?

  • This technique comes in handy quite often, Thanks! In the interest of keeping the project flexible, I wanted to use a Motext object that would not have to be made editable. Once in the fracture object, the text materials (different caps and rounding materials) go haywire. Do you know what facet of the ‘explode and connect’ does this or if it can be changed?

  • please how do u download the video

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