6 Replies Latest reply on Jun 25, 2014 7:13 PM by Samuel Neff

    How to adjust text shadow thickness to match extrusion?

    Samuel Neff

      Hello,

       

      I have been running some tests regarding using Classic 3D and Ray-traced 3D features together.

       

      Through searching, I found a clever workaround (seen here: Re: Shadow Catcher not working with 3D Text and Camera Tracker ) to maintain blend modes for shadows from extruded text layers.

       

      This worked for me while the light was positioned to the front of the text.  However, when the light is angled, it becomes clear that the shadow thickness doesn't match the 3D text due to a lack of extrusion.  (See screenshot)

       

      3Dtext.JPG

       

      I'm a bit stumped on how to get around this.  Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

        • 1. Re: How to adjust text shadow thickness to match extrusion?
          Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          I'm assuming you have a traditional 3D layer in the "face" position of the text that is casting the shadow.

           

          Duplicate your shadow-casting layer, and ensure it's shadow casting property is set to "Only", so that the layer is invisible but the shadow is not.

           

          Then push the new layer back in Z space to the back face of the extruded text.  The combination of the two shadows should now look much more consistent with the extruded text.

           

          You can add more "in between" layers if the separation of the shadows is too visible.

          • 2. Re: How to adjust text shadow thickness to match extrusion?
            Samuel Neff Level 1

            Duplicated Shadow.png

             

            Hi Andrew,

             

            Many thanks for lending a hand to my question.  Your suggestion of duplicating the shadow layer and pushing in z-space certainly has a beneficial effect on the thickness of the shadow.  That is fantastic.  Unfortunately, it also has the side effect of looking like there's jagged multiple shadows.  (See my shadow comp in the screenshot for easy viewing)

             

            Now, in my main comp, take a look at the base of the letter 'T'.  The shadow thickness is getting better and starting to match closer with the extruded letter, which is my goal, but if I kept duplicating and repositioning until the base was fixed, I'd have a mess at the end regarding duplicate shadows, i.e. with the 'X' and 'E'.  What do you think?

            • 3. Re: How to adjust text shadow thickness to match extrusion?
              Samuel Neff Level 1

              "You can add more "in between" layers if the separation of the shadows is too visible."

               

              I completely missed this.  Apologies.  I duplicated until there was about 6 layers, and lowered opacity to 50.  Now it is smoother, thicker, and believable.  Thank you!

               

              Edit: Here is the updated result using Andrew's solution for anyone else that might have the same issue.

               

              Duplicated Shadow.png

              • 4. Re: How to adjust text shadow thickness to match extrusion?
                Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                There's no doubt that my "solution" is a workaround, and has some obvious flaws if you are seeking photo-accurate results.  The easy way out, I'd suggest, is to just diffuse the shadow more, so that the edges aren't visible.  But if you're seeking a specific look, this might not be possible.

                 

                The next step would be to follow Rick Gerard's steps in his first post within the other thread you've linked to:  create a duplicate comp of your 3D text, light and surface, generate a shadow only in this comp, then nest that comp in your main comp, allowing you to use blending modes on the new shadow layer.  This will be more render intensive but more accurate as well.

                 

                And a third option - use AE CCs Cinema 4D capabilities to render your 3D text, rather than the now-obsolete ray-trace renderer.

                • 5. Re: How to adjust text shadow thickness to match extrusion?
                  Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  Glad you found a solution that worked for you!  I use stacked layers like this all the time for rough-and-ready 3D objects.  It's not perfect, but often does the job, especially on distant or fast moving objects.

                  • 6. Re: How to adjust text shadow thickness to match extrusion?
                    Samuel Neff Level 1

                    Thanks Andrew!  I'm actually using Rick Gerard's outlined technique to the letter.

                     

                    I've been getting back into After Effects the last couple weeks and have plenty of new areas to catch up on.  I'll look into everything Cinema4D asap.

                     

                    Thanks again for the tips, it means a lot.  Cheers.