How to Create Cool 3D Text in Maya

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Maya is a 3D modeling and animation software used to create animated text, films, product demos and more. Creating 3D text with Maya is a straightforward process, but familiarity with the software's interface and basic tools is necessary. You should also know how to navigate in the workspace and understand terminology specific to Autodesk Maya 2010

Creating the Text

  • Locate Create > Text from the menu bar at the top of the Maya interface. Click on the small box next to the word Text to open the Text Curves Options dialog box.

  • Type the text you want to create in the Text field.

  • Left-click the black arrow in the Font field. Keep the mouse button held down, and move the pointer over the word Select. Release the mouse button. A font selection dialog box will appear.

  • Select the font, style and size you want for your 3D text and click OK. You will return to the Text Curves Options dialog box.

  • Select Bevel from the Type field. Several new customization options will appear. Bevel width and Bevel depth will make your text thicker or wider. You can ignore the other options.

  • Click on Create. The 3D text will appear in the main workspace window.

  • Press the number 5 on your keyboard to display the text in shaded mode.

Adding Color

  • Select your text in the workspace, and click on the Rendering tab on the Shelf. A row of icons will be displayed.

  • Click on the second gray ball to apply a Blinn material to your 3D text. The Attribute Editor will automatically open.

  • Click on the gray box next to the Color field in the Attribute Editor. The Color Chooser dialog box will open. Select the color you want and click Accept.

Adding Shadows

  • Select Create > NURBS Primitives > Plane to create a flat surface beneath your text. Use the Scale tool to increase its size so that it is proportional to the 3D text. Use the Move tool to position it beneath your text.

  • Click on the fourth icon in the Rendering tab to create a spotlight.

  • Select Lighting > Use All Lights from the panel menu to display lighting dynamics in the workspace.

  • Select Lighting > Shadows to display shadows in the workspace.

  • Select the spotlight to display its properties in the Attribute Editor. Adjust the Cone Angle to make the cone of light larger or smaller.

  • Click on the word Shadows in the Attribute Editor. Click on the check box next to Use Depth Map Shadows.

  • Position the spotlight in the workspace so that it illuminates your 3D text as desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • By default, the Shelf appears below the main menu bar of the Maya interface. If you have hidden it, go to Display > UI Elements > Shelf to display it again.
  • Even with Shadows and Lighting turned on in your workspace, you will only see what they really look like by rendering the scene.
  • If you have a previous version of Maya, you may find that menu names and menu item locations are different.

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