How to Make a 3D Title in After Effects - Takes JUST 1 Min!

To create a 3D title in After Effects, set up your composition with the Cinema 4D renderer, craft your text, and give it depth using the Geometry Options. Enhance the 3D effect with camera movements, strategic lighting, and refined beveling for a polished look.

October 26, 2023
How to Make a 3D Title in After Effects - Takes JUST 1 Min!
"It's Like Video Editing On Steroids!"
- Sebastian Navarro, FreeVisuals Editor
Endorsed by Adobe, Motion Array is the ULTIMATE tool for creating high-quality videos! Browse 15M+ assets for Premiere Pro, After Effects, FCPX & DaVinci!

Adobe After Effects 3D Title Tutorial

If this isn't the first time you've tried to add a 3D touch to your text in After Effects, you know the challenges it can pose. The depth, the angles, the lighting – every element plays a pivotal role in making your text pop out and look genuinely three-dimensional. But why is achieving this 3D look so crucial? Because in the world of motion graphics and video editing, 3D text can elevate your project, making it more dynamic, engaging, and professional. It can be the difference between a flat, mundane title and one that captures attention and sets the tone for the rest of your content.

In the subsequent sections, we'll walk you through:

  • Setting up the perfect 3D workspace tailored for your text.
  • Crafting and positioning your text to give it that desired 3D appearance.
  • Navigating the 3D space to view and adjust your text from various angles.
  • Implementing lighting techniques that breathe life into your text.
  • And finally, refining your text to perfection with shadows and beveling.

Creating the Right Composition

  1. Open After Effects and head to the top-left corner. Click on Composition and then New Composition. This is your canvas, where your 3D title will come to life.
  2. A dialog box will appear. Here, you might want to set the dimensions to something standard, like 1920x1080 pixels, which is Full High Definition (FHD). For frame rate, 30 frames per second (fps) is a common choice.
  3. Now, this is crucial for our 3D work: In the same dialog box, you'll see a tab labeled 3D Renderer. Click on it. From the dropdown, select Cinema 4D. This renderer is what will give your text that 3D depth and feel.
After Effects opened, highlighting the Composition option and New Composition.
After Effects opened, highlighting the Composition option and New Composition.
A dialog box setting dimensions to 1920x1080 pixels and selecting the Cinema 4D renderer.
A dialog box setting dimensions to 1920x1080 pixels and selecting the Cinema 4D renderer.

Crafting Your 3D Text

Now that your workspace is ready, let's craft that 3D text.

Typing Out Your Text:

  1. On the top toolbar, you'll find the T icon, which is the Text tool. Click on it, then click anywhere within your composition to start typing. For our example, let's type "VISION".
  2. Once you've typed out your text, look at the layer panel at the bottom. You'll see your text layer named "VISION". To the right of the layer name, there's a small box with a cube icon. Clicking this will enable 3D for your text layer. But don't get too excited yet; it won't look 3D immediately. This step merely allows your text to move in 3D space.
Introduction of the Text tool with the word "VISION" typed out in the viewer window.
Introduction of the Text tool with the word "VISION" typed out in the viewer window.

Giving Depth to Your Text:

  1. With your text layer selected, head over to the right side of the screen to the Effects & Presets panel. If you can't find it, go to Window in the top menu and ensure Effects & Presets is checked.
  2. Under this panel, you'll find an option called Geometry Options. Click on it. Here's where the magic happens. You'll see an option called Extrusion Depth. By increasing this value, you're giving depth to your text. For our "VISION" text, let's set it to 50. As you adjust, you'll notice your text starts to pop out, giving it a 3D appearance.

Navigating the 3D Space

The beauty of 3D is in its depth and angles. Let's explore that.

Introducing the Camera:

  1. Go to the top menu, click on Layer, then New, and finally Camera. A dialog box will appear. For beginners, the default 35mm preset will work just fine. Click OK.
  2. Now, with the camera in place, you can view your text from various angles. Press the C key. This activates the Orbit Tool, allowing you to rotate around your text. Try it out. Rotate around the "VISION" text to see its depth and 3D form.
  3. Press C again. Now you have the Pan Tool, which lets you move the view up, down, or sideways. And one more press of C gives you the Dolly Tool, allowing you to zoom in and out.
Adjusting the Extrusion Depth in the Effects & Presets panel, giving the text a 3D appearance.
Adjusting the Extrusion Depth in the Effects & Presets panel, giving the text a 3D appearance.

Lighting: The Soul of 3D

Lighting can make or break your 3D text. It adds realism, depth, and mood.

Adding a Light Source:

  1. With your text layer still selected, navigate to the top menu. Click on Layer, then New, and choose Light.
  2. A dialog box will pop up. For our example, let's choose the Spot Light type. Ensure the Cast Shadows box is checked. This will allow your light to cast shadows on your text, adding to the realism.
  3. Once the light is added, you can adjust its position and angle to see how it affects the "VISION" text. Remember, lighting can dramatically change the mood of your scene. Play around with it until you achieve the desired effect.

Final Touches: Refining the 3D Look

Now, let's refine our text to make it truly stand out.

Casting Shadows:

  1. Select your "VISION" text layer. In the Effects & Presets panel, scroll down until you find Casts Shadows. Turn this on. You'll immediately see shadows reacting to your light source, adding depth and dimension to your text.

Beveling for a Polished Look:

  1. Still in the Effects & Presets panel, scroll up to Geometry Options. Here, you'll find options for Bevel Style and Bevel Depth. Adjusting these will refine the edges of your text, giving it a polished look. For our "VISION" text, let's choose a Convex bevel style and set the depth to 3.

Minimalist Animated Titles for After Effects

The Minimalist Animated Titles template, available on Envato Elements, is a versatile tool designed to elevate your video projects. Here's a detailed breakdown of its features and how you can harness its capabilities:


Variety of Titles: The template boasts a collection of 107 animated titles. This means you have a wide array of choices to fit any theme or mood of your video.

Full Customization:

Text Control: You can easily change the text to convey your specific message.

Color Control: The template allows you to adjust the color of the titles, ensuring they align with your brand or the aesthetic of your video.

Duration Control: Not only can you control the duration of the title's appearance, but you also have control over the animation's intro and outro durations.

Versatile Resolutions: Whether you're working on a 4K project, Full HD video, a square video for social media, or even Instagram Stories, this template has got you covered. You can easily change the resolution size to fit your needs.

Tutorial Video: If you're unsure about any aspect of using the template, it comes with a tutorial video. This ensures you can make the most out of the template, even if you're relatively new to After Effects.

Font Flexibility: The fonts used in the template are free, and it even includes a link to download them. This ensures consistency in design if you wish to use the same fonts in other parts of your project.

No Plugins Required: One of the best features of this template is its simplicity. You don't need any additional plugins to use it. Just import it into After Effects, and you're good to go.

How to Customize:

  1. Importing the Template: Once you've downloaded the template from Envato Elements, open After Effects and import the template file.
  2. Choosing a Title: With 107 options available, browse through to find a title animation that fits your project. Drag and drop it onto your timeline.
  3. Editing the Text: Click on the title layer in your timeline. In the Effects & Presets panel on the right, you'll find a text box. Here, type in your desired text.
  4. Adjusting the Color: Still in the Effects & Presets panel, you'll find a color picker or a color box. Click on it and choose the color that matches your video's theme or your brand's color palette.
  5. Setting the Duration: If you want the title to appear longer or shorter, simply drag the ends of the title layer in the timeline to adjust its duration. For controlling the animation's intro and outro, delve into the layer's settings in the Effects & Presets panel.
  6. Adjusting Resolution: If you're working on a project that isn't in 4K, no worries. Go to the Composition Settings, and under the Resolution/Size option, adjust to your desired resolution, be it Full HD, Square, or any other.