Beveled Text

In this short tutorial, you learn how to create beveled metal letters in a matter of minutes. You can use these letters in logos or titles. Although there are other ways to create Beveled letters, this technique creates them with the best results, and in the least amount of time.


Creating 2D Text

The first step in creating beveled letters is to create some 2D text. To do this you use MAX's Text tool. Follow these instructions to create 2D text:

  1. Select the Create tab.

  2. Select the Shapes icon.

  3. Select the Text button.

  4. Select a point in the Top view to create the text.

  5. In the Text control panel, modify the text in the Text box to say TEXT. This will update the letters.

Lofting 2D Text into 3D Text

Usually, the easiest way to turn 2D text into 3D text is to use the Extrude modifier, but in this case we want to loft the text. Lofting the text creates more faces and generates, in our opinion, a better result. Lofting the text also gives you more control later in the process, if you decide to bend or twist the text.

Follow these instructions to loft the text:

  1. In the Create command panel, select Line.

  2. In the Top view, select two points, from bottom to top, to draw a line to the right of the text. The order in which you select the points is important, because your text will be extruded from the start of the line to the end of the line.

  3. From the Create command panel, choose the Geometry icon.

  4. From the Geometry drop-down list, choose Loft Object.

  5. Choose the Loft Object.

  6. Select the Get Shape button.

  7. Select the text object.

  8. Select the Get Path button.

  9. Select the Line.

  10. Right-click on the word "Perspective" in the Perspective view.

  11. Select the Smooth + Hightlight option. This will render your letters in the viewport.

  12. Select the Arc Rotate icon in the lower-right corner of the screen. Rotate the Perspective view down until your view matches the one shown below:

If you wish, you can turn on Smooth + Highlight in the other views, as well.

Beveling the 3D Letters

To bevel the letters, apply the Mesh Smooth modifier to the lofted object. The Mesh Smooth modifier adds faces at corners and along edges of objects, in effect blunting or rounding the corners of your objects. You can control how much 'smoothing' is applied by modifying the Iteration parameters. Increasing the interations too much, however, makes for very complex/slow to render objects and very round corners.

Follow these instructions to bevel the 3D letters:

  1. Select the 3D text you want to bevel.

  2. Select the Modify tab.

  3. Select the More button to display a list of additional modiffiers.

  4. Select MeshSmooth from the list of modifiers.

  5. Choose OK to exit this window.

  6. In the Mesh Smooth command panel, set the Strength parameter to .2. You can make it even smaller, if you like, to further reduce the percentage of the object being beveled. If you want to round the corners, select a higher Iteration value.

Now that you have beveled the text, you can apply a metal material and then illumate the text object to achieve the maximum effect.

Applying a Silver Material to the Beveled Letters

You have created the 3D text and beveled the edges of the text; now it's time to apply a silver material to the text object.

  1. Select the Material Editor icon.

  2. Select the Get Material icon.

  3. In the Material/Map Browser, in the Browse From area, choose Material Library. This will show you all the materials in the default material library.

  4. Select Silver Deep from the list.

  5. Choose OK to exit this dialog box. Silver Deep will appear in the active sample box.

  6. In the Material Editor, choose the Assign Material to Selection icon.

  7. Exit the Material Editor.

  8. Render the Perspective view. Note that the material won't look like metal, because it doesn't have a very bright light on it. Metals look best it bright light.

  9. If you wish, you can modify the Mesh Smooth Strength parameter to decrease the beveling applied to the object.

Illuminating the Text

Metal objects are designed to have a very bright specular color, which means that they react very well to bright lights. In this case, you will create a bright white light and point it at your object.

Follow these instructions to illuminate your text:

  1. Select the Create tab.

  2. Select the Lights icon.

  3. Select the Target Spot button.

  4. Select a point above the object in the Front view. Don't release the mouse button.

  5. Drag down to select a point in the center of the object.

  6. Choose the Zoom icon.

  7. Select a point in the Front view and drag down.

  8. Choose the Select and Move icon from the row of icons that run along the top of the screen.

  9. Select the Light and Move it up.

  10. Render the Perspective view.














You can increase the Multiplier value assigned to the light to make the light brighter, if desired. This will make the contrast between the planes that make up the 3D text more apparent. You can also decrease the Hotspot value to 2. This will make the light vary in intensity over the whole object, which tends to make for a more dramatic image.

Did you like this tutorial or perhaps you would like to comment on it. Go to our discussion area and start a new discussion or start a new article

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