3ds Max TextPlus Tool - Overview

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  • Design Visualization
  • 2016x1
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
12 min

3ds Max TextPlus Tool - Overview

This is a 3ds Max series on the updated TextPlus Tool. In this tutorial, you will experiment with new TextPlus Tool and its related features enabling you to create quick and easy text elements.

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2016 Ext. 1
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2016 or higher.


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In this movie, you take a look at TextPlus, the new and improved text tool found in 3ds Max 2016 Ext.1 or newer

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TextPlus effectively replaces the old text tool, which has been around 3ds Max since its inception, roughly for two decades now.

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Whereas the old text tool was regarded as a shape (found in the Shape panel), TextPlus is viewed as Geometry.

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In its simplest form, you add a word or a line of text much like you did earlier, with a simple click in the viewport.

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Note that the default word is shaded in the Perspective view, indicating there is a surface applied.

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This is why it is considered as geometry rather than just a shape.

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You will learn in a moment that you do not need to apply modifiers such as Extrude or Bevel to give the text volume.

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First things first: editing text is as easy as before, albeit with quite a few improvements.

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In the Modify panel, change the text to read: "3ds Max 2016 Ext. 1"

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Maximize the Front view (Alt+W), and adjust the scene to see the text better.

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Global Parameters such as Size, Tracking and Leading remain unchanged, and they affect the whole phrase.

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So do the Vertical and Horizontal Scale values, which alter the typeface look.

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However the big change is that you can now format the text further, by setting parts to bold or italic for example.

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You can also set various text parts to different fonts

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As explained a moment ago, you cannot change the size of a selection as the Size value affects the whole element.

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However, with a selection defined, you can enter Manipulate mode.

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Using this mode, you can easily make part of the text bigger or smaller, uniformly or non-uniformly.

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You can also adjust the general tracking, or the kerning based on a character you start from.

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You can also modify the baseline of text using the bottom manipulators.

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Choosing another text selection will automatically activate the manipulators on that selection.

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When you're done editing various selections, you can exit Manipulate Text mode.

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Minimize the Front view and Maximize Perspective view.

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As mentioned earlier, the new TextPlus tool is recognized as geometry and has a renderable surface.

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What's more, it also has embedded Extrusion capabilities so you don't have to add modifiers.

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You can easily add volume to the text by specifying an Extrude value.

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What's more, you can apply Beveling simply by activating that option.

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You can choose from various bevel profiles,

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or create your own. A Profile Editor lets you adjust curves to suit your needs.

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You can ultimately save your custom profiles to disk for later use.

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Note that by default, beveling is only applied to one side of the extrusion.

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For more flexibility, you can access the Advanced Parameters panel to adjust the capping to your liking.

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If you have a Multi/Sub-Object material applied,

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you can fine-tune the material IDs for more detailed material work.

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There are two additional and important features to explore but as they are too important, I will tackle them at a later time.

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One relates to animating text, and this goes a bit beyond what you see in the rollout.

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Text Animation is detailed in its own movie.

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The other feature is Set Value to Text which can be quite useful.

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Basically, it means you can wire text to read information from the scene and the text would update as the scene updates.

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Again, this is important enough to warrant a separate tutorial and will be covered on its own.

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For now, there is one more feature to consider, and one that I hope you would like:

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Delete the text you have created and go back to a maximized Front view.

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Earlier, you created text by clicking a point in the viewport.

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Instead of a simple click, try a click and drag, and you'll find that you can specify a region or a virtual box to contain your text.

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The size of the region can be edited, and of course the benefit is that you can type a paragraph of text and format it to your liking,

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including how you justify it.

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Of course, with that in mind, it takes about two seconds to think of a certain crawl text in a certain sci-fi movie.

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So let's take a crack at it.

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Open the scene named text-crawl_start.max you downloaded for this tutorial.

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A download link is available in the description section of this movie.

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The scene is empty except for a camera and a spotlight.

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In the Top view, create a TextPlus element with a click and drag to define a text region, and then go to the Modify panel.

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Set the Region Length to 220 and the Width to 100. Also set the text size to 8.5

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You can always experiment with these values but these numbers should work well here.

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Next you need the text itself. Instead of typing it, you can use copy and paste functionality.

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As part of the archive you downloaded, open the Bash.txt file in a text editor such as Notepad.

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The featured text is my special homage to the old Flash Gordon serials… Select the text and copy it to memory using Ctrl+C

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In 3ds Max, replace the default TextPlus text by pasting the paragraph you copied to memory.

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Zoom in on the text to see it better.

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When dealing with large paragraphs such as this one, you need to consider a few things:

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First, the editing box can be too small, so you may want to use the "Open Large Text Window" button.

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This makes it infinitely easier to see your text, and look for typos to correct, such as "enslist".

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It also makes it easier to add line breaks where needed.

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Dismiss the editor when done.

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Zoom back a bit and center the paragraph to the scene. You will fine-tune that further in a moment.

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As far as Alignment is concerned, use the Justified Last Left option.

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Zoom in on the title section. You need to make a few edits using the Manipulate Text tool.

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Select the "1/2" section,

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and try to uniformly scale it down. You'll notice it's a bit sluggish.

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The longer the paragraph of text, the more sluggish Manipulate mode is.

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This is because 3ds Max needs to account for every character in the paragraph, not just the selected section.

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This is something to keep in mind as you are designing your text.

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You may consider breaking the paragraphs as different textplus entities, if this becomes a problem.

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When you're happy with the results, exit manipulate mode.

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If you want, create a basic material based on a color you like and apply it to the text; I'll use a bright yellow in my case.

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All that's left is to animate the text crawl.

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In the top view, move the text down on the Y-axis until it's out of the camera POV.

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Enable Auto Key and go to the last frame.

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Again in the top view, move the text up on the Y-axis until you see it fade in the distance in the camera shot.

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Playback the animation.

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A rendered version of it is also part of the archive you downloaded for this tutorial.

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As you can see, the new TextPlus tool has much to offer; especially when compared to the old text tool.

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Watch other videos on this channel to learn what more you can do with text animation and wiring.
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  • 3ds Max
  • 2016x1
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