Modify a text path in 3D space

You can manipulate a spline text path to make text extend through 3D space.

Adjust the text path in 3D space

  1. If there’s no scene camera in the project, add a camera by doing one of the following:

    • Click the Add Camera button in the toolbar.

      Add camera button in toolbar
    • Choose Object > New Camera (or press Option-Command-C).

      Note: If none of your project groups is set to 3D, a dialog appears asking you if you want to switch your 2D groups to 3D groups. Click Switch to 3D to allow the camera to affect the groups.

  2. To change the default camera view to Top, do one of the following:

    • Click “Active Camera” in the upper-left corner of the Canvas to open the Camera pop-up menu, then choose Top.

    • Choose View > 3D View > Top.

      The text is no longer visible because the camera is now looking down perpendicularly (along the Y axis) at the text on a path. The text path and its points are still visible. (The yellow wireframe camera icon in the Canvas represents the scene camera you added in step 1.)

      The text path onscreen controls are available for all camera views. This example uses the Top view.

  3. With the Text tool and text layer selected, drag a control point to adjust the text path in X, Y, or Z space.

    Manipulating text on a path in 3D space only works when Path Shape is set to Open Spline or Closed Spline (in the Path Options controls in the Layout pane).

    Canvas showing top view of 3D text path

    If the path selection disappears, reselect the text layer in the Layers list. To enter values for the control point locations for Open Spline or Closed Spline, click the Control Points disclosure triangle in the Path Options group of the Layout pane. The first value slider is X, the second value slider is Y, and the third value slider is Z.

  4. To change the camera view, choose another camera view from the Camera pop-up menu in the upper-left corner of the Canvas.

    Canvas showing Right camera view of text on a 3D path
  5. To reset the camera view, do one of the following:

    • Click the Camera pop-up menu, then choose Active Camera.

    • Choose View > 3D View > Active.

      Tip: When working with text in a 3D project (especially text that moves close to the camera), before exporting, set the Render Quality to Best (choose View > Quality > Best). Best mode dramatically slows project performance and interactivity, so you might want to set the Render Quality to Normal while working. You can also set the Render Quality on export using the pop-up menus in the Render pane of the Export window.

Isolate a group or layer to modify text on a 3D path

When working with text on a 3D path, type may become difficult to read depending on its orientation and distance from the camera. To edit the text, you can snap the text object to its original face-forward orientation using the Isolate button in the Layers list (or Timeline) or the Isolate command in the Object menu.

Note: The Isolate command is available only for selected objects.

Do one of the following:

  • In the Layers list (or Timeline), click the Isolate button.

    Inactive Isolate button in Layers list
  • Control-click the layer or group, then choose Isolate from the shortcut menu.

  • Choose Object > Isolate.

    Click the Isolate button again to return to your previous view.

    Note: Clicking a camera’s Isolate button activates that camera’s view.