Modify material layers

When you create a new 3D text object, it appears in the Canvas with a default 3D material preset applied: a smooth, white plastic texture (Basic). Most of the other preset materials in Motion Library are more complex, composed of multiple material layers—combinations of substance, paint, finish, and distress overlays that combine to create a naturalistic 3D texture. For example, the “Motion” preset consists of a colorful image used as a substance layer combined with an Enamel finish layer and a Reflective paint layer.

Example of 3D text in the Canvas with an applied Motion material layer

The GolfBall preset consists of a Plastic substance layer combined with a Polish finish layer, a Dirt distress layer, and a Bumps distress layer (set to –500% to create a dimple effect).

You can adjust each of these material layers in the Text Inspector (in the Material section of the Appearance pane). As you modify these settings, your 3D text is updated instantly in the Canvas, allowing you to fine-tune the look you want to achieve.

Note: Material layers (which appear stacked in the Appearance pane of the Text Inspector when you select a 3D text object) are not to be confused with the image layers that comprise a Motion project (which are represented in the Layers list, Timeline, and Canvas).

Modify material layers used in a 3D texture

Adjust the material layers in a 3D texture using the controls in the Appearance pane of the Text Inspector. This example shows how to modify the Substance layer of a simple 3D texture.

  1. In the Layers list, Timeline, or Canvas, select a 3D text object.

    A preview thumbnail of the preset currently applied to the text appears in the Text Inspector, in the Material section of the Appearance pane.

    3D Text Inspector showing Basic White material

    The material layers comprising the preset are shown under the preview thumbnail. For example, the Basic material preset has a single material layer: Substance, which is set to Plastic. Additional Substance settings specify the type of plastic (Shiny) as well as the color (White).

  2. Click the Substance pop-up menu and choose a substance category.

    3D Text Inspector showing Substance pop-up menu

    Depending on the option you select, additional controls may appear in the Appearance pane.

  3. Click the Type pop-up menu (under the Substance pop-up menu) and select a specific substance belonging to the category you selected above.

    Depending on the option you select, additional controls may appear in the Appearance pane.

  4. Adjust other available Substance settings, such as Color, Brightness, Roughness, and so on.

    As you make adjustments, the preview thumbnail is updated in the Material section of the Appearance pane, and the 3D text is updated in the Canvas.

For a description of all material layer controls, see Material controls overview.

Rename a modified material

When you modify material layers, the preview thumbnail in the Material section of the Appearance pane is updated show the new texture. However, the preset name under the thumbnail remains the same (“Basic” for text added with the 3D Text tool). You can rename the material to better describe the modified material.

  • In the Material section of the Text Inspector’s Appearance pane, double-click the name of the material (beneath the preview thumbnail), then type a new name and press Return.

    3D Text Inspector showing a material being renamed

    The material is renamed for the selected 3D text object. The original preset remains unchanged.

Restore a material’s preset settings

If you’re not satisfied with the results of your modifications to a preset material, you can revert the material back to its original settings, or to the settings of any preset.

  • In the Appearance pane of the Text Inspector, click the preview thumbnail in the Material area, then choose a preset from the pop-up menu.

    3D Text Inspector showing Material preset pop-up menu

    The settings of the chosen preset are applied to 3D text object, and are shown in the updated preview thumbnail. Other customized instances of the preset are not affected.