3D software is notoriously difficult to learn and use but not so with Xara 3D Maker 7, which is probably the simplest to understand and use 3D application ever.
Xara 3D Maker 7 does just one thing – creates 3D text headings that can be static or animated. I’ll show you how you can create impressive scrolling 3D titles and credits for your movies. Download a trial version or buy Xara 3DMaker here
In the opening screen you will have a scrolling credit for Xara. The font is Tahoma and it has a simple extrude with no bevel. The text colour is white with 2 blue lights shining from the back onto the sides of the text. There’s one white light pointing at the front of the text, so it has a white face.
You can adjust all the Xara 3D attributes, such as extrude depth, the bevel type, the shadow, texture, colours etc. Select to stop the animation (on the video controls) whilst you customise the 3D text. You can run it again at any time to test your creation. Select the text icon (first on the left side menu) and enter the text for your scrolling title. You can select any part of the text and apply completely different settings – not just colour, but also font, bevel and extrude.
Select the colour palette (2nd menu icon on the left) to change the colours of the Text, Text faces, Text sides, Background, Light 1, 2 and 3. Select the light bulb icon at the top to show the lighting arrows.
Experiment with the colours and note that all changes happen in real time as you move the colour selector slider. You can adjust the light positions by simply dragging the arrows and you can change the extrusion simply by dragging on the side of the text. I have added a curved bevel with a depth of 25 to my text.
Click the ‘Animation’ tab on the right side to see the animations controls. There are methods of scrolling. The simplest of these is ‘scroll’. which moves the 3D text in the same direction, up/down, left/right, or in/out of the screen in a continuous fashion. The ‘scroll in/out’ has the option of independent directions for the ‘in’ and the ‘out’ part. In both cases you can control the speed of the animation, the acceleration or deceleration, and the gap between the lines of text.
For this example the speed starts at 200, with the mid and end as 400. The pause is set to 120cs – just over one second so now there is a longer pause and the text accelerates as it leaves the screen.
When you export a movie (select File -> Export Animation and select the avi type) the list of AVI options depends on the movie codecs you have installed on your computer. A good starting point, and a codec installed on almost all PCs, is to select Cinepak Codec by Radius. This produces acceptable quality for previewing. If you want the best quality select ‘uncompressed’ quality, but beware this produces very large files – but this is the best format to use if you want the import the movie into an existing movie editor to append to the start or end of your movies.
To append your avi file to the start or end of your existing movie you need to use separate movie editing software that allows you to import movies and append them to your main movie. Almost all movie editing software allows this but we’d recommend MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 17 Plus
Top Tips for Using Xara 3D Maker 7 for 3D titles
– To adjust the angle of the text drag on the face of the text, or easier, on the background.
– To adjust just one angle only e.g. vertical, drag the vertical or horizontal scroll bar.
– To set the color of any light just double-click on the light.
– To set the background color, double click on the background
– To adjust the extrude depth, drag on the side of the text (you will need to stop the animation first).
– To get really good reflections drag a light all the way around to the back at a shallow angle. You can drag a light to the back by just dragging sideways and keep dragging – it just rotates around the object front-to-back.
– Although you can export as Flash, it’s not very good for movies such as these scrolling animations. Much better to export as an AVI and if necessary convert to other formats using movie editing software.