In this tutorial, we’re gonna model a text by hand, and then shade, light and render it.

Links to the stuff mentioned in the video

Text Version

Write a text on paper and then take a photo of it. If you want to, you can also use the photo I made here.

realtext - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Open Blender and add the photo we took before as a background image (press “N” in 3D view to access the properties region).
 addimage - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Go into orthographic view by pressing 5 and into front view by pressing 1 on the numpad.

Press Shift+A, add a bezier curve and rotate it by 90 degrees on the X-axis.

AddCurve - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Switch to edit mode to edit the curve.

How Curves work

A curve is made out of segments. One segment is the thing between two group of points.

CurvesSegment - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

The point in the middle of a group of points is called the control point. With it, you can control where a segment starts or ends. If you move, rotate or scale the control point, the whole group of points will change.

CurvesControlPoints - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

The other two points are called the handles. By adjusting their position, you can adjust the curvature of the segment.

CurvesHandles - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

We can hit “E” to extrude the curve and add new segment.

Redraw/model the text with a curve in 3D with the techniques I just showed you. (I recommend spending quite a bit of time at this step, until the text looks good and has this kind of flow.

When you finished modeling the entire text, we want to add some thickness to it. Add a bezier circle (Shift+A > Curves).

AddCircle - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Select the text with the right mouse button, go to the data tab of the properties editor and then choose the bezier curve as the bevel object of the text.

Bevel - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Depending on the size of your text in relation to the bezier circle, the text may be a bit too thick now. However, we can easily adjust this by lowering the scale (S) of the bezier circle.

thickness - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Then, select the text again and go back to edit mode. Select the first and the last control point of the curve and decrease the radius of them in the properties region, which you can access by pressing “N”.

Radius - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Add a camera (Shift + A > Camera) and place it so it shows the text. (You can enter camera view by pressing “0” on the numpad and you can navigate with the camera by pressing shift+F and then using the WASD keys.)

Camera - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender
Camera Setup

Adjust the dimensions to roughly fit the text.

Split the 3D window and switch to rendered view (Shift + Z) in the upper window so we can actually see how it will look when rendered.

Then, if you haven’t done it already, go to the scene tab and set the view to filmic instead of default, which gives more dynamic range and adds correct highlight desaturation.

Lighting & Shading

Add an HDRI for basic lighting and reflections. (World tab > Surface > Color > Environment Texture). You can download the HDRI that I used here.

Select the text, go to the material tab and create a new material. Choose the Principled BSDF from the list with a nice orangey color, set it to metallic and increase the roughness to about “.3”.

Principled - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender
Material Setup

Then, add an area lamp (Shift + A > Lamp > Area) behind the text which separates the text a bit more from the background.

AddLamps - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

The default strength of 100 works fine for me in this case.

Duplicate the area lamp by pressing shift+D and place it so it lights the text from the front. Scale the lamp a bit down on the global z-axis so the reflection of it in the golden material gets a bit thinner. Increase the strength of this lamp to about 200, to make the reflection more prominent.

Lamps - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender
Lighting Setup

Rendering

Since we wanna add a background image to this later, we’re gonna set the background to transparent.

Transparent - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Increase the render samples to about “300” and activate denoising in the render layers tab to make it noise free.

Samples - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender Denoising - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Hit F12 and wait ‘til it’s rendered.

Once it has finished rendering, press F3 and save it as a PNG.

Then, import it into an image editing software. I’m using Affinity Photo, but you can use any other software you want.

In Affinity Photo, create a new file and set it’s dimension to 1920 by 1080.

Import the render and then add a new layer beneath the text and fill it with a nice violet color.

background - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Download the Grunge Wall 01 texture from cgbookcase.com and add the color map on top of the violet layer.

Set the blend mode of the texture to overlay, so you can still see the violet background color.

Decrease the visibility of the texture so the effect is more subtle.

Rescale the texture, move it to the corner of the image and duplicate and replace it a bunch of times until you have this “dark stripes” on every side of the image.

Vignette - How to Create 3D Lettering / Calligraphy in Blender

Adjust the levels of the text a bit to make it brighter and add a shadow to it so it better integrates with the background and looks more realistic.

Lastly, export it as a jpeg and maybe share it on twitter to get a few likes.

Finished Product
Finished Product

Thanks for reading, I really hoped you’ve learned something in this tutorial. If you did, please check out my twitter account, where I sometimes post stuff.

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