Mini Breakdowns 3

Here are a couple of recent title animations I completed using Cinema 4D and After Effect with GenArts Sapphire. Rather than doing full breakdowns I’ve included some key tips that you may want to incorporate into your own work.

For Kingsman: The Secret Service, the text animation and camera moves were created using MovieType For Cinema 4D.


The gold was easy to create using only the Reflectance channel in Cinema 4D R16. Set Layer Fresnel to Conductor, then choose from a range of different metal types presets. I used pale, warm yellow for Layer Color to add warmth to the gold preset.


Sapphire Glow is my go-to glow effect and worked well to add some subtle glow to the highlights. Sometimes some subtle glow is all you need to create an high-end, expensive look but remember that less is often more with glows.


To ensure that the lens flare was positioned correctly I used the Cinema 4D Align To Spline Tag applied to a Null object. Setting keyframes for the Align To Spline Position parameter moved the Null across the top of the N. The Cinema 4D project was imported into After Effects where I used Cineware to extract the scene information, including the camera, lights and External Compositing Tag information. Even if you’re not using Cineware to render your Cinema 4D scenes inside of After Effects, it can still be a great time saver for importing the scene data from Cinema 4D.


In order for the Align To Spline position information to be recognised by Cineware it had to be baked to create keyframes. An External Compositing Tag was also added to ensure the Flare Null was included in the extracted scene elements in After Effects.

Kingsman06 Kingsman07

Sapphire Lens Flare’s Flare Editor was used to create the flare. The flare was linked to an After Effects light which in turn was parented to the extracted Flare Null. It would have been easier if the flare could be parented directly to the Flare Null but this is an easy workaround.

Recreating the title logo for Seventh Son gave me another opportunity to perfect the chiseled text look using Lofts in Cinema 4D.


The font used for Seventh Son is Benguit, modified in Adobe Illustrator to match the original artwork. The inner paths for the sweep were created using the Pen Tool (for the basic path), the Offset Path command (to outline the paths) and the Unite function in the Pathfinder to combine all individual paths for the letter into one object.


One of the keys to a successful chisel loft is ensuring that all of the points on the outer path have corresponding points on the inner path. Any extra points will cause unexpected stretching of the geometry. In this image I’ve added blue lines to indicate corresponding points.


After importing the paths as splines into Cinema 4D another key is making sure that the First Point on the inner and outer paths are on corresponding points. Be sure to also check that one path isn’t reversed, and if it is, use the Reverse Sequence command to reverse it to match the direction of the other path.


The angle of the chisel is controlled by positioning the inner path in front of the outer path.


Only add as many points as you need to create smooth curves, the fewer the better. I found myself needing to do further adjustments to the spine directly in Cinema 4D to even out the polygon flow, especially around the serifs.


The extrusion is separate from the loft and was created by duplicating the outer path and dropping it into an Extrude object.


Be sure to double check the model for problems before adding your materials.

Here’s the final render composited in After Effects. It takes work but is definitely worth the effort. The benefit of using the loft technique over polygonal modelling is that with technique you’re using parametric objects, making any further adjustments easier. Please leave a comment if you’d like me to expand on anything or if you have a better approach.

  1. Mike Tosetto

    Love this style of breakdown. Some great tips in there. Very useful, thanks.

    • John Dickinson

      Glad you found it useful Mike.

  2. Mark Shingleton

    That chiseled text in Seventh Son looks great!

    • John Dickinson

      Thanks Mark.

  3. reza

    thanks for key tips john,I will use it in mine soon.I wish I had better processor 🙁

    • John Dickinson

      You’re welcome Reza, which machine are you using now?

  4. Antonio Martir

    Thanks for those tips John, this is the type of information only a master can share. Can you do a tutorial on how to create text with inner paths and how to unite them, tat is the part we never see, and then how to work with the chisel, adding points etc in Cinema 4D, it will be so help full.

    Keep the great job you always do and keep them coming.

    • John Dickinson

      Thanks Antonio, if I had time I would 😉 If you want to contact me off list we can talk about it.

  5. sriswathi.b

    Some incredible tips in there. Exceptionally helpful, much obliged.

  6. Steven Jenkins

    I’ve been wanting to make some chiseled text. There isn’t really and automated way to do this, as there is with beveling. Turns out a client of mine really wanted that text to stand out, so I decided to use loft nurbs to make a chiseled look like you did here. The big difference is that I had imported my paths into Cinema, then duplicated the splines once inside Cinema. Might have been easier duplicating them while still in Illustrator like you did here. Great look you have here!

    • John Dickinson

      You’re welcome Steven. Let me know if you have any questions.

  7. Tosan Oru

    John you did it again, that is you have blown my mind away. I have been trying to do that chisel style for a very long time now, would you mind making a tutorial just for doing that?

  8. Jim Huenergardt

    Hey John,

    Love the idea, but I’m having a terrible time trying to get it to work. There must be something I’m missing. I tried it with a single letter I, but it ends up taking the rounded parts and making them straight when I loft it with the two splines. I’ve tried several times both creating the splines in Illustrator as well as C4D.

    Would love to have you look at my screen grab and maybe give me a tip.

    Thanks for your great tutorials!


    • John Dickinson

      Hey Jim, shoot me over the screen shot to john at motionworks dot com.

      • Jim Huenergardt

        Another ‘trick’ I used to get it done quickly was to take the original spline into Cinema 4D and then do a mesh//spline/create outline with it and checked ‘create new object.’

        That way, you have the exact number of points. I just moved them where I needed them. Then, all I had to do was reverse the order and set the first point and it worked, once I got my LOFT right.

    • Jim Huenergardt

      So, I just figured out that my Loft Mesh Subdivision U was WAY too low. Once I raised it up to about 300, it worked great.

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