Summer Lovin’

I created this look using Cinema 4D with Adobe Illustrator, After Effects and GenArts Sapphire.

TR Candice was the perfect font for the Seventies summer look I wanted to create.

The text was set in Illustrator with attention to kerning.

Illustrator’s Offset Paths command was used to create the outline, which resulted in a lot of overlapping paths and some undesireable points at the base of the M and N.

Illustrator’s Pathfinder feature was used in Unite mode to join all of the overlapping paths in the outline together into one object.

The prepared Illustrator paths. Notice how the Ms and N have been cleaned up and the compound paths in the S and L have been removed.

Searching Adobe Color (formerly Adobe Kuler) revealed the perfect colour palette for this Seventies summer look.

The prepared paths were imported into Cinema 4D as splines using the Merge Objects function.

The finished outline, created using an Extrude object with big, soft caps. This actually took a bit of spline adjustment to get clean geometry at the corners.

The text, also extruded with smaller caps, was positioned to slightly intersect the outline. The lighter orange material includes the red of the outline as a Fresnel in the Luminance channel, which resulted in some darker red areas around the edges of the orange.


An Infinite light with Area shadows provided the overall illumination.

A tropical beach HDR image from HDRLabs added to a Sky object was perfect for some subtle, summery reflections.


MovieType for Cinema 4D provided the Seamless Scene. Note the gradient colour which was sampled from the Adobe Color swatch. Note also that the text and outline (Base) were set to not be reflected in the floor.

MovieType for Cinema 4D also provided a quick, dynamic camera move using a CameraRectangle preset.

The Physical camera settings and depth of field settings used. I often render a separate depth pass and add blur in After Effects but this time I rendered depth of field directly out of Cinema 4D.

The depth pass and resulting RGB pass. It can take a little work to set up depth of field in Cinema 4D if you’re new at it, but the results are worth it.

The final, multi-pass render from Cinema 4D was done in OpenEXR format.

The text was isolated in After Effects with a Track Matte using an imported object buffer, and lightened using the Curves effect.

The reflection pass was added using the Add blend mode, to give the reflections more punch.

The Ambient Occlusion pass was added using the Multiply blend mode, to boost the shadows and increase the contrast.

The Specular pass was blurred slightly using Sapphire Blur and tinted using Sapphire Gamma, then mixed using the Add blend mode. This is a great way to isolate the glow to only the specular in the image.

Sapphire LightLeak was used to enhance the Summer look. LightLeak is great for customisable light leak looks and works well as an overall colour grade here, giving a hazy summer feel.

Sapphire Grain was used to add a super subtle grain pass. I don’t like to add too much grain, which can look bad when compressed for broadcast if overdone.

The final comp uses QubaHQ Chromatic Aberration rig to add some subtle chromatic aberration to edges of the frame.


  1. Ulises Reyes

    ¡Me gusta mucho en render final! El texto se siente como algo sólido pero al mismo tiempo suave, como si se tratara de un caramelo.

    Excelente trabajo. Hace un par de días traté de recrear las letras utilizando Blender y After Effects, pero no logré esa escencia… quizás con un poco más de trabajo pueda lograrlo.

    Le comparto mi render final »

    Gracias por compartir sus conocimientos, Sr. Dickinson. ¡Saludos desde México!

  2. bobo

    very nice reflections!

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