3D Text Shatter Effect – Tutorial


Author: Arno Van Waeyenberg. with 145 Comments

I’m going to show you how to make a 3D text shatter effect. This effect is made in two programs, Cinema 4D and Photoshop.If you haven’t heard of Cinema 4D before it is a relatively easy to use 3d application, it is quite similar to 3dsMax or Maya. I will go pretty in depth with the Cinema 4D part, for all the inexperienced users, so bare with me if I go too slow. Now enough chit chat, let’s jump in.

Required Resources

In this tutorial we will be using some resources you will want to download before starting:


(Optional) Cinema 4d material

*NEW* – We just released a font that you can download that creates a similar effect. Check it out!

Final Image Preview

Step 1: Creating the basic text

Open up Cinema 4D and make a text object

Write “Media Militia” in the text object

Now rotate your text object: 90* on the X axis and -90* on the Y axis

Create an Extrude NURBS object

And drop your text in it

Change the object properties of the Extrude NURBS to 0 / 0 / 35

Now take your ExtrudeNURBS object and hit “C” (this makes your object editable)

Open this object and select everything (Ctrl+A) then right click your object and press “Connect”

You can now delete your old object that you just “Connected”

Rename your object “Media Militia”

Take the polygon tool and the Rectangle Selection tool, make sure to un check the “only select visible elements” box

Now with the scroll button of your mouse click on your “canvas” and you will see that four different views just opened up, we will be using the top view

So middle click on the top view to make that view bigger, and select the first “M” letter of Media Militia right click on it and press “Split”

This creates a new object with just the “M” now delete the selection you have selected, this will delete the “M” from Media which leaves you with an “M” object and a “edia Milita” object. Rename the object you just split to “M”

Now go back to your “Media Militia” object and select and split the “t”, just as we did with the “M”. Delete the “t” from your Media Militia object and rename the “t” you just split to “t”

Middle click on your screen and go back to perspective view. Take the Live Selection tool and on your “M” object select the shown polygon:

Right click on your screen and select “Extrude”

Add 350 to the offset

Go into Top View and select your “t” object, press Ctrl+A (to select all the polygons) then take your Scale Tool and scale up the X axis (or the red axis) to 220

Go back to Perspective View and select the shown polygon with the Live Selection tool

Right click on your screen and select Extrude and add 1000 m in the Offset

Take your Use Model tool and the Live Selection tool

Make a floor

Go into Right View, select your three text objects and move them right on top of your floor

Now make two copies of each text object, and place each copy underneath it’s original, name each object as shown below

Create a Shatter Object and copy it, name one shatter object “Shatter 1” and the other one “Shatter 2”

Change the strength of the “Shatter 1” object to 20 %, and the strength of the “Shatter 2” object to 10%

Select both Shatter objects and copy them twice, now place a Shatter object in each copied text object (match them up according to their number as shown)

Now select all of your text objects ending with either a 1 or a 2 and take the Live Selection tool

And move the “green axis” up 14.3 points, so that it is on top of the original text object

Go into top view, take your Polygon tool and select all your text objects ending with “1”

Make sure you have no polygons selected (left click anywhere on your canvas to de-select any polygons you might have selected)

Right click on your canvas and select “Knife” (make sure the visible only is checked)

Now start randomly cutting from one side of your text to another, do this around 30-60 times (this will make the shattered pieces smaller)

Make sure you don’t leave any long polygons like the extruded M and T uncut

Keep cutting until you have something like this

Now do the same for the text objects ending with “2”

After that go into side view and start cutting up the text objects ending with 1 and 2 just as we did earlier (make sure to un check the “Visible Only” box)

Now select all your “2” text objects and scale up the green axis using the scale tool

Then move it down, so that the top of the letters are slightly on top of your original text

Now take all the “1” text objects and scale them up as well

Then as we did before move them down, so that the top is a little higher then the original text

Step 2: Adding Light and textures to our image

Make a basic light

Make three copies of it, and name them 1, 2, 3, 4 accordingly

Change the Intensity of the first three light objects to 45% and change the intensity of the 4th light to 70%

Now select the 2nd 3rd and 4th light objects and change the shadow to “Shadow Maps (Soft)”

Now go into top view and move each light as shown below

Go into side view, select all your lights and move them up a bit as shown

Now we are going to make the materials for our floor and for our text

Start by making a new material

Double click on the material (to open the material editor) and change the color to the following

Now check the boxes for Luminance, Bump, Specular, and Displacement

Change the settings to the settings shown in the screen shots below (In the bump and displacement options you will have to load in the metal texture image)

Now close the material editor, and drop the material onto the floor

This next part isn’t necessary but it gives your text a nice touch, it does take longer to render though.

We are going to load our downloaded material and place it on all of our text objects

Go into the render settings, and change the Output to the following

Then we are going to put on Global Illumination and Ambient Occlusion (just click the check box on the top, leave all the other settings on default)

Before we render our scene we are going to set our perspective view on a nice angle, I put my picture on this angle

Now hit the render button

This can take quite a while, depending on how strong your computer is, but after that we are done with Cinema 4d and we will go play in photoshop :)

Once it is finished rendering save it as a jpg format, and 300 dpi (dots per inch)

Step 3: Editing the picture in photoshop

Open your image in photoshop

Double click your layer and name it “Base”

Make a new layer under your base layer and fill it with white

Now add a white mask to your “Base” and with a large soft black brush (bring the opacity of your brush down to 50%) start masking out the colored edges

Now import your metal texture and resize it so that I covers the entire media militia text, desaturate the texture and change the blending mode to overlay.

Take your eraser tool and delete any harsh exteriors

Take your base layer and go to Image>Adjustment>Curves and change the settings to something like the following

Now import your ink texture, rasterize it, and name it Ink. Make sure you place it underneath the metal texture

Change the blending mode to multiply

Add a mask to the layer and get rid of all the dark areas surrounding the actual ink

Now duplicate this layer and hide the original, rotate and move your copy so that it is on top of the text, then with a very soft brush mask out the parts that stick out from the text.

Then after that change the transparency to 5%-50% (change it around so that you get a random look) and with a small brush start brushing the edges of the ink that is on top of your text

Duplicate your original ink texture and cover another part of the text and repeat the same process as with the other ink texture. Do this until all your text is covered with ink textures.

Now select all your ink layers and add them to a group, name the group Ink.

Change the opacity of your ink group to 40%

Now make a new layer, name it Shadow, and with a black color and a soft, big brush add a line around the text as shown:

Add a Gaussian Blur, 17 px, and bring down the opacity to 30 percent. Now delete any parts of the shadow that you don’t like with a big soft brush

And we are pretty much finished.
Upload your finished product on your web hosting and see what it looks like online.

If you want to go even further you can take the dodge and burn tools and make some highlights on your Base layer

I hope this tutorial was of some help :) Cheers!

About The Author: Arno Van Waeyenberg

My name is Arno Van Waeyenberg, I'm 16 years old and I'm originally from Belgium. I started to study computer graphics one and a half years ago, starting with digital photography, Photoshop, and then Cinema 4D. Everyday I strive to better my skills in these programs.

Browse Archived Articles by Arno Van Waeyenberg


There are currently 145 Comments on 3D Text Shatter Effect – Tutorial. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. Thank you so much, this is awesome :D

  2. very nice tutorial….
    like it so much…

  3. Hi there! I simply would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great data you’ve right here on this post. I will likely be coming again to your weblog for extra soon.

  4. Man! This is just great! It’s good to use for any intermediate c4d and Ps user! Great explanation and good use of images. Makes it really understandable and easy to use! Thanks!

  5. Its a great guide but im abit stuck, i cut and cut but the shatter still looks the same. Any tips?

  6. Brilliant tut! A little hard for a complete beginner with C4D, took me a few attempts to nail it… Photoshop stuff was easy as chips, got a wonderful bg for my gf thx! :D

  7. Thanks for the awesome tutorial

  8. Hey there,
    Amazing job, but I have a question,
    I don’t have Cinema 4D and it is a little expensive for my budget at this time.
    Can someone do this for me?
    The text needs to be ‘BC-Gaming’
    I just need the Cinema 4D part done, I can do the Photoshop stuff.

    I understand that I am asking someone to do this for free, and I’m sorry.
    Anyway, thank you for your time, if you would like to help me in this, please email me braydon@coyer.net


  9. 3D Text Shatter Effect – Tutorial it’s excellent !!!! I really enjoyed it!

  10. I really liked the smoke effect in photoshop, that´s the image final view.

  11. it was a geat technique…and perfecctly executed… learn more of it and well… best of luck

  12. Nice Article of3D Text Shatter Effect – Tutorial.
    Thanks for sharing this article to us.

  13. I’ll need to try it by myself, I hope C4D has some kind of free trial or demo.

  14. Very helpful tutorial for graphic designer. Thanks for share to everyone

  15. Very nice tutorial.Nice one its relay helpful. Thanks for share .

  16. Relay helpful posting. Thanks for this blog

  17. Hey, i’ve got a problem at the very beginning, it’s probably because i’m not used to the software too…
    the preview looks like the linked image instead of showing nice 3D-wireframes no matter what i’m doing. :/

    help me, please – thanks


  18. wow, good tuts..
    amazing this tutorial your share to all designer newbie :D

  19. mind updating this for Cinema 4D 13?

    • That may be something we look into in the future..Great suggestion!

    • thank so’much… really good tuts !

  20. Thank you

  21. which version of cinema are you using for this because im usign r12.048 and some of the things you say to do are a little different than whats on my screen

  22. Someone make a upgarde on that tutorial coz I’m using Cinema 4D R13 and some things doesnt match anymore. Even better if a video tutorial…

  23. Hey, Just wondering what king of software you guys using to do those text?
    i am new in design, i am familiar with Adobe Illustrator and just psd.

  24. wow~ nice
    It looks so cool this text effect

  25. Creative post .i like it
    thanks to share…………..

  26. wow! this looks very very good! thanks!

  27. 16 years old .. And you are into the photoshop thing for about 1and a half year ..!!! im 20 and im into photoshop thing for about half year now .. I Feel Old :’(

  28. This is a great tutorial. It will help to make 3D text. Thanks.

  29. its a really nice tutorial on #D text effect. can you tell me which software is better to work on 3D text?

  30. I am happiness via, result in I came across precisely what I’d been seeking. You’ve was over my 4 time very long quest! The lord Bless you gentleman. Use a great evening. Cya

  31. Terrific work! That is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the net. Shame on the seek engines for not positioning this post upper! Come on over and discuss with my website . Thanks =)

  32. Thank you Arno, your work is fantastic and truly inspiring! Your tutorial is well presented visually and clearly, keep up the great work!

  33. Pls make a video tutorial I cant do it with this text tutorial

  34. I want share it

  35. Lots of Photoshop tutorials I have read on shutter effect. I am really impressed to see your works here. Just bookmarked this one as you this in part by part. Thank you

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