TL Action - 3D text soft shadow

Hi geniei

Using TL Action I’m trying to add a soft shadow to 3D text by attaching the shadow node and adjusting the softness.
I only see a hard drop shadow. What am I missing.


To add on to Sinan’s post…

Try setting Action to “Z-Buffer off” under preferences and confirming that the shadow node is behind the 3D Text node in Action’s Priority Editor.


The Shadow node in Action can generate soft shadows within a physical object. For example, you have a small logo in an HD frame, you add the shadow node and you can move and soften it up. If the logo filled the entire frame (physical object), you are not able to “grow” the shadow beyond the borders. you may have seen this when you try blur an image beyond its edges and by default this is not possible.

So when you consider a 3D object like text, you can make a hard drop shadow but initially you cannot generate a soft shadow because it would mean the text object would need to grow beyond itself which is currently not possible.

There are currently a few options to get soft shadows for 3D text.

  1. Use the Drop shadow matchbox — Have a gap with an Action Timeline FX. Create the 3D text object and apply the matchbox drop shadow to the camera. Do not comp the with the background in Action. Rather build the 3D text in Action and Comp with the Comp Timeline FX to make it work.
  2. Use Source Front and Matte Nodes. This technique is “nesting” the 3D text within a layer and then applying the shadow to the layer. This will allow you to generate a soft-shadow for the contents within the layer = soft shadow for 3D text.
  3. Use a light and the shadow cast node to create a show on an invisible receiving object. Here you are using the 3D environment to generate a shadow.
  4. Build multiple passes in Batch or BFX as a node tree and recompose together.

Hope this helps!


WOW Thanks Grant. Andy and I worked out a way with shadowcaster as per your option 3.
I really like the sound of option 2 as well and will give that a go.

Many thanks.

Hi John,

Here is a screenshot of the soft shadow with 3D text using option 2.


When i’ve run into that problem i usually just retype the 3d text in a text node and bring in as another layer for the shadow. Obviously there are limitations with this depending on what you do w/ the 3d type…but in a pinch its fairly painless.