I remember the first time John from Motionworks shown me a beta version of MovieType. Pretty cool – I remember saying – I’m sure it will be useful to the people who do lots of 3D text, but not really something I would use in my projects.

While I was certainly impressed with both the idea and the implementation of MovieType, I really did not think I’d ever have any need for it. My motion pieces rarely, if ever, use 3D typography. I may throw an After Effects 3D text layer here and there, but that’s pretty much it.

And then came the Morhipo.com gig.

Morhipo 1: Hande/Sinan


The deadline was tight, the advertisement’s content was not fully finalized. Changes to the timing, featured products and celebrity photos were delivered several times a day, as the agency struggled to get the finalized content locked down and approved by the client. To make things even more interesting, I had two more projects in the final stages of development at the very same time.

I could have said: Screw it, I’ll drop in the text in AE, throw some gradients on it and call it a day. Unfortunately, that’s not how I roll.

Now let me be very clear about something: I am no expert in 3D. I know what the software is capable of and how to get there, but I am terribly slow with execution. Typically, I prefer to work with a 3D artist or operator, guiding the development of the project, rather than a full hands-on experience. This time however, I did not have a choice. It was early evening, my 3D guy went AWOL, there was no time to find a new one, and I had to have all typography ready by the morning.

Morhipo 2: Hande/Deniz


Getting the base geometry was as easy as loading up a path from Illustrator, dropping it inside MovieType Extrude object and tweaking the values till I got the desired thickness and bevel size. Camera was even easier – a simple preset, tweaked a tiny bit to look and time just right.

Next came the shaders. Gold and silver are always a pain to set up and render properly – too many reflections and they start looking like plastic. Too much saturation – and gold turns into orange. Too little gloss and everything becomes dull and rubbery. With the help of MovieType though, I was able to load up library shaders and within just a few minutes tweak them to look exactly how I wanted.

After that all I had to do is drop some light presets, adjust them and add a few extra ones for a good measure. I also used the MovieType Reflective Sky object with some noise shaders to make sure the reflections on the surface of the text are exciting enough.

Not only was I able to finish the project on time – I even got a few solid hours of sleep that night!

Morhipo 3: Helin


Don’t get me wrong here. The final ad is no piece of art – it will not win any awards or be featured in motion design festivals. It is however, a solid piece of advertising, created on an impossible deadline while matching and even exceeding client’s expectations. I call that a success.

On an extra note: MovieType was also used to create the little black plexiglass boxes I placed the products on. It’s truly a very versatile product and after having it save me from delays I felt I owe it to the Motionworks team to do this little write-up and recommend it to all motion designers. You truly never know when it may come in handy – take it from a non-believer :)

For more info about MovieType, check http://www.motionworks.com.au/2011/08/movietype/.