Adjust 3D text lighting

All 3D titles in Final Cut Pro have a set of built-in options that simulate basic lighting conditions, so you can create natural-looking scenes quickly and easily.

Viewer showing 3D title with dramatic lighting

Modify the lighting style

  1. Select a 3D title in the Timeline.

  2. To open the Inspector pane, do one of the following:

    • Choose Window > Show Inspector (or press Command-4).

    • Click the Inspector button in the toolbar.

      Inspector button
  3. Click the Text button at the top of the Inspector pane to open the Text inspector.

  4. In the Lighting section of the 3D Text section, click the Lighting Style pop-up menu and choose a lighting style.

    Lighting Style pop-up menu in the Lighting section of the Text inspector

    Tip: In the case of the Backlit option, default environmental light will cause some illumination to fall on the front surface of the title. To create an effect where the front of the object appears entirely unlit (like the Backlit preview sphere), deselect the Environment checkbox.

  5. Drag the Intensity slider to increase or decrease the amount of illumination.

The following examples illustrate a few selected lighting styles using the default Soft Box Above lighting environment set to 80% intensity. For information about lighting environments, see Modify the lighting environment.

Four images of a 3D title in the Viewer with different lighting styles

For a detailed list of all 3D text lighting controls, see Lighting and environment controls.

Control how 3D titles cast shadows

In the real world, complex objects often cast shadows on parts of themselves. You can simulate this effect in Final Cut Pro using the Self Shadows controls. The following examples show what 3D text looks like with Self Shadows turned on and off. Both examples use the Diagonal Left lighting style.

Viewer showing a 3D title with Self Shadows turned on and turned off
  1. Select a 3D title in the Timeline.

  2. In the Lighting section of the 3D Text section of the Text inspector, select the Self Shadows checkbox.

    Note: If Lighting Style is set to Off, the Self Shadows checkbox is hidden.

    With self-shadows enabled, one part of a 3D title casts a shadow on another part of the same title (depending on the light source position). Although this effect can add realism to a text object, in some cases it may add unwanted or distracting shadows.

  3. Click the disclosure triangle next to the Self Shadows checkbox to reveal additional controls, and do any of the following:

    • To decrease the visibility of self shadows: Drag the Opacity slider to the left.

    • To soften the edges of self-shadows, making them more subtle: Drag the Softness slider to the right.