Modify the lighting environment

Reflective objects such as 3D text need something to reflect. You can choose what’s reflected in the surface of 3D titles by enabling environment lighting.

Environment lighting projects an image onto the 3D title to simulate a reflected world. Because environment lighting emulates the reflective properties of real-world objects, its effects are more noticeable on 3D text with shiny surfaces.

The following examples show different lighting environments. (In these examples, Lighting Style is set to Off. For information about lighting styles, see Adjust 3D text lighting.)

Viewer showing 3D titles with four different lighting environments

Set the lighting environment for a 3D title

  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 Environment disclosure triangle to show the Environment controls.

  5. Click the Type pop-up menu and choose one of the preset lighting environments.

    Preset lighting environments menu

    Tip: You may need to rotate the 3D title around the X or Y axis to see different parts of the reflected environment. For information about rotating a text object, see Rotate a title in 3D space with onscreen controls.

Modify the appearance of a reflected environment

In the Environment controls in the Lighting section of the Text inspector, do any of the following:

  • Drag the Intensity slider to the left to make the reflected image appear dimmer, or drag the slider to the right to make the reflected image appear brighter.

  • Drag the Rotation dial to change the angle at which the environment image appears reflected in the 3D title.

    Tip: By default, environments rotate around the Y axis. To rotate around the other axes, expand the Rotation controls and adjust the dials.

  • Drag the Contrast slider to the right to create a sharper difference between the light and dark areas in the reflected image.

  • Drag the Saturation slider to the left to reduce the amount of color visible in the reflected image.

Turn off the environment reflection

Because the Environment controls effectively add a light source to your 3D title (even when Lighting Style is set to Off), you may want to turn off Environment entirely—for example, if you add scene lights to create a custom lighting environment.

  • Deselect the checkbox to the left of the Environment controls.

Tip: For the most realistic results, make sure that all 3D titles in your project use the same reflection environment.