Sculpting, rigging, compositing and typography

Where we figure out how complex computer graphics can help typographers and share a list of tools for generating it

January 30, 2024

This publication has been prepared together with Bang Bang Education design and technology school, which is a part of the Ultimate Education holding.

Designers began actively using motion and 3D design in typography in 2018, starting from flat animation and moving text within simple 3D animated scenes. The entirety of visual techniques that designers CGI and kinetic typographers share their latest works on Instagram, and in this material, we share links to their accounts. Therefore, according to the decree of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, we have to mention that Instagram is owned by Meta, a company recognized as extremist by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation applied is commonly referred to as kinetic typography.

1 Squarespace company rebranding

As back in 2018 graphics cards were substantially less capable than today, the rendering process took much longer and exported files often contained errors. Many 3d editors were not MacOs compatible, while those that were offered way less opportunities for work with textures, light and physics simulations. That’s the reason why typographers often applied the same moves and techniques — and those soon stopped being fresh and interesting. As time passed, some kinetic typography adepts switched to generative design (which is done through code), others mastered software initially designed for CGI (which was now available for all operating systems) and learned to do compositing Combining a number of videos, images or scenes in one frame, rigging Placing a model within a virtual skeleton that helps animate the object as quickly and accurately as possible, sculpting Computer imitation of clay modelling to create most realistiс objects, and lighting. And that’s their toolkit that we’re going to address in this article.


It is not enough to just know the rules for dealing with text and have the knowledge of one editor to create a 3D typographic composition. Each software for working with 3D and CGI has its own specifics and functionality, which is why designers most often combined several tools in their practice. We will look at the most popular tools and their combinations below.


Of course, you will not be able to create a video or a 3D scene of the same quality that you can get with a specialised software, but it is most convenient to use graphic editor software for creating a typographic composition. To handle a finished composition in 3D software, you have to export it from Illustrator to Figma as PNG or SVG.

After Effects

After Effects is good for creating animated texture or putting up a video using sequences exported from other tools, such as Blender or Cinema 4D.

Beats by Dre presentation, Builders Club

2 Nike’s campaign for International Women’s Day,

The Lexus Experience, Future Deluxe Studio

Redshift + Cinema 4D

You can use Cinema 4D to introduce realistic illumination, embossing or texture to text, or make a simple simulation — for example, make ice letters melt. Redshift is the best tool for rendering the finished composition.

Blueprints from the Metaverse series for Rimowa, CATK Studio

Bugs, Vakho Jappari

Nacka Dynamics, Carl Herner and Wille Larsson

Postcard for International Women’s Day, Fantasticmotion

Teenage Engnering’s recorder and sampler 3D models

Blender + 3D-Coat

3D-coat can be used to sculpt and turn a vector lettering into a complex 3D object. You can design not only a character, but also lettering or an entire font You won’t be able to create an OTF or TTF file in 3D-Coat, yet you can export a set of glyphs created in this tool in the SVG format to a font editor. and then use Blender rigging and animation to imitate its variability.

Yonk typeface

5 Yonk typeface

Lettering, ТОGО

6 Lettering, ТОGО

Substance 3D Painter

If the object is composite, Substance 3D Painter is the best way to add text to it. The tool can help place it as accurately as possible.

Joints 20/22, Vitaly Grossmann and Alex Schlegel

Sneakers 3D models, Studio Xose


Houdini is a tool designed primarily for physics simulation, so one should use it if they need to imitate realistic text behaviour in a specific material. Houdini is good for presenting fonts designed for a very particular narrow application, such as laser engraving or embroidery.

Microsoft typefaces presentation, SixnFive Studio

Yves Saint Laurent logo deconstruction, Sergey Shurupov

Think conference announcement, Someform


For the Ton.618 exhibition identity concept, Bang Bang Education school designers employed three tools: Figma (to put together typographic compositions), Cinema 4D (to create mockups of print media, for instance, a catalogue), Substance 3D Painter (to add text to the cones that were supposed to provide navigation through the exhibition).

17 Figma project

Final result. One-page deliverables. Design: Dasha Shmakova, Andrey Karter


Cinema 4D project


Final result. Exhibition catalogues. Design: Dasha Shmakova, Andrey Karter

Substance 3D Painter project

Final result. Navigation deliverables. Design: Dasha Shmakova, Andrey Karter