A couple quick noobish q's on animating text

Some friends of mine are making a film for our college’s annual film festival and I am making an animated logo for their “studio” in Blender. I have an idea of what it should look like, but I am not quite sure how to accomplish it.

The end product should look something like this…
The ‘studio’ name is two words, each of which is warped/deformed into a circle, and each one rolls in from either side of the screen, and when they reach the center they unroll and are now flat.

There’s some other fancy things I was thinking of, but I figure once I get that basic animation down there, most of them are just extending the same concept a few times. However, I don’t know exactly how to go about doing this. I have tinkered around with the text and warp tools, and have done some really simple animation stuff, but I have run into two main problems; First, when I use the warp tool or deform the text with a lattice, the individual letters get deformed, and I want them to look more normal. Is there any easy way to accomplish or should I just take what I can get and be happy? Second, is that I don’t know how to accomplish the unrolling, at least in any manner that isn’t incredibly time consuming and would probably not look too good. I haven’t been to come up with any coherent strategy for this. Can anyone give me some tips on methods or tools that might work? I am pretty new to Blender, so while I am familiar with most of the concepts I don’t have much practical experience.

Also, this is a small liberal arts college and most of the films (even ours) are very amateur productions, so just having anything close to what I have envisioned would impress 97% of the audience.

Thanks for any help.

My apologies. In the subject I said this would be quick.

well, you could try using the curve deform feature. it’s explained in the latest release notes. also check into rvks. if you know the end shape and the beginning shape, you just set mesh keys for those, and in the action editor you can set keys for their influence.

Here’s a quick animation I did:
Here’s the blend:

The animation is pretty close to what I was thinking of, but the .blend doesn’t open. It gives me a file read error. Is it from an older version?

Right click the link in my earlier message and choose ‘download link to disk’.
At least that’s what worked when I just tried it. I used version 236 when I made it and also when I just opened the copy by doing as I said above. I’m on an iBook with OS X 10.2, but I doubt that should make a difference.

Hmmm, I get an error also when I try to open the blend file pamtango posted (WinXP - 2.36)

Tried my hand at this. Not sure if this is what you had in mind, but there you go:

(~600kB) DivX



Woo! Gimble that is spot on. I’ll take a peek at that blend right away. You sir are a lifesaver.
Thanks a hojillion

Woah Gimble - that’s a cool solution! I’d never thought of using emptys like that!

That is fascinating. I’m a noob with a question about it though. How are the letters linked to the circle for the first part of the animation, is the circle linked as a parent? Which window or button would show me that relationship if I wanted to discover it for myself? Also did you just warp the text before linking it to the circle?

Thanks for any useful answers that might follow.


Short Answer(s):

To get the text to “warp”, I just used the ‘TextonCurve’ feature located in the Edit Buttons Window [F9] > Text panel. Be careful to enter the name of the circle exactly (ie. It’s case-sensitive ‘CurveCircle’ not ‘curvecircle’ for instance).

After converting the text to a curve object, I seperated [p] each character, and then parented the letters to the circle. You can tell that they are parented to the circle by the dashed line which extends from the letter to the circle’s center. (ie. if you try to pull the letter away; you will see the dashed line - though they all originate at the circle’s center).

Long Answer:

The instructions may be slightly different if you are using a pre-release 2.40 version of Blender.
I’ll assume the current 2.37a version.

Delete the default cube.

Add a Curve > NURBS Circle. Press the ‘3D’ button in the Edit Buttons Window/ Curve and Surface panel, so that the circle isn’t drawn “filled in”. Tab out of edit mode.

Add Text. Press ‘Shift_backspace’ to delete the default text, and type in whatever you like: ‘gerardv’, for instance. Tab out of edit mode. Give the text some thickness by increasing the ‘Ext1’ variable in the Edit Buttons Window/ Curve and Surface panel to something like .05. Also, give ‘Ext2’ a value of .02 to slightly bevel the edges a bit.

In the ‘TextOnCurve’ text button located in the Edit Buttons Window/ Font panel, enter the name of the NURBS Circle ‘CurveCircle’.


  • Be sure to enter the name of the circle exactly because it is case sensitive,
  • You might want to toggle out of solid view mode by pressing [z] so that you can see the circle in the 3DWindow,
  • The text may not “snap” to the circle immediately since the 3DWindow won’t update instantly or automatically until you perform some operation (like pressing [z]) to cause it to update.

OK; now the text should be ‘warped’ slightly around the circle. To make it so that it is all the way around the circle, increase the ‘Spacing’ number button value located in the Edit Buttons Window/ Font panel to a value of about 2.0 .

If you look closely at the text now, you will notice a problem. If it spins clockwise, the text won’t come off the circle properly. To correct this, select the circle and Tab into edit mode. Then (with all the control handle points selected), press [s], [x], 1, - , [Enter]. [Tab] out of edit mode, and you should see the text flip such that now the top of the letters are towards the center of the circle.

Though this also causes the letters to be a bit crowded together. To fix this, scale the circle up by a factor of 1.25 and then re-select the text and re-adjust the spacing (2.5) so that the letters are all evenly spaced once again.

In order to have the letters come off one at a time, we need to break them apart.
First, convert the text to curves by pressing Alt_c.
In edit mode select the letters one at a time (you can use link select [l] - just be sure to select all the curve handles belonging to each letter before you seperate them; ie. in the letter ‘e’, you need to select the outer AND inner parts of the letter before you seperate the letter by pressing [p]).
Repeat for each letter (except the last letter for which there is no need - it is already a seperate object).

Next parent (Ctrl_p) all of the letters to the Circle. (Ensure that the circle is the last object selected by right clicking it last - it should be a lighter shade of pink).


  • Prior to animating the letters, you may want the letters to start at a certain orientation. Just rotate the circle, and when you’re happy, press Ctrl_a to apply the size and rotation of the circle. This basically resets the circle’s size and rotation values to their “normal/default” state of 1 and 0.
  • Due to the parenting relationship, the size/scale application will cascade through to the letters, so simply select all of the letters, and rotate and scale them as before and then press Ctrl_a also for the letters.

The rest is fairly straight forward. Insert a LocRot keyframe for the circle at frame 1, and also for the last frame of the animation. (It’s best to only insert a rotation of 90 degrees at the last frame, and then adjust it manually to the value you like in the IPO Curve window to obtain a proper rotation rate).
In the IPO Curve window, select the LocX and RotZ ipo curves, press [T] > Linear, so that the translation/rotation is linear. Also, set the curve extrapolation mode from the curve menu.

To get the letters to “dismount” the circle, at each frame where you want the letter to come to a rest (ie. advance the frame number until the letter is positioned correctly), snap the cursor to the letter, and then add an Empty at that location. Repeat for each letter.

Then you need to add ‘Copy Location’ and ‘Copy Rotation’ constraints for each letter and edit the ‘Influence’ ipo curves, so that the parenting relationship for each letter is swapped from the circle to its respective Empty. You can make the ‘Influence’ Ipo curves whatever type you wish, but to make it so that they change completely and instantaneously, you would need to make them ‘Constant’.

Also, the Empty(s) will need to be rotated individually, so that the letters are orientated correctly.
Note that you could also animate the Empty(s) to make the letters ‘wobble’ a bit or whatever.

I think that’s pretty much it; if you need more details, just ask.