Maxon Cinema 4D tutorial: Create realistic gold 3D type

Peter Tarka combines hand-made lettering with customised fonts

Taking typography off the page and hand-crafting letterforms using non-digital scupltural materials and textures is very popular currently.

Here Polish graphic designer and illustrator Peter Tarka looks at how to model, light, compose, texture and arrange 3D type that looks like it’s made of gold. You’ll see how to model letterforms with the Sweep Nurbs tool and to mix together different styles of letterform in 3D. You’ll also learn how to create advanced materials and a render using the V-Ray engine.

Here you’ll find the overall scene file and golden material you’ll need for the perfect gleam. Peter’s also kindly given you the hi-res final artwork.

Time to complete

1 day


Cinema 4D R11.5 or higher, V-Ray, and Photoshop CS2 or higher


Files for this tutorial are downloadable from here


First, we have to model the letter L. From Cinema 4D’s upper tool palette, select Sweep NURBS to create some graceful curves, and the Bezier Spline tool. Next, we’ll need to create a spline that resembles the letter shown using the parameters in the Attributes panel as shown (above, bottom middle).

Select the Circle tool and select a size of about 8cm. Choose Sweep NURBS and, in the Attributes panel, enter the settings shown (above, bottom right). Put two rings around the letter as shown in the final artwork (right). Make the circle and spline objects as children to the Sweep NURBS layer. Note that the Circle layer must be higher up the layer stack in the Objects panel than the spline.


To create the letter M, repeat Step 1 but experiment with different settings. For a tubular look, change the parameters in the Attributes panel as such: Isoparm Subdivision 2 and End Scale 100%. Play with the Circle until you find a tube diameter that you like.

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For the W, we’re going to use a letter from a font and then customise it to creating 3D text with fillet caps. Select MoText object (Mograph > MoText), put in your letter (I used a W) and give it a depth of 68 in the Object tab in the Attributes panel. Go to the Caps tab next and choose Start: Fillet Cap; Steps: 1; and Radius: 50. For End use the same settings. Repeat this step for creating the letters K, A, T, E and N – experimenting with fillet settings to get some interesting variety in form.

Remember, each word or letter should be created as an individual element, as this gives you more freedom in design and composition.


To create the O, use a Platonic object (Add Object > Platonic). Position the object, and rotate it relative to the axis until a variety of faces are visible. Duplicate the layer and apply an AtomArray (Add Array Object > AtomArray).

Place the copied layer over the AtomArray in the layer stack and change its settings to Cylinder Radius: 2cm, Sphere Radius: 2cm, Subdivisions 15. Now group this object by selecting all the Platonic objects, then right-click > Group Objects. Repeat this step to create two more Os.


We’ll add some rings and Platonic objects, and arrange them randomly to spice up the composition. Change the sizes of the objects, so each one is different. Now, your work should look similar to that shown here.

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Now it’s the time to make a golden material (you’ll find mine in the project files for reference).

In the Material panel, select File > Shader > Vray Bridge > VrayAdvancedMaterial. Then after entering the usual info details like a name, turn on Specular Layer 1 and give it a colour of R255, G228, B172. For TextureMap select Fresnel and create a gradient based around shades just outside your base colour.

Turn on Specular Layer 2 and change the colour to (R255, G213, B125). Turn on both Diffuse Layer 1 and 2. For the first, set the colour to R52, G38, B5, while the second should be set to R255, G255, B255 with the brightness set at 80%. Add the material to each of your objects.


To create the lighting Peter used Josef Bsharah’s Studio ( The lighting was created using two softboxes. One of these was placed above the stage and the second to the right. To create the light’s material Peter used HDRI with the standard settings.


Open the Render Settings for Vray’s global illumination (Render > Render Settings > VrayBridge > GI). Change the parameters to match those on the picture above.

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Select Render > Render Settings> Output and choose the Print (Portrait) > A4 preset. Remember to ensure all objects have a material then select Render > Render to Picture Viewer.


Open the rendered file in Photoshop and add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer with settings of Brightness -20, Contrast +55 to add more depth. You can also use photo filters and gradient maps to adjust the overall tone of the colour.


Use the Pen tool to select one of the Platonic objects and copy and paste it onto a new layer. Enlarge and blur it with Gaussian Blur, then drop the opacity to around 50%. Repeat this action several times, placing fuzzy elements around the edges of your composition for a depth-of-field effect.

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To add more depth to the shadows use a soft black brush with its blending mode set to Overlay or Soft light. Don’t make them too intense shadows, and adjust the opacity if they’re too strong.


To add more depth to the shadows use a soft black brush with its blending mode set to Overlay or Soft light. Don’t make them too intense shadows, and adjust the opacity if they’re too strong.


Peter Tarka is a young graphic designer and illustrator from Wroc?aw, Poland. His work has featured in many graphic design magazines and websites. He’s also a member of the Slashthree, Keystone Design Union and Goverdose (


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