Last updated: December 28, 2014

 

Index

  1. Introduction

  2. Quick workflow

  3. SceneKit

  4. Working on a text object

         Hit test
         Favorite fonts
         Font style

  5. Editing and deleting a text object

         on/off - making text invisible

  6. Light

  7. Floor

  8. Export

  9. Saving progress

  10. Preferences

         a) General settings
         b) Text
         c) Folders
         d) Export

  11. FAQ


 

1. Introduction: The main purpose of using Text 1-2-3D is to create 3D text objects in a 2D scene.  It can't be any easier than to use this application.  You can grab any of 3D text objects with your mouse pointer.  You can move one freely around the scene canvas.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-01

 

It's not just text objects that are involved.  There's a light source (actually, there's just one.) that is used to cast light and shadow on 3D text objects.  Depending on the light type you select, some part will be brigher and other part darker.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-01

 

You have an option of having or not having a floor that displays a reflection of each 3D text object.  A floor can be entirely dark, somewhat gray or bright in some area, depending on how you apply the light to text objects.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-01

 

2. Quick workflow: Text 1-2-3D's workflow goes as follows.

 

  1. To start with, choose New Text under Text or click on Create text button at the top.  Then enter a text string to create a 3D text object.  There is no limitation as to how many 3D text objects you can add to the scene.
  2. Touch the text object with your mouse pointer.  You can move it freely around the scene canvas while you hold down the left button.
  3. Assuming that the tab of the sidebar is set to Text, in order to edit the text string or change colors, click on Edit right under the top list.
  4. In order to rotate the text object about x-axis, use the leftmost circular slider under the Text tab.  Similarly, use the middle circular slider, the rightmost circular slider to rotate the text object about y-axis and z-axis, respectively.
  5. In order to save the current scene as a picture, choose Export under File or click on Export at the top.
  6. Finally, choose Save As under File or click on Save As at the top to save progress, if necessary.  Double-click on a project file to reproduce last progress you made last time.

 

3. SceneKit: Text 1-2-3D utilizes the SceneKit framework.  It's a group of APIs that realizes 3D objects.  As you see in Screenshot 1-01, there are three axes - X, Y, Z.  It is important to note that the origin of those axes always lies at the center of the scene canvas no matter how you resize the application window.  You don't see the actual Z-axis over the scene canvas because it extends towards you.  Although you don't see a camera, there's an invisible one, which is located at a position where X = 0, Y = 0 and Z is a positive integer (counting number).  This camera captures the entire scene you create with 3D text objects.  And what you see over the scene canvas is merely what the camera captures.  Furthermore, there is one light source, which acts as if it were the sun of a planetary system.  You can reposition the light source, but you won't get to delete it.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-01

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-02

 

Let's quickly discuss how a 3D text object is made.  A 3D text object has five sides.  In reference to Screenshot 1-02, the top text object is rotated by 180 degrees around the Y-axis.  The bottom text object is not rotated.  Speaking of the bottom text object, the area shown in blue is the front side.  Going back to the top text object, the area shown in red is the back side.  These text objects have depth, which makes the extruded side.  It's the area where the color is dark gray.  Now, if you take a close look at the bottom text object, the front size is bordered by a yellow color.  This area is called front chamfer.  It's the area between the front side and the depth part.  And the area between the back side and the extruded part is called back chamfer.  If you take a look at the top text object, it's light gray.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-03

 

 

4. Working on a 3D text object: Let's create our first 3D text object.  Click on the create text button at the top.  You can also choose New Text under Text for the same purpose.  Then you will be prompted to enter a text string.  (See Screenshot 1-03.)  With one or more letters, the Create button will become active.  So click on it when you finish entering a text string.  And a 3D text object will appear.

Every time you create a 3D text object, Text 1-2-3D will assign default values to it.  So a text object will always appear at the same position with the same colors and even with the same font.  Assuming that the current sidebar tab is still set to Text, if you want to know the position of your first text object, see the values under the Text position label.  You may realize that almost all the controls under the Text tab are disabled, though.  If that's the case, the reason is because no text object is currently selected.  If they are not disabled, then try tapping with your mouse pointer a spot where the text object doesn't lie.  (See Screenshot 1-04.)  Now, tap the text object with your mouse pointer.  And Text 1-2-3D will make all the controls under the Text tab active.  (See Screenshot 1-05.)    It's technically called hit test - the application will detect the text object you touch.  Consequently, all the numbers will be filled accordingly under the Text tab.

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-04

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-05

 

Speaking of how to select a text object, there is another way of doing it.  When you create one, Text 1-2-3D will add a new row to the top list of the sidebar.  Just select any row, and all the numbers below will be filled for the text object you've selected.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-06

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-07

 

So how do we change the font, text size, depth of the current text string?  First, select a text object by tapping one with your mouse pointer (or clicking on a row in the top list).  In order to change the font of the selected text object, explore the drop-down menu under the Text properties label.  Then choose a font name.  (See Screenshot 1-06.)  If you want to change the font size, you can manually enter a value (The minimum font size is 5 points.) in the combox below or select a number by exploring the combobox.  So far, your text object doesn't probably look like a 3D thing.  So let's extend its extruded area by increasing text depth.  (See Screenshot 1-07.)

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-08

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-09

 

After changing fonts from one to another, you may notice that many fonts aren't very suitable for 3D text objects.  For example, try selecting Courier or Helvetica from the font drop-down menu.  As you see in Screenshot 1-08, these fonts will produce thin text objects.  Suitable ones for 3D text objects include Arial Black, HeadLineA, Impact, Krungthep, KufiStandardGK, MarkerFelt and more.  Meanwhile, if you have a ton of fonts, you may find it difficult to select one of these suitable fonts.  What you can do is add these fonts to your favorite font list.  Simply, click on the + button right below the font drop-down menu.  (See Screenshot 1-09.)  If you explore the top drop-down menu, you should find the name of the current font selection.  (See Screenshot 1-10.)  You can now make a selection from your favorite font drop-down menu as long as a text object is selected.  If you want to delete any of favorite fonts from the list, first, select one that you want to delete, first.  Then just click on the - button right below the favorite font drop-down menu.  And you will be prompted for confirmation.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-10

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-11

 

Another thing that you can do to easily apply a thick font to the selected text object is put the current font into bold.  For example, select Helvetica from the font drop-down menu.  Then turn on the bold checkbox.  (See Screenshot 1-11.)  Your text object should now be thicker.  There's a slight problem when you apply the bold style to the selected text object, though.  The bold and italic styles are technically called typefaces.  And not all fonts support them.  For example, try selecting Century from the font drop-down menu with the bold checkbox on.  And your text object should remain thin.  To confirm that Century doesn't support the bold typeface, launch TextEdit and see what happens when you apply this font to a string of text and then explore the typeface drop-down menu.  (See Screenshot 1-12.)  You should only see 'Regular.'

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-12

 

 

Let's move on to Text position.  There are three horizontal sliders, each of which is accompanied by a text field.  X, Y, Z refer to X-axis, Y-axis, Z-axis, respectively.  As you already know, when you grab and move a text object around the scene canvas, these sliders and text fields will be automatically updated because of the hit test.  You can manually use these sliders or type values to change the position of the selected text object.

If you want to rotate the selected text object, you must use the controls under the Text rotation label.  For example, if you want to turn the selected text object upside-down, enter '180' in the text field for the X-axis.  Similarly, reversing the text string is the same as turning a text object around the Y-axis by 180 degrees.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-13

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-14

 

5. Editing and deleting a text object: We know by now that Text 1-2-3D applies the same font and colors to a new text object.  Let's find out how to edit the current text string and apply different colors to an existing text object.  First, tap an existing text object with your mouse pointer or select one from the top list.  Then click on Edit right under the top list.  You can also choose Edit Text under Text for the same purpose.  Then a window sheet will appear.  (See Screenshot 1-14.)  You can now change the current text string.  If you want to apply a different color to any of the text sides, click on a color button.

If you want to delete an existing text object, again, select one, first.  Then click on Delete right under the top list.  You can also choose Delete Text under Text for the same purpose.  Then you will be prompted for confirmation.  (See Screenshot 1-15.)

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-15

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-16

 

After deleting an existing text object, it's possible that you wish you had not done it.  What you can do with an existing text object is to make one invisible.  All you have to do is turn off the on/off checkbox button right under the top list.  You can put the selected text object back by turning on the checkbox button again.

 

6. Light: Imagine what happens when the sun explodes.  We would all be frozen to death instantly.  Even if you survived, you would not be able to see a thing.  You would not be able to see your text objects without the light source, either.  Anyway, how your 3D text objects look greatly depends on the type and the position of the light source.

Switching the sidebar tab to Light, you will find several controls.  Exploring the top drop-down menu, you can select a light type.  The default type is Omni.  There are other light types including Spot, Directional and Ambient.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-17

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-18

 

So how are they different?  The spot type behaves just as it sounds like.  It's like directing a flashlight to an object.  As you see in Screenshot 1-17, an entire text object is not visible.  Screenshot 1-18 is an example of the Omni type.  An omni light is also called a point light.  It acts like a light bulb that illuminates the scene in all directions, which doesn't mean every letter receives the same amount of light.  Screenshot 1-19 is an example of the Directional light type.  All text objects receive the same amount of light.  So the position of the light source doesn't matter.  Finally, how about the Ambient type?  It's used to cast a soft light on objects with equal intensity.  Huh!?  Well...  Let's put it this way.  Don't select it.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-19

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-20

 

7. Floor: What is a floor?  It's a floor that can display the reflections of existing, visible text objects.  By default, a floor is not enabled.  If you want to show a floor, turn on the on checkbox button under the Floor sidebar tab.  (See Screenshot 1-20.)

What's interesting about a floor is that it's an object just like 3D text ones.  So you can actually grab and move the current floor.  The default  Y value is -1.0.  If it's set to 0, a floor will disappear.  If it's a positive number, it will become a ceiling.  That being said, you should keep the Y value lower than -1.0 to keep it as a floor.

How a floor looks largely depends on the type of the light source and its position.  Screenshot 1-20 is an example of using the Spot light source.  The floor is pretty much entirely dark.  By contrast, Screenshot 1-21 shows a quite bright floor, made possible by the Omini type.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-21

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-22

 

On top of the floor position, you have two other settings to work on.  The fall off end value refers to how much a floor displays the reflections of 3D text objects.  If this value is low, only those text objects that are vertically closer to the origin of the axes will be reflected on a floor.  If you look at Screenshot 1-22, the picture to the left shows only some part of the bottom text object reflected on a floor because of the low fall off end value.  The picture to the right, by contrast, shows the reflections of both text objects due to a high fall off end value.  Moreover, control the reflection value to change the opacity level of text object reflections uniformly.

 

8. Export: Text 1-2-3D isn't just designed to let you create 3D text objects on the scene canvas.  You can easily save the current scene as a picture.  The supported export formats include BMP, GIF, JPEG, JPEG 2000, PNG, TIFF.  All you have to do is click on the Export toolbar button at the top.  You can also choose Export under File for the same purpose.  Then you will be first prompted to choose an export format with a drop-down menu.  (See Screenshot 1-23.)  Next, you will be asked to name a file.  If you choose JPEG or JPEG 2000 as an export format, you can set a compression rate at this stage.  (See Screenshot 1-24.)

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-23

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-24

 

Screenshot 1-25 is the result of exporting the scene as a JPEG picture.  It's pretty much the same as what's shown on the scene canvas except the background color.  When you export the scene, the background color will be included.  Furthermore, note that the dimensions of an exported picture depends on the current scene size, which is shown at the bottom-left corner.

 

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-25

Mac software Text 1-2-3D

Screenshot 1-26

 

9. Saving progress: You don't have to worry about losing progress after quiting the application.  By saving progress as a project file, you can easily reproduce the last progress you made.  In order to save progress, click on the Save As toolbar button at the top or choose Save As under File.  Then you will be prompted to name a file.  The file extension used by this application is tx3.  Furthermore, if you want to reproduce progress, just click on the Open project toolbar button at the top and choose Open Project under File.  When you are prompted to select a file, choose one with the tx3 extension.  You can of course just double-click on a project file as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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