9.3. Text

Relevant to Blender v2.31

Figure 9-23. Text Examples.

Text is a special curve type for Blender. Blender has its own built-in font but can use external fonts too, including both PostScript Type 1 fonts and True Type fonts (Figure 9-23).

Open Blender or revert to a fresh scene by pressing CTRL-X. Add a TextObject with the Toolbox (SPACE>>Add>>Text). You can edit the text with the keyboard in EditMode; a text cursor shows your position in the text. When you leave EditMode with TAB, Blender fills the text-curve, producing a flat filled object that is renderable at once.

Now go to the EditButtons F9 (Figure 9-24).

Figure 9-24. Text edit buttons

As you can see in the Font panel MenuButton, Blender uses its own <builtin> font by default when creating a new TextObject. Now click Load Font. Browse in the FileWindow to a directory containing PostScript Type 1 or True Type fonts and load a new font. (You can download several free PostScript fonts from the web, and Microsoft Windows includes many True Type fonts of its own - though in the latter case be aware that some of them are copyrighted!).

Try out some fonts. Once you've loaded a font, you can use the MenuButton to switch the font for a TextObject.

For now we have only a flat object. To add some depth, we can use the Ext1: and Ext2: buttons in the Curve and Surface panel just as we did with curves.

Use the TextOnCurve: option to make the text follow a 2D-curve. Use the alignment buttons above the TextOnCurve: text field in the Font panel to align the text on the curve.

One particularly powerful Blender function is that a TextObject can be converted with ALT-C to a Bzier curve, which allows you to edit the shape of every single character on the curve. This is especially handy for creating logos or when producing custom lettering. The transformation from text to curve is irreversible and, of course, a further transformation from curve to mesh is possible too.

9.3.1. Special Characters

Normally, a Font Object begins with the word "Text", which can be deleted simply with SHIFT-BACKSPACE. In EditMode, the Text Object only reacts to text input. Nearly all of the hotkeys are disabled. The cursor can be moved with the arrow keys. Use SHIFT-ARROWLEFT and SHIFT-ARROWRIGHT to move the cursor to the end of the lines or to the beginning or end of the text.

Nearly all 'special' characters are available. A summary of these characters follows:

All the characters on your keyboard should work, including stressed vowels and so on. If you need special characters (such as accented letters, which are not there on a US keyboard) you can produce many of them using a combination of two other characters. To do so, press ALT-BACKSPACE within the desired combination, and then press the desired combination to produce the special character. Some examples are given below.

You can also add complete ASCII files to a Text Object. Save the file as /tmp/.cutbuffer and press ALT-V.

Otherwise you can write your text in a Blender Text Window, load text into such a window, or paste it into the window from the clipboard and press ALT-M. This creates a new Text Object from the content of the text buffer (Up to 1000 characters).