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Create Shining Effects

Blender 3d tutorial

Shining Text

While 3D modeling and animation is obviously the primary focus of Blender, there are many other uses for Blender that can end up going almost completely unnoticed by newer users. To create a shining or glowing effect in Blender 3D, we will create text with a basic material and use glare, blurring, and color adjustment nodes in the compositor. When complete, we will have turned a black background with white text into the image you see here.

Scene Setup

To start off, lets open up Blender and delete everything except for the camera. Since we are going to be making shiny text, add some text to the scene (Add-->Mesh-->Text). Feel free to change the text and the font to anything you like. You can find all of the font settings under the Object Data section (The 'F' button) within the Properties panel. If you would like to do the same as I have done, use "Shiny!" as your text, center the text, and use the League Gothic Font. You can see my settings in the image here.

Text Material

In order to get the shine effect like the first image in this tutorial, we need to add a very simple white material to our text. With the text selected in object mode, go to the materials section in the properties panel and add a new material. All we are going to do is change the Diffuse Color to White and turn on Shadeless in the Shading section. While you could use any color you want, having a solid white color will allow the text to have the bright white shine when we use the compositor.

Camera and the World

Now we need to position the camera. Select the camera in object mode and press N to pull out the Transform Properties panel, if it isn't out already. Then, change the X, Y, and Z values for the Location setting to 0.000, 0.000, and 8.000, respectively. You may need a larger or smaller Z value, depending on your preference and how much you customized your text. Also, change the X, Y, and Z values for the Rotation setting to 0. These settings will make the camera face straight down onto our text.

The last thing we need to do to set up our scene is to just change the World Color to Black. Make sure you do a render at this point, since we will need it to see what we are doing when we start using the compositor. You should see your white text on a solid black background.

Shining Text

The remainder of this tutorial will involve using the compositor. So, what we need to do is change the Screen Layout from Default to Compositing. The screen layout setting is directly to the right of the help menu button. When you have changed your screen layout, check the Use Nodes setting and you should see two nodes. One is a Render Layers input and the other is a Composite output node.

The first part of the shine effect is the streaks of light coming from the text. To do this, add a Glare node (Shift-A --> Filter --> Glare). Once added, connect the image output of the Render Layers node to the image input of the Glare Node and the image output of the Glare Node to the image input of the Composite Node.

Now in the glare node, change Iterations to 5. This is the number of times the white text is repeated in the streaks. The higher the value the smoother the fading of the streaks are. The Threshold setting, which controls how bright a pixel must be to be affected by this node, should be turned down to 0.900. Also change the number of Streaks to 8 and Fade, which effects streak length, to 0.925.

Glowing Effect

Next we want to soften the streaks and give it more of a glow. To do this add a Dilate/Erode node, (Shift-A --> Filter --> Dilate/Erode) which will make both changes at once. Connect this node so it is between the Render Layers node and our Glare node. Lastly, change this new nodes Distance setting to 3.

If we look at what we have so far in the image viewer, you will see that we have made the text difficult to read. To fix this issue, we have to make it worse first. Back in the Glare node we added just a moment ago, we want to change the Mix value to 1.000. This will show only the streaks generated by that node.

Now we add a Mix node (Shift-A --> Color --> Mix). Connect the image output of the Render Layer node to the first image input of the new Mix node and connect the image output of the Glare node to the second image input of the Mix node. Then connect the image output of the Mix node to the image input of the Composite node. Change the Type setting in the Mix node from Mix to Add. Lastly, change the Fac setting to 2.000.

Adding Color

Before adding color nodes, let's smooth the sharp edges of the text. Add a Filter node (Shift-A --> Filter --> Filter). Make sure the Filter Type is set to Soften and attach the Render Layer node to its image input and attach its output to the first image input of the Add node.

To give our text color, add a RGB node (Shift-A-->Color-->RGB Curves) into our compositor as well as a Hue Saturation Value node (Shift-A --> Color --> Hue Saturation Value). Once added, connect the Add node to the RGB Curves node, connect the RGB Curves node to the Hue/Sat/Val node, and connect the Hue/Sat/Val node to the Composite node. You can see the set up in the image here.

Tweaking the Color

You can make your image any color you like, but if you want to replicate my results, you can use the images here to match your curves to mine. I held down the Ctrl key to snap the white handles to half square intervals, so it should be fairly easy to replicate. I only changed the G and B curve, however, if you decide you want a different color later on or you want to do some tweaking, you can always change them later.

The Hue Saturation Value node was made so that I could tweak the color once I got something I liked and also to give me a more discrete way of testing colors, since I only have a basic understanding of how the RGB Curves work. Anyways, to match my coloring, I changed the Hue value to 0.595, the Value setting to 2.000, and the Fac setting to 0.500. This will show an awesome deep purple color.

Note: The two RGB curves in this image are the same node! Don't add a second one, select the R, G, or B button at the top of the node to show the graph for the corresponding color.


At this point, the shine effect is fully implemented and you have basically finished the main part of this tutorial. Since I find that a good chunk of people like to replicate the image that attracts them to the tutorial, I decided to show how I implemented the background as well.

What this basically entails is adding a third branch off of the original Render Layer node. We can quickly add all of the necessary nodes to our scene by selecting the Dilate/Erode, Glare, and Add nodes that are already in the compositor and pressing Shift-D to duplicate them. Once those have been added, connect them together as shown in the image below. Note that the original Glare is now connected to the new Add node, which is now connected to the original Add node.

Let's change some settings. The most important change is with the new Glare node. Once you change the Glare Type from Streaks to Ghosts, you should instantly see a huge change. Since this change drowns out our shine effect, we need to tone it down a bit. Changing the Threshold setting to 1.030 should do the trick. Lastly, I changed the Distance setting for the Dilate/Erode node to 8.

Full Node Map

Before call this complete, there are a few things to point out. First, different render sizes seem to alter the way the image looks, so your render may not be exactly the same as mine. Also, I find that after I save the image, it looks different than it does in Blender, which is just another reason why your image may not look just like mine. In any case, you should be somewhere close, so feel free to tweak setting an make this your own.

Although, if you are waaay off, then I've got the full Node map here for you to check out. Click to zoom in and out!

Keep Learning!

No single tutorial will cover everything, so if you want to dig deeper, here are some resources for you to check out. If you have other resources you think I should add to this list, feel free to let me know!

Blender Docs



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