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I'm frequently making objects with text on them. To make those texts easily editable, I'm using "Text" objects that I glue to the surface of my target object using Shrinkwrap Modifier (as shown on the picture below).

However, problem arises, when I want some of the texts to be eg. concave. I don't want to use Boolean modifier, because it's too slow. The ideal solution would be some kind of modifier that would magically "project" my text objects onto the target surface as simple black-and-white (no shades of grey are necessary) texture, where it can be used as normal map using bump node.

Of course I could just make a black on white text in Gimp and use it as simple image texture, but that would not be easily editable from within Blender. The preferred solution would be something easily editable "on the fly" by pressing tab on the Text object and just typing new text.

flat, editable text using shrinkwrap

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe you can do something with dynamic paint, such that the text volume paints on a texture. But I think you have to convert your text to a mesh for that. $\endgroup$ – maddin45 Apr 30 '14 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, that is the closest thing to the one that I wanted to achieve. I tried dynamic paint and it works well, with very simple baking onto image texture that I can later use. The only downside is that the text has to be converted to non-editable mesh before proceeding. $\endgroup$ – jubi Apr 30 '14 at 17:53
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I think I finally found a reasonable solution that keeps text editable on the fly without intermediate to-mesh-converting, thanks to Kamil1064 from http://polskikursblendera.pl/forum/ The secret is in shadow baking.

Steps:

  • switch to Blender Render
  • add plane
  • unwrap it, add new empty texture to it
  • position your text object slightly above plane
  • add sun lamp, adjust it's angle to cast light straight down (rotation x0,y0,z0)
  • adjust sun lamp settings to the following: Ray Shadow, Samples: 10, Soft Size: 0.010 (if you won't, you'll have jagged sharp shadow edges instead of nice antialiasing)

shadow settings

  • select your plane and bake with settings: Bake Mode: Shadow

shadow baking

If everything is set properly, you will have a nice, antialiased texture that you can save for later use. The best part is, it will be easily editable from within Blender, just select text object, press TAB and edit it, then press Bake again, and voila.

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