Vertigo HotTEXT v1.5
Troy Paiva
Design Shed

Hot TEXT 1.5 by Vertigo is a terrific new Photoshop plug-in filter. It creates realistic 3D text in an almost unlimited range of surface, lighting and angles.

It only took a few minutes to install into my Photoshop plug-ins folder and after playing with it for 10 minutes, I felt pretty confident with it's capabilities. It's a very intuitive interface with all the tools laid out in a palette similar to Photoshop's palettes. If you've spent any time with any 3D programs at all, this plug-in will come very easy for you.

Simply open a document that you wish to place your 3D text into, create a new layer for it and go to the Vertigo3D / HotTEXT pop up button under the Filters menu. Once HotTEXT launches, simply highlight the words in the text field and type what you want to say. Use any of your fonts and adjust your kerning to your needs. To add lights simply select the tool and drop them where you want. The type lights up in real time as you move the lights around. The lights appear as white spheres and are hard to find on a white background so I recommend that you use a dark color for your background as a working color. Double clicking on the lights will open a palette that allows you to set the lights in any color you choose.

Note that the "Lightshow" image's type was white and I used green, purple and red lights to make the colors on the type. There are several type manipulation tools to adjust depth, size and angle. The camera moves in a similar fashion to most 3D programs. Use the Camera view pop up menu at the bottom to save the camera view when you get it to where you want it and then you're free to move around and adjust your lights. When you're done setting the lighting, you can go right back to your saved position. Double click on any tool button to get numerical sliders for more control.

At the top of the window are 5 folder tabs. Click on Bevel and you get an overwhelming 27 different bevels that are all size adjustable. This is how I made the girder bevels on the "Girders" image. The Paths tab has paths that you can string the type along. There are 8 preset paths including fully adjustable eclipses and waves, there's even a helix! The bow in the type in the "Afterglow" image was created this way. Under the Surface tab is an unlimited color palette for both the front and sides of the letters. This is how I put the stone texture on the "Design Shed" type. There is also texture mapping where you can apply any already created texture to the surfaces of your letters. There is even a transparency setting so that your type can disappear into your background. See "Just Air". The Scene tab is where the ambient lighting is controlled. I will usually turn this way down or off and light the type myself. You get a much more realistic and interesting light this way.

Things I'd like to see on future versions are texture application to only the faces of the letters, a command-z undo feature, wireframes around the lights so they can be seen with any background color, the ability to stack text and the use of bump maps. That said, this is is a very useful and fun type manipulation tool. Any graphic designer worth his salt will have a field day using HotTEXT. At $79, it's a real value too.

The product comes on an easy to install CD that's compatible with both Mac and Windows systems. The system requirements are: Adobe Photoshop 3.0.5 or later, Adobe PhotoDeluxe2.0, CorelPhoto-Paint 8, Windows 96 or Power Mac running OS7.5.1 or later, QuickDraw 3D 1.5.3 or later (QuickDraw3D 1.5.4 included with Quicktime 3 installer on CD), 16 MB RAM(32MB recommended)

Features: 8
Ease of use: 9.5
Performance: 8
Documentation: 9


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