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I'm fairly confident that this effect (shown below) is achieved in photoshop rather than 'proper' 3d software, however if I wanted to achieve it in Cinema 4D, how would I go about doing it?

The problem with the bevel tool is that when you apply it to a whole face with wildly differing widths, it's impossible to have the entire front of the text be convex rather than flat — you'll just get a small are of rounding at the edge, or you break certain faces. Equally, if you use the smooth effector it reduces the detail at the outside of the type, changing the shape of its outline.

Effectively, I just want to make the front of the type fully convex to an extent that differs based on the thickness of that section of the object — is there an easy way to do this?

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For C4D R21+ there is the option to Avoid Self Intersection. This prevents explosion of opposite bevels when they meet.

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