I'm hoping someone here has a solution to this. I've been learning about creating text in MAYA and so far it's been a bumpy road with the simple stuff. Lightwave seems like a better application for text, but I'm working with maya, so...
The method I like most is to use poly's and then extrude the text. Simple enough compared to the other options. The issue is that some of the letters (usually e's and 4's for some odd reason) have normals backwards from the rest of the text. That's not really a problem because it's easy enough to reverse that, but then once I apply a material the letters with once "backwards" normals are black or just very dark. It looks kind of like the shading is backwards, perhaps, but I don't know how to fix that or even if that's what the problem is. :(
Not sure what your problem is, but usually when I make text or logos I prefer to make a nurbs of the text or shape and then use the bevel plus option (under surfaces) to make them 3D polygon solids. Just be sure to shift-select all curves that make a letter/shape if it has a hole in the middle (like on the a letter).
If it's just fonts you need, you can use create - text (use the options square next to it to change the text, font and size), or you can also create it on another program like adobe illustrator (what I usually do), save it as an .ai and then import as nurb curves in maya.
Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely keep the illustrator/nurbs curves idea in mind. That sounds much less worrisome than using polygon extrusions.
It's probably worth noting, for posterity, I figured out the problem I was having and all I had to do was unlock the normals! They were locked (yellow) and making awful shade patterns. So simple, but it really stymied me bad.