3D Design – From 2D to 3D

When I designed the logo for my Portfolio, one of the reasons I kept it simple was the desire to eventually re-create it in 3D and expand its uses. With a 3D version of the logo, I intended to create animations which would go before videos; in a similar way to company logos playing before a video game starts, that was something I was interested in doing myself.

And so this is Part 1 of that pursuit. This post will look at the creation of the 3D Logo; going from 2D to 3D, and the breakdown of how exactly I did that.

Graphic1

It’s a red panda, if that isn’t clear.

Above you can see a side-by-side comparison of the original 2D logo, before I rotated it and added the sticker fold on the bottom right corner of it, with the finished 3D version of the logo. All the pieces of this logo are ready to be animated and used in further capacities.

Below are a few more shots of the logo at different angles, and with Depth of Field enabled in the render.

Graphic2

CINEMATIC!

The tools I used to do this are Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, and AutoDesk Maya.

| Breakdown

To start with, here is the logo on its own.

Step1

So the goal of this is a very simple one, which is to re-create this logo in 3D as close as possible. Having a clear and focused view on what exactly I’m doing and how exactly to do it is important and allowed for this process to have not taken much time.

I opened the PSD file in Photoshop and began to save various important parts of the logo into different files, maintaining transparency of them.

Step2

Folders are good!

After this was done, I had 6 .png images which, if put on top of one another, would create the logo.

These 6 images were then opened one by one in Adobe’s Illustrator.

Step3

Having a lie-down on the Illustrator canvas

Size is relatively irrelevant as they will be turned into vectors shortly. In order to do that, I used Illustrator’s Trace tool in order to convert the bitmaps into vectors.

Step4

Ready for a tracing.

These are the settings I decided upon, but there are only a few of the options which were absolutely important to this working. One of these was making sure the mode was set to Color, and for ‘Ignore White’ to be ticked. These two together ensured that the vector was then able to be used further.

Step5

I’m a vector!

And this is the image as a vector. You can see some slight changes here and there, but there’s no massive drop in quality or anything substantially noticeable. This puts more strain on your PC and settings can be reduced to improve performance, but thankfully this PC was made to run Crysis and so nothing can stop it.

The next step is an important one. Maya has a tool available to create objects out of Illustrator files, but only if saved a certain way.

Step6

Illustrator 8!

The file was saved as an Illustrator 8 file. I then did this for the 5 other images I had created, closed Illustrator and opened Maya. Here I can use the aforementioned tool in order to quickly bring these images into the third dimension.

Step7

Hello Maya.

These are the default settings of the tool, which can be found under the Create tab. These can be tweaked to find the perfect level, but I was more than happy with a thin bevel and extrusion. When happy I clicked Create…

Step8

kill me

And this was what appeared in Maya. As you can see it brings in the Illustrator canvas as a solid object, but you can also clearly see the outlines of our vector hiding somewhere inside there.

With this now in the program, I begun using the Face select tool to basically cut out the vector. This wasn’t so difficult and didn’t take long; just double-clicking faces to ensure all were selected and deleting them.

While doing this, I also applied materials to the model. I created 2 basic materials, an Orange and White blinn. As my logo is very simple in its colour palette, painting individual faces was all that was needed. UV texturing, etc. was not required.

Step9

I’m alive!

And this was the final result. With the model cut out and colours added to it, trying to ensure it was as close as possible to the original logo by making a few multi-cuts here and there to get rid of noticeable problems, I could then move on and do this again for the other 5 images of the logo.

Step9b

Almost done!

This is all the images added together in a 3D space, placed on top of one another as they were in 2D. With all the images being of similar size, the models all fit together perfectly without any re-sizing needed. There are a few rough edges here and there, but it is functional and ready to use as part of an animation.

Then I simply set the scene slightly with some lighting and cameras.

Step10

Lights, camera…

There were a few decisions made regarding the cameras and lights.

The light I adjusted until the desired effect was made. Due to the type of material I used to colour the objects, they should all be slightly reflective and appear ‘shiny’ and metallic.

For the cameras, I slightly increased the FOV, but added a depth of field option. This allows me to select a focused point (which would be where the logo is), and any objects during the animation which would be in the foreground would appear blurred in a cinematic way. Maya tells you exactly the distance between camera and selected object, so it was simple to input the correct number and tweak the F Stop to a desirable level.

Step11

Rendered!

And this is a rendered shot of the logo from the same angle as a previous image. Shadows and reflections are cast as intended, and only minor tweaks will be needed in the rendering to ensure the highest possible quality.

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These are my render settings. I ensured that quality was set to high, and that Final Gathering and Global Illumination were enabled to make sure that the logo looks as good as it possibly can. Though this causes the render to take considerably longer, I believe it was worth the trade-off.

And a final shot of the logo.

Step12

I’m done!

I am happy with how it turned out and intend to use in the future for the animation. I’ll likely make a few tweaks here and there before then, but I would consider it finished!


Next up, I’ll be looking to animate this in 3D space. Stay tuned!