Creating a 3D Illustrative Animated Cursive Logo: Using Sweep Object to Create Cursive Logo Geometry

Photo of EJ Hassenfratz

Instructor EJ Hassenfratz

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  • Duration: 08:15
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  • Made with Release: 17
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Learn how to use Sweep Objects to generate geometry from splines.

Learn how to use Sweep Objects to generate geometry from splines and apply variable thickness via the Spline Scale options.



In After Effects, a path without a filler stroke applied to it will not render in your composition. Similarly in Cinema 4D Lite, a spline will not render until you use another object to generate 3D geometry with it. In this video, we're going to cover how we can generate 3D geometry from our cursive splines by using a generator object called a sweep object. So to generate geometry using our splines, we're going to do a 3D version of what you call stroking a path in Illustrator or using the 3D stroke effect in After Effects and that's utilizing what's called a sweep object that you can find in our generator menu up here. And you can see even by the icon, it's pretty helpful in explaining what it does. Basically, you can see there's a little profile of a circle that is then swept along this other spline to create this little tubular geometry. And this is exactly what we're going to do with it. So to use a sweep object, you first need to define what that profile shape is. In the case of that little icon, it's a circle and we're actually going to use a circle as well. So I'm going to use a circle spline from our spline menu so that's the defined profile shape. And then we also need to define what the spline is that we're going to sweep that profile shape along and that's going to be our P-L, our A-Y and our underline splines. So how the sweep object works is you need to drag both the profile spline underneath the sweep object as well as the spline that you want to then sweep that circle spline or that profile spline along and you'll see that since my circle radius is so large, this is kind of like your stroke thickness or your stroke width, we're going to just bring this down to, say, 25 or so. And it's very important the hierarchy or the order in which these two splines are ordered underneath the sweep object. If I had this the other way, the sweep object's actually going to try to sweep this P-L spline along the circle. As you can see, we have this circular kind of thingy going on right there. So it's very important what order these two splines are underneath this sweep object's hierarchy. So you can see in our sweep object that we have the circle swept along our spline, but we now have just flat cutoff starts and ends of our spline. If we want to round this out, we simply have to go to the cap menu on our sweep object and change the start and end caps from caps to fillet caps and what that's going to do is create a little bevel or a little chisel there and we can adjust the size. And you're going to notice as I'm adjusting the radius here, it's actually thickening our stroke or our thickness of our sweep object. So to be able to maintain that original width of 25 centimeters from our circle, all we have to do is enable the constrain and we can adjust this radius as much as we want. It won't actually affect the thickness of our little 3D stroke we have going on here. So I'm going to adjust this to about 24 for each of the start and end fillet cap radiuses and you're going to see that these just create points. And the reason for this is we need to actually create more subdivisions here on our caps to round it out. So to do that, we're just going to increase the steps. You can see as I increase the steps, it kind of rounds out our ends and our starts of our object here. So you can see that's looking really nice. And then we can can see how we have this little weird break going on with our object. That's called a phong break and we can actually get rid of that by enabling this create single object and that's just going to smooth everything out. And it's also going to treat your sweep object as one cohesive piece of geometry. So now that that's looking good, we can then go ahead and rename our sweep object to "PL sweep" and we can just duplicate this whole setup by holding Cmd and clicking and dragging and just rename this "AY sweep" and delete that little ".1" at the end. Then all we have to do is just replace the P-L with the A-Y and drag it underneath and that's going to sweep that circle along that new spline, the A-Y spline, and we still have all of our fillet cap stuff applied because we just duplicated that same sweep object that we used originally. And then we just need to do this one more time, Cmd+Click and drag and we'll just rename this "underline sweep" and then just delete the A-Y and drag the underline spline under there and now we have geometry that if we render, we can actually see it. And you can see if I select all of my sweep objects here and disable them and try to render, nothing shows up, so you need geometry generated for it to show up in our scene. And the final thing I'm going to go over is being able to adjust the thickness of our stroke or 3D stroke along the spline. So right now, it's very uniform. It looks kind of boring. We can add a little bit more contrast and interest. And we can do this by going to our sweep object's object menu here and going to this details tab, just scrolling that down and adjusting the scale spline editor here. You can see what's happening right here. This is going to act something like the stroke width tool in Adobe Illustrator that allows you to control the stroke thickness along a path. So if we want to adjust the thickness along a path, I can Cmd+Click on my spline here and adjust these points and you can see that this is varying the thickness along the spline. So here's the start of my spline, so I can bring that and scale that down a little bit. I can also bring down the scale of the end of my spline. And to make this nice and round, I can just bring this little bezier handle up so we have a nice rounded thickness. Right about that. That looks good. And what I like to do is to figure out where along my spline this point is actually affecting or scaling. I just like to select a point and bring it all the way down. I can see, "Okay, I'm affecting this area right here." So I can say, "All right, I want to make that a little thinner in that area right there." I can also adjust the handle here and make this area a little bit thicker. And say if I want to make this area right down here a little thinner, I can just Cmd+Click, create a new point and right there is where I want it to get smaller and just adjust that a little bit and there we go. So this is a nice way to create a little bit more interesting logos by adjusting the thickness along your spline. So we can go ahead and maybe thicken all this up since we shrunk everything. So maybe make that 30 and then we can go down here and shrink these a little bit more. So now we have a little bit more contrast because the widest our thickness can be is now 30 instead of 25, but we can still go all the way down to zero so we have a little bit more contrast in how thick our geometry can be. So by using sweep objects, we generated geometry from our script splines. We then used the sweep object's spline size editor to create a more stylized variable thickness that runs along our spline.
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