Add Dimension and Animation to 2D Logos with Cinema 4D and CV-ArtSmart

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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  • Duration: 05:38
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Learn how to easily apply extrusion and MoGraph effector animation to Adobe Illustrator artwork

Adding dimension and animation to 2D logo artwork is one of the fundamental tasks for any motion designer. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to easily import artwork from Adobe Illustrator into Cinema 4D, either with the native Illustrator 8 support or the CV-ArtSmart plugin. CV-ArtSmart offers support for all Illustrator and PDF formats, automatically adds depth and makes it easy to apply materials and animation. You can also copy and paste outlines between Illustrator and C4D, and dynamically update your Illustrator artwork.

CV-ArtSmat is available free from Cineversity - just register for a free account.



One of the fundamental tasks for any motion designer is to add dimension and animation to 2D artwork that was created in a program like Adobe Illustrator. In this tutorial, we're going to explore the workflow for creating 3D animated logos using Cinema 4D and the ArtSmart plugin available free on Cineversity. We're going to use the Warm Winter titles created by Handel Eugene for the 2016 Cinema 4D Roadshow as a starting point. This end tag is part of a much larger piece and actually appears as a static logo with lighting and material treatments in the final animation. But we'll use this as a jumping off point to explore the general workflow of adding dimension and animation to your logos. Most logos begin here, in Adobe Illustrator, and this one is no exception, even though it is merely a text treatment. Having the logo in actual locked-in splines ensures that it's not going to change from system to system. In order to get this artwork into Cinema 4D, there's two paths you can take. Cinema 4D natively supports the Illustrator 8 format. So you can save the artwork as an Illustrator 8 document. And then, you can simply merge that document into Cinema 4D. From here, you can center the paths and then use the extrude object, for instance, in order to add dimension to the paths. Make sure to check the hierarchal checkbox anytime you've got multiple splines underneath the extrude object. And now you can use Cinema 4D's built-in tools to adjust the extrusion, to adjust the caps and rounding, as well as to add animation to this logo. You can automate much of this process using the CV-ArtSmart plugin available from Cineversity. CV-ArtSmart has an import functionality that will import the paths much like Cinema 4D's native tools, but it supports all versions of Illustrator and PDF files. It also will automatically center the artwork. I'm going to be using the CV-ArtSmart object command which automatically includes extrusions and animation options in order to give your logo depth without any additional effort. Once you add the CV-ArtSmart object to the scene, you'll have the ArtSmart object options here in the attributes manager. And the first thing we need to do is load the Illustrator artwork. So we'll hit the three dots here next to do the art and we'll choose the Illustrator file. I'm going to hit open and you'll see the logo is in here and it's already extruded in 3D form. Now within the ArtSmart options, we can offset the layers of the artwork or the individual paths of the artwork, as well as adjust the extrude depth of the art. All these parameters are animatable, just like any parameter in Cinema 4D that has a dot next to it. All you do is simply click to record a key frame, move to a different frame and time, and adjust your value and click again to set a new key frame. And now you can see that we've created an animation. ArtSmart also works with the Cinema 4D MoGraph system. So we can activate the use MoGraph option and now we can apply MoGraph effectors on to our artwork. If we jump into the layers tab, you'll see that we get individual access to each layer and all of the paths within those layers. And, again, all of these parameters are animatable. What I'm interested in here is the effectors option. So let's add a MoGraph formula effector. And now, I can drag that formula effector into the effectors list and you'll see that we very quickly get some animation based on this formula effector. And of course, you can adjust this effector and scale that effect however you'd like. CV-ArtSmart also has the option to copy and paste paths between Illustrator and Cinema 4D. I'm going to use this snowflake that's been procedurally generated in Cinema 4D and simply copy it to the system clipboard using the CV-ArtSmart copy command. Now I can switch into Illustrator and simply choose paste to paste that snowflake into Adobe Illustrator. Now, if I save the document and return back to Cinema 4D, I can go to my original logo treatment and simply go into the ArtSmart object and choose reload. And now, I pull that snowflake in as well. Now, you can see the sweeps, which ArtSmart uses to represent the stroke lines in Illustrator are a little bit big, but we can adjust that easily using the depth parameter. And this works in relation to the extrude depth. So with an extrude depth of something like 90, I'm probably going to need to set this to something like negative 80. All of this ArtSmart functionality is actually just packaging a Cinema 4D native functionality in a very flexible way. You can see that we have MoGraph fracture objects as well as sweep objects and extrude objects. And these are the same objects that you would use to build up native Illustrator paths into a final logo. Adding dimension and animation to your logos is easy with Cinema 4D and CV-ArtSmart. Make sure to check out the full Roadshow tutorial series to learn more about all of the things that you can accomplish with Cinema 4D.
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