Design insights & tutorials.

Create 3D objects in Cinema 4D from vector art

vector2c4d.jpg

This is a video tutorial on taking vector art and importing it into Cinema 4D to create a 3D object that can be animated, textured, and manipulated in 3D space. In this tutorial, written by David from filmmakingcentral.com he shows you exactly how to do this. David was nice enough to allow us to repost this on our blog. He is using artwork from the free Vector Sample Pack from our Arsenal.

Continue reading to watch the video and read the step by step tutorial.

Tutorial: Vector Illustrations into 3D

By David Basulto

I was cleaning out some of my files the other day and came across a folder full of stuff I grabbed at SIGGRAPH this year. I came across this great looking postcard from the gang at GoMedia. Their “Arsenal” royalty free vector art is amazing. I got inspired and thought “let’s make some cool 3D works with it!” So here we go.

The following tutorial has 17 steps but they go fast once you understand what to do. I did this in Illustrator CS3, Photoshop CS3, and Maxon Cinema 4D. You can visit adobe.com and maxon.net for demos to follow along if you like. I used one of Go Media’s Arsenal freebie downloads for the vector art.

Step 1
Open the vector sample from Go Media in Illustrator.

c4d_addingvectors_01.jpg

Step 2
Pick a graphic you like. I chose one of the “banners”.

c4d_addingvectors_02.jpg

Step 3
Select graphic then copy and paste it into a new document. You can leave all the defaults.

Step 4
Feel free to scale the graphic or not. Since its vector you can enlarge it later without any consequences.

Step 5
Save new document with a new name. Then close Illustrator.

Step 6
Open Photoshop.

Step 7
Go to File > Open > your_new_file.ai

c4d_addingvectors_03.jpg

Step 8
Command + click (Mac) in Layers tab the file to create a selection.

c4d_addingvectors_04.jpg

Step 9
Go to Paths > Make Work Path. Use a tolerance of 1.

c4d_addingvectors_05.jpg

Step 10
Go to File > Export > Paths to Illustrator. Then close Photoshop.

c4d_addingvectors_06.jpg

Step 11
Open Cinema 4D and go to File > Open > your_paths_to_illustrator_file.ai

c4d_addingvectors_07.jpg

Step 12
In the Objects Panel click on the + to expand the imported file.

Step 13
Select all the paths then right click and choose Connect.

c4d_addingvectors_08.jpg

Step 14
Click on Nurbs > Extrude Nurb to add an extrude nurb to the Object panel.

Step 15
Make your paths file a child of the extrude nurb by dragging onto extrude nurbs.

c4d_addingvectors_09.jpg

Step 16
Logo is now a 3D object! Click on render view to see.

c4d_addingvectors_010.jpg

Step 17
This file can be animated, you can add materials, lights, background, floors etc. Creativity has no bounds.

vector2c4d.jpg

Thanks David for writing the tutorial and doing the video demonstration. Again, check out his site www.filmmakingcentral.com.

About the Author, Jeff Finley

I'm a partner at Go Media, a Cleveland web design and development firm. We also specialize in print design and branding. I started Weapons of Mass Creation Fest and wrote the book Thread's Not Dead, teaching artists and designers how to start a clothing company. In my spare time, I write songs and play drums in Campfire Conspiracy. I'm a happy husband and an aspiring b-boy and lucid dreamer.
Discover More by Jeff Finley

Discussion

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  • marcos

    i didn´t know this ,its so amazing ,keep em coming

  • marcos

    i didn´t know this ,its so amazing ,keep em coming

  • Rui Melo

    Really cool, Hmm, is that how the sketch and toon addon in C4D works? Of course I mean in reverse; where it takes the Rendered object and converts it to paths and vector art. Never played with C4D but I read up on it, really interesting program.

  • Rui Melo

    Really cool, Hmm, is that how the sketch and toon addon in C4D works? Of course I mean in reverse; where it takes the Rendered object and converts it to paths and vector art. Never played with C4D but I read up on it, really interesting program.

  • http://www.filmmakingcentral.com David

    Hi Rui, Sketch and Toon makes Cinema 4D objects look like sketches or illustrations. Lets say a client wants me to make an illustration of a building or a car etc. I can model it in C4D and apply the Sketch and Toon module. A perfect illustration will appear. It does not make paths etc. Its for a finished product. I can animate it and more!

    More info here http://www.maxon.net/pages/products/modules/sketchandtoon/sketchandtoon_e.html

    Cheers! David

  • http://www.filmmakingcentral.com David

    Hi Rui, Sketch and Toon makes Cinema 4D objects look like sketches or illustrations. Lets say a client wants me to make an illustration of a building or a car etc. I can model it in C4D and apply the Sketch and Toon module. A perfect illustration will appear. It does not make paths etc. Its for a finished product. I can animate it and more!

    More info here http://www.maxon.net/pages/products/modules/sketchandtoon/sketchandtoon_e.html

    Cheers! David

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  • Luke

    You can save some time, and just save the .ai file out of illustrator as version 5 or older and import it straight into Cinema 4D. No photoshop needed.

    Just a thought!

    Luke

  • Luke

    You can save some time, and just save the .ai file out of illustrator as version 5 or older and import it straight into Cinema 4D. No photoshop needed.

    Just a thought!

    Luke

  • Daniel Newman

    wow thanks so much for this I am new to cinema 4d and had no idea you could do that. I look forward to makeing some 3d projects for the user forum. Now if you will excuse me I have to brew some coffee and play all night with this.

  • Daniel Newman

    wow thanks so much for this I am new to cinema 4d and had no idea you could do that. I look forward to makeing some 3d projects for the user forum. Now if you will excuse me I have to brew some coffee and play all night with this.

  • V.

    Even in PSD you can export directly path information. You do not have the need to lose data with the transformation via selection.

    C4D is happy with eps 8 or ai8 (or lower), which contains every needed data.

    The Origin point in Ai is the Origin point in C4D. xy=xyz=zero

    The units (pica) AI = the units in C4D.

    Also just a thought.

    Have a good one and happy learning

    3d.neerd

  • V.

    Even in PSD you can export directly path information. You do not have the need to lose data with the transformation via selection.

    C4D is happy with eps 8 or ai8 (or lower), which contains every needed data.

    The Origin point in Ai is the Origin point in C4D. xy=xyz=zero

    The units (pica) AI = the units in C4D.

    Also just a thought.

    Have a good one and happy learning

    3d.neerd

  • http://www.kennyredman.com Kenny

    Ya, you should be able to import an .ai file directly instead of opening it in ps and saving the path. I’m curious as to why you did this- seems like there’s a possibility of losing some detail this way.

  • http://www.kennyredman.com Kenny

    Ya, you should be able to import an .ai file directly instead of opening it in ps and saving the path. I’m curious as to why you did this- seems like there’s a possibility of losing some detail this way.

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  • Guillermo

    I tried to export *.ai from illustrator to a folder and then opened it on cinema, but it didn’t work.
    Photoshop step is necessary to create a compatible working path ;^]

  • Guillermo

    I tried to export *.ai from illustrator to a folder and then opened it on cinema, but it didn’t work.
    Photoshop step is necessary to create a compatible working path ;^]

  • hOpe

    First THAT IS AN AMAZING TUTORIAL !

    But in Step 16 I can’t see anything if I render it ! Why ?
    In the editor I can’t see any 3D models ?! Why ?

    My File:
    http://rapidshare.com/files/73801502/Try.c4d.html

    (Pls help me – email: bjoernschoenfeld@hotmail.de)

    THX
    hOpe

  • hOpe

    First THAT IS AN AMAZING TUTORIAL !

    But in Step 16 I can’t see anything if I render it ! Why ?
    In the editor I can’t see any 3D models ?! Why ?

    My File:
    http://rapidshare.com/files/73801502/Try.c4d.html

    (Pls help me – email: bjoernschoenfeld@hotmail.de)

    THX
    hOpe

  • http://www.datamouse.biz Web Design Stoke on Trent

    Awesome – simply awesome!
    Love the lighting effects (perhaps a tut on that too?)
    Thanks for sharing
    DM

  • http://www.datamouse.biz Web Design Stoke on Trent

    Awesome – simply awesome!
    Love the lighting effects (perhaps a tut on that too?)
    Thanks for sharing
    DM

  • Wetpixels

    You can do this in many fewer steps than the tutorial states, but this is a basic, yet powerful way to make many objects.

  • Wetpixels

    You can do this in many fewer steps than the tutorial states, but this is a basic, yet powerful way to make many objects.

  • http://www.filmmakingcentral.com David

    Thanks for all the kind words! I was stuck working on a film but will have time to do some more 3D tutorials after the holidays!
    Cheers, Dave

  • http://www.filmmakingcentral.com David

    Thanks for all the kind words! I was stuck working on a film but will have time to do some more 3D tutorials after the holidays!
    Cheers, Dave

  • Kenny

    Right on Guillermo, I use max and illustrator on a daily basis, and importing an .ai file into max is simple and effective for what we do.

    I guess I was just surprised that you couldn’t import one into c4d. Nice work thought!

  • Kenny

    Right on Guillermo, I use max and illustrator on a daily basis, and importing an .ai file into max is simple and effective for what we do.

    I guess I was just surprised that you couldn’t import one into c4d. Nice work thought!

  • Bobby Walker

    I’m brand new to Cinema 4D so bear with me. When i open the .eps file into Cinema, it appears to be “outlined” when i extrude it.
    how can i “reverse” the image? is this making any sense. thanks for any help.
    Bobby

  • Bobby Walker

    I’m brand new to Cinema 4D so bear with me. When i open the .eps file into Cinema, it appears to be “outlined” when i extrude it.
    how can i “reverse” the image? is this making any sense. thanks for any help.
    Bobby

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  • Rob Record

    You need to save the ai file as an older format, then it will import directly. I think. Anyway, using photoshop for this seems backwards..

    I would love to find out how to make rounded edges in the Z dimension after extruding – any thoughts?

  • Rob Record

    You need to save the ai file as an older format, then it will import directly. I think. Anyway, using photoshop for this seems backwards..

    I would love to find out how to make rounded edges in the Z dimension after extruding – any thoughts?

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    Nice, thanks for the feature!

  • Elphin

    Thanks guys for the tutorial. I can take my skill to the next level now with C4d. I normally use Photoshop and illustrator for my work. Anyway, does anyone can help me on how to import C4D file to Photoshop? I cannot seem to find any tutorial for that. Thanks in advance. Cheers

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  • Glenn Wilson

    Thanks. Thats a great help. When using text from AI how do you subtract the holes in letters like “D”? If you connect them all it seems to fill the holes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/riako.ochieng Riako Ochieng

    hey guys.. im runninginto a problem here..id like to amke an animation of a magazine flipping its pages one at a time givin u time to read whats on the page…how would i do that in cinema 4d..i dont got an issue modelling id like to go around the animating bit.any help jot me a lineat ochyengpee at gmail dot com.
    thanks
    Pat

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    4D so bear with me. When i open the .eps file into Cinema, it appears to be “outlined” when i extrude it.
    how can i “reverse” the image? is this making any sense. thanks for any help.

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  • ryc

    I mean in reverse; where it takes the chat sohbet Rendered object and converts it to paths and vector art. Never played with sohbet odalari C4D but I read up on it, really interesting program. thanks.

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    Really cool, Hmm, is that how the sketch and toon addon in C4D works?

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    Really cool, Hmm, is that how the sketch and toon addon in C4D works?

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  • Franco

    “Even in PSD you can export directly path information. You do not have the need to lose data with the transformation via selection.”

    Yes man, making paths from selection is the worst way.
    Is someone want to use that workflow (illus, psp, c4d), is better copy the illustrator selection and paste paths in photoshop.

  • Askndmr

    Bu çok güzel bir yazı olduğunu. Teşekkür ederim.
    branda </ a>
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  • Gwiazdowski J

    There's easier way to do this. Make Illustrator file, save it as *.ai. Open Cinema 4D. Go to File>Merge… and open select your *.ai file. If it is not working, please keep in mind that you probably have new version of Illustrator and old of C4D. Then just save Illustrator file as CAD file *.dgw. Open it in Cinema 4D in the same as you would do it with *.ai(File>Merge).
    There's no any reasonable way to put this vectors to Photoshop. Waste of time.

    http://www.behance.net/gwiazda/frame

  • Alper
  • mankenlik ajansı

    Create 3D objects in Cinema 4D from vector art

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  • Big Vince

    Nice tutorial. I’m in c4d and render view just results in a black screen. The tutorial doesn’t say to create a plane or ground, so what do y’all suggest?

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  • Cecep SWP

    I’ve seen before about the 3D object from vector, but this tutorial is great included a video that makes easy to learn it. Thank you :)
    Online Filmmaking

  • Cecep SWP

    I’ve seen before about the 3D object from vector, but this tutorial is great included a video that makes easy to learn it. Thank you :)
    Online Filmmaking

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    Why would you go to photoshop first?

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  • http://www.teknodium.com web tasarım

    wow thanks so much for this I am new to cinema 4d and had no idea you could do that. I look forward to makeing some 3d projects for the user forum. Now if you will excuse me I have to brew some coffee and play all night with this.

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  • http://twitter.com/zebbler Zebbler

    for some weird reason bending or warping objects produced this way has really bad results in C4D… Any solution for that?  Basically, I created a flower petal in Illustrator and tried to bend it in C4D – but it just doesn’t uniformly bend… No matter what.  No matter how many anchor points are on my shape, etc.  None of the pros I consulted know why or how to fix it, besides telling me to rebuild my shape in C4D, which is a huge time effort for me… Any advice?  Can I convert my Illustrator path into a C4D object in some other way?

  • Mel

    Thank you so much! I’ve tried every tutorial imaginable online, and yours finally worked! I think bringing it into Photoshop fixes whatever doesn’t work out in between C4D and Illustrator. My logo has a hole in it, as well as a separate piece, and no matter how I grouped it in Cinema 4D and Illustrator, it never seemed to work. Thank you, thank you! After many failed attempts to succeed with past tutorials, yours was the gem that worked.

  • http://www.facebook.com/devin.holmes.33 Devin Holmes

    I don’t know why, but for some reason I have to “group+delete”, then I have to make sure the single remaining path is not a child of its own name. Not sure if I’m describing this right or not, but essentially I have to really, really reduce my path to use extrude nurb.