Artsy Rants

Turning an Illustrator logo design into a 3D animation

  • February 25, 2015

One of the fun things I do is creating so-called “flying logos” based on a client’s logo design. The result helps breathe life into a company’s branding, catching the customer’s eye with flashy movement and lighting effects (and a sound track, if the final product isn’t an animated GIF file). Imagine your corporate video or explainer starting out with something like this:

How do you go from a flat, 2D logo design to this? In my case, the key is how my 3D modeling, animation and rendering software, Lightwave3D, handles what are known as “paths.” Those are the outlines of the shapes the original designer created in Illustrator (or Xara Designer Pro, or any other similar program that supports the .ai file format) when they first designed the logo.

In the case of the above example, for instance, the designer supplied me with the Illustrator file for the client’s logo design. I studied it to get a feel for the coloring and such, then imported the paths into Lightwave. From there I converted the paths into flat shapes and extruded them to add the 3D factor, then textured the resulting shapes to match the Illustrator logo (adding a fun, shiny metallic sheen so the lighting would look cool). Voila!

From there the process moved into a standard 3D animation and lighting workflow. One of the special requests in this case was the client wanted to help dispel some confusion by highlighting the fact their domain name ends in .co rather than in .com. We decided to make pointing out the distinction slightly humorous. Add sound, and you have your very own flying logo to wow your customers with. What do you think? Comments below, please! Also please share this post far and wide, and come visit my website at for lots more fun examples of my work. Then hire me!

Spinland Studios, LLC is a high-tech 3D modeling and animation studio in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York. Defy conventional branding and let me bring your brand to life! Visit for more information and examples.

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