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Custom Logo Reveal
3D Model & Animation

日付 2022年1月25日

Here at Clickmark, “good enough” is never good enough. When we started making video content, one of the first things we needed was a logo that we could open and close our videos with. Sure, we could have just used the image files that we already have, but where’s the fun in that?

Since, our newest staff member has experience with 3D modeling and animation, we decided to take our logo to the next level. Here’s a quick look at how we took our simple 2D logo and turned it into a fully animated 3D model.

Step 1 – The software

When it comes to 3D modeling and animation there are many choices of software. The big players are Maya, 3D Studio Max, Cinema 4D, and Blender. For this project we went with Blender, mostly because it’s free, but don’t let the price tag put you off. Blender is a very powerful software that is even gaining traction in top gaming and visual effects studios.

Step 2 – Building the base mesh

3D modeling is roughly equal parts “Art” and “Science”. For this project the “Art” part was mostly done, since we already have a well designed logo. To make sure our 3D Mesh ( a fancy word meaning the geometric shape ) matches the logo exactly, we imported the logo image into blender as a reference. This way we can line the shape of our mesh up to the exact edges of the logo.

Step 3 – Smoothing out the edges

The first mesh we get is a little blocky and doesn’t have the nice rounded look that we want. To fix this, we perform a “Subdivision” which pretty much just cuts all the edges in half and then makes the angles as smooth as possible.

Step 4 – Color

OK, so we have the basic shape, but it’s a dull grey color. We could just choose a color for the whole model, but this model has two colors, so we need some way of letting blender know which parts of the model should be which color. This process is known as UV Mapping, it’s a little bit technical and confusing, but if you imagine our mesh as being made of paper, UV mapping would be like cutting the paper in a few places and then unfolding it so that it lies flat. Then we can use the flat UV Map to paint colors in a normal image file and Blender will know which colors go where.

Step 5 – Rigging

Our snappy finger is looking pretty good at this point but it doesn’t do anything yet. We could start changing its position and animate that movement, but we need it to do more than just fly around in a static pose. We need the fingers to actually change their shape to perform the snap. To do this we will need a “Rig”. We place “Bones” on the inside of our mesh. These bones will be ignored in the final render, they are just there to help us manipulate our mesh. The bones should go roughly where real finger bones go, but notice that we didn’t add any bones for the ring or pinky fingers, since these fingers won’t move.

Step 6 – Weight Painting

This is every 3D animators least favorite part of the process. Good weight painting is a very technical process that requires a very artistic eye. I won’t go too far into the details here, but you can think of weight painting as attaching the “skin” to the “bones”.

Step 7 – Animating

Finally, the fun part!! Now that we’re all set up, we can start “Key Framing” some “poses”. After about 20 minutes of closely studying our own hands snapping in slow motion. We pick a few critical parts of the action and position the bones into a “Pose” and add a “Key Frame” to the timeline. Once we have all our poses keyed up, Blender will do the hard work of figuring out all of the poses for each frame between each Key Frame.

Step 8 – Rendering

OK, it’s all pretty much done, now how do we get it out of Blender and into our YouTube videos. We need to “Render” the animation. When we push the “Render” button, Blender will go frame by frame through our animation, place everything in the right place and then go pixel by pixel to create a snapshot image, then it will smash all those snapshots together into a video file. There are a lot of things to consider when setting up a render, like lighting, shadows and reflections. These things don’t show up in the regular blender viewport, so they can be a little tricky to get right, but that’s a blog for another day.

And that’s all there is to it!! In these 8 simple ( or maybe not so simple ) steps, we have taken a very nice but static logo, and made it come to life. We are excited to be able to offer this service to our customers as well, so if you’d like to see your logo in action, we’d love to help.