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Re-render a 2D bitmap logo in 3D with extrusion?

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Peter Wu
Re-render a 2D bitmap logo in 3D with extrusion?
on Sep 30, 2011 at 4:48:11 pm

I have a multi color 2D bitmap logo with transparency (.png file). What are some ways I can re-render it in 3D with extrusion (viewed at an angle to show the extrusion)?

My understanding is that extrusion can only be performed on vector objects. I tried using live trace to convert the logo to vector, and it looks pathetic. In addition, extrusion takes a very long time to render. If I fine tune the live trace to make it look better, it generates a vector so complex that extrusion seems to freeze.

I'm thinking a better solution might be to simplified the vectorized object by
(1) take the logo and fill it with a solid color (easy to do in photoshop)
(2) put this in illustrator and covert to vector. This would generate a relatively simple object because only the outline needs to be traced, and there is only 1 color and 1 area.
(3) somehow, texture map the original bitmap logo onto this vector object
(4) extrude the vector object

The problem is I don't know how to do step (3) or if it's even possible in illustrator. I know texture mapping is a common feature in 3D apps.

The solution doesn't have to be in illustrator. If this can only be done in a 3D app (e.g. blender 3d), it's ok although I'm more familiar with 2d software.

I have not found alot of discussion on this topic on the web. But surely any graphic artist or web designer would run into this issue once in a while.

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Vincent Rosati
Re: Re-render a 2D bitmap logo in 3D with extrusion?
on Sep 30, 2011 at 5:52:05 pm

My approach would be to start in Illustrator - from creating logos, to creating components for use in 3D apps, to creating shapes and Smart Objects for Photoshop.

Since you're starting with a raster, you might want to redraw it in Illustrator so you have a nice and clean vector as your base resource.

Illustrator's 3D effects can be processor intensive, so you'd ideally want a very clean vector, as opposed to a traced vector. A traced vector can have a lot of unnecessary data in it, making the 3D stuff more difficult.

1 - Skip this, don't start in Photoshop. Unless you have vector paths that you can export.
2 - Yes.
3 - Yes.
4 - Yes.

Texture mapping isn't exactly the same in Illustrator, as it is in a 3D app. You won't be able to do any bump mapping or anything, but you will be able to apply a raster and manipulate it in a 3D space.

Les has a good example of using mapping, here:


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Peter Wu
Re: Re-render a 2D bitmap logo in 3D with extrusion?
on Oct 1, 2011 at 7:41:48 am

Thanks. Using artwork mapping I'm able to accomplish the task.

However I still have to use photoshop because I don't know any other way to turn the logo into a single filled color (like a mask) that I can put in AI to trace the outline, which I can then apply 3D bevel to.

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