Florence Design Academy: Logo design with 3ds Max

Florence Design Academy tutor Mario Malagrino explains how to create a basic logo design using splines in 3ds Max

As teacher of the Florence Design Academy, I know how important it is that students get clear and well explained lessons. Especially in the beginning it's important to challenge our students with little projects in order to unleash their creativity.

As a 3D graphic teacher I love to show the benefit of 3D graphics to Designers. A Graphic Designer needs to know Adobe Software perfectly and there are projects that can be done in part with 3ds Max. If you need to create advertising for a product, or an ad with a high visual impact, the option of using 3D software will allow you to improve your workflow for both simple and complicated projects. This tutorial is a beginner tutorial, and you should be able to follow it after just a few lessons with 3ds Max. So let's begin!

It is really easy to create 3D text with 3ds Max. Just go to the Splines, select Text and write whatever you want in the text-box. After that, click in the view (in our case in the Front View) and you will see a spline-text appear.

<em>Finding the Splines/Text pathway in 3ds Max</em>

Finding the Splines/Text pathway in 3ds Max

As an example, I write Logo Design in the text-box and click in the viewport. You will notice that there are a lot of great fonts that you can adjust the text, as in any other typing-software, such as Photoshop.

<em>Writing text using splines</em>

Writing text using splines

Now let's customize our text. The next steps allow you to create interesting fonts which will fit to any of your projects. This sample shows you that there is no limit for shapes or ideas with this software. You can basically create anything you have in mind for a professional project.

Select your text (in the Front view) and click on it with the right mouse button (RMB). You will see a small window appear. Now choose: Convert to: Editable Spline. This action allows you to edit any shape (line, circle, rectangle, text etc...) that you create with splines.

<em>Converting the text to an editable spline</em>

Converting the text to an editable spline

Select the vertex in the Modify panel and move the red highlighted vertexes to your left side (as shown in the image). This makes the letter L and D a bit wider and will allow us to make the text more interesting and create enough space to add details later on.

<em>Modifying the initial lettering to create interest</em>

Modifying the initial lettering to create interest

Still with the same selected vertexes, go to the Fillet command and make the corners rounder by typing a number in the slot (or you can press and hold on the little arrows to the right of the number slot to get the same result).

<em>Rounding the corners using the Fillet command</em>

Rounding the corners using the Fillet command

Whenever you attach smaller shapes to a bigger shape, those smaller shapes will create holes in your 3D object as soon you assign an extrude modifier to your spline. To make this concept clear: If you need a wall with a hole for a window you must only attach a small rectangle (window shape) to a big rectangle (wall shape). As soon you extrude it you will get a wall with a hole.
In our case I create several rectangles with a small fillet in each corner. This makes the rectangle shapes softer. Later you will notice that these rectangles that we are attaching will create holes in the letters.

<em>Adding rectangle to the logo design</em>

Adding rectangle to the logo design

Apply the Extrude modifier from the modifier list. You will see a flat surface in the viewports. As soon you increase the amount in the Modify panel you will see a 3D object appear. The amount is basically the height of your object.

<em>Increasing the depth of the spline to create a 3D image</em>

Increasing the depth of the spline to create a 3D image

Create a new L shape in the text box that we have used before and place the letter above the first letter L. Check the Enable in Renderer and Enable in Viewport boxes as shown here, your spline will be a 3D object on which you can directly change the section shape (rectangular or radial) and also the thickness.

<em>Enabling the object in the renderer and viewport to change its shape</em>

Enabling the object in the renderer and viewport to change its shape

Make a copy of the entire blue text (Logo Design), and delete the Extrude modifier. Now you have the same simple spline as in the beginning. In this object, you should also check: Enable in Renderer and Enable in Viewport. Choose Radial and move the spline close to the extruded one. This will give you a nice border. Copy it also to the other side.

<em>Creating a border around the logo</em>

Creating a border around the logo

Cool, isn't it? At this point, you have to assign materials and light. There are many FDA tutorials that will help you for light and materials. Here below is the final result with materials and light.

<em>The final logo design, ready for materials</em>

The final logo design, ready for materials

<em>The final image</em>

The final image

Related links:

Want more tutorials from the Florence Design Academy? Try: Basic lighting in 3ds Max
Recreating leather in 3ds Max
Glowing materials in 3ds Max
Painting cars in 3ds Max
For more advice on 3ds Max, take a look at our books

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