Friday, 16 March 2012

TUTORIAL - Importing vector artwork from Illustrator to Max

I have had this problem for years. 

5684 vertices in one small model.

It;s a common request:

  • Can you generate a 3D model based on this basic line-work?
  • Could you create this logo in 3D?
So, I will start by saying, there are work-arounds, as with most things in 3D Studio Max, there are about 10 different ways of doing something and ALL will achieve the desired result. However, I am looking for the most efficient way of completing the task with the  smallest file size and therefore the most "workable" file out the other end.







SO, here's the problem:



I have a logo (that is not a standard font) in illustrator and I want to import it into 3D studio Max as a spline so that I can work with it.

How can I achieve this?

I can use Illustrators' built in export functions to "export" the logo out as a DWG or DXF file format.














Once I have the DWG or DXF file, I can import this into 3D Studio Max. I can do the same with a straight AI file as well, but for this purpose we will use the standard DWG.


This process WILL work.....


...but look at the massive number of verts (5684 corner verts) we will have to deal with...


This will translate to a hugely complex and file intensive model, which will be difficult to work with....


It is possible to compress the number of faces down and "clean up" this mesh in 3D using bits and bobs, but I want to look at how we can avoid this problem in the first place. SO, apparently the earlier versions of illustrator were able to export their bezier curves into other programs, however the CS versions of Adobe suite are unable to do this.

Now for the Solution / workaround.

From illustrator, copy the path into your clipboard (ctrl+C or CMD+C), open up photoshop and create a new document, paste what you have into the new document (ctrl+V or CMD+V) this will bring up a window asking how you would like to import the data, (smart object, pixels, path, shape layer). Choose "Path". this will drop the shape into your paths' layer.

From here, we can export the information out of Photoshop and into 3D max as an old legacy AI (illustrator) format. So, select all points and hit "file" and "export" and "Paths to Illustrator".

This will generate an AI file which you can import directly into max again.


So, what have we got in 3D now?



We have the logo in Max and the Verts are using bezier curves, so to put some figures to this, we have reduced the verts count from 6584 to a more manageable 112! This will still deliver the same result when worked with in 3D.


Look at the visual difference in the image above - the model will be easier to work with and easier to render WIN WIN!

I have had to deal with this problem sooo many times over the years I thought I would jot this down and post it, I'm sure there are plenty of others out there with similar issues....

45 comments:

  1. Really useful man! Always needing to do this. Hope you're good. Should meet up for a pint sometime.

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  2. Really helpful...This tip deserves more comments! Thanks James.

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  3. THANK YOU SO MUCH! OUTSTANDING!

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  4. Good stuff, worked first time, what a time and memory saver!

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  5. THANK YOU!!! Oh my gosh this made my day so much easier. Invaluable, you're awesome.

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  6. Nice one - Thanks! :)

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  7. Thank you ! Great solution, you've saved me a lot of time.

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  8. Thanks a bunch. There is probably a way to do this in AI however it was too finnicky. The solution felt silly so I ignored it for a proper way but duh, through AI was the proper way.
    Anyway, good we tech-tip there, nothing like helping those a little dazed at the thousands of buttons that now exist!

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  9. hours searching and u are the only one that come up with a solution!! genious!!!!

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  10. Better solution, just do the following
    In Illustrator File->Save as->Illustrator 8
    In 3d Max File->Import->ai Illustrator
    Done

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    Replies
    1. This worked just fine. Thank you!

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  11. Thank you, brother!! You are the great!

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  12. really great!...easy and no detail loss...thanx man

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  13. THANKS, THANKS, THANKS!! YOU SAVE ME A LOT OT TIME!! :)

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  14. This is exactly the solution i needed, thanks for the great tutorial :)

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  15. Greeeaaaattttt mann!!!! really this thing deserves a HIGHLIGHT!!!! Thanks!!! :)

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  16. Thanks a lot .. saved me time !!! GREAT TIP

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  17. thank you for maintaining this post!!! i think you just rescued my project and my night!

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  18. Thanks solved a big problem

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  19. thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you

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  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  21. u r big artist!!!

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  22. Great Appreciated

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  23. Drops from my heart

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  24. thank you thank you thank you!

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  25. Thanks man its safe so much time.really appreciated...

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  26. This is great! Life saver! Thanks!

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  27. Wow.Supper Guide
    Very Helpful, It was a supper challenge for many years for me.
    Thanks

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  28. Thank you ! Great solution, you've saved me a lot of time. Thank you. Thank you. :)

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  29. Thank you ! Great solution, you've saved me a lot of time. Thank you. Thank you. :)

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  30. Thanks a lotttt mate !!!!! U saved my hell lotta time... Cheers !!!!

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  31. thank you it works very well, you are the master

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  32. Damn... needed this about 500 times already in this lifetime... this is good.

    THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU

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  33. Thanks you so much for the tutorial

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  34. thanks Sooo much, this is the one i've been lookinf for, great man.

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  35. 쉽고 간단한 방법입니다. 매우 감사합니다. 당신은 천사입니다.

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