From Business Card to Extruded Logo with RED

extrude a logo

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If your client is asking for a 3D extruded logo animation in his video and all he has for company graphics is his business card you better dig deep into your toolbox. And you better find a copy of Boris RED 4.1 in it because that is what you'll need to get this tough job done.

Going through my pile of business cards I was looking for something that may be more challenging for BORIS Vector Trace tool and I came up with this one:

video effects tutorial

I scanned this card with my AGFA Snapscan 1212 home scanner at 150 dpi in color mode knowing that I will only be interested in the company logo in the top left part of the card. The logo was most likely produced in Illustrator. It has a typical Boolean intersection of the E and S splines. In addition, the transparent fill of the S may look interesting with a video background behind it.

I first imported this image in Boris RED (running as a plugin or a standalone, does not matter). I got it showing in the Preview window at full size. Now it is ready for vector tracing.


To start, deselect the image track in the timeline and pick the Pencil tool from the tool palette as shown on the screen shot above. Normally, this Pencil tool is used for freehand drawing line art but in RED it has special powers. It can sense the underlying raster image and magically trace it to produce the line art. Let's try this now. To "turn the magic on" you have to press the Option Shift keys on Mac or the Alt Shift keys on Windows and simply drag the pencil across the area of the image that you'd like to trace. I started at the top left of letter B and ended at the bottom right of S. The tool will draw the usual box rectangle to help you include the desired part of the image. As soon as you let your mouse go the spline track appears in the timeline window and the red vector outline snaps to the edges of the logo in preview window.

boris red

It is a good start but you can see an obvious problem at the top of the letter B where our spline is messed up. Fortunately RED 4 includes a full set of spline manipulation tools as you would expect in the vector graphics package to fix up any mishap. To proceed we need to switch on the Pen tool in the Tool Window.

boris red

Now the red spline outline is showing all the control points generated by the Vector Trace feature. As you can see at the top of letter B there are simply too many control ponts and I can easily fix it by deleting some unnecessary points (select control point with a mouse click and hit the Delete/Backspace key on your keyboard). The rest of the spline looks pretty good and I'm ready to extrude it as a real 3D object. Let's turn our attention to the timeline window that will now see some action. Since I no longer need the underlying business card I can simply turn it off with the eyeball icon (or delete it if you think your tracing work is done). On your Spline Track click on the shape icon and choose 3D Extrusion from the pop up box.

video extrusion

Watch your 2D Spline transform into 3D complete with lighting and shadows. To further enhance the 3D look I rotated the object about 30 degrees (in the control window).

etruded logo

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