Inkscape to Blender

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Inkscape to Blender

Post  BnBGobo99 on Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:10 pm

Hello all,

Inkscape is a free-and-open-source 2D vector program similar to Adobe Illustrator.  Think of vector graphics like Blender's curve tools.  You can create a vector image (.svg) and scale it up ten bazillion percent and it will still be clean.  Unlike a .jpg or .png file that will fall apart at anything above 100% zoom.

For example:
Here's an .svg file at 300px (300x300 pixels):


Now here's a tiny segment from a 3,000px version:


And again at 15,000px (GIMP wouldn't let me do 30k):




When you combine Blender with Blender, you can do some neato things.  Instead of creating a logo using curves, or worse poly-modeling, you can quickly mock it up by importing the .svg file, like so:

Image made by Blender artist "K M".

Image made by me! Razz 

Here's one I recently made (not the best, but it served it's purpose):



So, if I wanted to do something simple like the above AF logo, you could make it really quickly by setting it as the background image in Blender and either using curves, or more appropriately for this shape--polygon modeling, you could whip it up rather quickly.

But what if I told you for about the same amount of time as it would take to convert the AF logo .jpg file into the above Blender render, you could do either of the below images:



That makes using Inkscape more appealing, right?  Sure, sure, the images themselves aren't the best renders--but let's focus on the time-saving aspect here!  So why don't we go ahead and make both of these.

Let's start with the GE logo.  Download the GE .jpg file here: GE-Logo.jpg (uploaded by ingvar)

Inkscape
1. Open Inkscape

2. Go to File > Open > [find your image] > Open

3. Left-click on the image to select it.

4. Path > Trace Bitmap

5. In this image we only have two colors--white and blue--so were going to do "Multiple Scans" by colors, and set the Scans: to 2.
Depending on what kind of image you are trying to convert, you can do either multiple scans or a single scan.  Keep in mind, that if you import an .svg created with multiple scans into Blender, each of those scans will create a path--so if you have a full color image and make a 256-color scan, you'll have 256 paths to deal with.  Single scan, on the other hand, may not give you the results you want.  In this image you can also do "Color quantiziation" with 2 colors and get a black-and-white result as well.


6. Un-check Smooth.  Do check Stack scans, and Remove background.  Our source image is pretty large, so we won't need the benefit of smoothing to clean out the rough edges.  We'll stack the scans so there won't be a gap made, and we'll remove the background since we don't need the white part of the GE logo left over.

7. In the Options tab, uncheck Supress speckles, Smooth the corners to 1.00, and Optimize paths to 2.00.  This is a smoth, dual-tone image, so there aren't any speckles to supress.  We want the corners as smooth as possible for Blender, and the more optimized (clean) the paths are the better--we want as few segments to mess with as possible.


8. Click Update, OK, then close the Trace Bitmap window (OK will not dismiss it).

9. Left-click and drag your new .svg out of the way.  Left-click select the .jpg logo and delete it.  Move the .svg back into place.


10. With the logo selected, click Save As, and save as a Plain SVG (rather than Inkscape SVG, since I tend to notice Plain SVG works better in both Blender and GIMP under most conditions.)




Blender

1. Open Blender, delete the default cube, go to your top view.

2. File > Import > .svg


3. After locating your .svg file you'll see a teenie-tiny-itsy-bitsy little curve object that looks like our GE .svg.

4. Zoom in and take a look at your file to make sure there isn't any bits like "Made by CrazyKid!" that you want cut out (be sure to credit CrazyKid in your final product, though--this image was uploaded by nipic user ingvar as part of his .ai file).


5. Select the curve object (I'll call logo from here on out), and reset the origin to the center of the logo (Object Tools (left-hand panel) > Origin > Origin to Geometry (or Geometry to Origin to save you the next step).

6. Move the logo to 0x0y0z.

7. Now zoom the logo out 10-20x times (however large you want it).

8. In the path tab, you can extrude and bevel to your heart's delight--however note that the amounts will have to be tiny.  I'm still trying to figure out a way to make them more "normal sized" increment amounts.  Applying the scale doesn't seem to have any effect.  I also recommend boosting your resolution to more than 12 (48 is what I normally do).


9. If you bevel and the logo puffs out too much, you can compensate by making a negative offset.  This will create curve overlaps that we'll have to manually fix.


10. This is what we got so far--not bad!


Okay, you're saying, I could have also done that in Blender by using curves.  Well, I say, how about the University of Maryland logo?  That's a bit more complex.
Grab the logo here: http://imageshack.com/a/img10/4610/p4ui.jpg
Image copyright University of Maryland (http://www.umd.edu/)

1. If I used the same settings as before, I get some odd artifacts--especially around the text:


So I had to adjust some of the settings as you see below:


2. After importing the .svg into Blender, you can see there are some areas that are still not swell:

So I did some modeling here and there to clean that up.

3. After throwing on some textures and lighting in Cycles, this is what we come up with:


Not bad for a few minutes work.  Definitely a time saver trying to model each of those elements individually.



Creating .svg files and importing them into Blender are best for two-dimensional limited-color images like logos and text.  More complex images or items you anticipate making into more dramatic 3D elements are best served by poly-modeling, sculpting, or more advanced NURB-modeling from within Blender.

Speaking of text, this is one of the most useful features of Inkscape---text along a path.  Let's quickly run through that, and afterwards you should be all set with the basics and ready to pursue some great Inkscape tutorials out there for more advanced .svg creation.

1. Create a path in Inkscape.  You by clicking you create a vertex with a hard angle, click and holding lets you have a smoother curve.


2. Click the text button and type something out.

3. First select the text, then select the curve.  Go to Text > Put on Path.


4. Now you can add your text how you see fit.  You can change the font, size, kerning, etc.


4.5 (Going to GIMP only): You'll want to make your path invisible--do that by changing the alpha to zero.  Otherwise it'll be part of the text image when you open the .svg in GIMP.


5. To make the text displayable in GIMP or Blender, you'll have to convert the text from an object to a path.  Do that by clicking on Object > Object to Path.


6. Save as .svg and import it into Blender just as in the previous examples.  Same deal applies with the extruding, etc.


7. Add your textures, lighting, and camera angle--bam!


I hope you have found this tutorial useful!

Thank you. Smile

[This is the first tutorial I've written since BlenderNewbies shut down... it's been a while. Crying or Very sad  I forget how much time it takes to put these together! Shocked ]
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Re: Inkscape to Blender

Post  Xraygunner on Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:01 pm

Sweet! I'll be delving into some of this as soon as I get some other "projects" either done or a little further along. I really love that last render! It's always those simple to do things that look so awesome!! Great job on the tutorial too. Very well done. bounce 
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Re: Inkscape to Blender

Post  Strangebloke on Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:56 pm

Ooh I wanna play this game!

Time to dig out my archery club logo again. I tried it previously using just blender but it wasn't brilliant.

Cheers for the time you've taken to knock that together it looks very comprehensive.

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Re: Inkscape to Blender

Post  zyzzy on Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:42 pm

How cool is this!


http://www.blendernation.com/2013/12/09/tutorial-inkscape-to-blender/
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Re: Inkscape to Blender

Post  Xraygunner on Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:56 pm

WAY TO GO!!!  cheers 
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Re: Inkscape to Blender

Post  BnBGobo99 on Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:59 pm

Hehe, for BlenderWorld!

I noticed a spike in my WordPress stats, another user posted my tutorial on reddit Saturday, so I thought it might be useful to share with others.  I submitted the article and Bart let me know via Twitter he would use it.

Even though I claim I don't need attention, it does feel good.

Thanks for the cheers, all!  Very Happy 
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Inkscape to Blender

Post  Strangebloke on Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:52 pm

Strangebloke wrote:
Time to dig out my archery club logo again. I tried it previously using just blender but it wasn't brilliant.

And dig it out I did!


Think it took longer to download and install Inkscape than it did to trace the logo. Thanks mate! Excellent tutorial congrats on the re-posting and your new found fame Smile

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Re: Inkscape to Blender

Post  BnBGobo99 on Sat Dec 14, 2013 4:16 pm

Looks like it came out great, Strangebloke!  Glad this tutorial helped in bringing the logo to life. Smile

Well prior to knowing this method, I traced this logo out by hand... it took a very long time:
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Re: Inkscape to Blender

Post  Strangebloke on Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:46 pm

Oh..... ouch.

That must have taken an eternity! All those stripes.

It looks (as with all your work) fantastic though if that's any consolation Smile

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Re: Inkscape to Blender

Post  Strangebloke on Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:47 pm

Hi

I had another look at that logo I did. didn't like the background so I spent a few minutes changing things, tidying up the mesh and adding a bit more lighting. Happier with this one I think.

Thanks again.

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Re: Inkscape to Blender

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