Pixel & Vector Character Logo

3D Cube

Turning a flat, simple design into a 3D cog-filed extravaganza. Bonus lesson on the importance of prepping logo files.

3D Flash Animation Header Logo

Making a logo spin. And spin. And spin.

Flash has gotten itself a bad rap the last couple of years after Steve Jobs unceremoniously dumped it from Apple mobile devices. Pity, because there was never a more effective way to animate logos for the web, and we had become quite good at it. Flash isn’t dead yet – it still plays on other devices, desktop machines and there are even workarounds for mobile – Google has a conversion code that turns most Flash animations into HTML 5 code that will run on Apple devices. Accordingly, and tor the foreseeable future, Flash will still be the go to tool for animating logos, around our shop anyway. Which brings us to this little gem – a 3D flash cube we developed for Cirrus Logic. Let’s get this out of the way first – we didn’t design the logo. It was supplied the client. They just wanted us to make it spin. A simple enough task except for one small thing:

Slightly Off Center Logo Axis

There was a slight hinky in the logo. The center of the ‘X’ wasn’t actually in the center. Whether this has always been in the design, or added later because of someone saving a file that had shifted is anyone’s guess. No big deal, right? Not unless you wanted to spin the logo. That slight shift was noticeable in every rotation. Just move it over, right? No so easy on that either. Nobody knew why the logo was offset – there might be a reason for it – and nobody wanted to take the rap for changing brand assets. Which is why we ended up slapping the logo on a cube and rotating that. Turns out that ended up way more interesting anyway.

Coming up with a workaround on that ever-so-slight imperfection drove us to come up with this:

That’s a Quicktime version of the original Flash movie (prepped for playback on mobiles and what-not.) See here for HTML5 and GIF animation versions.

3D renders

A bonus working with Flash and 3D is this: when we create 3D animations, we have to create models. While the Flash version is in vector format (to keep the file-size down and allow scalability,) there’s nothing to say we can’t render full-blown raster images of the models for use elsewhere. Here’s what they look like:

Vector explains vectors

Takes a little bit of time to render these things at full resolution and the lighting can be tricky (these may be a little “hot”) but all-in-all, not a bad result. Here’s the same cube perspective in green..

Pixel explains pixels

Not a bad result and quite nifty for use as glamor shots. And all of this because somewhere, sometime, somebody moved the axis of an ‘X’ about two pixels to the right.

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