Making an Electric Sign Look Realistic

The eternal question (for me).

How do I take my flat, vector, detailed, scaled sign sketches (monuments, channel letters etc) from AI CS2 and give them perspective and depth.

I’ve looked into Lightwave…looks more like an animation program & a bit difficult to learn.

FormZ seems the same way.

Here’s an example of one of my sketches:

Here’s the kind of thing my boss wants:

Any ideas? Whatever I do I have to learn it fairly quickly and it has to look fantastic…

Is Blender difficult to learn?

I would say in general, yes. Especially if you have limited 3D experience. However, to accomplish work similar to the examples you provide, it shouldn’t involve many of the advanced features - looks like fairly straightforward modelling.

I think that blender can import .AI files as paths (you’ll have to search here at elYsiun to find out more info) and if this is the case, it should be a matter of conversion to mesh and extrusion, in addition to some other basic modeling techniques, to come up with 3D versions of your sign models. It will take a little time to get used to blender and its interface, but perhaps working thru some of the wiki manual might be of help:

As to the rendering (producing the final image) blender is more than capable of getting a realistic look (like you show.) It will take some patience and tweaking… but the potential is more than there. If not with the internal raytracer, then certainly yafray.

PM me if I can be of any further assistence.

Thanks for your reply mzungu

I’d think the easiest learning curve would be to just use the 2d application to create the effect. Most of the higher end vector graphic packages have a perspective tool built in. If you don’t have a perspective tool in Adobe you can just warp the text and add depth and a drop shadow. The whole process would take maybe half a minute if you’re familiar with your software. Really though the pictures you’ve posted above could be done in just a few seconds with a little experimenting. The results should be indistinguishable from the real thing.

Of course the coolest way would be to model the entire sign in 3D using blender. :slight_smile: And you’re looking a college level edu learning curve for a software of that calibre. There is an entire philosophy you’ll have to acquire to accomplish photo real effects. At least a couple of months worth of study if you’re unfamiliar with the underlying techniques and methodology.


Thanks for your response. It is definitely helpful!