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Found many tutorials to create 3D text (extrusion, shadow, bevel effect etc.), but that is not what I am looking for. What I am looking for, is a way using which I could use text as "skin" to wrap over any arbitrary object.

The simplest example I can think of, is the HTML5 logo:

enter image description here

...where the numeral 5, is wrapped as skin over a cuboid, including lighting effect. With dedicated 3D drawing applications, I presume that it'd be a nearly trivial task, but without extensive (manually intensive) path twiddling, is it possible ? The lighting part, I think I can figure out though.

PS> I would like to be able to work with text of pretty much any font, so I am looking for a solution, which can work with arbitrary shapes/paths, that can then be "skinned" onto the surface of any 3D object.

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I think the html5 logo is made as a "flat" vector image; There are no 3D objects there as far as i can see, only a bit of "shadow". I would think Inkscape have the option of wrapping an image on a 3D object, though I am a noob in inkscape. Some expert will surely come around and help you :) –  Benteh Jun 1 at 10:13
    
Right... it is indeed a "flat" vector image, but it gives the impression of being 3G, especially the bottom part of it. It was a handy example, perhaps not the best one. –  jay Jun 1 at 18:51
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You need a 3D rendering tool. Inkscape isn't the tool for this. –  DA01 Jun 1 at 19:10

3 Answers 3

You can do something like this using Live Path Effects, specifically Envelope Deformation.

  1. Draw your path to deform (in your case, the number; you have to convert it to path though)
  2. Draw the deformation shape (in your case, an outline of the shield)
  3. Path -> Path Effect Editor...
  4. Select the path to deform
  5. Using the controls in the path effect editor dialog and snapping, change the deformation paths to match the shield
  6. Remove or hide the shield shape

Effect (I used Courier as the starting font):

Envelope Deformation  result

Note that the shape you get may not be perfect, so you may need to convert it to path and tweak it a little.

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As put in the comments, you need a 3D rendering tool - not Inkscape - and you probably need to learn more about drawing and perspective. No offense intended - but the "3Dish" effect of the HTML5 logo is very far of what will be obtained in a tool that really takes 3D into account - you should really strengthen a little bit of your knowledge in this area specially if you need to deal with it professionally.

Blender3D is such a 3D tool - for realistic looking 3D effects - it will give you nothing close to the HTML5 logo level of abstraction from 3D. That one has been created in a vector tool, taking care to emulate the 3D "feeling" of the surface and faking the shadows.

If you simply want to adjust the perspective of some text to a rotated 3D lat area, like the cover of a book, or stamp text on the sides of a cube: inkscape could do that but it once: what is needed is a free perspective transform. Inkscape even allows you to specify your 2D transform matrix, but it does not allow you to visually match your transformed object to the target. You can do that in GIMP - it's perspective tool is cool for that, and easy to use - but it is a raster based tool, so it might not fit you. (Maybe you can load your art as separate layers in GIMP, use the perspective tool there to check the needed transformation matrix coefficients, and type those back in inkscape (object->transform, Matrix tab). You'd still have to manually apply shadding, clipping text at the edges of a "cube", and transform both sides indepently, and so on.

As a rule of thumb: this kind of stuff is either drawn from scratch, by someone who grasps the fundamentals of perspective and 3D drawing - or done in a real 3D program, like Blender.

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Point taken - yes, there's a lot to learn. I was hoping for something along the lines of a transformation tool, that might make may task easy, without perhaps achieving what would may be possible with dedicated 3D design/drawing tools like Blender. Your answer clarifies the matter quiet well. –  jay Jun 4 at 5:50

you might be able to use Google SketchUp to achieve the effect. It is relatively easy to learn (especially if your just making simple 3D shapes). you can create your own materiel and apply it to an object. If you have little or no 3D modeling experience it will probably take several hours or more to learn SketchUp. you may be better off manually distorting the paths so they appear 3D, especially if the shape is simple.

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