I am starting to develop a logo, but I want to know the best medium to work with. The size of the logo should never have to exceed 500 x 500 pixels, so I'm not sure if that should be taken into account. I would like to initally model something after this image here:

enter image description here

They use some depth and lighting effects to really make it pop. Should I work with multiple programs to complete this.

Just as a note, I am talking about the text that says "LinuXMint"

  • Considering how easy it is to produce text in any 3d software, I think the main question should be, what program to use for the rendering...
    – Joonas
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 2:34
  • 500x500 is not really a lot of pixels to go by. You're going to get aliasing and problems with that resolution. Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 21:07

7 Answers 7


Firstly, a logo should always be in vector format. What you are trying to make is a 3D visual of that logo.

Judging from the picture, I'd say this is done in Cinema 4D. But could be any 3D programm really. The effects are basically extruding a path (the logo) and applying a fillet. The material shaders are probably tweaks of some default plastic and metal shaders. No reflection map was used. As for light, there is one shadow-casting spot and ambient occlusion (plus global illumination perhaps). All of this can be done in one programm.

Now I am not sure if that tells you anything as I don't know your skill level. But if you are trying to find a tuturial, at least you have the right terms to look for.

  • "Judging from the picture, I'd say this is done in Cinema 4D" - are you sure? I think there's a pretty big clue it was done in Maya!
    – e100
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 10:17
  • 1
    Also, really worth emphasing that you should create a logo and then produce a 3d treatment.
    – e100
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 10:18
  • I was gonna say Maya too when I saw that but maya seems to be the release name of the LinuxMint. So I only went by the visual cues.
    – KMSTR
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 13:40
  • Yes, vector always first. Thought I implied it. Will be more clear about it next time.
    – KMSTR
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 13:42
  • you did; I guess I meant "I really want to emphasise this too".
    – e100
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 8:38

The best designed logos are NOT 3D. Many have 3D versions for things like advertisements, but they all have an official 2D logo.

Here is a list of opensource software that might be useful:

  • Blender 3D (a full 3D package) www.blender.org
  • Wings 3D (a 3D modeling suite) www.wings3d.com
  • LuxRender (a 3D modeling application) www.luxrender.net
  • Art of illusion (another full 3d package) www.artofillusion.org

I have used Blender before, and it is a really good piece of software, and the first one I would recommend to anyone.


The workflow that would probably have been used to create a professional-standard image like your example:

  • Design 2d vector logos for general use, in Illustrator or Inkscape
  • Construct scene in a 3d app by importing logos and extruding to form 3d objects; camera, lighting and object materials setup
  • Render scene to high resolution raster image in the 3d app or separate renderer
  • Final image processing (downsizing, brightness adjustment etc) in a raster editing app such as Photoshop or Gimp

I'll trow a nod out there for Modo, it makes rendering pretty darn easy at the level of the example you've shown and compared to most 3D platforms its very affordable.

For OpenSource the obvious choice is Blender3D.


Photoshop Extended CS5.5 or CS6 can do it. CS6 is easier.


The Interwebs are full of Photoshop 3D tutorials.

If course, this means the result is raster. Not preferred format for a logo.

If you need vector you'll need to look into other 3D software. Neither Illustrator nor Photoshop will be robust when it comes to vector 3D. Your best bet is to find a 3D app which exports to eps or dwg and then import that into Illustrator to refine.

  • Is Photoshop suitable for that metallic look as well? Thanks, I appreciate your time.
    – EGHDK
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 1:25
  • Yes it can be done in Photoshop. It's not as easy as some 3D applications though.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 2:46
  • Not sure Photoshop would be able to deal with the lighting interaction on multiple 3d objects shown in the example, eg the Maya and LinuxMint logos?
    – e100
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 10:28
  • I agree that Photoshop may not be the best tool. But, you can use Photoshop to create the basic structure since it has better 3D tools than Illustrator. Then place the Photoshop 3D into Illustrator to use as a template and recreate the appearance with vectors.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 17:38

Illy and Photoshop are definitely not robust enough for the professional-level effect you seem to be after. Shoot for something like Cinema 4D or Maya. If that's out of your budget there may be some open source options (I couldn't say). You could also do your design in Illy as proposed by e100 and hunt for some charitable soul who could help you with the 3D rendering of it.

I tend to agree with others here that you would want a "standard" version of the logo built in an app like Illustrator (or Inkscape, if you're on the cheap). But that isn't always the case. I've seen some identity work where the logo is strictly a 3D affair with variations in the lighting treatment for certain printing constraints.


Yes, as stated Photoshop CS 5.5 Extended and earlier can do it, but it's a little tricky to work with the Repoussé dialogue. The metallic materials that you were asking about, some are included with Photoshop CS 5 Extended and later as well as you can visit Photoshop.com to download an additional 100+ materials, including a set a metallics. There are also stages and sets and two sets of IBLs (Image Based Lights). http://www.photoshop.com/products/photoshop/3d

If you have Photoshop CS 6 Extended you'll see that the entire 3D system has been overhauled and is interactive (non-modal). So long Repoussé. In addition, there are several new interaction models that allow you to modify the extrusion, deformation and bevels of the 3D Extrusions—which can be made from Text, Shape layers, or Painter strokes. Also, all of the information is non-destructive so you can go in and change the text, color, font, paths, etc, until you're happy with what you have.

Here is a quick example I did for you in Photoshop CS 6 Extended. enter image description here

Cheers and good luck! (^_^)

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