Crystal 3D IMPACT! Pro

Tips And Tricks


Be sure to visit the gallery to see more "How was it done" hints and view works created by others!

  How can I get a sparkle on a still image, the size I want, right where I want it, and only where I want it?

The Sparkles tool In Crystal 3D IMPACT! Pro, is both unique and powerful, because it was designed to give you cool looking sparkles to enhance your highlights AUTOMATICALLY. This is especially important for creating animations, because otherwise calculating positions and sizes of the sparkles can be painfully slow and difficult. There are times, however, when you want or need to have full control over your sparkle effects.

Actually, this is easier to do than you might think.

The basic trick is to use a concept called layering. This is how virtually all the 3D animated effects you see on the wide screen are created - they use lots and lots of layers. For this trick, though, you only need two layers. The back layer will contain your image or animation. The front layer will contain your sparkle(s).

Let's consider a still image first. Once you are done creating your model, save it using the Save tool, then save a rendered image of it to disk using the Save Image tool. Then hit New. OK, your first layer is done.

Now load that image file you just saved back in, as a background using the Render>Set Background...tool. After selecting the image file, be sure to check the option "Fit Working Area To Background Image". That will make sure that your beautiful image won't get trimmed, or scaled up or down. Now you are ready to create your custom sparkle.

To create the sparkle, you will first want to create a sphere. Then make it 100% transparent using the Object>Object Properties tool. Select the Advanced...button. Then click on the Transparency check box, then click on the numeric box next to it and type in 100%. Click OK, OK.

Now turn on sparkles, by clicking on Render>Sparkles. (You might want to go back to verify that it is checked.) Also, since sparkle rendering is a pixel-oriented process, it is important to set your zoom to 100% while working with sparkles. This will ensure that the sparkles you see on the screen are exactly the same thing you will get when you output your image or animation to disk. Also, make sure your render quality is set to better or best.

Now select the Render Tool. You should see a nice sparkle on the sphere. If you are not seeing any sparkle at all, or if you want to make your sparkle larger, then you will want to try one or more of the standard methods to control your sparkle intensity. They include make sure your render quality is set to better or best decrease the triggering threshold of your sparkles (using the Render>Sparkle Options...tool) increase the brightness of your lights (using the Lights>Light Properties...tool) increase the shininess of your sphere (using the Object>Object Properties tool.) increase the size of your sphere (using the object scaling handles.)

To move the sparkles, just move the sphere. To add more sparkles, just add more spheres. (You could also add more lights to do the same thing, but that is a little more difficult.) For best result, you will generally want to be doing this type of work with your View>Preview Options... set to Shaded Mode.

When you get the effect you want, then save your creation out to disk using the Save Image tool.

To use this same technique for an animation, do the following: Save your project, then save your movie to disk using the AVI file format, using the highest quality settings. Then hit New, and set that movie as your background. Use the same techniques as above, but consider assigning a motion to the sphere. Then use MakeMovie to save your composited creation out to disk.

Now create a small sphere, where you want your hi-light, and set it's transparency to 100% using the materials gallery Advanced options button or the Object's Properties, Advanced Options button.

Then set the sparkles to maximum size, in the Render, Sparkle Option, menu. This technique guaranteed that I could get one great highlight, right where I wanted it. This works great for still images.

Return to Tips Index


How do I insert a Crystal 3D IMPACT! Pro AVI file into my PowerPoint slide?

Output your Crystal 3D IMPACT! Pro as an AVI file.

In PowerPoint, go to the slide you want to the insert movie into. Then select the "Insert" menu, then select the "Movies and Sounds" submenu. Within this, choose "Movie >From File..." and find the AVI that you want to insert. PowerPoint will automatically insert it into the slide you've selected.

From there, you can stretch it and move it for your desired size and position. For the AVI to continually play, right mouse button click on the AVI and select "Edit Movie Object" from the menu. Click on "Loop until Stopped" to get a continual motion.

Return to Tips Index

How do I get my text objects in front of my banner object?

This is a common question. The answer has more to do with understanding how 3D modelling software works than how 3D IMPACT! Pro works.

Most people are used to "layers", and terms "like in front of". In 3 dimensions these terms are out of place. In 3D programs you are now dealing with 3 axis X, Y and Z. To move one object "in front of" another object either use the TopView command and look down on your scene from above, or by holding down the <ctrl> key while moving an object you can move the object forward in Z space. (see example at left)

Think of a 3D program as working with solid objects that have depth, you need to place them in space so that they don't overlap each other.

Return to Tips Index

How do I make my orbit size smaller?

3D IMPACT! Pro uses fixed paths in a gallery format.
However, you can group objects together and get some great new effects.

  1. To create the image at the left there are several things to do.
  2. Create a circle the same size as the orbit that you are trying to create.
  3. Rotate the circle on the X axis so that it is flat (90 degrees).
  4. Make the circle invisible. (a material in the material gallery)
  5. Create your text. You should bevel your text, apply materials etc. before the next step. Now Ungroup the letters.
  6. Use the Top View command.
  7. Move your text inside the edge of the circle.
  8. Move and rotate each letter until they are aligned along the edge of the circle.
  9. Now group the circle and the text. Now use the Spin motion on the group.
Return to Tips Index

How can I convert my personal/company logo into a 3D logo?

Figure 1


Figure 2


Figure 3

There are various ways to create a 3D version of your logo, or design using Crystal 3D IMPACT! Pro. We will describe 3 different methods so you can experiment to see which method works best for you.

Method #1: "Importing and converting AI or CDR to 3D" You can import your 2D logo (created in another application) into 3D IMPACT! Pro. 3D IMPACT! Pro imports Adobe Illustrator (.AI) files versions 3-6, and Corel Draw (.CDR) files versions 3-7. Use the File/Import 2D Object command to bring your vector art directly into 3D IMPACT! Pro. Please remember that your image must be line art (also referred to as "vector" art) and not a Raster or color filled art. (Raster refers to an image that is pixel based like those images created with a paint program, Vector refers to an image that is line based like those created in a drawing program) Now you are ready to bevel your art. Use the Object/Apply Bevel tool to give your imported 2D logo some 3-dimensional depth.

Method #2: "Using the Create Outline tool" In the Object menu there is a Create Outline command. Use this command to create vector art from your Raster images. . The Outline tool traces a line around your image and creates line art from your pixel based image. Click the Load Image button and select the image that you want to make an outline of. When the image is outlined to your liking, click OK. Now you are ready to bevel your art. Use the Object/Apply Bevel tool to give your imported 2D logo some 3-dimensional depth.

Method #3: "Creating a black and white contrast image to create an outline of 2D art" If the logo you want to outline seems more complex than what the create outline tool generates (as described in method #2), it may help to apply more contrast to the image you are outlining. To do so, try following these steps:
A) Import a copy of your image into a paint program.
B) Now select the background of your image and make it white.
C) Select the portion of the image that you want to be 3D and paint it black.
D) Repeat this process for each portion of your image that you want to be 3D. See Figure 1
E) Save each of these images as a separate file. Refer to each file as a "silhouette" and exit your paint program.
F) Now in 3D IMPACT! Pro use the Create Outline tool, as described in Method #2 above, loading each newly created silhouette to make a vector version of it. These parts are ready to be beveled. See Figure 2
G) Once you have generated an outline for each silhouette so that it is now line art, use the Apply Bevel tool to add 3D depth to your logo (or logo piece). See Figure 3
H) Then use the Apply Image tool (in the Object menu) to apply the color version of the image to each of the beveled parts. Now you have a 3D version of your logo!

Tip: Modify the original color image so that the background is filled with the same color that is on the outermost portion of your logo. Then when you use the apply image command any portion of the side that isn't colored by the image on the face will be this filled in color.

Return to Tips Index

© CrystalGraphics, Inc.