I illustrated plant roots wrapping in and around the client’s product name using my Cinema4D 3D modeling application so that I would have the control and flexibility to make careful adjustments as the project moved along. A 3D application creates perfect geometry easily, but a 3D model as organic as plant roots takes extra work. I took advantage of the application’s precision by carefully mapping out the major structure of the roots. Then, after specifying parameters for certain characteristics of the roots, I let the application fill in the random details.
Drawing a path in Cinema4D is a lot like drawing a path in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop; you just have to draw it in three dimensions rather than two. To position the major roots carefully, I drew a path for each root, wrapping in and around the “Radiate” logo. The root geometry that I wrapped along each path began as a perfect cylinder object. I deformed the geometry of the cylinder with random noise to create a bumpy texture and made the diameter of the cylinder slowly taper to zero as it reached the tip of the root.
Once the major roots were laid out, I created secondary roots growing out of them. Cinema4D has the perfect tool for this called the Hair Object. It doesn’t just grow hair on objects. Because it has so many parameters that can be adjusted, I was able to use it to grow the secondary roots, controlling the length, density, clumping, thickness, and kinkiness of the roots.
During the project, changes to the illustration were relatively easy to perform. When a root needed to be moved, I simply moved the path I had drawn for that root. All the main root geometry and secondary roots grown with the hair object followed right along with the path.