Importing Illustrator Text and Drawings into Cinema 4D

If you work across multiple design and modeling programs, you know that they don’t always like to play nice together. Maybe you’ve come up with some clever workarounds after trial and error, and maybe some combinations you’ve ruled out completely. Luckily, Cinema 4D has built-in compatibility with much of the Adobe suite, with not just After Effects, but Photoshop and Illustrator, too.

In this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to take a text-based logo in Adobe Illustrator, extract the vector-based paths, and import them as extrusion-ready splines in Cinema4D. While we will be working with text, this technique can be used for any drawing in Illustrator that you can then adjust and modify for your own 3D or animation projects.

If you want to go into even more depth, this lesson is adapted from our full 5.25-hour Maxon Cinema 4D R15 tutorial video series by author Chris Martin.


The first thing you’ll want to do within Illustrator is open your drawing or logo file (we are using ), and select all of the text you wish to import. Go up to the Type menu and then select Create Outlines. If you are importing a drawing, this step is unnecessary.

CLICK HERE to download the work files if you’d like to follow along.

Next, you’ll save your Illustrator file using Save As, and within the compatibility mode save it as an Illustrator 8 file (this is crucial for your import to ‘play nice’ in C4D).

Now within Cinema 4D, you can go to the File menu and select Open to begin your Illustrator import on its own or Merge to add your logo to an already opened C4D project. In either case, you will be presented with the Adobe Illustrator Import menu, as shown below.


Within this menu, we recommend you check the boxes Connect Splines and Group Splines. These let you transition your text into a functional hierarchical group, which makes it much easier for applying effects such as extrusions. To extrude your imported text, select the Extrude Object from the Objects icon (seen below).


Now, select and drag your numbered Paths onto the Extrude at the top of your Objects list. By default, only your first path will be extruded. To quickly fix this, click on Extrude, go straight down to the Object attribute (shown below), and click Hierarchical.


After doing so, all of your imported paths will instantly be extruded.

To see the entire process on video, here is lesson 0404 from the Cinema 4D R15 training course. Instructor Chris Martin also shows you what happens when you do not connect your splines in the initial import screen.

Learning the strengths of individual design applications and also how to use them together is something that can take years of practice. But with our professional, hands-on learning you can learn workflow and productivity tips that will get you there much more quickly. Are there any other tips you’d like to see featured? Just let us know in the comments below.



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