Behind the scenes: 3D Vim animation

I decided to learn 3D animation with the Vim logo because it’s got this pseudo-3D effect. Actually, that’s a lie, I’m just obsessed with vim.

vim logo


I modeled the shapes by tracing the geometry over a reference image.

vim logo

I chose not to include the ‘im’ part of ‘Vim’. Just to save time.

vim logo

Here’s an interactive version of the model. You can spin it around!

Materials and Lighting

Then I added real-world material properties to the shapes. In simple terms, I told the program that the diamond is green and reflective, while the V is rough and metallic.

Materials are only half of the equation; you need lights for the materials to react to.

I use a “Sun light” that lights the whole scene from the camera’s perspective, and a “Rim light” which is a green spotlight aimed at the back of the logo. The purpose of the Rim light is to do what every designer must do: make the logo “pop”.

vim logo

A generous portion of “Bloom” is responsible for the overall “glowiness” of the whole scene. See how it looks with Bloom on and off:


I was inspired by the old Gamecube intro animation. How can you not love the part at the end?

My first attempt was promising, but didn’t feel lively enough.

Looking back at the Gamecube animation I realized I was missing the forward tilt on impact. After adding tilt (plus a little extra bounce) the movement felt right.

This side view clearly shows the forward tilt when the diamond hits the V. It also looks kind of silly from the side. Angles matter.

Putting it all together

I spent hours tweaking everything to try and get a satisfying final render.

The first pass had a LOT of bloom and felt too low contrast.

Second pass I went for a more dramatic effect with glare and contrast, but it was overkill.

Third pass was somewhere in the middle. I accidentally turned on motion blur, but ended up liking it and kept it in!

I could keep messing with it and get it just right, but I want to move on to other projects.

I’m calling this one complete.



Except I’m way too obsessed to leave it like that.

Final Form

Last night, after publishing this article and getting ready for bed, I had a little idea:

What if I use a better render engine?

It would be slower.

Approximately 36000% slower.

But what if…?


The render finished. But it didn’t even look much better. Perhaps with a tiny bit more work…


I learned a lot about post-processing in Blender.

Post processing is cool because it’s all happening in 2d, so changes are faster and easier than working in 3D. It also gives you a lot of control over the final result.

But it’s still a lot to figure out!

If you’re totally confused, think of it like a chain of advanced Instagram filters, all building up into one final image.

And here’s the real final result:

I spent an unreasonable amount of time on this, but the result feels worth it.

Thanks for reading!


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