Thundercats, TMNT and He-Man logos recreated for CG Nostalgia project

Craig Minchington has put a modern spin on the logos of classic kids cartoons to try out some new creative techniques.

You probably know Craig Minchington from his Photoshop and Cinema 4D tutorials for Digital Arts. His latest personal project, Nostalgia, is to recreate the logos of four classic kids TV cartoons from the 1980s – ThundercatsHe-Man and the Masters of the UniverseTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light – using Cinema 4D and the V-ray rendering engine.

The new logos retain the overly ornate forms of the originals – which could work as well as heavy metal band logos as for hero-based cartoons – and ramp up the lighting and textures to create versions that are gloriously over-the-top.

Use the slideshow controls above and right to see more of the project and read our interview with Craig.

DA: What specifically did you want to learn from this project?

CM: "In a word, V-Ray. V-Ray is an advanced rendering engine for Cinema 4D that gives your work a more realistic finish. Although there are similarities with standard render engines, for me working out V-Ray was like learning how to light and texture the scene all over again.

"So the Nostalgia project was a way for me to start experimenting, getting to grips with it to see what is achievable. This is as an ongoing process and I am looking to work up more topics – I’ve already started computer games – hopefully progressing my skills along the way.

DA: What did you like about the shows you chose?

CM: "They were classics from my childhood. I remember the title sequences, different theme music; the toys and the awesome packaging. I was lucky enough to have Castle Grayskull from He-Man and the Thundercats Thunder-tank.

"I may be biased but these were proper cartoons compared to what ‘s around now. They had such great characters and storylines with amazing graphics and animation."

Advertisement. Article continues below

DA: How did you build the overall look for each piece?

CM: "[I started] each piece by vectoring up the original logo. I did my research and wanted to tie in as many hooks as I could with the original cartoons.

"I thought about how to get the right look and feel across without using any characters. I did this through the lighting and mood of the piece, where they were situated and what materials they were built with."

DA: Could you us through the creative process for the Thundercats logo?

CM: "I started by tracing the original logo paths in Illustrator and then took it into Cinema 4D. I wanted the type to look like it was made out of metal shards, so used chunky, sharp bevels on the letters. I played around with some distressed metal and gold V-Ray materials, keeping things really reflective but adding some bump and noise.

"I used some HDRIs for the lighting to really boost those reflections and catch highlights on the edges of the letters.

"Once rendered I brought the whole thing into Photoshop where I really worked on the mood of the piece, darkening the shadows, adding glows and lighting effects, and getting across a dark, stormy atmosphere.  Finally I added lighting, rain, noise and some colour adjustments to bring it all together."

DA: Which was the most technically challenging?

CM: "Probably the TMNT logo. With the others I knew that I could make them metallic and shiny and the nice lighting and reflections would make them look good.

"However, I wanted to make the TMNT logo grubby and dirty as if it had been lost in the sewers, in keeping with the cartoon. Trying to get those connotations and styles across without the final piece just becoming a mess was tricky but I feel the piece turned out nicely."

Advertisement. Article continues below