3D Artwork in Adobe CS5 Illustrator - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

All Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator effects are excellent, but the 3D feature is even better. You can not only add dimension by using the 3D effect but also map artwork (wrap artwork around a 3D object) and apply lighting to the 3D object. You can then design a label for a jelly jar, for example, and adhere it to the jar to show a client.

Here are the three choices for the 3D effect:

  • Extrude & Bevel: Uses the z-axis to extrude an object. For example, a square becomes a cube.

  • Revolve: Uses the z-axis and revolves a shape around it. You can use this option to change an arc into a ball.

  • Rotate: Rotates a 3D object created using the Extrude & Bevel or Revolve effects or rotates a 2D object in 3D space. You can also adjust the perspective of a 3D or 2D object.

To apply a 3D effect, you need to create an object appropriate for the 3D effect. The Extrude & Bevel feature works well with shapes and text. If you want to edit an object that already has a 3D effect applied to it, double-click the 3D effect in the Appearance panel.

To apply a 3D effect, follow these steps:

  1. Select the object you want to apply the 3D effect to.

  2. Choose Effect→3D→Extrude & Bevel.

    Options for your chosen 3D effect appear. To see the 3D Extrude & Bevel Options dialog box.

  3. Click the Preview pane and drag to rotate the object in space.

    Using the Preview function makes selecting the proper angle (or positioning the object in space) or you can choose the angle from the Position drop-down list above the preview.

Never use the Rotate tool to rotate a 3D object, use the Preview pane in the Extrude & Bevel Options dialog box instead.

The Extrude & Bevel Options dialog box.
The Extrude & Bevel Options dialog box.
  1. (Optional) Use the Perspective drop-down list to add perspective to your object.

  2. In the Extrude & Bevel section of the dialog box, choose a depth for your object and a cap.

    The cap determines whether your shape has a solid cap on it or is hollow.

    Cap on (left), cap off (right).
    Cap on (left), cap off (right).
  3. Choose a bevel (edge shape) from the Bevel drop-down list and set the height using the Height drop-down list.

    You have a choice of two ways to apply the bevel:

    • Bevel Extent Out: The bevel is added to the object.

    • Bevel Extent In: The bevel is subtracted from the object.

  4. Choose a rendering style from the Surface drop-down list or click the More Options button for in-depth lighting options.

  5. (Optional) Click the Map Art button.

    You now have the option of adding art to you 3D object.

  6. Click OK to close the dialog box.