How to Create 3D Artwork in Adobe Illustrator CS6 - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

All effects in Adobe Illustrator CS6 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.

There are 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:

1Select the object you want to apply the 3D effect to and choose Effect→3D→Extrude & Bevel.

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

2Select the Preview check box.

Preview lets you see results as you experiment with these settings.

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

It makes selecting the proper angle (or positioning the object in space) fun to do 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, unless you want some funky results; use the Preview pane in the Extrude & Bevel Options dialog box instead.

If you like, you can use the Perspective drop-down list to add perspective to your object.

4In the Extrude & Bevel section of the dialog box, select a depth for your object and a cap.

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

5Select 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.

6Select a rendering style from the Surface drop-down list or click the More Options button.

More Options provides in-depth lighting options, such as changing the direction or adding lighting.

7Click the Map Art button.

The Map Art dialog box opens. Use this dialog box to apply artwork to a 3D object.

8Select the surface you want the artwork applied to and then select a symbol from the Symbol drop-down list.

To select the surface, use the Surface arrow buttons.

9Click OK to close the dialog box.

Congratulations! You have created your first piece of 3D artwork.