How to Map Designs onto 3D Shapes in Illustrator

How to Map Designs onto 3D Shapes in Illustrator


– [Instructor]
Hello, and welcome to this Design
Cuts video tutorial and today, we’re
going to look at mapping designs onto 3D shapes. I’ll start with a
brand new document. Mine’s just going to
be 1920 by 1080 pixels in size in RGB colour mode. Yours can be any size you like. Of course, if
you’re working with an earlier version
of Illustrator, your dialogue’s going to
look something like this. I’m going to go ahead
and create my document. Before we can
create our 3D shape and map a design onto it, we
need the design to work with. So, I’m going to make
a pattern of stars. I’m going to the star tool, I’m just going to click
once in the document. I’m going to create
five-pointed star. So, I’ll just click OK. This is a little bit big for me, so I’m just going to
shrink it down in size. Right now my star has a white
fill and a black stroke. I’m going to get rid of
the stroke in a minute, but, so that that I can see
my star while I’m working, I’m going to leave it in place. I’m going to choose
Effect, Distort & Transform and then Transform because I
want a whole heap of stars. So, I’m going to type in around
20 as my number of copies, and I’m going to
start moving them out in a horizontal direction. I’m just gonna space
my stars out nicely. I’m gonna add a few extra
just for good measure. And I’ll click OK. Now with this star
selected, I’m gonna choose Effect, Distort & Transform
and Transform again, and I need to
apply a new effect. And this time, with
Preview turned on, I’m gonna make about 11 copies and I’m gonna be moving
in an upwards direction. So, I’m going to be
decreasing the vertical value. And this is a nice array of
stars for me, so I’ll click OK. Now, at the moment,
everything is associated with just this star down
here, so I need to expand it, so I’ll choose Object,
Expand Appearance and then Object Ungroup and
I’ll continue to do that until Ungroup is no
longer an option. And it is now no
longer an option. Now, with all of
my stars selected, I’m going to turn
off the stroke, so I just have a solid
filled set of stars. And, I’ll choose
Object and then Group. So, now I have a series of
white stars all in a group. I’m gonna open up my
Symbols panel here. If you don’t see it, you can
choose Window and then Symbols. And, you’re gonna click
here on New Symbol. And, I’m just gonna
call this Stars. The fact that it’s
a dynamic symbol or a static symbol
is totally immaterial and we don’t have to
reset its export type because that’s not
appropriate either. We can just click OK. And, since I no
longer need my stars, I can select them
and press Delete. Now I need something
to put my stars on, so we’re going to
create a 3D shape. I’m going to select a fill here and I’m going to use a
really dark blue fill colour. Maybe something even a
little bit darker than this. And, I’m gonna
draw out a circle, so I’ll go to the ellipse tool, hold the shift key as
I drag out a circle. Now, I only need half a
circle for my 3D effect, so I’m going to the
direct selection tool. I’m just going to
select over this anchor point here
and press delete. So, now I have a semicircle. With it selected,
I’ll choose Effect and then 3D and then Revolve. I’m going to turn Preview on ’cause I need to see
what’s happening here. And, my revolve has not worked
out exactly the way I wanted. I wanted a sphere and I’ve
got a sort of cylinder. Well, the reason for this
is this setting here. At the moment it’s rotating
from its left edge. I want it to rotate
from its rightmost edge and this gives me what
I expected to see. I can choose plastic
shading or diffuse shading. You can choose
whichever you like and then you can alter your
light source if you wish. So, I want a light source that’s sort of coming in from
over here for now. If you don’t see all
of these options here, you just click your
More Options button. And then you need
to go to Map Art. Now, this shape here
only has one surface. And this is what its
surface looks like. And if we want to
map our art to it, we can just drop down this list and this is a preview
of all the symbols available in this document. And, since we made our
stars into a symbol, then we can use the stars
to map onto our 3D art. Now, at the moment,
the stars are smaller than the mapable area, so I’m just gonna
click Scale to Fit. And I’m gonna make
sure that this doesn’t give me stars that
are distorted in any way. If they were, I
could drag this out to make them taller
or shorter or wider. But, it’s looking pretty
good with Scale to Fit. So, I’m just going to click OK. Now, at this point, I could
also rotate this shape. At the moment, it’s an
Off Axis Front setting, but you can choose
any of these options. So, you could choose
Isometric Left, or you could choose
Off Axis Back, or you can even rotate
the shape yourself so you could rotate it around and see which area of the
shape you wanted to see, and when you let go, the art
is mapped onto the 3D shape. At this point you
could also go ahead and adjust the light source. You can add additional
light sources as well. So, I might want some
extra light here, so I’m just going to add
a second light source. When I’m happy,
I’ll just click OK. Now, the way that
Illustrator works is that this is just a 3D
effect applied to my shape, so if I select my shape and
go to the Appearance Panel, you’ll see that there’s an entry for the 3D revolve
with the map artwork. If I turn off the eyeball
icon here, this is the shape and this is just an effect
applied to our shape. Let’s have a look at another
possibility for our 3D shapes. I’m going to select
the rectangle tool. I’m going to just drag out
a long, narrow rectangle and up here in the
Shapes Dimensions, I’m just going to set its
height to a known value. So, I’m going to
set it to 25 pixels ’cause that’s going to make my mathematics a little bit easier. I’ll select the shape, hold
down the Alt or Option key and drag a duplicate shape away. And, this one I’m
going to colour white. So, together these two shapes
are 50 pixels in height. I’m going to choose Effect
and then Distort & Transform and Transform because
this is an easy way of creating a striped pattern. I’m going to add about 10 copies and I’m just going to move
these vertically 50 pixels because that’s the height
of combined shapes. And, here are my stripes. So, I’ll click OK. I’m going to choose
Object, Expand Appearance to expand these and I’m
gonna choose Object, Ungroup and continue to do that until Ungroup is no
longer an option, at which point, I’ll
just choose Group to group them into
a single object. And, of course, now, we need
to add them as a symbol. So, I’ll just click
here on New Symbol. I’ll call this Stipes
and just click OK. And, since I don’t need
the stripes any longer, I’ll just select
them and delete them. Now I’m ready to create a shape, and for this, I’m just
going to use the pen tool. I have a sort of
blue colour selected. You’ll need a colour just so
you can see what you’re doing. I’m going to click and drag
in a sort of upwards direction and then come over
here and click and drag in a sort of
downwards direction. It’s this sort of
curve that I want. I’ll press Escape to
finish drawing the shape. With the shape selected, I’m going to choose Effect
and then 3D and then Revolve. And I’m gonna click Preview on. And this is the sort
of shape that I want, a sort of cone shape. Now, I can vary it a
little bit if I want by just tipping it over. This shape might be a little
bit difficult to fill, so we’ll see how we go. I’m going to click on Map Art and I’m told that there are
now three surfaces for this. Each of these surfaces
is a little bit different to the others, so I’m going to select the
first surface and click stripes. And, I’ll scale ’em to fit. And, that’s going on
this area of the cone. Let’s go forward to
the next surface, and, again, apply
our stripes to it. And, again, scale it to fit. You can see that Illustrator
has split this into two pieces, so there’s this piece
and then the next piece that we’re going to be mapping
to is this outside piece. So, you can see, it is a little
bit of an inexact science. But, let’s go ahead and apply our stripes to the last surface. And, again, we’ll scale to fit. Now, because we’ve
got two surfaces here and one is quite
narrow, these stripes have ended up being
really close together. Well, we can solve that
by just stretching them so that they better match the
other stripes in this shape. I’m a little bit concerned
at the join here, so I wanna make sure that
I’ve a good result here. And, you could always come
back to the previous surface and just adjust that
a little bit as well until you see something
that looks pretty seamless. And then click OK. At this point, I’m going to be very reluctant to
reshape my shape because it’s going to be too
easy to lose this design. So, I’ll just click OK. And, again, I can move
this shape out of the way and we can have a look
and see what we’ve got. You’ll find that there’s
a lot of fun to be had in creating shapes
and revolving them and then mapping your
art to those shapes. It’s a fairly easy process and shapes like the sphere are going to give you
really good results. Other shapes, a little
bit more challenging. I hope that you’ve
enjoyed learning this Illustrator technique for mapping art
onto 3D surfaces. Let us know what you think
in the comments below and give us a thumbs up if
you enjoyed the tutorial. Until next time, I’m Helen
Bradley for Design Cuts.

6 thoughts on “How to Map Designs onto 3D Shapes in Illustrator

  1. Enjoy this tutorial? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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  2. Thank you. Another awesome tutorial that has helped me solve a particular design challenge for a client.

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