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I'm trying to make something similar to this in illustrator using the 3D feature. What I'm strugling with is getting the border to be raised relative to the base of the tray.

enter image description here

I start off with a stroked rectangle like this:

enter image description here

and end up with something like this after I do Effect -> 3D -> Extrude and bevel:

enter image description here

But as you can see, the border is on the same level as the green area in middle (i.e. its all flat). How do I make it so that the border is raised above the central green area

Also is it possible to get the borders to be rounded like in the first image?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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1 Answer 1

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Generating 3D objects in illustrator is all about illusion. In your case you are trying to create a 3D object with 1 shape. However sometimes it's best to create the illusion of 1 shape or object by using two or more. For example the object below I created is two shapes, one on top of the other.


Here's how it breaks down visually.shape break down

And here is the step by step process. This process and individual steps can be applied to any object you are attempting to rending in 3D.

Step 1. Create the general shape of the object you are replicating. Apply a color stroke (8pt green in my case) and ensure the fill color is blank. The reason the fill color must be blank is because we want to be able to see through it to the next shape.

Step 2. Go to Menu > Effect > 3D > Extrude and Bevel. A new window with open.3d options window Check the "Preview" box in the lower left corner. Then adjust the angle and perspective of the shape by dragging the 3D box. You will notice your object move accordingly. In your case, I lowered the Extrude Depth from the default 50pt to 18pt. This is the depth of our shape so we wanted something a bit more shallow.

Changing the bevel (#2) to classic changes the shape of the sides of the 3D stroke. Sometimes adjusting the bevel will give you a small notice (#3) that the bevel intersected with it's self. This means the bevel crossed into itself and may look "wonky", I usually look for break down in the shape then move on, as in this case.

You will also notice that because we did not have a fill color (#3) we are able to see the inside walls of the object.

Click OK.

Step 3. Duplicate the object then press Shift + X. This will switch the stroke color and the fill color. Because we did not have a fill color, the new object will have a fill color and no stroke color. Opposite the original object. This new object is the "base". Ensure the new object is behind the first object. Ctrl + [ to move it backwards.

Step 4. Now I set the extrude level of the new object to 0. Press Shift + F6 to access the appearance window. Then click 3D Extrude and Bevel. Keep in mind you can also use this to adjust the original objects options too.

appearance window

I added a slight gradient color and inner glow to the object to make it a bit more believable. You add the inner glow by clicking the "fx" icon in the appearance window.

Step 5. Drag the new shape into position behind the first object. Sometimes just centering it on the top object will work however this may not always be the case depending on the shape you are using.

Hope this helps.

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THat's nicely done! –  DA01 Mar 20 '14 at 3:38
The answer could be more descriptive. However, I managed to pull it off :) Thanks @Javi –  by0 Mar 20 '14 at 15:34
I will edit my answer with a more detailed account. –  Javi Mar 20 '14 at 18:40
Very nice answer :) +1! –  Dom Mar 20 '14 at 23:31

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