I am trying to understand the principle behind making this effect:

enter image description here

I normally work in Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop and but I am falling short of making anything like this.

I'd like to be able to make similar vector designs with different variations.

Any help on how to make it and suggestions to other programs, if needed, is super welcome.


  • 2
    You could do half of it with a stack of ellipses and then mirror it. Obviously, for some of the ellipses, you'd have to remove half it. — This would also be pretty simple to do using pretty much any 3D application. If you do an image search for Inside of a torus, you'll find many examples. The desire to make it vector may be a little restrictive though... – Joonas Jun 20 '19 at 9:58
  • Yeah, that seems right. Thank you. I have gathered that there is also video editing software that has this effect. Do you know any specific programs, free or not, that are able to do it? I guess there is a difference between a program generating a 3D torus and the possibility to add a "inside the torus" effect to existing artwork. – alissonburgers Jun 23 '19 at 10:03
  • Blender should do the job. But if you're not familiar with 3D applications, it might be too much work. I don't use Blender, so I can't give you a proper answer. – Joonas Jun 23 '19 at 10:18

Actually you got an answer as a comment. I only tried it. It was simple to make a torus in a 3D drawing program - only revolve a ring around a circle. Unfortunately I have only some simple freeware. It runs out of steam as soon as something non-elementary is needed. In this case I haven't freely placeable and adjustable camera to get the wanted view. The only way to see inside is to cut a hole (=split body with a plane):

enter image description here

It was possible to saw the body to pieces with a bunch of horizontal planes. Then a wireframe view contains some wanted curves:

enter image description here

The idea was to save the wireframe as a PDF, open it in Illustrator, take the bottom half, delete unnecessary parts, fix the background ellipses and draw a few more manually. This way one could get a bottom half which can be duplicated to get the upper half. More curves were needed to make the top of the bottom half horizontal.

The job wasn't easy (except deleting the extras). Inserting ellipses only visually with no math rule creates easily somehow uneven spacings. Even looking spacing doesn't mean uniform spaces. Maybe blending could be used, but I finally drew nearly everything manually, only the center tube had several usable curves.

Here's the result after a clipping mask was added. I selected a couple of drawn ellipses to show them behind the clipping mask:

enter image description here

Because my trip via 3D wasn't productive due poor tools, I think it's useful to find how to draw also the center tube in Illustrator:

enter image description here

  1. A vertical line and a half of ellipse, both are as high and aligned to the same horizontal centerline

  2. Intermediate versions generated with blending, expanded and ungrouped.

  3. inserted 2 horizontal lines, careful placing with the direct selection tool to have perfect edges

  4. The same, but vertical

  5. The outline of a half of the tube. Making: joined a line, a half ellipse and two quarter ellipses

  6. Used shape 5 as distortion envelope to shape 4 (=Object, Envelope distort, make with top object)

  7. Scaled shape 6 a little smaller and inserted a duplicate as the upper half

In 6 the two lowermost curves seem to be unplausibly flat. After expanding and ungrouping they can be stretched vertically to more plausible shape:

enter image description here

This is still not geometrically perfect. Generally one cannot expect blending nor envelope distort knows what kind of 2D projection of 3D shape is wanted.

| improve this answer | |
  • Wow, thanks. That is a good way to make it manually. I think will be worth a try if I cannot find a way to apply or generate the effect otherwise. I guess, you do get absolute control over how it looks when you do it manually, in return for the legwork. – alissonburgers Jun 23 '19 at 10:05

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