Okay, so I'm very new to Illustrator. I want to have a mario pipe 'snaking' around another mario pipe. I've managed to get a style that looks like a pipe when I use the pencil tool, and I've got the following:

enter image description here

However I can't get it to look like it's wrapping seemlessly around the pipe. I've tried cutting the large pipe into pieces so that I can have the top bit in front of the small pip (so the top of the small pipe looks like it goes behind the large pipe again), But because the black around the edges is a stroke I end up with a black line going the through the gradient of the large pipe.

So here is me trying to cut the rectangle of the large pipe up:

enter image description here

See what I mean? Apparently there is no way to get rid of the stroke on a particular side in illustrator.

So I thought I could cover it with another rectangle gradient over each join, but then I couldnt line them up for some reason.

Any suggestions?


3 Answers 3


Instead of creating multiple pipe segments you could use a clipping mask on your snake pipe:

enter image description here

Just create a shape (or a compound shape, it doesn't matter) that covers the area you want to stay visible, then select it together with your snake shape, Object > Clipping Mask > Make.

I'd use rectangles for the clipping mask, it's quick/easy enough to create and to align properly to your existing pipes.

  • Ooh wow, thats a great idea! I'll give it a go.
    – Chud37
    May 4, 2020 at 14:21

The clipping is the minor part of the whole problem. The major part is to get the right shading. Your gradient approach isn't plausible.

Illustrator's 3D cannot make it because 3D helix is unknown for Illustrator. Of course it's possible is to crib or export the right shading from a real 3D program.

Only seeing it somewhere and then making a copy from scratch in Illustrator belongs to the repertoire of the masters. Unfortunately I'm not one of them, so the only way to get something resembling without having anything finer than Illustrator is to cheat. The watching direction in your attempt makes possible to use toruses instead of a helix:

enter image description here

The blue bar is a circle which has got effect 3D > Extrude (I guess you want to use Revolve to get a more complex bar). There's 3 green smaller circles which are revolved to toruses. The topmost and the lowermost toruses have tilt angle +30 degrees.

One in the middle is tilted -30 degrees and sent to back. It can have the same light as the others with no discontinuity because it's revolved only 180 degrees. See it and its revolution dialog in the right.

The top and bottom toruses can be revolved 360 degrees, because only the front side is visible.


Here's one approach, but there are probably many ways it could be done:

Like you, I also split the long rectangle into three filled pieces. I would simply make sure the fills and strokes are all separate objects, and arrange them carefully in the layers panel.

Here's a rough example

enter image description here

Here are the pieces all split up so you cam see them better.

enter image description here

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