I am trying to adjust colors after I apply a 3D effect (say extrude & bevel) in Adobe Illustrator (I tried in CS2 and CS5) but even if I make the object's color white it turns into fairly dark gray after the effect; I cannot make it lighter. I tried to play with shading but no luck.

I understand there should be shading and color change to show the 3D effect but the change is quite extreme.

Can anybody give me suggestions on how to preserve the colors with 3D effect in Illustrator?

9 Answers 9


Change the shading color to something lighter than Black (the default)

3D Effect

  • 1
    Well, I have tried that too and it helped a little but the object is still dark. I guess this is how it is, I tried playing with all the parameters in that screen and I still cannot get the a color close to the one before the effect. Feb 11, 2013 at 20:07
  • 2
    @EnginYapici If you don't want color changes, select No Shading from the Surface drop down menu.
    – Scott
    Feb 12, 2013 at 2:56

I don't know if you're still dealing with this, but in case you are anyone else could use the help.

I've found adjusting where the light is hitting the object to be of a big help. In the additional options panel (in the above picture) there is a graphic toward the lower left. The large ball represents your object and the white dot represents the light. Click-drag that dot, the highlight center, to your desired location. There is another dot, black by default, that represents your shadows. Adjusting these in multiple combinations as well as ambient light will allow you to brighten, darken, smooth out, and add contrast to your lighting situation.

Hope it helps. I've actually run into another problem where the first character of my text won't display gradient color when the rest of the text will.

Anywho; good luck!


Go to Effects >> 3D Extrude & Bevel click on More Options(you can find below Map Art) Reduce Light Intensity value, make Blend Steps 1 or 2 (adjust the value).

  • I tried those, colors are still very dark. I changed ambient light and made the colors lighter but I cannot change it much because object loses its 3D effect after a certain value. Feb 11, 2013 at 5:44

I've had the same problem, along with Scott's answer, changing stroke colour made the most significant difference.

Changing the fill, stroke and custom colour (in 3D Extrude and Bevel Options) of the object to the same colour; will remove all shading, and make any changes to the lighting options ineffectual.

Hope this helps anyone with the same problem.


Just click on OK when you are at 3D Extrude & Bevel Options. Then select the object you changed. Go to Object -> Expand Appeareance. Now you can select with Direct Selection Tool (A) the only layer you want in white. Now you can change the off white color to 100% white.

  • Hi Anne, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your answer. If you have any questions, please see the help center or ping one of us in the Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Vincent
    Sep 16, 2015 at 14:59

You might be working in CMYK mode or have transferred the object from an RGB file to CMYK.

  • Nope, I work in RGB mode and I created the object myself, didn't import it. Feb 11, 2013 at 20:09

When doing this with fonts (and it should work for object) is I have made a copy of the text / object before applying any extrude and bevel options.

Then apply your Extrude and Bevel options to your original object / text, and you can turn off the cap - giving a hollow appearance (you are going to cover it anyway so I'm not sure if there is a CPU saving there)

Then, when done there, move back to the copy of the text/object (with no extrusion or bevelling and your chosen colour intact) and move this object over the top. This 'bodge' allows the original font colour to be preserved. enter image description here


Make sure to click on the whitest spot of the shaded sphere to set your start color.

  • this issue is 3 years old. no need to dig up so old issues Mar 7, 2016 at 2:39
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    @TomaszGolinski Sure there is. 4383 people have viewed this post as of right now. Obviously some people are still facing the same issue Mar 7, 2016 at 4:17

stroke of the eclipse black!, change it to none... Problem solved.

  • Hi Venkatesh, I don't really get what you are trying to say? Would you mind editing you answer to explain a bit more what exactly is your solution to OP's problem?
    – PieBie
    Dec 30, 2020 at 12:14

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