How do I create a 3D linear shape (like this in figure) in Illustrator?

I try to use mesh tool (but it deformed all lines) and blending tool (but it not works with closed shape).

Can you help me? Thanks!


  • 1
    Hi Chopper, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, 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
    Jun 7, 2016 at 14:05
  • Do you have to do it in Illustrator? It may be easier to do it elsewhere and import the vector data.
    – Cai
    Jun 7, 2016 at 14:32
  • @cai where would you create this, outside of AI? A 3D program like C4D maybe? I'm curious myself now.
    – Manly
    Jun 7, 2016 at 15:01
  • @JohnManly any 3D program, yes. You may be able to do it in AI but it may be easier to do it in 3D, it depends how complex and precise you need to be. Anything more complex certainly would be easier in 3D.
    – Cai
    Jun 7, 2016 at 15:46
  • @Cai I don't know use 3d programs. I would create it in AI. The shape should be precise but not mathematical. I need it for a poster design.
    – Chopper
    Jun 7, 2016 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


You can get good results if you use 3 lines for the blend! You are right that the blend tool does not work for this with closed shapes. But you really only need it to look closed.

I made a quick example to show you: enter image description here

As you can see on the left I drew 3 lines.
The blue and the green one are drawn in a way that they seem to be one closed shape. The line in the middle serves as a guide.
You can tweak the anchor points of this line to avoid sharp corners, loops or shapes you don't like.

The way I did it is quite simple:

  1. Draw the 2 shapes forming a closed figure.
  2. Draw another curved line down the middle
  3. Start creating a blend between the first line (1, green) and the middle one (2, cyan)
  4. Cut the third line (3, blue)
  5. double-click the blended object to get into isolation mode
  6. Paste in front (ctrl+F)
  7. Tweak the anchor points and handles until you are satisfied with the results.

Tip: You can get nice results if you also blend different linewidths

  • Thank you very much for detailed answer! I just tried and it works, this is certainly a solution for reproduce a available figure. So not exist a automation in AI?
    – Chopper
    Jun 8, 2016 at 23:35
  • What do you mean with automation?. All the lines between the ones you draw are generated automatically by Illustrator.
    – leugim
    Jun 8, 2016 at 23:44
  • I mean another more automated solution/tool that simplifies the process to invent a new shape. I don't want limit myself to reproduce a available figure.
    – Chopper
    Jun 9, 2016 at 0:02
  • It's up to you to be creative and think of new shapes! This is just a technique that can be applied to whatever lines and shapes come out of your imagination :)
    – leugim
    Jun 9, 2016 at 1:24
  • I had no problem getting through the first3 steps, but I just don't know what you mean by "cutting" the third line, so my design doesn't fill out on the left side at all. Can you explain a little further what you're meant to do after you blend the 1st and 2nd lines?
    – sharon
    Apr 4, 2017 at 19:26

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