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3D Illustrator tutorials - revolve and extrude

A guide to the features of the 3D menu in Illustrator CC 2019 2018 2017 etc such as revolve, extrude etc in CC 2019 2018 2017 etc

 

How to use Revolve with type

Revolve combined with width tool for amazing paths

 

 

Revolve. How to use the revolve 3D in Illustrator with type. First thing to do is to select some type or create some type. You can use the revolve with a lot of characters but the more complex the character set the slower and more likely the end results will not be great, so probably best to keep it fairly simple (unless you have a super powerful machine). Once you have your type (such as the letter 'A') then you can go to the effect menu and 3D and select the revolve. At first you will not see anything as the preview is OFF so go to the preview at the bottom of the revolve panel and turn that ON and now you will see the current settings applied. You can rotate the current design through 'space' and set it to different angles around the x-axis, y-axis and z-axis. You can also add some perspective which works well for some models but adds more complexity to the design. You can go to the revolve section and set the angle to less than 360 degrees and see the slice of the character design. Set it to 180 and you will see a mirror of the character or characters. You can set the angle to a different angle such as 270 to see the design but have a gap in the revolve. You can also set a revolve with a low angle setting such as 25 degrees to create a thin chunk of the design. You can turn on and off the cap for a different hollow appearance. The offset takes the revolve to even more extremes. Instead of just revolving around the axis, you can offset it from the axis to create even more amazing designs (and here the perspective does come in useful to distort the design). You can also change sides for the offset. You can change the surface for the revolve. Wire frame just generates the basic wires for the model. No shading generates a very flat path. Diffuse - no highlight. Generally I always stick with the plastic which allows for a highlight (the highlight appears when you select the plastic option). Click the more options to see all the lighting features for the revolve. Click fewer options to return it to the basic panel. You can then change the light direction by moving the light (or lights as you can add more than one) via the small globe. You can change the light intensity as well as ambient. If you set the ambient to 100% the result will be the original color of the path; set it to 0% and you will see the custom colors (though this depends on the intensity setting). You can add multiple lights by clicking the 'new light' beneath the globe and reposition that and change some of the lighting settings for each light. You can change the shading color from none to black and to a custom color (each light can have a different highlight and custom color setting). How much you see of the lights and the colors will depend on the the position of the light. Blend steps is universal and the result for a low value is fairly crude with banding, the high the steps will result in a smooth (but probably slower) result. You can also use the map art feature (in the more options) to add a symbol to the artwork and the map art uses symbols (store them in the symbols panel before you use the revolve). As you click through the surfaces via the surface control at the top of the panel, you can see the outline change on the revolved type (have to say it is not super obvious which surface is selected even with the outline and panel preview and as soon as you select a symbol for a surface the revolve is a lot slower. You can use the same symbol or different symbols for each surface. You can also scale to fit the symbol to the surface otherwise the model will have the underlying surface showing. It is a pity there is no, just fill the surfaces with the same symbol option (say if you have a brick design and don't want to spend an hour adding it to each surface then a quick add all button would be super useful). You can clear the mapping for the current surface by clicking clear as well as clear all the surfaces in one go by clicking the clear all. You can also shade the mapping but that takes a lot more processing power. Once you are happy with the revolve, you can click OK and you have your 3D revolve. The effect is live so you can change it any point by going to the window menu and appearance panel and selecting the type and going to the appearance panel and seeing the revolve entry. You can disable it as well as just click it again to generate the panel to change the revolve settings again. You can also update the selected type so if you have entered 'a' then you can go to the type tool and add 'aaa' and that will create a far more interesting extended revolve design. You don't have to use the same characters or even the same font or the same colors for the type or the same size of characters, all can be varied. You can select the type and use the alt / option command to duplicate the artwork. If you wish to convert the generated revolve design into a normal path then you can go to the object menu and use the expand appearance command. You can also save the revolve type to the symbols panel for future use by dragging the design into the panel. You can then apply the generated art via the sprayer tool. You can also drag the design into the CC library and then use the artwork in other applications such as Photoshop, Indesign. The artwork can also be saved to a PDF etc design via the file save command. You can also add other effects to the revolve so a quick zigzag or pucker can be added to the type. You can also manipulate the generated type by rotating the design or scaling the artwork or stretching the characters and that will result in a different 3D revolve type artwork. You can use the font shape sets on the graphicxtras.com to create all kinds of super models from these designs (sadly the result cannot be exported as an OBJ file etc). With CC 2019 2018, you now have access to an excellent properties panel and from the panel with the selected type, you can rapidly change the typeface for the selected design as well as the fill color and also stroke color and weight as well as opacity and blending mode.

 

 

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Width tool. How to use the width tool with the revolve 3D feature in Illustrator ? Select a basic open path such as an arc or a basic line. Go to the properties panel and then set the fill to nil and set the stroke to green or some color. Set the weight of the line to 2pt etc and then go to the effect menu and 3D and revolve with the selected path. Set the angle for the revolve such as 330 degrees so you can see the edge of the revolve (or if you want a complete design, leave it at 360). Set offset to the default of 0. Use the plastic shading. Now with the path selected, go to the width tool and hover over the path generated and you will see little dots. Drag the dot away from the path. This can be repeated at any point along the path (and it can be a simple path such as an arc or a couple of points or more or perhaps something created by the curvature tool). As you can see from the example, all kinds of paths can be be generated from that basic line just by manipulating the line and the dots with the width tool. This can be done multiple times with the dots along the line. As the width is a live effect, you can simply move the points back to the start point. You can add multiple points but the more complex you make it, the more likely you will get a dialog showing the re-render of the model. If you wish to just restore the model to an easier form then go to the stroke section in the properties and then select one of the width profiles and that will reduce the model to an easier form. You can still combine other tools with the width such as using the curvature tool to add some additional points to the 'actual' path as well as increasing the length of the line. You can also use tools such as the puppet warp combined with the width to distort the underlying path. Once you are happy with your generated design, you can expand it via the object menu or save the artwork to the symbols panel or save it to the CC library for future use. You can then use the result in tools such as Photoshop. There is also a plugin set called Widthscribe which can be applied to the revolved path (the plugin is from Astute Graphics) and can extend and manipulate the line in even more amazing ways.

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