3D Materials In Illustrator

Youtube video on subject

New Features

Wow, Illustrator 3D materials and lighting etc, a massive new update. The application has introduced (after many years) an update to its extrusion / rotate / revolve / inflate and has a new interface. Some of the functionality is much the same just in a slightly different form so many of the settings such as extrusion depth etc are the same.


You have a huge range of substances to choose from (and you can add more if you have access to Adobe Substance 3D Painter (that is a long name), sadly it is not part of the Creative Cloud (but you can purchase a reasonably priced subscription to create your own as well as obtain other assets if you want to explore the features) and has to be bought separately but you can use the substances from it. It does mean that you have a massive range of steel, gold, wood, marble etc to use and apply to your paths, any shape.


Select a path, apply one of the extrusion / revolve etc via the Effects menu or via the panel (this can be found via the window menu) and then go to the materials tab and simply click one of the entries in the substance drop down and you can choose from 50 odd entries


They are only a starting point as you can modify a vast number of properties such as density, hue shift, waves, marble color, different patterns and much more and create 100s and 100s of variants. You can also click on the lighting tab and then add lighting to your shape and rotate the lights etc.

Appearance panel

The result of all these changes are just an effect that can be seen in the appearance panel and you can edit this setting at any point by clicking on the entry in the appearance panel. You can also save the appearance to the graphic styles panel and use it for future work. You can also add into the mix other effects such as blurs and distortions etc

Creative cloud

If you have applied it to a path then you can drag this to the creative cloud library and add it to a library. The pixel design can then be used in another application such as Premiere or Photoshop etc