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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of my favorite effects inside of Illustrator is the 3D effect. There's actually two main 3D effects: one of them is called Extrude and one of them is called Revolve. The Extrude effect basically allows you to start over the two dimensional object and then extend that object back into space whereas opposed to the other effect, the 3D Revolve effect, that allows you to take a regular shape or profile of a shape and then revolve it around an axis to create a 3D shape. Other people refer to that also as Leading. Let's first take a look at the Extrude effect inside of Illustrator. I have this file that I'm working on is called 3D_extrude; again you will find it in Chapter 14 of your exercise files. I'm going to go ahead and select this top shape right here, and it's important to realize that when you are working with 3D that you do not have a stroke applied to your object. We will talk more about this to get more into detail about the 3D effect. But for the most part, the way that Illustrator works is that it takes your fill and it actually extrudes that fill.
If you also have a stroke, it actually extrudes the fill and the stroke, but since the stroke is on the outside of the object, the stroke covers up the fill. So you don't end up with the result that is necessarily the one that you will be looking for. More importantly it makes Illustrator work twice as hard, so as we will soon see in a minute there are certain cases where adding a stroke would be beneficial to you. But for now when I start up with the shape that has a fill but it does not have any stroke actually applied to it. I'm going to go ahead and just move my page over to the side a little bit, and I'm going to select this object right here, choose Effect, choose 3D and then choose Extrude & Bevel. So I'm going to go ahead and move this dialog box here.
When you open up this dialog box, when you click on the Preview button, you are able to see a 3D version of your artwork. Basically, you have a cube but that appears inside of this user interface, and this cube is almost like a trackball. If you click on it and start to drag, you will see the 3D representation of that artwork appear on your screen. Illustrator manages all the shading for you. In fact, what you are seeing right now is real 3D inside of Illustrator, and again from a vector standpoint. If you click on the button here called More options, you will see that you have the ability to change the Surface options or the lighting settings. For example, right now, there is light hitting the particular object from the top half right. But you can actually change that.
Here's a little tip; inside of Illustrator, if you hold down the Shift key while working with any of the commands inside of the 3D dialog box, that effect actually updates in real-time. So I'm holding the Shift key down on my keyboard and I'll click this light around, so you can see that I'm actually changing the lighting settings. See how it gets kind of lighter towards the Bottom. Now, I'm lighting it from the Bottom. Now I'm lighting it from the Top. So you can really choose how you want to light your object. Illustrator also supports the ability to have multiple lights. I can choose here to add another light and then adjust certain areas. I can make certain areas more bright than others. I'm going to go ahead and maybe remove one of these lights, and just bring one just back to the regular default setting.
You could also choose the Custom Rotation setting. For example, what does this object look like Off-Axis from the Right or Off-Axis maybe from the Bottom, so on and so forth. If you choose one of these options, which are direct, for example, Back, well this is what that artwork looks like directly from the back, so you don't really see the extrude area. I'm going to choose the Off-Axis Front, which is the default setting for 3D. Now the Extrude Depth basically allows you to determine how far back into space that object is extended. If I hold down the Shift key again, as I drag the slider, I could see that happening in real-time. Pretty cool! There is also a setting here for Perspective, which basically makes it appears if I have a camera lens that's getting really close to the object or further away, which provides some natural distortion.
Again if I hold the Shift key down, I'll be able to see the kind of distortion that's happening to that particular graphic. You notice that if I click OK for a second here, what happens is that I have this particular effect, which is a regular 2D shape that now is extruded back into space. If you want to think about it, so like I took a body here somewhat distorted it, send another copy of it to the back, and then connected them all with straight lines. Well, there is a setting inside of Illustrator called the Bevel. The Bevel allows me to connect the front and the back with a set of a straight line with some other kind of line. For example, if I click on the shape right now, notice by the way if I go into Outline mode, this is the way that the effects work. If you remember in the past, we learned that the effects don't change the underlying vector object; they only affect the appearance of that particular object. So the appearance of this object is 3D.
To edit that particular effect, I'll go to the APPEARANCE panel and click on the 3D Extrude & Bevel setting. I'll click Preview here. If I choose Bevel, for example, a complex bevel like this one here, and I click OK. We can now see that the connecting area between the front and the back has changed somewhat. So I get an effect that looks like that. There's a lot of cool things you can do with bevels inside of Illustrator. Let me go back here to this setting though. You may want to experiment also different lighting settings as you apply these 3D effects. I'm going to change the Bevel setting to be back to None and show you that there are few other things that you can do with the cube that appears right over here.
Notice that when I mouse over certain parts of the cube, they highlight. For example, it's highlighting here on blue or in green or in red. These colors match up to the indicators that appear here as well. So if I want to rotate this on a specific axis, I can click over here, and now when I move it, it only rotates on that particular axis. If I click on this edge over here, the cube can only rotate on that axis and not in any other direction. So if I get the artwork to look in a certain way that I want to, I can then fine-tune that by choosing to rotate the object only on one specific axis. Once I have gotten the 3D look that I'm looking for, I can click OK, and that's how you apply a 3D Extrude effect inside of Illustrator. But it's important to realize that light effects can be applied to text just as well they can applied to other objects. For example, here I have this word SURFING, if I click on it, I see it's a regular live text object. And if I go to the Effect menu, I could also choose 3D, Extrude & Bevel, and let's look on the Preview button. I can apply that 3D look to this text also. Here, the lighting becomes important as well.
Notice that, I can brighten up different parts of my text by adjusting the lighting settings. Again if I hold down the Shift key, I can see that happen as I move this around. So notice over here, I'm getting a very, very dark shadow on my extrusion because I have a very bright light kind of shinning right on the surface of this particular object. But you will notice that the front color over here is orange, as is the extruding color as well. This is actually one of those times when you may want to explore using a stroke in the 3D effect. I'm going to click on OK here, for example, and I'm going to go ahead right now for my stroke of my object and click on this, and change the color of that Stroke. For example, let's say I use a dark red color. If I choose that option, you will see that the 3D effect updates and now the extruded color is in red.
This gives you an idea of what's happening when you apply a 3D effect inside of Illustrator that has a stroke. The stroke is extruded as is the fill. We just can't really see the fill over here because the stroke is covering it. But when working inside of Illustrator, there maybe times when you want your extruded color to be different than their actual face color of your 3D object and this is certainly the way that you can achieve that. In fact, if you remember that you can actually apply multiple strokes to a single object, what would happen if you would add multiple strokes to this text object? Then, you have several layers of colors that would appear on here, which actually might be pretty cool.
Something for you to mess around with and play with in your free time.
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