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When you are printing objects that were created with a 3D effect inside of Illustrator, there are two important settings to know about to make sure that 3D artwork prints as best as possible. Right over here, I have some Artwork Mapping going on. I have two-dimensional artwork that is being wrapped around a 3D shape. This artwork is actually defined first as a symbol. If I double- click on my symbol here, called Label, I could see exactly what that artwork is. Now if this artwork contains either gradients or embedded Photoshop images, that artwork actually gets rasterized when it gets wrapped around the 3D shape.
What resolution does it get rasterized at? It gets rasterized at a resolution that is found inside of your Document Raster Effects settings. Now when you create a new print document, that setting is automatically set to 300 ppi. However, if you have created your 3D artwork in a web document, which may have been set to 72 ppi, or if that 3D object was created in a version earlier than Illustrator CS3, you will want to come to the Document Raster Effects settings and change that to 300 ppi. I will double-click over here in a blank area to exit Isolation Mode for my symbol. I want to talk about one other important setting that's applied to 3D as well. I'm going to select my 3D artwork over here, I'm going to click on the 3D Revolve setting right over here inside of my Appearance panel to edit that effect.
I will click on the Preview button so we could see exactly what we are looking at here. We know that inside of Illustrator, when I work with 3D, the way that Illustrator actually creates all the shades and the lighting is by using blends. For example, that's how I get all these nice little highlights and the nice different colors that I see here on my bottle. If I click on the More Options button, I'll see that right now Illustrator is using only 25 steps to create those blends. For real printing, that's really not enough. In fact, if you want to get the best possible results out of your 3D artwork, you will want to increase those blend steps something like 250.
Just a warning though, it actually slows down Illustrator a lot because it requires a lot of processing time to do that. So you will want to save this step to the very less part right before you send your file to print. However, in doing so, you will ensure that you will get beautiful gradations of color in the shading of your 3D artwork. Finally, if you are working with Spot Colors in your 3D object, you will want to make sure that Preserve Spot Colors is turned on. As long as your Shade Color is set to Black, Illustrator will set those black objects to overprint. Your file will print correctly and preserve the spot colors, but if you want to see the way that it's going to look like on your screen, you will need to turn Overprint Preview on.
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