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When using the 3D Revolve effect inside of Illustrator, it's really important to be able to visualize exactly where the axis is going to be, and that's why whenever I work with 3D Revolve, I always draw a guide in my document. I don't need to, the guide does not act to the axis itself, it's simply a way for me to identify, in my head, where that particular axis is going to be, and that's because I always draw the profile of my object on the right-side of that particular guide, and doing so on my head I can easily see where the object is going to revolve around. So I'm going to click on this object right here. I'm going to go to the Effect menu, choose Revolve, and I can see that right away, if I click on the Preview button, that I create that frisbee look. Now, I'm going to click OK here, because I really want to bring home the point that Illustrator itself is working with a two-dimensional artboard. That means that what I'm working with on the artboard itself is always 2D. If I want to revolve or rotate or do any kind of adjustments in the 3D space, I need to have my artwork selected, and I need to, from the Appearance panel, choose the Edit to 3D Revolve Effect.
As soon as this dialog box is open, I'm now able to use these settings to adjust how the artwork looks in a 3D space. For example, I can rotate it or I can adjust how it looks in this particular area. But I'm going to click on Cancel for a second here, go back to where it was before. Let's not use the Appearance panel, let's say I actually rotate or make a change to the object on my artboard. Now remember, Illustrator's artboard is 2D, so any change that I make inside of Illustrator now on the artboard is happening to the 2D artwork that appears right here, and specially in the case of Revolve, where I make changes, it may also adjust where that axis is.
So for example, right now I know that my axis is on the left most part of the object, which creates this really nice frisbee effect. But what would happen if I ask you, rotate this piece of artwork here on my artboard, say maybe I wanted to do the same effect, I wanted to rotate the frisbee a little bit? Well, let's see what happens. I am going to switch to my Rotate tool. I'm actually going to click once and drag to go ahead and change the rotation of this frisbee; maybe I want to have it on an angle. As soon as I release the mouse however, Illustrator automatically reapplies the live effect and I get this cone shape. Now, it may look pretty cool what I'm seeing here inside of Illustrator, but it's obviously not the shape that I intended, and that's because what I have done here is I have actually adjusted the two-dimensional underlying artwork that adjusts how the 3D artwork looks.
Additionally, because I have rotated the object, I have also now changed where the axis is. Remember, the axis is always going to be the left most part of the object. Well, where is that point right now? If I were to use my Arrow tool right here to drag on a new guide, I could see that the left most part of the object is right here. Here is the center right now of where that cone is created. So by rotating the artwork on the artboard itself what I have done is I have changed the dynamic of what my object looks like, and by doing so I have also redefined where the axis is in that particular object. So the key to getting a full grasp over the capabilities of the Revolve effect inside of Illustrator is to really be able to visualize and understand exactly where that axis is. Once you have defined the axis, once you know where that axis is going to be, it's very easy for you to also extrapolate outwards from that, and create the 3D shapes that you need.
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