Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Building a 3D soda can, part of Using Symbols in Illustrator.
This chapter is going to be all about creating 3D markups inside of Illustrator and we were going to be using symbols in order to accomplish this. What you are looking at here is the finished product of what we were going to be creating throughout this chapter and as you can see it is a three dimensional soda can with a label on it. And what we were going to do first is we were going to create the soda can and then we will create the label. We're going to use symbols to do both of those and then we are going to Mesh the two together to create this sort of 3D product mockup that you see here. Now, exactly how we're going to do that, first and foremost, we have to start off with building the can itself.
So I'm going to go over here into this soda can document. You can actually just download a picture of a soda can, it doesn't have to be a vector illustration right out of the gate. But all you need is just something that looks like a soda can or whatever it is that you're trying to create. With this soda can what we have to do is we have to transform it from this two dimensional form into a three dimensional form and you may already know that there are some 3D tools inside of Adobe Illustrator. So, you may just want to select that, and then go up to the Effect menu>3D tools. The problem with this is, you don't get the exact shape that we want by doing this.
If I go into 3D>Revolve, you're going to notice when I hit Preview, that it just doesn't look right. It looks kind of bloated. It looks almost like a jar or a canister. It doesn't look like a soda can. So how do I get it to look like a soda can? Well it's actually really simple, and this is a rule of thumb for when you're creating any type of product mockup I found. Only draw half of what you need. So in this case if I'm drawing a soda can I only need half of the soda can to make this work. So how do I get half the soda can? I take this, the Line Segment Tool. I'm going to use my smart guides to line this up right in the center.
I'll draw a line right down the middle of it. Hold down your Shift key if you're concerned about drawing a straight line. And then once you do that, select both the objects on screen and then go to the Window>Pathfinder. Once you have the Pathfinder open, I want you to just click right here on the Divide button. Basically, what that's going to do is say, hey, take this and divide it based on this top object that I have here. And now, I have two pieces. They are grouped together, so what I'm going to do is press the letter a on my keyboard, and select just one of them.
So just click away, and then click on one of them, and delete it. In this case, we're going to delete the right hand side. That leaves us with just this half of the soda can. What if we went back and try to do 3D again? Effect > 3D > Revolve > Preview. Still not looking correct. So what are we missing? First of all, we're using the fill color when we should be using a stroke color. I know that sounds a little weird but that's how it works. So in this case what I'm going to do is flip to use the stroke and then we're going to give this a color.
Let's give it something like a red stroke then we'll go up to the Effect Menu>3D>Revolve. This time we're going to choose Preview and it doesn't look quite right, so what are we missing? Right here. This section where it says From, switch that from left edge to right edge, and there's your soda can. Then change the position to the front and now you really see the soda can. Hit OK.
Now, anytime you want to change the color of this soda can, you just come over here and change the color in the panel, just the way you would any other piece of artwork in Illustrator. The tricky part is making sure that you're always targeting the stroke, cause the stroke color is what determines the color of the can in this case. Now, anytime you want to change the position of the can, rotate it, move it, whatever You're going to do that from the Appearance panel. So we bring out the Appearance panel and we're going to click on 3D revolve. Make sure you turn preview on so you can see exactly what's going on and then you have free range to just rotate around your object any way you see fit.
Again totally up to you. And then I'm just going to hit Cancel for now to cancel that out. And that's pretty much how I draw all of my product mock ups that I create inside of Illustrator. I draw half of it first and then I use the Effect menu to go in and revolve it in 3D space then I use all those tools t kind of tweak it adjust the shading and all that kind of stuff. But, we're not going to worry about that right now. We're just worried about creating this 3D object. The final thing that I always do is, I save this object right here as a symbol. Now, why do I do that? I do that, because maybe I'm creating more than one look, and I want to easily update the can at any time.
So what I'm going to do now is, bring up the Symbols dialog box. I'll select this first. And then we're going to hit the keyboard shortcut F8. And I'm going to call this Soda Gan and Graphic. Turn off pixel grid for now and hit OK. And that turns it into a symbol. Now you'll notice when you do this that the appearance panel no longer has that 3D revolve information in it. And that's okay. Because all you have to do is choose Edit symbol from here or from the Symbols panel.
And you can make changes to the symbol. By the way, if you ever get this dialog box that says you're about to edit a symbol definition, just hit don't show again. And hit OK. Then you're going to jump in here. And you're going to be able to make changes to this the same way you normally would. So you select this. There's the 3D revolve, and you can go in and make changes that way. So lets exit back out. So as we continue throughout this chapter just remember that we've saved this as a symbol so anytime we need to make changes to it. We need to go in and edit the symbol definitions in order to ad things to it.
Change the position or the color. Now once we have our 3D can created, it's time to start working on our label. And get that prepped and ready to go so that we can then map it to this symbol and make it look like a real product mockup.
- What are symbols?
- Creating your own symbols
- Saving and loading symbol libraries
- Modifying registration points
- Working with nested symbols
- Using 9-slice scaling
- Resizing symbols in a set
- Adjusting symbol transparency
- Mapping symbols to artwork