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From Line to Flag…

Digitip 020 – Adobe Illustrator CS

(Revision 1.1)

A few days before Australia day, one of my clients was in search of an Australian Flag for a special Australian day spread to be published in a regional newspaper. In a challenging search to come up with an original (not borrowed from the internet) idea… Illustrator cs’s new 3D extrude effect came to the rescue.


In preparation of the artwork to be mapped on the extruded object, commence with the creation of the 2D flag. Im my case the Australian flag. Drag and drop the artwork into the symbols to create a symbol element.

adding a symbol

The flag can now be deleted from the artboard. Using the pentool (or pencil tool), draw a smooth curved line, with only a stroke colour applied and a fill colour of none.

drawing line

3D Extrude and Bevel

With this line selected select Effects > 3D > Extrude and Bevel. I’m hoping you’ve got lots of RAM in your computer, as this feature works best when your previewing — especially when applying bevels to extruded objects, your computer might “grunt” a bit, I know my old Pentium III is…–

3d extrude & bevel options

Experiment a little with the Extrude Depth setting, Rotation and Perspective (Use Plastic Shading to see a more interesting “shiney” surface).

3d preview

Editing 3D effect and Map Art

The “solid” target in the Layers palette indicates the existance of an editable appearance. Double click the Effect in the appearance palette (after targetting the target) to Edit the 3D effect.

appearance palette

In the 3D Extrude and Bevel Options dialog box, click the Map Art option.

map art options

Toggle through the available surfaces and locate the “front” surface of the flag, then assign the Symbol created earlier to the surface. To create a visible lighting effect on the surface of the map, tick the Shade Artwork option.

plastic shading settings

To amend the shading effect, click the More Options button in the 3D Extrude and Bevel Options dialog box, amend settings, adjust number of “spot-lights”, then click OK to view the finished result.

3d flag finished

I must say that the 3D Effect addition –sourced from Adobe Dimensions — brings great new features to Illustrator CS, making the creation of artwork in Illustrator even more exciting!

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