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Design

How to Create a 3D Pie Chart Design in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a detailed 3D pie chart design in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create a flat pie chart design using the Pie Graph Tool. Next, using the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect, basic blending and vector shape building techniques along with some simple effects, you will learn how to give your pie chart design that 3D look and how to make it vibrant and somewhat transparent.

Moving on, using some stroke, pattern and transform tricks along with the live corners feature (or a script), you will create the set of shapes that points to the data for each slice of your pie chart. Finally, you will learn how to add a simple piece of text or text on a path and how to easily adjust the attributes.

If you're looking to skip the process, or if you're looking for a different type of design, you can find a variety of pie chart designs or other types of infographics on Envato Market.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width box and 650 in the height box, and then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, and enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

You can learn more about Illustrator's grid system and how it can ease your work in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator's Grid System.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don't forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

setup grid

2. Create the Flat Pie Chart

Step 1

Pick the Pie Graph Tool and simply click on your artboard to open the Graph window. Enter 250 px in both boxes and then click the OK button to move to the next window. Focus on the first row of cells, enter the numbers shown in the following image and then click that check button.

You should end up with a pie chart like the one shown below. Select it using the Move Tool (V) and try to place it exactly as shown in the following image.

pie graph tool

Step 2

Make sure that your pie chart design is still selected, focus on the tool options bar and remove that black color used for the stroke.

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the five shapes that make up your pie chart one by one, and replace the existing colors with the ones shown in the following image.

color

Step 3

Make sure that the Direct Selection Tool (A) is still active, select the blue shape from your pie chart design and simply drag it 30 px down while holding Shift.

move blue

3. Add the 3D Effect and Organize the Shapes

Step 1

For now you can disable the Grid (Control-") and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-"). Reselect your pie chart design and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Click the More Options button and make sure that you enter all the attributes shown in the following image. Once you're done, click the OK button.

3D extrude bevel

Step 2

Reselect your pie chart design and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes stays selected, focus on the Layers panel and open the existing layer. Hit Shift-Control-G twice to get rid of those groups and sub-groups and then go to Object > Clipping Mask > Release (or hit Alt-Control-7) to release the clipping masks.

Now, focusing on the resulting shapes from the Layers panel, you will find several shapes that do not have a color set for the fill or the stroke. Select these shapes and get rid of them using the Delete button on your keyboard.

expand appearance

Step 3

Select the five shapes that make up the top side of your 3D shapes and Group them using the Control-G keyboard shortcut. Move to the Layers panel, find this new group and simply double click on its name. Rename it "top" and then make it invisible.

You'll need these shapes later, but for the moment it's better to keep them hidden.

top

Step 4

Select the five shapes that make up the bottom side of your 3D shapes and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel, find this new group, rename it "bottom" and then make it invisible.

bottom

4. Adjust and Recolor the Visible Shapes

Step 1

Focus on the visible, blue shapes. Select the ones highlighted in the first image, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Unite button.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and move to the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with R=21 G=151 B=205 and then click the "Opacity" piece of text that stands for your fill to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Lower the Opacity to 75%.

unite

Step 2

Make sure that the blue shape made in the previous step is still selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 50% and then add the linear gradient shown in the following image. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

second fill

Step 3

Focus on the other two blue shapes. Select the left one, lower its Opacity to 50% and replace the existing fill color with R=0 G=81 B=135. Then select the right shape, lower its Opacity to 50% and replace the existing fill color with R=0 G=101 B=155.

opacity

Step 4

Move to the set of purple shapes. Select the one highlighted in the following image and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 75% and replace the existing fill color with R=127 G=19 B=125.

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second fill for your selected shape using that same Add New Fill button. Select the new fill, lower its Opacity to 80% and then add the linear gradient shown below. Remember that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

purple

Step 5

Select the purple shape highlighted in the following image and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 75% and replace the existing fill color with R=127 G=19 B=125.

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second fill for your selected shape. Select this new fill, add the linear gradient shown below and use the Gradient Tool (G) to adjust its angle and position as shown below.

purple

Step 6

Select the purple shape highlighted in the first image, lower its Opacity to 50% and replace the existing fill color with R=77 G=0 B=75.

Select the remaining, unedited purple shapes (highlighted in the second image) and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and move to the Appearance panel. Lower the Opacity to 50% and replace the existing fill color with R=107 G=0 B=105.

purple

Step 7

Move to the set of red shapes. Select the one highlighted in the following image and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 50% and replace the existing fill color with R=175 G=0 B=0.

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second fill for your selected shape using that same Add New Fill button. Select the new fill and add the linear gradient shown below.

red

Step 8

Select the red shapes highlighted in the first image and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and move to the Appearance panel.

Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 75%, replace the existing color with R=235 G=9 B=18 and then add a second fill. Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 80% and add the linear gradient shown below.

red

Step 9

Move to the set of yellow shapes. Select the one highlighted in the following image, lower its Opacity to 50% and replace the existing fill color with R=201 G=106 B=0.

yellow

Step 10

Select the yellow shapes highlighted in the first image and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and move to the Appearance panel.

Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 75%, replace the existing color with R=231 G=156 B=40 and then add a second fill. Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 50% and add the linear gradient shown below.

Select that third yellow shape, lower its Opacity to 50% and replace the existing fill color with R=211 G=136 B=20.

yellow

Step 11

Move to the green set of shapes. Select the green shapes highlighted in the first image and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and move to the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 50% and replace the existing color with R=46 G=147 B=60.

Select the other green shape, lower its Opacity to 75% and replace the existing fill color with R=40 G=127 B=52.

green

5. Adjust and Recolor the Bottom Shapes

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel, enable the visibility of your "bottom" group and select it. Send it to back using the Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut, and then make a copy in front using the Control-C > Control-F keyboard shortcuts.

Make sure that only the group copy is selected, and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting shapes into a compound path using the Control-8 keyboard shortcut and then fill this new compound path with R=153 G=153 B=153. Keep focusing on the Layers panel, find the compound path made in this step and rename it "shadow".

grey

Step 2

Make sure that your "shadow" compound path stays selected, send it to back (Shift-Control-[), focus on the Appearance panel, select the existing fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown below and then click the OK button.

drop shadow

Step 3

Make sure that your "shadow" compound path is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, select the existing fill and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button.

Focus on the newly added fill, open the existing Drop Shadow effect and replace the existing attributes with the ones shown in the following image.

drop shadow

Step 4

Focus on the shapes that lie inside your "bottom" group, select them one by one and replace the existing Appearance attributes with the ones shown in the following image.

recolor

6. Adjust and Recolor the Top Shapes

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel, enable the visibility for your "top" group and select it. Bring it to front using the Shift-Control-] keyboard shortcut and then make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F).

Make sure that only this newly made group copy is selected and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting shapes into a compound path (Control-8), fill it with white and then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click the OK button and then go to Object > Expand Appearance

Ungroup the resulting group (Shift-Control-G), focus on the Layers panel and you'll find two separate groups, a simple one and a masked one. Delete the simple one and then select the masked one and focus on the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency). Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 10%.

inner glow

Step 2

Go to the Layers panel, reselect your "top" group, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]).

Make sure that this group copy is selected and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting shapes into a new compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and then move to the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with the radial gradient shown below and then lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

radial gradient

Step 3

Go to the Layers panel, reselect your "top" group, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F) and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]).

Make sure that this group copy is selected and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting shapes into a new compound path (Control-8) and fill it with pink (R=255 G=123 B=172).

pink

Step 4

Using the Brush Tool (B), draw a wavy path around the edges of your pink compound path roughly as shown in the first image. Once you're done, make sure that you're closing this fresh path using the Control-J keyboard shortcut.

Now, select the shape made in this step along with the pink one and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected, and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with white and then lower the Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

brush tool

Step 5

Focus on the shapes that lie inside your "top" group, select them one by one and replace the existing Appearance attributes with the ones shown in the following image.

recolor

7. Create the Pointer and the "Title" Group of Shapes

Step 1

Enable the Grid (Control-") and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-").

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a simple path roughly as shown in the first image. Make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Be sure that there's no color set for the fill and then select the stroke. Set its color to R=244 G=141 B=24 and then click that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel.

Set the Weight to 1 px and then move to the bottom side of the panel. Open the right Arrowhead drop-down menu and select "Arrow 21", and then focus on the right Scale box and decrease the amount to 50%. If that small dot is positioned at the wrong end of the path, you can easily move it to the right spot using the Swap button that lies right after the Arrowheads menus. Once you've entered all these attributes, go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 10 px Radius and then click the OK button.

In the end, your orange path should look like in the second image. With this path still selected, open the Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles) and click the New Graphic Style button.

graphic style

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 100 x 20 px shape and fill it with R=244 G=141 B=24. Place this new shape as shown in the following image and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 10 px Radius, click the OK button and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

rounded corners

Step 3

For this step you will need a grid every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box.

Make sure that your orange rounded rectangle is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10 x 14 px shape, fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 50% and then place it as shown in the first image.

Select your squeezed circle along with the copy of that orange rounded rectangle and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape, move to the Appearance panel and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

intersect

Step 4

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10 px circle and place it exactly as shown in the following image. Fill it with R=244 G=141 B=24 and then focus on the Appearance panel. Add a second fill, select it, set the color to white (R=255 G=255 B=255) and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3 px Offset and then click the OK button.

offset path

Step 5

Make sure that your orange rounded rectangle is selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 30 x 50 px shape, fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 50% and then place it as shown in the first image.

Select this squeezed circle along with the copy of the orange rounded rectangle and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape, move to the Appearance panel and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

intersect

Step 6

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 30 px circle, fill it with R=243 G=184 B=66 and then place it exactly as shown in the first image.

Select this yellow shape along with the rest of the shapes highlighted in the second image and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel and rename this new group "Title".

circle

8. Save a Pattern and Add the "List" Shape

Step 1

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 80 x 100 px shape, fill it with R=243 G=184 B=66 and then place it exactly as shown in the following image. Move to the Layers panel, find the shape made in this step and rename it "list".

rectangle

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 5 x 20 px shape and fill it with white. Create a second 5 x 20 px shape, make it black, and place it right below that white rectangle as shown in the second image. Select both shapes made in this step and simply drag them inside the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) to save them as a pattern.

save pattern

Step 3

Get back to your "list" shape, select it, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select this new fill, add your pattern from the Swatches panel, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

add pattern

Step 4

Keep focusing on your "list" shape and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the bottom anchor points, move to the tool options bar and simply enter 5 px in that Corners box.

The Live Corners feature is only available for CC users. The best solution to replace this effect would be the Round Any Corner script that can found in this article: 20 Free and Useful Adobe Illustrator Scripts. Save it to your hard drive, return to Illustrator and pick that same Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the two anchor points and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 5 px radius and click OK. In the end things should look like in the second image.

live corners

9. Multiply the Existing Shapes

Step 1

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a new path roughly as shown in the following image. Make sure that it stays selected and first add your graphic style from the Graphic Styles panel. Move to the Appearance panel, select the stroke and replace the existing color with R=49 G=157 B=29.

green path

Step 2

Duplicate your "Title" group (Control-C > Control-F). Select the shapes that lie inside this new group and replace the existing fill colors with the ones shown in the following image. Once you're done, flip this group copy using the Reflect Tool (O) and place it as shown in the first image.

Duplicate your "list" shape (Control-C > Control-F), place this copy below the "Title" group added a few moments ago and make sure that it stays selected. First, focus on the Appearance panel, select the bottom fill and simply replace that orange with R=88 G=193 B=72.

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the anchor points that make up the bottom side of this shape and drag them 20 px up. If the pattern applied to your "list" shape is not perfectly aligned, you can easily fix it using a Transform effect. Simply go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform, uncheck the Transform Objects box, make sure that the Transform Patterns box is checked, and then drag that Move-Vertical slider until your pattern is perfectly aligned.

add green

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P) and your graphic style add another three paths roughly as shown in the following image and use the stroke colors shown below.

add paths

Step 4

Keep focusing on the paths added in the previous step, add the "Title" groups and replace the existing fill colors with the ones shown in the following image.

add shapes

Step 5

Add the "list" shapes and adjust them as shown in the following image.

add shapes

10. Add the Text

Step 1

Focus on those "Title" groups, open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character) and pick the Type Tool (T). Simply click on your artboard and then add the white text and numbers shown in the following image. For the pieces of text, use the Impact font with the size set to 10 px, and for the numbers use the Haettenschweiler font with the size set to 15 px.

add text

Step 2

Using that same Type Tool (T), add the column of white text shown in the first image and use the SamsungImaginationBold font with the size set to 8 px. Make sure that this piece of text stays selected, open the Paragraph panel (Window > Type > Paragraph) and simply enter 10.5 px in the Space before paragraph box.

add paragraph

Step 3

Focus on the other three "list" shapes and add the text columns shown in the following image.

add more text

11. Add Shading

Step 1

Select all the shapes that point to the information for the yellow side of your pie chart and Group them (Control-G). Move to the other sets of shapes and do the same thing.

group

Step 2

Select the five groups made in the previous step and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the left window (in the following image) and click the OK button.

Select only the group with the red shapes, focus on the Appearance panel, open the existing Drop Shadow effect and simply replace the existing attributes with the one shown in the right window (in the following image).

drop shadow

Step 3

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 175 x 70 px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Fill this rectangle with the linear gradient shown below and then send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

Using the same tool, create a 90 x 60 px shape and place it as shown in the second image. Fill this second rectangle with the same linear gradient and then send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

linear gradient

Step 4

Using the Pen Tool (P) or the Brush Tool (B), draw a simple path roughly as shown in the following image. Close it (Control-J) and then fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

Step 5

Draw a second path roughly as shown in the following image, close it (Control-J) and then fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

Step 6

Draw a third path roughly as shown in the following image, close it (Control-J) and then fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

Step 7

Focus on the Layers panel, find that "shadow" shape, select it and focus on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill, drag it to the top of the panel, change its Blending Mode to Soft Light, set the color to black and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click the OK button, and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 15 px and then click the OK button.

black fill

12. Add the Background

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard, send it to back (Shift-Control-[) and fill it with white.

white background

Step 2

Make sure that your background shape is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select this new fill and simply add the radial gradient shown below.

radial gradient

Step 3

Make sure that your background shape is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill. Select this new fill and simply add the radial gradient shown below.

radial gradient

13. Add Text on a Path

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 295 x 220 px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Add a subtle black stroke for this shape and make sure that there's no color set for the fill.

squeezed circle

Step 2

Make sure that the squeezed circle made in the previous step is still selected, pick the Type on a Path Tool and simply click on the edge of your selected shape.

Add the "* MONTHLY EXPENSES * " piece of text, set its color to R=150 G=156 B=162 and use the Impact font with the size set to 18 px and the tracking to 200. To change the position of your text on the path, use the three lines that go perpendicularly on the edge of the circle.

type on a path tool

Step 3

Make sure that the text added on the path is still selected, lower its Opacity to 20% and then drag it in the bottom of the Layers panel, right above the rectangle that makes up the background.

opacity

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You might find the Infographics section of Envato Market to be a great source of inspiration, with interesting solutions for improving your design.

final product
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