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How to Create an Open Book with Illustrator's 3D Extrude & Bevel Tool

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Read Time: 7 min

In this tutorial, we'll explain how to create an open book mostly with Adobe Illustrator's 3D Extrude & Bevel Tool. We'll create open pages with graphics and add a wavy background. The book can be customized by applying your own graphics to the pages.

1. Create the Base 3D Shape

Step 1

Let's start by opening a New document. Draw a rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M). I chose the size of 415 x 6pt and filled it with a nice blue. Draw a circle with the Ellipse Tool (L), and make it 27px in diameter. Place the circle in the center of the rectangle. Set the Stroke Weight to 6pt and choose the same blue. Next, go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

Step 2

We need to combine both objects. We can do so by selecting both and then choose Divide in the Pathfinder panel. Delete all the unnecessary paths, then select the final desired shape, and choose the Unite to Shape Area in the Pathfinder panel.

Step 3

Select the shape, and go to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners, then choose 4pt as a value and click OK. Next, go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. Choose the first Arc option, click Horizontal, and set the Bend to 1%. Then go to Object > Expand. We now have our base object for the book.

Step 4

Select the shape and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Set following values: -35 degrees, 31 degrees, -10 degrees. Also, set the Perspective at 131 degrees and Extrude Depth at 400pt. This setting will be used again and applied to other objects in order to build our book.

2. Modify the 3D Shape

Step 1

Make a copy of the book hardcover and Expand it (Object > Expand Appearance). Select the shape and choose Unite to Shape Area in the Pathfinder panel, then fill it with black.

Step 2

Apply a Gaussian Blur to the black shape. Choose a Radius of 33px. Put this under the hardcover shape as a shadow. Set the Opacity to 70% and offset it a little.

3. Create the Pages

Step 1

Create a line that is 411pt long and add a Stroke Weight of 1pt. Set the stroke to blue. Go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. Select the Arc option, set the Bend to 1%, and 45% for the Horizontal distortion.

Keep the shape selected and apply the same 3D Extrude & Bevel values as earlier. Click on the More Options button, then in the Surface section add one more highlight, and click OK. Place the blue shape on top of the hardcover.

Step 2

Create a light grey line with the Pen Tool (P) about 200pt long and set 0.5pt for the Stroke Weight. Duplicate this line eight times with a gap of about 2pt or so, then Group them together (Control + G).

Step 3

Select the lines and duplicate/mirror them. Scale/skew it only on the right side. You can do so by selecting the Scale Tool (S), click on the bounding box corner, then hold down the Command Key and drag the mouse downwards. Group it again and select the Warp Tool (Shift + R). Apply the Warp tool to the lines, as shown below. You want to be careful not to do to much warping, just enough that it looks like pages on top of each other.

Step 4

Select the "pages object" and apply the same 3D Extrude & Bevel values a previous. Click on the More Options button, then in the Highlight Section, add two more highlight and click OK.

Step 5

Make a duplicate of the "3d pages" and Expand Appearance. Choose Unite to Shape Area in the Pathfinder panel and fill it with black. Apply a Gaussian Blur of 8px again. We'll place this as a small shadow under the "3d pages," just above the blue lines we created. Set its Blending Mode to Color Dodge. Select the "3d page" object and make a copy of it on top of itself, then set the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Step 6

Let's set up our page graphics. I chose images of the tutorials I created for Tuts+. Of course you can choose whatever moves your heart. You can add text, pictures, graphic textures, etc. The only important thing is to create a symbol of them.

Step 7

Let's create the pages where we'll add the graphics. Create a line with the Pen Tool (P), as you see in the image below . You want to make sure that you have only three path points for now. Give the path a white stroke.

Apply the 3D Extrude & Bevel with the same values as we used before. Make sure that this time you do not add any shading. Then click the Map Options and go to Surface Number 3. There choose the graphic we created earlier as a symbol. You can scale it, move it around, and decide where it looks the best.

Step 8

Apply the same method to the other side of the "3d page" via the 3D Tool Map option. Of course, you should have already created a second graphic and dragged it into the Symbol panel.

Step 9

Once you have applied the desired graphics, select the object and put it over the 3d pages object, then set the Blending Mode to Multiply. If you feel you need to adjust the pages, you can easily add path points to the line. You can also adjust the path handles with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Since we didn't expand the appearance, the 3D values will be adjusted as well.

Step 10

Create another pages path with the Pen Tool (P). Apply the same 3D values and expand the appearance. Select the shape and choose Unite in the Pathfinder panel.

Step 11

Draw a line in the middle of the object. Let the path extend outside of the edge, then select both, and choose Divide in the Pathfinder panel. This will give us a two page shape.

Step 12

Select each page with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and apply a light grey to white linear gradient. Repeat this with the other shape by applying the same gradient. You might have to experiment a little to apply a good looking gradient.

Step 13

Place the gradient page shape over the other pages with the graphics, then set the Blending Mode to Overlay. Go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings you see in the image below.

4. Create the Background

Step 1

Let's create a background for the book. Create a square with the Rectangle Tool (M), then fill it with a nice radial blue to white gradient. Put the gradient highlight in the top left corner.

Step 2

Create a long triangular shape, fill it with the same gradient, and set it to Linear.

Step 3

Select the triangular shapes and create two duplicates by rotating next to each other. An easy way is to first select the shape, then choose the Rotate Tool (O). Click in the top corner, hold down Shift + Alt hold down the mouse key, and drag it counterclockwise. Then press Command + D once.

Step 4

Select all three shapes and group then. Then go to Object > Envelop Distort > Make With Warp. Select the Twist options and check Horizontal. Choose 50% for the Bend and 10% for the Vertical Distortion. Now place the background gradient shape and the swirl behind the book.

Great Work, You're Now Done!

Voila! Our 3D Open Book is complete. I put a rounded corner square on top of all layers, placed it nicely to frame the book and the background, then applied a Clipping Path. You can of course change colors, add different graphics to the pages, and even add pages to it. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

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