In order to make a flat image 3D, Illustrator has the 3D and Materials window with plenty of settings and cool features to apply. Let's discover them and create this 3D look in minutes!
If you don't have the time to learn how to turn an image from flat to 3D, you can always try Envato Elements, where you will find a large selection of resources that are ready to be used to create unique 3D styles.
What You'll Learn in This Tutorial
- How to prepare artwork for applying 3D effects
- How to convert a flat image to 3D in Adobe Illustrator
- How to save a 3D graphic style in Illustrator
You'll need the following resources in order to complete this project:
1. How to Make a Flat Object Look 3D in Illustrator
Launch Illustrator, go to File > Open, and locate the Cute Cat Witch Sitting on Pumpkin file that you downloaded on your computer. Select the entire artwork, and let's scale it down from 4000 x 4000 px to about 1500 x 1500 px. We are doing this so that the 3D effects will be applied faster and will not slow down your computer as they would if the artwork were too big.
To do so, type 1500 px as the Width and Height in the Transform panel. Once that's done, go ahead and Ungroup (Shift-Ctrl-G) the artwork a few times until all the elements are separate. Now you are ready to learn how to make a flat object look 3D in Illustrator.
First, you need to clean up the artwork by removing all the outlines, highlights, shadows, or any other details. Select all these shapes using the Selection Tool (V) and delete them. Once you are done with the cat (2), continue with the pumpkin. I decided to keep the highlight shape at the top of the pumpkin so that we don't lose too many details on it, but I replaced the existing appearances with a flat indigo color (3).
The next key step in converting a flat image to 3D is to organize the artwork. Select all the shapes that make up the facial expression of the cat and Group them (Control-G). Next, select all the shapes that make up the pumpkin face and make another group. I suggest that you also keep the skull separate from the neck of the cat.
Everything else that makes up this cute illustration (without the background) should be in another group that I've called “Cat on pumpkin”, and we will apply the 3D effect to this group only. Move the face of the cat and the face of the pumpkin next to your artboard for the moment.
In order to learn how to make a flat image 3D in Illustrator, select the Cat on pumpkin group and go to Effect > 3D and Materials > Inflate. Keep the settings as they are, and you can already see a cool 3D appearance.
Switch to the Materials tab at the top of the 3D and Materials window. We will keep the Default material for the look we want in this case, but feel free to check out the list of other useful materials that you can use in future projects.
Set the Base Properties settings:
- Roughness: 0.65
- Metallic: 0.2
While the Cat on pumpkin group stays selected, switch to the Lighting tab at the top of the 3D and Materials window. Set the color to off-white, and then change the rest of the settings as indicated.
Now, select the Cat face group and, in the 3D and Materials window under the Materials > Graphics tab, choose Add as Single Graphic to save your graphics. Do the same for the Pumpkin face group.
While the Cat on Pumpkin group stays selected, go to the Materials > Graphics window and click on the Cat face graphic to apply it to the 3D object. Notice the circle containing the graphics on the cat: grab it and drag it to the correct spot in the center of the cat's head.
Once you are happy with the result, go ahead and click on the Pumpkin face graphic to apply it. Grab and move the circle containing the graphics to the correct spot, in the center of the pumpkin. How easy is this, right?
2. How to Save a 3D Graphic Style
Before applying any kind of graphics to the 3D object, you can save this 3D style in the Graphic Styles window. With the Cat on pumpkin group still selected, simply click on the New Graphic Style icon at the bottom of the Graphic Styles window to save it.
Now, you can easily apply the same style to any other artwork, icons, characters, etc. After that, you can apply their faces or any other details that need to be included.
Congratulations! You're Done
Now you know how to make a flat picture look 3D in Adobe Illustrator. Explore all the settings and options available in the 3D and Materials window to create a unique 3D style that's perfect for your project.
Make sure to check out Envato Elements, where you'll find plenty of resources like characters, illustrations, icons, and logos that are ready for you to download and use.
Popular Resources From Envato Elements
Envato Elements is an excellent resource for graphics that you can use to convert into 3D.
Now that you've learned how to make a flat picture look 3D, we'll explore some ready-to-use alternatives available on Envato Elements. You can download as many as you wish with a subscription. Let's take a look!
Halloween 3D Icons (PNG)
This set is a fantastic option if you're looking for 3D Halloween icons that are ready to be used in your projects. They are modern-looking, colorful, and suitable for many designs. Have fun!
Animal 3D Icon Set (PNG)
How cute is this set of 3D animals, right? They would be perfect for all sorts of creative designs, avatars, game design, prints, cards, and so much more. Include them in your project, and they will definitely draw everyone's attention.
Want to Learn More Adobe Illustrator?
Did you like this tutorial on how to make a flat image 3D in Illustrator? We have loads of tutorials on Envato Tuts+ that teach many other useful techniques. Here is a list of tutorials specially made for you. Take a look!