1. Design & Illustration
  2. Designing

How to Turn a Client Approved Snack Label into a 3D Looking Snack Pack


Often after approving the final label's design, clients will want to see the design mocked-up as a package. Starting with a final label design, we'll use Illustrators mesh tools to simulate a 3D package design. Let's go ahead and do that!

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS3
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Estimated Completion Time: 30 minutes

Step 1

Open your approved label design in Illustrator, in this tut I use snack label as an example, which is shown below.

Step 2

Group the objects (Command + G), select it, then apply Envelope Distort > Make with Mesh. When the dialog box appears set 4 in the rows and columns fields. No need to use too many rows and columns because we're going to add them later.

Step 3

Before we add more rows and columns we have to decide the final shape for the pack first. Use a little bit of your imagination to do it, photo references would be much better. Select the anchor point with the Gradient Mesh Tool (U) or Direct Selection Tool (A) to re-shape the mesh, as you picture it in your mind or as the reference dictates. Add rows or columns as needed.

Step 4

After you're happy with the result, copy the object and release the Gradient Mesh within the copied one. We are going to use this Mesh to shade the distorted label.

Delete the copied label and fill the mesh with 10% black. Later we will apply black and white colors to it.

Step 5

Now put the Mesh right above the label, then adjust its size and shape. Make sure you fit it into the label. Set the Mesh to Multiply.

Step 6

The Multiply mode makes the white color disappear and shows the black color. Fill the anchor points with the colors as you want the shade on the pack to look like.

Step 7

Now to create some highlights on it. Use the Pen Tool (P) to make needed shapes, fill them with white and set various opacity amounts. Also, place them where you think they should belong.

This is the final look shown below.

Step 8

Now create a drop shadow from two ellipses (fill black for the small one and white for the large) by applying Object > Blend > Make, as shown below. Adjust the shape so it looks natural. To have it blend to the background smoothly change the color and opacity for each object within the blend as shown. Last is to set the drop shadow blending mode to Multiply.


Add a background and we're done. So next time your clients want to see their label designs applied in 3D, you can show them a quick look in just about 30 minutes or so.

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