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Andrei Marius On May - 5 - 2011

Hi there. In this week’s tutorial I will show you how to create a nice cube with some embossed letters on each side. First, you’ll learn to create some simple symbols then using the 3D Extrude&Bevel effect you’ll create the rough cube shape. Next, using basic tools, effect and options you will reach the final result.

Difficulty: Intermediate-Advanced
Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour
45 minutes Number of Steps: 36


This is what you’ll be creating:

preview

Step 01

Create a 700 by 700px, RGB document and grab the Type Tool(T). Click on your artboard and add the “ABC”. Use the Calibri font with a size of 400pt, make it Bold then go to Object > Expand. Next, you need to turn each letter shape into a symbol. First, open the Symbols panel. Select the “A” shape, open the fly-out menu of the Symbols panel and click on New Symbol. Name it “A” and click OK. Repeat the same techniques for the other two shapes. In the end you must have three symbols in your Symbols panel.

Step 02

Pick the Rectangle Tool(M) and click on your artboard. Enter 350 in the width and height boxes then click OK. Fill this new shape with R=147 G=149 B=152.

Step 03

Select the shape created in the previous step and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude&Bevel. Click on the More Options button then enter the numbers shown in the following image. Do not forget to check the Draw Hidden Faces box.

Step 04

Reselect the cube created in the previous step, open the 3D effect from the Appearance panel and click on the Map Art button. Go to "Surface 1", select the "A" from the Symbol drop down menu and rotate it as shown in the following image. Continue with "Surface 5", select the "B" from the Symbol drop down menu and rotate it as shown in the following image. Finally, go to "Surface 6", select the "C" from the Symbol drop down menu and rotate it as shown below.

Step 05

Reselect the cube and go to Object > Expand Appearance. This will create a group containing a bunch of other subgroups. Go to the Layers panel, hold Alt and click on the little arrow icon to expand the entire group. Delete the two, bottom subgroups and the Clipping Paths. Reselect the entire group and and hit Shift + Control + G four times to get rid of all these groups and subgroups. Finally, double click on each of these shapes and rename them as shown in the following image. It will be easier for you to find them in the further steps.

Step 06

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 2.5px in the Keyboard Increment box. Duplicate the letter shapes. Select these copies, move them in the bottom of the Layers panel and make them invisible. You’ll need them later. Select the A shape and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Fill it with white then hit the up arrow four times. Move to the B shape. Make a copy in front, fill it with white then hit the right arrow four times and the down arrow three times. Finally, duplicate the C shape. Make it white then hit the down arrow three times and the left arrow four times.

Step 07

Let’s improve the embossed look of our letters. First, enable the Smart Guides (Control + U) to ease your work then Pick the Pen Tool(P) and draw some simple paths as shown in the second image.

Step 08

Duplicate the white A shape (Control + C > Control + F). Select the shapes created in the previous step along with the black A shape and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape along with the fresh, white copy and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. You will get a group with three black shape.

Step 09

Continue with the C shape. Again, pick the Pen Tool(P) and draw some simple paths as shown in the following image.

Step 10

Duplicate the white C shape (Control + C > Control + F). Select the shapes created in the previous step along with the black, C shape and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape along with the fresh, white copy and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. You will get a group with two black shape.

Step 11

Move to the B shape. Once gain, pick the Pen Tool(P) and draw some simple paths as shown in the following image.

Step 12

Duplicate the white B shape (Control + C > Control + F). Select the shapes created in the previous step along with the black, B shape and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape along with the fresh, white copy and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. You will get a group with four black shape.

Step 13

Let’s add some color. Select "A Side", fill it with R=57 G=181 B=74 then go to the Appearance panel. Open the fly-out menu and click on Add New Fill. This will add a second fill for your shape. Select it and use the linear gradient shown below. The yellow zero from the gradient image stands for opacity percentage. Add a third fill for this shape and make it black. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its opacity to 5%, set the blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below then click OK.

Step 14

Take a closer look at this green shape and you’ll notice that the edges are a bit pixelated. It’s because of the Film Grain effect. Open the Transparency panel then select "A Side" and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select it and hit D to add the default properties (white fill and black stroke). Remove the stroke then select the white shape along with the original, green shape. Go to the Transparency panel, open the fly-out menu and click on Make Opacity Mask. Now, the pixelated edges are gone.

Step 15

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 1px in the Keyboard Increment box. Select the masked shape created in the previous step and make two copies (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and hit the up arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=141 G=198 B=63 and set its blending mode to Overlay. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-), focus on the zoomed areas from the third image and click on the highlighted anchor points to remove them.

Step 16

Select "B Side", fill it with R=65 G=64 B=66 then go to the Appearance panel. Open the fly-out menu and add a second fill for your shape. Select it and use the linear gradient shown below. Add a third fill for this shape and make it black. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its opacity to 5%, set the blending mode to Multiply thne go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below then click OK.

Step 17

Again, let’s get rid of these pixelated edges. Select "B Side" and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select it and hit D. Remove the stroke then select the white shape along with the original, grey shape. Go to the Transparency panel, open the fly-out menu and click on Make Opacity Mask.

Step 18

Select the masked shape created in the previous step and make two copies (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy then hit the right arrow and the down arrow. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=209 G=211 B=212 and set its blending mode to Multiply. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-), focus on the zoomed areas from the second image and remove the highlighted anchor points.

Step 19

Select "C Side", fill it with R=35 G=31 B=32 then go to the Appearance panel. Open the fly-out menu and add a second fill for your shape. Select it and use the linear gradient shown below. Add a third fill for this shape and set its color to R=35 G=31 B=32. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its opacity to 10%, set the blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below then click OK.

Step 20

Once again, let’s get rid of these pixelated edges. Select "C Side" and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select it and hit D. Remove the stroke then select the white shape along with the original, grey shape. Go to the Transparency panel, open the fly-out menu and click on Make Opacity Mask.

Step 21

Select the masked shape created in the previous step and make two copies (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy then hit the left arrow and the down arrow. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=230 G=231 B=232 and set its blending mode to Multiply. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-), focus on the zoomed areas from the second image and remove the highlighted anchor points.

Step 22

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 1px in the Keyboard Increment box. Turn the "A" copy (made in the the sixth step) back to visible. Move it below the other letter components (in the Layers panel) then hit the down arrow once. Fill it with R=0 G=104 B=56, lower its opacity to 50%, set the blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 1.5px radius then click OK.

Step 23

Keep focusing on the "A". Select the three shapes group. Fill them with R=40 G=40 B=40 then create the two gradients shown below and save them into yout Swatches panel. Reselect each of these shapes add some new fills and use saved gradients as shown in the second image.

Step 24

Create two new gradients, save them into your swatches panel then use them as shown in the following images.

Step 25

Select the top "A" path and fill it with R=65 G=64 B=66. Add a second fill for this shape and use the linear gradient shown below. Add a third fill for this shape and make it black. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its opacity to 5%, set the blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below then click OK.

Step 26

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 0.5px in the Keyboard Increment box. Select the shape edited in the previous step and make two copies (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and hit the up arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting group of shapes only with R=117 G=119 B=122.

Step 27

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 1px in the Keyboard Increment box. Turn the "B" copy (made in the the sixth step) back to visible. Move it below the other letter components (in the Layers panel) then hit the left arrow and the up arrow twice. Fill it with R=35 G=31 B=32, lower its opacity to 20%, set the blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 1.5px radius then click OK.

Step 28

Keep focusing on the "B". Select the four shapes group. Fill them with R=0 G=104 B=56 then create the two gradients shown below and save them into your Swatches panel. Reselect each of these four shapes, add some new fills and use the saved gradients as shown in the second image.

Step 29

Create a seventh gradient, save it into your swatches panel and use it as shown in the following image. Select each of these three new fills and lower their opacity to 70%.

Step 30

Select the top "B" path and fill it with R=0 G=161 B=75. Add a second fill for this shape and use the linear gradient shown below. Add a third fill for this shape and make it black. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its opacity to 3%, set the blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below then click OK.

Step 31

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 0.5px in the Keyboard Increment box. Select the shape edited in the previous step and make two copies (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy then hit the down arrow and the right arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting group of shapes with R=106 G=189 B=66.

Step 32

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 1px in the Keyboard Increment box. Turn the "C" copy (made in the the sixth step) back to visible. Move it below the other letter components (in the Layers panel) then hit the right arrow twice. Fill it with R=35 G=31 B=32, lower its opacity to 20%, set the blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 1.5px radius then click OK.

Step 33

Keep focusing on the "C". Select the two shapes group. Fill them with R=0 G=104 B=56 then add some new fills and use Gradients 5, 6 and 7 as shown in the following images. Folllowing the data shown below create one final gradient then use is as shown in the third image. Don’t forget to lower the opacity to 70% for the fills with Gradient7 and Gradient8.

Step 34

Select the top "C" path and fill it with R=0 G=161 B=75. Add two new fills for this shape and use the linear gradients shown below. Add a fourth fill for this shape and make it black. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its opacity to 3%, set the blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below then click OK.

Step 35

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 0.5px in the Keyboard Increment box. Select the shape edited in the previous step and make two copies (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy then hit the down arrow and the left arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting group of shapes with R=106 G=189 B=66.

Step 36

Finally, select "Shadow", fill it with R=25 G=25 B=25 and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 3.5 radius, click OK then go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape, fill it with R=35 G=31 B=32 then open the existing Gaussian Blur effect from the Appearance panel. Raise the radius to 20px, click OK and you’re done.

Final

Now your work is done. Here is how it should look like.

Categories: Illustrations

36 Responses

  1. Baysaye says:

    This tutorial is one of the best on this website and it is well detailed.

    More importantly, we appreciate the fact that you are constantly sharing your knowledge with us. Your works have made many of us to get interested in graphics works.
    Thanks for taking the time to share with us.
    Baysaye

    “Sharing knowledge is one of the most powerful tools in the World. Even respected university professors were created out of this concept”

  2. MikeTron says:

    Awesome tutorial. This taught me some very useful techniques i will definitely be using in the future.

    Thanks a bunch!

  3. Awesome tutorial.
    thanks for sharing !!!!

  4. Charles says:

    I wouldn’t even knew where to start if I had to do something like this.
    GREAT tutorial, wonderfully explained and detailed. Thank you very much for sharing ;)

  5. Nana Yaw says:

    I have just taking a glance at this wonderful tut,and am gonna try it
    God Bless you.

  6. Wow, really nice.. Thanks for sharing. :)

  7. Nana Yaw says:

    How about doing video of your tutorials.Thanks for this opportunity.

  8. rajasegar says:

    Great tutorial and techniques well explained.
    Thanks for sharing…
    Bookmarked!!

  9. Martin says:

    Extremely detailed tutorial which makes it in my eyes absolutely the best out there.

    Keep up the good work!

  10. Hennessy says:

    Dear creator,

    My knowledge of Adobe Illustrator is small at this moment. Although I know more about PhotoShop, I believe this tutorial will give me a head start in a new environment! Read the tutorial on my iPhone; the details you show are great. Will start making my own cube in a few days, for now I bookmarked it!

    Will post my final result when I’m done, thank you very much for this already!

    MH

  11. Fuad NAHDI says:

    A very well-explained tutorial. Thanks and keep sharing!

  12. hey there, thx for this amazing tutorial. I am a huge pixar fan and I used the pixar-font. it took a little bit longer than 45 minutes but the result is great. :) here is my cube: photo

    greetings!

  13. This is a great tutorial. Very helpful, thanks for sharing this tutorial.

  14. SUN YOANG says:

    WOW!!!!
    I’m Korean high school student, I will exercise this skills!
    I can’t english, but I will try.
    전 한국인이에요 히히히히
    너무 멋져요!!!

  15. Ela says:

    Dude this tutorial is widely explained..and the result is awesome..but can you please make it for very very very newbies?:)
    Could you please tell me how to the Pen Tool to create only the shape without filling it in with color? Like the 2nd option in Photoshop:D
    Thanks dude!

    Awesome website btw!!
    Ela.

    • Hi,
      In Illustrator, the default properties for any new shape are white fill and 1pt, black stroke. If you want to remove these properties you need to go to Appearance panel or the Control Bar and set the fill color and stroke color to none.
      I use a neat keyboard shortcut to do it faster. First select the Tool that you’re planning to use. By default the fill color should be selected (look in the bottom of your Toolbar). Simply go to the Swatches panel and click on the [None] color then hit X (to switch to the stroke color) and hit again on the [None] color.
      Now, if you start drawing your path should have no color.
      Let me know if you got it.
      Thanks.

  16. Multyshades says:

    Simply I would say you done a wonderful job here, thanks for sharing..

  17. Greeps says:

    Very nice tutorial!!! Done and I love it :)
    If anyone wants the Ai file just send me an e-mail

  18. AdonT says:

    I learned a lot from this Tut…very detailed and can see that you have put in a lot of work in this ^^…Thank you so much for the tut ^^

  19. pete says:

    thanks for this one, really good tutorial. Just starting out and this already taught me a lot of great tips.

    Thanks again for taking the time to do this really good tutorial

  20. Luke S says:

    This is a great tutorial, thanks! But when creating the 3D shape, mine seems rather rough/jagged compared to yours, see this image -> http://cl.ly/20023y0K2c2X193Y071A
    Luke S

  21. BZ says:

    One of the most detailed and best tutorials i have ever seen..:)
    great job!

  22. dxf cad says:

    simply its very simple, but finally it looks very creative,

  23. MAYA says:

    nice tutorial great work ;)

  24. Sarah says:

    This was great. Here is my take.

  25. Pop says:

    Ca lumea, frate!

  26. Satya Thakur says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. But I’m still not able to use the pen tool. Sorry, but I’m a newbie. So I’m stuck at step 7 now. Any help with this regard ?

  27. :D says:

    very nice stuff, my hero :X

  28. ducsu says:

    Thanks for another lesson. Here is my cube.

  29. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

    Here is my blog; World cccam.com

  30. M. Rizwan says:

    brilliant work

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