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Adobe Illustrator CC - Advanced Training

Class Project 10 - How to make a 3d Ribbon in Adobe Illustrator CC (Create a 3D ribbon)

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi, and welcome to this Ribbon making class in Adobe Illustrator. We're going to use an Envelope Distort and particularly a Mesh to make this pretty rainbow ribbon. All right, let's jump in. 

First up, I haven't forgotten this time, open up 'Ribbon' from your 'Exercise Files'. Again, it can be anything, you can use rectangles that have Gradients in them. They don't have to be anything other than that. It's quite nice with just lines, looks quite cool. But first thing we need to do is we need to go to 'Object', and we need-- actually make a duplicate first, real easy to backup. Go to 'Object', 'Envelope Distort', and go to 'Make with Mesh'. Now by default I think it's at 3x3. The more detailed it is the more control you have, but often it doesn't look as natural. So for a ribbon or something like this, just 1x1 is perfect. 

Now nothing really happens, except when I grab the Direct Selection Tool, the White Arrow, if I click on any of these corners now, watch Cool, huh! It's a little hard to see, there's a red dot there and there's a handle out here, so Anchor Point the handle. We're just going to make it into a ribbon like you saw earlier. It's just kind of free hand. 

Now one thing you might notice is that red dot’s on this red thing, it's quite hard to see, the colors, right? Generally rainbow is probably the worst one. Just so you know, there's an advanced trick. Double click your layer anywhere above the name, and you can go in and pick a different color if that kind of suits what you're doing. Sorry, it's still not going to work, but hey, rainbow life. I'm just going to fiddle around with it now and try and turn it into something that kind of looks like a ribbon. You can hang around with me for a little bit, but again, it's just, I'm just winging it. You might have a special project, and you kind of want a special shape, I'm just kind of making something, maybe I'll just balloon it away. 

What I'm going to do now is, I'll fast forward it because-- Fast forward time. All right, you're back. One thing that I kind of did while I was fast forwarding is I turned off the Smart Guides. They were just kind of jumping around, snapping to things, and causing-- just making a little bit tough. 'Command U' on a Mac, or 'Control U' on a PC to turn that off. So I've got this thing here, I promise I'll stop fiddling with it. I thought I would. 

So you've got this, now I want another option. The one that kind of runs underneath. Now what I might do is go back to this beginning one and use this again. So I'm going to make a duplicate. What I might do is-- because if I start-- I've practiced this before when it's underneath, and you're trying to make the ribbon, it's actually really hard to know where the other one starts and finishes. So what I thought I'd do is do the Recolor Artwork because I wanted it to be a bit darker anyway, so it looks like it's in the background, casting a shadow, maybe. 

So I'm going to go to 'Edit', 'Edit Colors', 'Recolor Artwork'. And the best option is to go to 'Edit', the first one is really confusing. So go to 'Edit', and down the bottom here, I'm going to link all of the colors. Just make them a bit-- play around with the brightness. Just kind of lower them down. Click 'OK', and I'm going to use this one to get started. Just kind of get it close. Not too worried about it. 

Now I'm going to go to 'Object', I'll go to 'Envelope Distort', and make another 1x1 Mesh. It's okay for me. I'm going to turn Smart Guides back on. 'Command U' on a Mac, or 'Control U' on a PC. Why? Because, like one of the things I wanted-- I'm going to grab my Direct Selection Tool. I want this corner Anchor Point to be-- watch this, it kind of snaps to that one, so at least they're kind of joined up. It's kind of the first thing I wanted. I'm going to turn them off in a second. That's lurking around. Bye, Smart Guides. Now we're going to fast forward it again because I am just going to fool around with this until it feels like a ribbon. All right, fast forward time. 

All right, jump back in. One of the problems, I can't click on this thing because that guy's in the way. So what I'm going to do, 'Black Arrow', select on him, and hit 'Command 2' or 'Control 2' on a PC, that just locks him for a second. You can go up to 'Object', and lock. Means now I can click on this guy in the background and he's not messing about with me. All right, back to speedy version. 

All right, so you're back. I really want to adjust this stuff. I don't feel like we got it across there, something weird but I'm going to leave it because what I want to do is-- that could be it, you might be happy with that. I'm going to add a bit of shading, and shadows. It's going to lose it's kind of, like, I don't know, flat vector style. It's kind of like semi flat, but that's okay. So what we're going to do is, I'm going to grab my 'Artboard Tool' and I'm going to make a duplicate by holding down the 'Option' key on a Mac, 'Alt' key on a PC. What I want to do is unlock all our objects because I locked that top guy, right? What I'd like to do is there's going to be two of them. I'll do the top one first to show you. Then, might as well do the bottom one with you as well, but what I want to do is make a Gradient on top of this. So I want to do two things. I want to go to 'Object' 'Envelope Distort', there's one called 'Expand'. Basically it's no longer used in that Mesh anymore. I can't do those adjustments, but it's okay. 

Next thing I want to do is kind of stick them all together. I can do that using my Shape Builder Tool. I can hold down my 'Shift' key, just drag a box around them all. It's going to lift the kind of gap in the middle there. I'm okay with that, because what I want to do is just fill it with a Gradient. Remember what the shortcut was for filling Gradients? It's the full stop, period key. So we got a Gradient, what I want is this into the Gradient. So I double click the little white house, I want the Transparency or the Opacity down to '0'. Click off, close him down because what I want to do is this, kind of want to stick it over the top. 

Now white at the end here is probably not a great idea. It's probably best having black at the end. It's not going to matter for my application. It's not snapping, so I'm going to turn on my Smart Guides again. It's under 'Window', 'Smart Guides'. And now it's about playing around with the Blending Modes. I'm going to click on 'Opacity', and 'Normal'. Darken, it's okay. Multiply. I think I like Multiply the best, Color Burn too. So go through them all, and pick out which one you like. I'm guessing Multiply is going to be the nicest. 

What I might do is, with my Gradient Tool 'G', is I'm going to drag out my Gradient to be just a bit smaller. Just kind of dragging it across. Yes, kind of cool. Does it look good? Looks okay. I'm going to do the same thing with this, the same process. If you're happy with that, you can stop the video, go on to the next one. If not, you can follow me again, just do it twice. 'Object', and let's go to 'Envelope Distort', 'Expand'. I'm going to use my shortcut to my Shape Builder Tool, which is 'Shift M'. Holding down the 'Shift' key, drag a box around them. Period '.' It's remembered my last green, which is awesome. It shouldn't be on your Shape Builder Tool when you hit the period key, didn't work. Be on your Black Arrow. 

The reason I didn't do white-- I should have done white before, watch this, if I change it to black it's going to give me a better kind of effect. You, my friend are going to snap down there. And then we're going to probably hit the 'G' key. Maybe more. I'm going to find a Blending Mode that works and maybe turn down the Opacity as well. Darken, Multiply, Color Burn. I'm going to go back to Multiply. Here he is, Multiply, he's the only one. All right, that is our 3D ribbon thing. You can obviously see its application for fabrics and lots of other things, but that Mesh is quite cool. It can be done with-- you can put Type into that Mesh. We'll do the ribbon because it looks nice. You can use it for lots of different applications. 

Last but not least, it's Class Project homework time. All I want you to do is do some sort of 3D. Doesn't have to be using this Gradient. It can do, you can just do slightly different shapes even. Amazingly different shapes. Different colors, you may or may not use that kind of Gradient to color it. I'd love to see what you make. Make sure you publish it on this website so I can see it, and send it to me on Instagram, I'm bringyourownlaptop. On Twitter, I'm danlovesadobe. All right, I love to see what you've done. Yes, Class Projects, go do it.