Illustrator Tutorial - Create a 3D Bottle - Part 1

There is a certain amount of preparation involved before you begin to create this superb bottle.

Firstly, we must make the main label and the serrated cap edge into symbols.  The reason for this is that any artwork used for mapping to 3D objects in the 3D filters - which we will do later - has to be a symbol.

Main Label

Cap Edge

Either right-click the two images above and paste them into a new Illustrator document (make it A4, portrait - the size isn't too critical as we can easily re-size the vector art). Alternatively, scan a label or create your own! The 'Coke' font is a free download here.

Finished Bottle
With both the above pieces of artwork in your new Illustrator canvas, make sure the Symbols palette is visible (WINDOW...Symbols) and drag each piece of artwork onto the symbols palette.  You will be given a dialog box asking you to name the new symbol.  Note: If this process does not work, select the artwork and go to OBJECT...Rasterize.

On the main canvas, draw an outline of the bottle using the marquee tools and the Pen Tool.  Drag in as many guides as required.  Don't worry too much if your 'bottle' isn't perfectly symmetrical - we're only going to use one half of it.

Alternatively, right-click and copy the image to the right, paste it into Illustrator, lock the layer it creates, make a new layer above it and draw on this new layer using the pasted artwork as a guide.

Or, download the full artwork source file here:

Adobe Illustrator download

The layers in the Illustrator file are here:

Illustrator Layers

Layer 1. (outline) contains the artwork on the right.

Bottle Outline
Now create a new layer above all other layers, drag a vertical guide exactly in the centre of the bottle, zoom in and - using the Pen Tool - carefully draw one half of the bottle using the artwork on Layer 1 as a guide.  This step is Layer 2 ('pen') in the original artwork. Pen outline

The next few steps are critical to the success of the project.  We're going to split the image up, apply colours and adjust transparency.

Make sure your rulers are visible (VIEW...Rulers) and drag in four horizontal guides - one just beneath the bottle top (A), one at the top-half of where the label will go (B), one where the bottom of the label will go (C) and a final one where shown (D).

Zoom in

Now really zoom in and adjust these guides so they exactly intersect a 'point' where you changed the Pen Tools direction (shown as a tiny red square, above - you will have to click on the line to see this).  Now select the Scissors Tool Scissors Tool and click exactly at this point. This will 'cut' your line.  Repeat this process at all four guides so your 'half bottle' should be split into five segments. (The Scissors Tool is hidden within the Eraser Tool Eraser Tool)


Click on each segment in turn to select it and, by using the Outline colour in the Toolbar:

Outline Color

Double-click the outline colour swatch and enter the Hexadecimal colour as shown on the right in the Color Picker.

Now we will adjust the transparency of some of the segments to give a realistic 'see-through' appearance to our bottle.

Apply Transparency
Make sure your Appearance palette is visible (WINDOW...Appearance) and use the Direct Selection tool to click on a vector whose transparency you wish to alter. In the Appearance panel you can now isolate this object’s stroke transparency properties. You do this by clicking on the Stroke attribute and changing the value in the transparency panel. You aren’t altering the properties of the object, but the properties of it’s stroke.

Give the strokes of the plastic sections (those at #F3F4F4) a Multiply Transparency of 40% and the stroke of the cola section (#2C1D0E) a Multiply transparency of 60%.  These actions (splitting the pen drawing, changing the colours and transparencies) are on Layer 3 of the source file ('split').


Finally, select all five segments, group them (OBJECT...Group) and, in the Group options bar that appears at the top of the screen:


Make sure the 'Stroke' (i.e. the thickness of the plastic 'walls' of your bottle) is 1 pt.

All in all, quite a bit of work.  But all worth it! Now, let's make it 3D! Part Two >>>
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