Creating great looking pages in Illustrator

3D extruded effect at workThis is a really good use of the 3D filters in Illustrator. Here is what you will be creating.

1. Create a page of text

Use the Type tool to create a full page text frame. Paste in your chosen text. It might be a passage from a book, or just some Lorem Ipsum, the cool thing to remember here is that the text will be readable in the illustration.

2. Format the Text

Treasure Island

Use the character and paragraph panels to format the font, size, alignment etc until the text looks the way you want. You could even add images if you wish. Remember to use Text Wrap if you are.

3. Create a Symbol

Made a Symbol

Select the text frame,  images etc that make up your text illustration. Open the Symbols panel and create a new symbol named “page”. Delete the instance from your Artboard for now.

4. Create a Page Edge

A curving page edge

Use the Pen Tool to create a curved path that illustrates the shape of the bottom of a curving/folding page. set the Fill to “none” and the Stroke to “white”. If you want to make a coloured page, such as parchment use an appropriate colour instead of white on the stroke.

5. Extrude the Path

Keep the path selected and choose Effect > 3D > Extrude and Bevel. Activate the Preview box to see what’s you are doing. Set the Extrude depth to the desired page size you need, you’ll probably need to play around with it to get it right.

3D extruded Path

6. Rotate the page

Use the rotate axis, or the cube to rotate the extruded page until it lies at the desired angle and perspective.

7. Add some lights

Add Lights

Click on “More Options” to reveal the lighting options. Move the white dot (lighting source) around in the circle to adjust the angle of light falling over the 3D page for the best effect. Feel free to add a second light to it if it will help.

8. Map the Artwork

Add the Symbol

Once the 3D page is lit in such a way that it best shows off the folds and curves of the paper, choose “Map Art”. Scroll through the various Surfaces on the 3D extrusion until the wireframe grid highlights the front of the page (this can take a bit of trial and error). From the drop down “Symbol” menu select the Symbol you saved with the name “page”. The page will fill with your text etc,

9. Add light to the symbol

What will help add the the effect is if the Light also affects the Symbol. To add this check the box “Shade Artwork”. This may slow things down a little, but is worth it.

10. Duplicate Pages

Duplicate the Pages

Return to the illustration and to save some RAM etc. choose Object > Expand. This makes the 3D effect permanent, so no more going back to edit lights etc. Duplicate the page as many times as requires and position each one slightly offset from the others,  creating a stack of pages (or a book perhaps?).

11. Add a shadow

Shadows add depth

To add to the sense of realism, select al the objects and choose Effect > Stylize > Drop shadow. Use the X and Y offset to position the shadow under each page, adjust the Blur as well if you need to.   There you have it. Now see if you can replace the pages in an image containing a book with pages you have made instead.

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