Everything an Illustrator User Needs to Get Started in 3D with Adobe Dimension

If you’re a designer doing logo and package design, you’re likely already using Illustrator for your artwork. But what if you could ‘level up’ your designs and easily take them into 3D? Now, thanks to our new 3D compositing tool, Adobe Dimension, it’s possible for designers to do so with no previous 3D expertise required. Now, you’ll be able to show your clients and bosses what these graphics actually look like applied to real world visualizations, something that could result in a quicker, smoother approval process for your Illustrator designs.

We spoke with Dimension Product Manager Jeanette Mathews to get her take on all the benefits available to designers who bring their designs from Illustrator to 3D models in Dimension.

Getting started: Bring your Illustrator designs into Dimension

  1. Download Adobe Dimension.
  2. Take the native graphic file from Illustrator and drag it onto one of the many pre-set models available in Dimension.
  3. Drag this model onto a scene of your choice (there are lots of assets in Adobe Stock ready for you to use).
  4. View the photorealistic rendering of your Illustrator design in full 3D, then use customizable lighting and material settings to tweak it until it’s just right.

There’s no friction standing in the way of any designer who wants to take their project to the next level with visualizations in Dimension. “What excites me about Dimension is the barrier to entry is so low. You really don’t need anything except for a piece of art,” said Jeanette.

The problem with project approvals, and the solution

A common issue that many designers face in their creative process is having to explain to stakeholders what exactly their designs will look like in the real world. As a result, great designs and ideas often get rejected because approvers can’t imagine how a flat design will translate into 3D. Dimension fixes that hole in the process by making it easy for graphic designers and illustrators to show off their art in an applied manner.

“Often, it’s really hard for designers working in Illustrator to communicate what their design is really going to look like to their bosses. It’s a shame that great ideas are often overlooked because someone approving it didn’t understand what it could be. So that power, empowering a designer to take that design and say, ‘This is what it is really going to look like when we put it into production,’ means that you can sell your idea and get approvals so much earlier,” said Jeanette.

The practical application of the Illustrator-to-Dimension workflow

While Dimension provides Illustrator and Photoshop users with similar benefits (and essentially the same import process for both tools), there is a noteworthy difference that can make a real difference in a designer’s workflow.

Illustrator’s user base is more package and design-focused, making the integration with Dimension an ideal complement to these designers’ need to see their finished designs as 3D objects in the real world. Since the majority of content designed in Illustrator by professionals will be put on real objects, this speaks to the practical aspect of the workflows in Illustrator, versus the more creative experimentation found within Photoshop.

Improve designs with better visualizations

For Illustrator users, Dimension can also be a useful tool in their design process. This goes beyond the ability to show the real-world application of your designs to gain approvals; Dimension can also add a new way of approaching your 2D graphic designs. You’re able to see what your design will look like glossy, metallic, etc., and see how it bends and warps on a surface. That’s really powerful, as a designer, because now you can make design choices in Illustrator with the knowledge of how it translates in 3D.

“Say you were working with a glossy logo, but it’s really hard to visualize gloss in Illustrator. If you put that object into Dimension and you’re looking at the glossiness, you can easily tell how that gloss will look in a variety of 3D environments and lighting conditions; for example, the black color you’ve used might be getting blown out from the gloss,” said Jeanette. “So it can help you think about printing and packaging effects that you might not be able to see in Illustrator alone.”

Once you’ve imported your Illustrator design into Dimension and applied it to a 3D model, you’re able to play around with various effects like:

Designers are also able to work with different layers in Dimension and bring in as many images as they’d like. Each layer can then feature its own, unique material effects, which allows designers to experiment with the physical aspects of their designs in a way not previously possible. Also, since Dimension is a part of Adobe Creative Cloud, designers are also able to access CC Libraries. This means you can easily share assets between applications and keep everything up-to-date and synced.

The 3D future, at your fingertips

Jeanette believes that 3D application is only going to get bigger in a multitude of industries, and now is a good time for Illustrator users to embrace it in their daily work. As the design industry keeps evolving, so, too, does the need for designers to upgrade their skill sets. As you compete for clients, projects, and approvals in an ever-growing pool of professionals and freelancers, nothing can be more vital than standing out from the rest of the pack. “We see 3D applied to apparel, product design, advertising; it’s everywhere, and it’s only going to be more so as we see AR, VR, and other mixed realities become bigger players,” said Jeanette.

“This can be a differentiating factor and that’s really important these days, having something that sets you apart from the crowd. I think 3D is an essential skill to start mastering and prepare yourself for the future.”

Try Adobe Dimension free with your Creative Cloud subscription. Share your work on Bēhance or Instagram with #adobedimension, and check out the incredible work created with Dimension, too.