Using Adobe Illustrator to create 3D models (obj)

Has anyone been using Adobe Illustrator to create 3D objects that can be exported as an obj and then sent to a 3D printer?

I’ve used blender but am really not that familiar with it. I am creating a small tray but am not 100% how to achieve the effect I’m looking for. It will be individual trays that will create a color wheel sort of shape when sitting next to each other. I am unsure of how to create the design with a bottom for filling liquid. If I turn the object into a 3D object in Ai, it just looks like the frame with no top or bottom.

You can export to OBJ from the Window>Asset Export

You drag your artwork to the panel and set your export settings.

Do you own the 3D printer or are you sending out to be printed in 3D?
If so - you should ask the 3D printing company for guidance.

My brother in law owns the 3D printer. He usually downloads free 3D models. He has minimal understanding of the software to create 3D models.

I actually had issues exporting through the steps you suggested but also still don’t know how to create a bottom to the design. I’m not sure how to articulate this. I’ll try again when I get a chance since I am going away tomorrow. I’ll attach better images for reference of what I mean.

I’m not a 3D guy - I just know that you can export OBJ from the Asset Export panel.

There’s some tuts online.

In my honest opinion, I don’t think Illustrator is the tool for 3d modelling.
Sure you can make some quick simple work with cross-sections, but I would highly recommend to install a proper 3d modelling software and watch online tutorials.

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For the sake of time, I sent my vector file to a ** contest site removed ** designer to have it made. 3D modeling is out of my wheelhouse and the amount of time and frustration in trying to figure out how to render this in Blender was worth paying someone else to resolve so I could finally move forward. I have worked with Blender in the past and have minimal experience but was still quite stuck and unable to find any tutorials specifically for what I needed.

The file came out great and I can make minor adjustments on my own if I need to. I’d love to see Illustrator incorporate some 3D modeling options in the future. Adobe’s AI features are amazing so far; I’m excited to see what else they come up with.

Hi Jenny,

I’ve used Illustrator to create a 3d design and print it before. As mentioned by some above, you can export the asset as an .obj in Illustrator, then import it into Blender and export it as an .stl (this is the file format you need to upload into your 3d printing software).

From my understanding of your project description, I think that in order for you to add a bottom to the tray, you would need to remove the 3d effect from your illustration (or just go in isolation mode where you can see the 2d design without the 3d effects) > create a circle with fill that matches the dimensions of your illustration > send to back so that it is behind all of your other elements > select everything & group > apply the 3d effect to the group.

You can also export the .obj as is (without the bottom) and bring it in Blender where you can easily add a circle mesh & extrude it to add thickness and create the bottom.

As far as the top, I think you would have to illustrate and print that separately. I’m not sure I can see the functionality of having the top/ cover of the tray connected to the tray. Or maybe I’m understanding it wrong? Please let me know!

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Adobe Illustrator primarily focuses on 2D design, lacking robust 3D modeling capabilities. For dedicated 3D work, consider software like Blender, Autodesk Maya, or Cinema 4D. While Illustrator offers some basic 3D effects, it’s recommended to use specialized tools for more intricate 3D modeling tasks.

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This is an old topic that keeps getting bumped. The OP hasn’t been back since Oct. :wink:

Closing it up.

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