Packaging: 3D Cylinder Mockup


GOAL: This tutorial demonstrates how to make a three-dimensional, digital mock-up of a cylindrical package design using the 3D effect tool in Illustrator.

In order to present your new packaging design to your client, I feel it is best to create a 3-dimensional mock-up. A dimensional mock-up allows you and your client to visualize exactly how the finished design will look in real life.

At this point, I am assuming you've already completed your product package design in Illustrator and are ready to show your client the final, and amazing, results.

I'm also assuming that you have spent countless hours perfecting your package design and have made many real mock-ups to get the fit, size, and box strength right. With these areas taken care of, let's move forward and create a presentation that your client will understand.

Demo Files:

  1. Can:
  2. Bottle:


  1. Choose your packaging (can, bottle, etc.) and draw a 1/4 cross-section. Like this:

    Notice how I drew in the fine details. The lip and circular indents in the top of the can. These will make the can look realistic when we create the 3D model later.
  2. Next, select your object and go to Effect > 3D > Revolve…
  3. The 3D Revolve Options palette appears. Set yours to look like this:
  4. When you click Preview your can will render on your page and look like this:

    Notice that the lip and top indents show up and make it look like a real can.
  5. Now we will wrap your new packaging design around the can.
  6. First make sure your new design is on the same page. Copy and paste from one Illustrator file into this one is fine. Here's what mine looked like:
  7. Let's rasterize your new design. I've found that the 3D Effect in Illustrator is a little wonky/glitchy at times. Nothing is perfect, but raster artwork tends to look a little better that vector.
  8. Select your new design artwork and choose Object > Rasterize…
    Make your palette look like this:

    I'm using a lower resolution to help Illustrator render things faster. This is for presentation purposes, so it should look fine on a PDF or on a screen.
  9. Next, open your Symbols palette. Like this:
  10. Now click, drag, and drop your new design into the Symbols palette.
  11. This palette will pop up. Make yours look like this and click okay.
  12. Now that your new artwork is a rasterized symbol, we can map (wrap) it around your can cylinder.
  13. Select your can object, and in your Appearances pallete, click on 3D Revolve. This will open the 3D Effects Options palette and allow you to edit it.
  14. Make sure Preview is checked, and click on Map Art…
  15. When this palette appears,select your new symbol, navigate to the surface you want to map it to, arrange your artwork on the page, and click preview to shee how it looks.
  16. With Preview checked
  17. Click okay twice to apply your artwork mapping.
  18. This is how your final 3D mock up looks…

Nice work!



Here's an aluminum bottle 3D mock up. This has a four pieces of art ,apped to it:

  1. The main label on the base,
  2. Smaller label around the neck
  3. The logo and green brand color mapped to the top of the cap
  4. And a solid green mapped to the side and bevel of the cap



And the same bottle, with additional flavors, set into a scene with a little shading and shadows: