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Smart Objectives: Creating Flexible Artwork for Use in Adobe CS3

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Fast, fun and flexible. That’s the best way to create your artwork. By using Smart Objects and native Photoshop documents placed into InDesign CS3, you’ll earn significant increases in speed and creativity. Adobe Ambassador Mike McHugh shows you how.
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Call it "Creative Suite Yoga." It's all about keeping it flexible—and using Photoshop Smart Objects makes any artwork we create very flexible indeed. But the idea of pliability is not restricted to Photoshop. By creating artwork in Adobe Illustrator CS3 in a certain way, we can keep it fast, flexible, and fantastic! This can be especially timesaving when you're designing a concept. You can chop and change between colors with just a few clicks.

In the eight steps of this article we're going to create a rough mock-up of a package for It's All About Me Tea.

1. Create a 3D box in Illustrator using an effect.

The 3D tools in Illustrator are pretty basic, which actually makes them very usable for most graphic designers. We can create two basic variations on the 3D theme—we can revolve an item or we can extrude it. In this case, we're going to extrude a shape.

Because we want the lid of the tea box to be open, we need to draw a flat elevation of the box with the lid open. To add depth to the elevation, in the Effects menu select 3D > Extrude & Bevel.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Adding depth to a side elevation of a box using the 3D Extrude & Bevel Options in Illustrator CS3

Once you have access to this space-age collection of 3D controls (see Figure 1), turn on the Preview, which by default is switched off. Then start clicking like mad—it's the best way to learn what all the controls do. I always find that a good click-and-giggle in this dialog box really blows out the cobwebs. After the fun is over, use the Extrude Depth value to give your box some dimension, and then click and drag on the 3D box image at the top of the dialog box to get the angle you desire.

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