Turn Basic Geometric Shapes into 3D With This Tutorial

Here at Freepik, we’re almost saying goodbye to 2019. If we look back to the most trending designs in 2019, geometric shapes have been reigning all year long, and it seems they will stay with us in 2020 as well. So, what a better way to stay trendy that turning basic geometric shapes into a cool and a modern 3D composition?

In this tutorial, our contributor Rosa Quesada (rosalerosa) teaches us how to create modern 3D geometric shapes that can be applied to a broad spectrum of designs!

Get ready to learn and boost your downloads!

1. How to Design 3D Geometric Shapes
Video tutorial

    • Open a new document in Illustrator and create an artboard of 750×500 px.
    • Insert basic shapes using a light color without an outline. Create shapes like rectangles, circles, zigzags, half-circles, etc.
    • Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude and Bevel. A window will open with the Extrude & Bevel Options.
    • From this window, you can modify the extrusion depth, the position of the shapes, its perspective, and even the surface. Tweak the parameters and change the values of each shape until you get the result expected.
    • When you’re happy with the composition, select all the shapes and go to Object > Expand Appearance.
    • After expanding, the inner faces of the objects may be separated from the main object and divided into sections. If this happens, you need to unify all the elements. To do that, select the parts you want to unify and go to Pathfinder > Unite Shape Mode.
    • Create a rectangle with the artboard dimensions and place it under the shapes. Use a bright color and apply a radial gradient to it.
    • The colors you use are up to you and to the effect you want to get. Colorful palettes are always a winning choice as they are appealing and contribute to creating a modern and fresh design.
    • For this design, opt for gradients to add depth to the shapes. Linear or radial gradients are good options.
    • To generate the gradients, you can create them directly from the Swatches panel or use platforms like Gradient Hunt for inspiration.
    • As we’re working with 3D shapes, you will need to work carefully when applying color as the shapes have different faces and sides.
    • To make your 3D shapes more realistic, you can add a bevel to the shape as follows:
      • Select the side where you want to create the bevel
      • Copy and paste it in place
      • Duplicate the copy by pressing Alt+Click. Move the object slightly to add depth. 
      • Select the duplicated object and the copy and go to Pathfinder > Minus Front
      • Apply a lighter color to the bevel to make it stand out.
    • To insert the shadows, you need to pay special attention to the light’s direction and decide where you want the items to be reflected. You need to interpret the light’s source to make the shadows coherently.
    • So, create the shadows with a shape and apply a gradient from black (100% opacity) to white (0% opacity). You can also use for the shadow a color similar to the background’s color.
    • Apply the blending mode “Overlay” and a Gaussian Blur.
    • To add lights to the shapes, we’ll also be using gradients. This time, select a radial gradient and use lighter colors.
    • Make sure the gradient goes from 0% opacity (same object’s color) to 100% opacity (white).
    • Apply a Gaussian Blur to the gradient.
    • Depending on the resource you’re designing, you may want to insert some text to complete the composition. I’ve entered “3D SHAPES BACKGROUND” and placed the text box in the center of the composition.

After turning basic shapes into 3D, this is the fantastic result we got:

3d geometric shapes background

2. How to Use 3D Geometric Shapes

We love geometric shapes! They are fun, modern, and, most importantly, versatile. When we think of geometric designs, a lot of different resources come to our minds. And this is quite an advantage for designers and Freepik’s contributors, as you’ll have plenty of ideas to choose from. If you don’t believe us, have a look at the following examples using 3D geometric shapes in different colors, compositions, and resource types:

Landing pages

3D geometric shapes landing page

3d geometric shapes landing page

3D geometric shapes landing page


3D geometric shapes background

3D geometric shapes background


3D geometric shapes banner

3D geometric shapes banner

As you can see, 3D designs incorporating geometric shapes have a lot of applications! Do you want to boost your downloads and improve your portfolio? Give 3D shapes a try and upload your resources to Freepik. We can’t wait to see what you can do!

Become a contributor now!