How To: Make a 3D Poster
If you want your poster to truly stand out, try adding 3D images.

Design Master

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There are many ways to add depth to a poster. One of them is to use 3D graphics, which give a new dimension to images that would otherwise look flat and boring.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a poster by using cool 3D images. I will be using Adobe Illustrator.

First, you will start by creating a poster document. In this tutorial, I am making a 11” x 17” poster. This is a standard size – not too big or too small.

If you have different requirements, you can go with other common poster sizes, like the small 8.5” x 11”, the medium 18” x 24” or the large 24” x 36”.

For printing a poster, I recommend choosing the CMYK color mode and 300 pixels per inch resolution.

How to Make a 3D Poster 1

Create a rectangular shape with the same size as the document in order to cover the whole area. Then fill it with a radial light blue to white gradient.

With the Pen tool, draw two curvy lines and give them a white stroke. With the help of the Blend tool, create other lines between the original two.

How to Make a 3D Poster 2

Before generating the 3D effect, you need to create your graphics as flat vector images.

With the Pen tool and rounded Rectangle tool, draw a colorful Popsicle with its stick as two separate objects (you can use reference images to help you with the drawing). Place both objects in the middle of the poster where the curvy lines bend in the background.

Then go to the 3D extrude panel (Effect>3D>Bevel and Extrude) and apply a 100 pixel extrusion to the Popsicle and a 20 pixel extrusion to the stick. Set the preferred angle for the 3D effect to be applied and select a diffuse shading.

Turn your preview on to see how your choices affect your images.

How to Make a 3D Poster 3

Choose a simple font that fits your style. Copy and paste the text on the back and change fill to blue to simulate depth. Distribute the text so it leads the eye throughout the poster.

I recommend including only the essential information, like the time and date, a brief headline or overview, useful contact details and sponsorship information. Don’t make the poster too wordy. Let the images do most of the talking.

How to Make a 3D Poster 4

After the main graphics are ready, you can add some extra effects.

In this case, I added gradients to the Popsicle’s surface to make it more interesting. I also created a few bubbles with the Ellipse tool, filling them with a radial white to black gradient and changing their blend mode to Overlay.

You can add as many details as you want as long as the text is readable and you maintain the focus on your message.

Finally, I also added a light texture on top of the other graphics and changed its blend mode to Soft Light. By making the color pop, the texture makes the poster more attractive.

How to Make a 3D Poster 5

Besides Illustrator, there are many other tools to make 3D objects you can use in your poster. Like Illustrator, the latest versions of Photoshop also have 3D features. As an alternative, you could use a 3D modeling software like Blender, SketchUp, Maya or 3D Studio Max. Blender and SketchUp are free, but the other programs are quite expensive and aren’t made for casual users.

Once you choose the program that’s right for you, you’ll be on your way to 3D poster bliss!

Edited in Illustrator CS5.

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


  1. hope you dodn’t have to wear glasses to see the 3d on these posters!