Karan Singh shows you a clever and ridiculously quick way of giving your flat illustrations a faux 3D finish – without leaving the confines of Illustrator.

Karan finds Photoshop’s 3D lighting tools to be cumbersome, and says that Illustrator is more than capable of creating depth and dimension, using such effects as the inner and outer glows and the Gaussian blur.

Here, he focuses on one element of the artwork, but the techniques were used throughout.

Step 1 First off, grab the greyscale droid (TUTDROID.AI) I’ve created from the Download Zone, and open it up in Illustrator. You’re more than welcome to create your own object and use this tutorial as a guide to colouring and lighting. The beauty of this technique is it’s applicable to almost any shape.

Step 2 We’re going to use a set of gradient swatches to colour the shape. For this tutorial, I’ve already created a set of rich blue swatches, which you will find on the ‘Palette’ layer of TUT-DROID.AI.

If blue isn’t your thing – or you’re using your own image for this tutorial – create dark, mid and light versions of your chosen hue.