3D Conical Labels in Boxshot

Boxshot lets you make 3D conical labels looking fine in 3D. In order to do so, you need an image with distorted artwork that Boxshot loads and applies to the shape. The tutorial below shows the process in details.

We’ll start with creating a conical label shape. To do so, locate the shape in the shapes panel at the left and drag it into the scene:

Dragging conical label object into the scene

You’ll see a conical label with default texture. The bottom radius of the cone is smaller than the top, this label can fit a bucket or something similar.

Conical label properties

Note that all the texts look straight and parallel to the floor. However, if you check the artwork, it doesn’t look that:

Conical label editor

The thing about conical labels is that they need a special “distorted” artwork, so once applied to a conical surface it looks properly aligned. Boxshot expects you to provide such artwork and lets you map it to the shape you created.

Let’s make our own label

As you are here, you probably already have one, but let’s still make one from scratch to show the process. We’ll start with a conical label for the surface with top diameter of 10cm and bottom diameter of 12cm. The label width will be 10cm and height will be 5cm. Let’s put this values into the shape’s parameters:

Conical label properties

Once we changed parameters, Boxshot updated the shape. It looks fine, but the image is applied wrong and a transparent area is added at the bottom. The reason is that we need to provide a properly distorted artwork once we changed the cone or label dimensions. It is the essential part when working with conical labels both in Boxshot and in real life.

You need to click Fit to artwork to open the artwork editor for conical labels.

Artwork Editor

Once you clicked Fit to artwork, you’ll see the artwork editor window:

Conical label editor - grid

You see the artwork in the middle with magenta frame - the grid. The grid defines which part of the artwork is used for the label. The shape of the grid is defined by both label’s width and height and cone’s diameters. You can move the grid by dragging its square handle and change the grid by dragging the round handles. Note that in the second case you’ll also update the label and cone parameters.

There is a toolbar at the top, showing cone parameters you entered before. The top diameter is 10cm and the bottom one is 12cm. The grid shows three widths (top, middle and bottom) and the height of the label. You can see that middle width is 10cm and the height is 5cm, exactly as we set it up above.

Note that the grid doesn’t overlay the artwork completely and there is a transparent area at its bottom. That’s why you get that bottom part of the shape transparent.

So we need a proper artwork for that exactly grid that we can later match and apply to the shape we’ve just created. Boxshot lets you export a template that you can later fill with the artwork. Click Export Template button at the bottom left corner of the window to save that grid template to SVG file. You can later open it in your favorite editor and make the artwork.

Here we opened the template in Adobe Illustrator:

Conical label template

Let’s make simple “flat”, undistorted label artwork, something like that:

Sample flat artwork for conical label

The next step is to distort the artwork, so it follows the template. Here’s the resulting version:

Distorted artwork for conical label

You may want to spend more time on that and make sure everything is perfectly aligned, but that’s enough for our tutorial. Now export the new artwork into PNG or TIFF and load to the front surface of the label. Then bring back the artwork editor. You should get something like that:

Conical label artwork loaded up to Boxshot

As you may see, the artwork now matches the shape of the grid, all you need is to align the grid with the artwork like that:

Adjusting conical label frame in Boxshot

You can do this by dragging the grid by its square handle. Do not touch round handles at that stage, as this way you may change the grid and the artwork will not be perfectly aligned. Once done, click OK to see the resulting label:

Conical label preview in Boxshot

You see that the horizontal line is perfectly parallel to the floor and the text looks vertical. The better you prepare the distorted artwork, the better results you get.

What if I already have artwork?

In that case you’d better setup the cone first, so Boxshot knows what diameters to use. The problem with conical labels is that you can’t guess its size from the cone size and you can’t guess the cone parameters from the label. You need to define both and Boxshot just helps you to speed the things up.

Once you have the artwork loaded, you need to adjust the grid to match it. Let’s start again with the default label, applying our new artwork and opening artwork editor without changing any dimensions or diameters in the default model:

Conical label frame and the artwork

You see the grid doesn’t match the artwork, so we drag its round handles to align it. Boxshot automatically adjusts the other handles while you dragging one to make sure the grid is still a valid conical label grid.

Zoom the artwork with mouse wheel and drag the canvas with the right mouse button. You should get something like this at the end:

The frame is adjusted to the conical label artwork

Note that Boxshot has computed the proper label width of 10cm and height is about 5cm, as expected. However, such label can fit to various cones, so you also need to check the top toolbar and make sure the cone parameters are fine. The diameters there are 10 and 12cm - as expected, so we can click OK now and see the adjusted label:

Reviewing the conical label in 3D

Great, it looks fine as expected.

Possible Errors

Artwork editor performs some checks to make sure the grid you setup is valid. For instance it checks if the label width does not exceed the total space on the cone and also that label height is enough for that top and bottom diameters. In case of any errors you’ll see the Error button at the bottom. Clicking it will pop up the window with the detailed description of the problem:

Conical label error

Here Boxshot detected that the height of the label is not enough to reach from the top diameter to the bottom one, so it asks you to fix the grid. Make sure you do so before clicking OK, as otherwise Boxshot can’t make a proper label shape for you. You’ll most likely end up with a flat transparent object like this:

Conical label is not displayed because of the error

Worst of all, Boxshot cannot reconstruct the grid in that case, so when you return to the artwork editor, you get a broken grid like that:

Conical label frame is reset to defaults

So once again: make sure your artwork has no errors when you click OK in the editor. This saves your time on re-making things, and also double checks that the artwork will fit the real shape when printed.

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