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I would like to know if it is possible to draw an image like this in 3D using tikz? I am having some text around this picture, which looks great in tikz, but I am unable to draw this kind of 3D figure in tikz. Also the shadows around it looks quite complex to me.

Any examples, ideas, suggestions?

enter image description here

Thank You !

share|improve this question
yes, it is possible. You can have a look here tex.stackexchange.com/questions/58633/… or here tex.stackexchange.com/questions/42812/3d-bodies-in-tikz for some ideas on lighting and 3D-body-generation. – LaRiFaRi May 5 '14 at 13:14
I will say that this reminds me of a standard icon pack I used back in the day. That pack came with vectors for each icon; if you have a vector for the image, there is little purpose in trying to create it with TikZ (but you can have Inkscape 'convert' it for you). – Sean Allred May 5 '14 at 13:16
should i get this graphic from eps and embed in tikz? is it possible? just to avoid lot of coding. – knowledge_seeker May 5 '14 at 13:18
In my opinion this is not suited for TikZ, here you have something “similar”. – Manuel May 5 '14 at 13:26
@Raj Yes, I would recommend against using TikZ if you have a vector already available. If you have the vector in the same folder, you can just use \includegraphics{my-vector}—no need for TikZ. I would recommend you convert whatever you have to PDF first, just for ease of use. – Sean Allred May 5 '14 at 13:37
up vote 36 down vote accepted

Definitely not perfect in any respect but anyway...

      \fill [white] ellipse [x radius=2, y radius=2/3];
      \path [left color=black!50, right color=black!50, middle color=black!25] 
        (-2+.05,-1.1) arc (180:360:2-.05 and 2/3-.05*2/3) -- cycle;
      \path [top color=black!25, bottom color=white] 
        (0,.05*2/3) ellipse [x radius=2-.05, y radius=2/3-.05*2/3];
      \path [left color=black!25, right color=black!25, middle color=white] 
        (-2,0) -- (-2,-1) arc (180:360:2 and 2/3) -- (2,0) arc (360:180:2 and 2/3);
      \foreach \r in {225,315}
        \foreach \i [evaluate={\s=30;}] in {0,2,...,30}
          \fill [black, fill opacity=1/50] 
            (0,0) -- (\r+\s-\i:2 and 2/3) -- ++(0,-1) 
            arc (\r+\s-\i:\r-\s+\i:2 and 2/3) -- ++(0,1) -- cycle;
      \foreach \r in {45,135}
        \foreach \i [evaluate={\s=30;}] in {0,2,...,30}
          \fill [black, fill opacity=1/50] 
            (0,0) -- (\r+\s-\i:2 and 2/3) 
            arc (\r+\s-\i:\r-\s+\i:2 and 2/3)  -- cycle;
  disc bottom/.style={
      \foreach \i in {0,2,...,30}
        \fill [black, fill opacity=1/60] (0,-1.1) ellipse [x radius=2+\i/40, y radius=2/3+\i/60];
      \path pic {disc};

\path (0,0) pic {disc bottom} (0,1.25) pic {disc} (0,2.5) pic {disc};


enter image description here

share|improve this answer
this is amazing ! :) – knowledge_seeker May 5 '14 at 14:20
Short and impressive! I added also this to the TeXample TikZ gallery. Most TikZ graphics I bookmark here are yours. – Stefan Kottwitz Jul 29 '14 at 21:02

I'm afraid I also could not resist giving it a shot with Asymptote. Unlike the TikZ solution, this actually uses an underlying 3d model. In particular, the "white ring" around the top emerged naturally as a result of rounding the corner, together with Asymptote's shading capabilities.

    settings.outformat = "png";
    import three;
    import roundedpath;
    currentprojection = orthographic(0,4,1);

    int nslices = 20;
    pen colorfunction(int u, real v) {
        real t = (v/nslices)*4pi;
        static pen dark = gray(0.3);
        static pen light = white;
        return interp(dark, light, (sin(t)+1)/2);

    real radius = 2.0, height = 1.0;

    path3 to_revolve = path3(roundedpath((0,0) -- (radius,0) -- (radius,height) -- (0.9 radius, height) -- (0,height), R=0.05), YZplane);
    surface disk = surface(to_revolve, c=O, axis=Z, n=nslices, color = colorfunction);

    pen undercolorfunction(int u, real v) {
        pen overpen = colorfunction(u,v);
        real r = point(to_revolve, u).y;
        return interp(black, overpen, (r/radius)^5);

    surface underdisk = surface(to_revolve, c=O, axis=Z, n=nslices, color=undercolorfunction);



The result:

share|improve this answer
Added bonus is that you can embed the model into the PDF. – bb010g May 6 '14 at 1:39

I worked on Mark's solution to make it look more similar to the original picture.


\tikzfading[name=fade out,
inner color=transparent!0, outer color=transparent!100]

\def\xandy{2 and 2/\factor}

  pics/.cd, %
  disc/.style ={
    code = {
      %% the foundation
      \path [fill=black!15] (-\xradius,0) -- (-\xradius,-\height) arc
      (180:360:\xandy) -- (\xradius,0) arc (0:180:\xandy);%
      \path [top color=black!25, bottom color=white, opacity=0.2] (0,0) ellipse
      [x radius=\xradius, y radius =\yradius];%
      \path [left color=black!25, right color=black!15] (-\xradius,0) --
      (-\xradius,-\height) arc (180:240:\xandy) -- +(0,\height) arc
      \path [left color=black!15, right color=black!30] (\xradius,0) --
      (\xradius,-\height) arc (360:320:\xandy) -- +(0,\height) arc

      %% rays in front
      \foreach \col/\r/\shift/\stop/\opacity in {%
        black/205/25/20/100, %
        black/295/35/30/100, %
        black/295/30/30/200, %
        black/295/25/20/300, %
        white/245/14/14/100, %
        white/245/12/12/20, %
        white/245/10/10/10} {%
        \foreach \i [evaluate={\opposite=\r-180;}] in {0,1,...,\stop}{%
          \fill [\col, fill opacity = 1/\opacity] (\opposite:0.1 and
          0.1/\factor) -- (\r+\shift-\i:\xandy) -- ++(0,-\height) arc
          (\r+\shift-\i:\r-\shift+\i:\xandy) -- +(0,\height) -- cycle; }}

      %% rays in back
      \foreach \r/\shift/\stop/\opacity in {%
        25/25/20/100, %
        115/30/23/100} {%
        \foreach \i [evaluate={\opposite=\r-180;}] in {0,1,...,\stop}{%
          \fill [black, fill opacity = 1/\opacity] (\opposite:0.1 and 0.1/\factor) --
          (\r+\shift-\i:\xandy) arc (\r+\shift-\i:\r-\shift+\i:\xandy) --
          cycle; }}

      %% masking the four edges in the center
      \foreach \i in {0.1, 0.2, ..., 0.4}%
      \fill[black!15, opacity=0.7, path fading=fade out] 
      (0,0) ellipse[x radius=\i, y radius =\i/\factor];

      %% the light and the dark arcs
      \foreach \i [evaluate={\start=185+10*\i; \finish=355-10*\i;}]%
      in {0.1, 0.2, ..., 1.5}{%
        \draw[white, opacity=0.04, line width=\i, yshift=0.02cm]
        (\start:\xandy) arc (\start:\finish:\xandy);

        \draw[black!80, opacity=0.05, line width=\i, yshift=-\height]
        (\start:\xandy) arc (\start:\finish:\xandy); }
  disc bottom/.style = {
    code = {
      \foreach \i/\opacity in {%
        \fill [black, fill opacity = 1/\opacity, yshift=-0.03cm] (0,-\height)
        ellipse [x radius = \xradius+\i/40, y radius = \yradius+\i/20/\factor]; 
      \path pic {disc};
  disc top/.style = {
    code = {
      \foreach \i/\opacity in {%
        2/60, 3/55, 4/50,5/40, 6/35, 7/30, 8/20, 9/20, 10/20, 11/20, 12/20,
        13/20, 14/20, 15/20, 16/20, 17/20, 18/20, 19/20, 20/20, 21/20, 22/20,
        23/20, 24/20, 25/20, 26/20}%
        \fill [black, fill opacity = 1/\opacity, yshift=-0.35cm] (0,-\height)
        ellipse [x radius = \xradius-\i/40, y radius = \yradius-\i/20/\factor];
      \path pic {disc};

  \path (0,0) pic {disc bottom} (0,1.4) pic {disc top} (0,2.8) pic {disc top};

UPDATE: the dimensions are parametrizable. But you might need to shift the discs and the shadow below accordingly.

Stacked discs

share|improve this answer
is everyone insanely good here? what amazing picts! – ivo Welch Apr 27 at 16:59

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