Sunday, 27 September 2015

Create Enchanting Circles in Illustrator

In this tutorial I am going to show you in detail how to create awesome enchanting circles in Adobe Illustrator. Firstly we have to create patterned Background then we'll proceed with drawing and coloring the Circles. The final effect is achieved by using Blend with Specified Steps.
All Illustrator versions are applicable as I have used only basic instruments, default patterns and three effects- Drop Shadow, Blur and Halftone Pattern Filter.
You will see in the course of the tut that I have expanded only one of the objects. This is because I prefer to keep the objects editable. You may decide to change their colors or size in order to achieve more interesting results.

This is what you are going to create:


Start your work with creating new Illustrator .ai file (File, New). Name it Enchanting Circles, then insert 1000px for both Width and Height. Units should be set to Pixels. You have to modify also the Advanced Settings. Select RGB for Color Mode and choose Medium (150 ppi) for Resolution. As you can see, I have chosen Default option for Preview Mode. After you press OK button to apply the settings, Layer 1 will appear in your Layers panel. Rename it to Background.

Create the Background with Bronze Gradient and Lines Pattern


In this step we have to select Gradient for Fill Color. For the purpose you should click on the tiny arrow next to Fill Color in your Control Panel to open Swatches panel (Window, Swatches). Click on Swatch Libraries Menu (the little arrow at the bottom of Swatches pane), select Gradients from the fly-out menu, then choose Metals. Select Bronze Gradient from Metals swatches.


Select Rectangle tool and draw a rectangle which covers your artboard with the Bronze Gradient.


Select your Gradient Rectangle which covers the artboard using Selection tool. Navigate to the Menu bar and select Window, Gradient to activate Gradient panel. From Type drop down menu select Radial and you'll get this result on your artboard:


Now we have a little work to do in Appearance panel. To activate it go to Window, Appearance. Click on the tiny arrow to the right of Appearance pane and select Add New Fill.


Open again Swatches pane but this time select Patterns, Basic Graphics, Basic Graphics_Lines. Choose 10 lpe 20%. With this Lines Pattern will be added to your Bronze Radial Gradient.
Keep the Lines Pattern selected with Selection tool on your artboard.


Now in Transparency panel (Window, Transparency) set the Blend Mode of the Lines Pattern to Overlay and reduce its Opacity to 50%. You should get this outcome:

Draw Two Colorful Circles, Apply Blur and Halftone Pattern Filter


Lock Background layer and Create New Layer on top of Layers pane. Call it Circle.
Grab Ellipse tool and click once anywhere on your artboard to activate Ellipse dialog box. Insert 700 px for both Width and Height. Keep the Ellipse selected. For now its position, Fill Color or Stroke doesn't matter because we are going to change them in the next step.


While your Ellipse is selected, set Fill Color to none, then select CMYK Magenta for Stroke Color and set Stroke Weight to 120 pt.
Activate Align panel (Window, Align) and click Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center icons. Your circle should resemble the result on my artboard shown below:


Drag Circle layer to Create New Layer icon at the bottom of your Layers panel to duplicate it. Lock and switch off the original Circle layer for now. Select the duplicated circle and change its Stroke Color. Choose Brass Radial Gradient (Gradients, Metals) for Stroke Color. Keep the duplicated Circle selected.


In Transparency panel change the Blend Mode of Circle copy layer to Soft Light.


Keep the Gradient Circle selected and navigate to the Menu bar. Select Effect, Stylize, Drop Shadow.


The settings in Drop Shadow dialog box should be like these: leave Blend Mode to Multiply, Color to Black, X Offset and Y Offset to 7px both but change Opacity to 100% and Blur to 30px.


Now move the original Circle layer (Magenta colored) on top of Layers panel, unlock it and switch it on. Lock Circle copy layer.
While the Magenta Circle is selected, choose Object, Expand from the Menu bar, in Expand dialog box uncheck Fill and tick Stroke.


After the Circle Stroke has been expanded, go to Effect, Blur, Gaussian Blur and move the Radius slider to 40px.


We have to add one more Filter to our Magenta Circle. This time select Filter, Sketch, Halftone Pattern.


When Halftone Pattern window appears on your screen, the Size should be set to 12, Contrast to the maximum of 50 and Pattern Type is to be set to Dot.


This is how your Circle will look after applying Halftone Pattern Filter. The Gradient Circle below is still not visible but we'll change it in the next step.


While the Halftone Pattern Circle is selected, change its Blend Mode to Overlay in Transparency panel.

Draw Three Circles Filled with Metal Gradients and Apply Blend with Specified Steps


Create New Layer on top of Layers pane. It is not necessary to name it as it will be blended with another layers later. I have called it Circle 800/800px for the sake of this tutorial and for your convenience. Keep the three layers below our new layer locked.
Select Ellipse tool, click on the canvas and insert 800px for both Width and Height then click on Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center in Align panel. Fill the new Circle with Chrome Gradient (Gradients, Metals, Chrome) and select Radial Type from Gradient panel. You should get the following outcome:


Lock the previously created Chrome Gradient Circle layer. Create New Layer on top of Layers pane. I have called it Circle 540/540px. Yes, just draw a Circle with size 540px both Width and Height. Fill it with Brass Radial Gradient from Metals Gradients menu.


We have to draw a very small Circle in this step.
Firstly Create New Layer on top of Layers pane. I have called it Circle 50/50px. Lock the previously created Circle layer.
Take Ellipse tool and set its Size to 50px both Width and Height. This time fill it with Colored Chrome Gradient, Radial type.


Now unlock only the last created three Circle layers- Circle 800/800px, Circle 540/540px and Circle 50/50px. Select with Selection tool all these three circles, navigate to the Menu bar, select Object, Blend, Blend Options. In Blend Options dialog box select Specified Steps from Spacing drop down menu and insert 8 (steps).


Go again to Object, Blend, but this time select Make from the fly out menu.


Below is shown how your Gradient circles will look after being blended. Rename their layer to Blend and remove both empty layers below it which are left after the Blend have been applied. Keep these blended circles selected.


Change the Opacity of Blend layer to 90% to make the circles translucent.


Go to File, Export and save the file in format you prefer. Below is my result saved in .jpg format.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Many thanks for reading it and God bless! :)
If you have questions or need more details, just drop a comment below. Critiques and curses are welcome too. :D

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