Saturday, 31 October 2015

Create Twirled Rays Background in Illustrator

In this tutorial I will show you how to create a vortex of pink and purple rays with golden highlights in Adobe Illustrator.
In order to create the Pink Rays, we are going to use Average command, Rotate Tool, Twist Warp and Clipping Mask. I used Illustrator CS4 to create this artwork, but all other CS versions of the program are applicable.

This should be your final result:


Create a new .ai document by selecting File, New, then choose Basic RGB Document. From Units drop down menu select Milimeters and set Width and Height to 270mm both.

Create Gradient Background with Segmented Circle


Take Rectangle Tool and draw a square covering your artboard. Fill the square with Radial type Gradient. For the first gradient swatch choose this color: R=0, G=169, B=157. The color of second gradient swatch is a darker blue: R=0, G=0, B=255 and the color of third gradient swatch is: R=0, G=169, B=157. This will be our Background. As we won’t manipulate it anymore, select it with Selection Tool and go to Object, Lock, Selection.


Using Rectangle Tool again draw a rectangle as you see on the following screenshot. Fill it with any color (no Stroke color!). As you can see I have chosen pink color from the default Swatches but later it will be changed.


Grab Direct Selection Tool and select both bottom points of the previously drawn rectangle, then go to Object, Path, Average. When Average dialog box appears, choose Both axis. This will turn your rectangle into a ridged triangle.


While the rectangle is selected, add 6px Stroke of any color. I have chosen dark red (R=193, G=39, B=45) but it will be changed in the next step.


With the triangular shape selected, click on Object menu, Choose Expand, in the dialog box uncheck Fill option and leave only Stroke option checked, then press OK.
Deselect the object. Now take Direct Selection Tool and select only the Stroke. Fill with the following Linear Gradient with Angle 90 degrees:
First Gradient Swatch (Location 0%): R=251, G=201, B=38;
Second Gradient Swatch (Location 47%): R=255, G=251, B=204;
Third Gradient Swatch (Location 75%): R=238, G=214, B=136;
Fourth Gradient Swatch (Location 100%): R=255, G=251, B=204;


In this step I decided to change the Fill of the triangle. Using Direct Selection Tool select only the Fill of the object (not the Stroke) and choose a nice purple Fill Color: R=171, G=74, B=156.


Reselect the triangle with Selection Tool. Take Rotate Tool, hold down Alt key and at the same time click on the center point of the triangle (don’t release left mouse key), move the center point to the end point of the triangle and release the mouse key. Rotate dialog box appears on your artboard. Enter 4 degrees in Angle option and press Copy button. This will rotate and duplicate the object at the same time. See the screenshot for this Step as a reference for your actions.


One copy is not enough to create an image full of rays. So start pressing Ctrl+D a few times until you close the circle of rays. Your artboard should look like my screenshot.

Add New Colors, Apply Twist Warp and Clipping Mask


You can leave all your rays in one and the same purple color we already choose. I decided to add more colors. As you see on the following screenshot, I have used four additional colors to make my rays more dazzling. For the purpose you should select with Direct Selection Tool the respective triangle (select only the Fill, not the Stroke) and change its color. I used these colors:
  1. R=201, G=40, B=255
  2. R=244, G=120, B=59
  3. R=169, G=103, B=170
  4. R=241, G=90, B=34


With Selection Tool select all objects (except the background) on your artboard. Group them (Object, Group or Ctrl+G), then go to Effect, Warp, Twist, leave the default options and press OK button. Have a look at the screenshot to this step to see the result.


Keep the group of twisted objects selected. Go to Transparency panel (Window, Transparency) and set the Blend Mode to Exclusion. Deselect.


We are almost done. As you can see, the rays go out of the artboard borders. In order to keep object (s) within the artboard, we are going to apply Clipping Mask. Draw a rectangle of any color, which covers the artboard. With Selection Tool select both the rectangle and group of rays, right click and select Make Clipping Mask.


After following this step-by-step tutorial, the result of your work should be an image like the one on the following screenshot. If you have locked the selection of your Background in Step 2, just go to Object, Unlock All so that to be able to manipulate all your objects if you like to change colors and shapes.


This is the final result. If you have some questions, you are welcome to send me a personal message. I will be glad to help you. Good luck and enjoy the tutorial.

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