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Library: Creative Design

 

Achieve realistic form & lighting with Illustrator's Feather command

Added on Monday 4th of May 2009 09:23 am EST

 
Application > Adobe Illustrator CS/CS2
Operating Systems > Macintosh, Microsoft Windows

To add a sense of realistic form to a vector object, you have to create an effect of light and shadow. One way to accomplish this in Illustrator is by using the Gradient Mesh command, but without practice and patience, it can be a difficult feature to master. Another way to achieve similar results faster is to use Illustrator's Feather command, along with Blending Modes to produce a result like the one shown in Figure A. The technique is simple and fast, and goes a long way to achieving a similar realistic result. Let's open an example to begin.


Trace a photo as reference
Artists have long used tracings of a photo reference as a basis for their artwork. For our illustration, we'll do the same. To follow along using our example, download the bottle.jpg file from the URL given at the beginning of the article:
1. Launch Illustrator and choose File > New to display the New Document dialog box. Enter a name such as Mug, and then click OK.
2. Select File > Place, navigate to the bottle.jpg file and click Place to place the photo, as shown in Figure B. Name the layer Bottle, lock it, and t...