Take your skills to the next level with this tutorial on creating a shiny voluminous object. We’ll cover how to use a variety of tools like Gradient Mesh and 3D effects to create a more realistic illustration. Let’s great started!
Final Image Preview
Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.
- Program: Adobe Illustrator
- Version: CS3
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours
Using the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a rectangle like the one below.
Draw another rectangle that’s much shorter. This shape will be the top part of the can that tapers inward.
Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move the top two points inward slightly.
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw an oval the width of the can. Ensure that you don’t make it too tall. The taller you make the oval, the more perspective the can will appear to have.
Use the Rectangle Tool to draw another short rectangle that will be the lip of the top of the can.
Easily give the shape a curve by going to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. Select Arch from the drop down menu and give it a Bend of about 12%.
Once you apply the warp filter to the shape you will need to expand it before you can complete the next step. Go to Object > Expand, then select OK in the dialog that opens.
Using the Pen Tool (P), draw a shape like the red one (shown below) that covers the top corner of the rectangle shape. Select the red shape and the gray rectangle and in the Pathfinder select Subtract from Shape Area followed by clicking Expand.
This is the shape you’ll be left with. The rounded corners help the overall realism of the final illustration.
Copy and paste a copy of the shape, then flip it upside down to make the back half of the rim.
Use the Pen Tool to draw a shape as shown below. To make sure this shape is perfectly symmetrical you can draw half the shape, then copy and paste it so the other half matches.
Make one more shape like the last shape, only slightly smaller. You can also simply copy the shape above and scale it down.
This is what your artwork should look like right now.
To make the regal shape used in the logo use the Pen Tool to draw the first quadrant. Play around with random curves and points to make something totally unique!
Copy and paste or use the Reflect Tool (O) to duplicate the first quadrant.
Repeat the last step to make the bottom half.
Select all four quadrants and click Add to Shape Area followed by clicking Expand.
Next I’ll add a little texture to the can by using an ornate font as artwork. I used an "X" from the font Extra Ornamental No 2.
Turn the font into outlines by selecting it and going to Type > Create Outlines. Also, adjust the Transparency in the Transparency Palette to suit your liking.
I used a font called Verve for the word Onyx and Energy Tea. This font was purchased from Veer. After that, add some details to the bottom of the can to give it a little more interest.
The design I’ve come up with for the can does not necessarily need any distortion on the edges to make it look as if it wraps around the edge. If this is the case with your design too, skip to step 24.
If your graphic needs to wrap around the can more drastically first drag the graphic into the Symbols Palette. Select "Graphic" in the dialog that opens and click OK.
Draw another rectangle that’s the width of the can.
With only the rectangle selected go to Effect > 3D > Revolve. Enter "0" for the X, Y and Z rotations. For the Blend Steps enter 1 then select Map Art…
First, select the 3rd Surface. Next select the symbol at the bottom of the list (this is the graphic you dragged into your Symbols Palette that will become the label for the can.) Last, position the symbol toward the right side of the placement area. Adjust the size if needed and click OK.
The resulting effect will produce the graphic in the second image below. To further work with the label I recommend going to Object > Expand then ungrouping the shapes so you’re only left with the label and not the rectangle shape behind it. Now, your graphic will look like the third image. You can use the Direct Selection Tool to get rid of the rectangles in the background.
On a separate layer draw a rectangle and give it a black to gray radial Gradient (G.)
Apply a linear gradient to the label to give it a reflective look.
Making believable highlights on the can is easy. First draw a rectangle shape over the can where you want the reflection. You may want to duplicate the basic shapes that comprise the can and use the Pathfinder to ensure your reflection shape precisely matches the shape of the can.
Apply a linear gradient of black to white. Set the Transparency mode to Screen. Note, ensure your black and white colors are made up of R, G and B values rather than only black. Using R, G and B colors gives a more intense color. If your gradient does not fade all the way to a dark black color this means you’re not using an RGB black. To get the darkest black set the sliders to 0.
Apply a couple more reflections but don’t go overboard or it will look unrealistic.
The reflections on the top part of the can should be on a slight angle since the top part of the can is tapered inward.
Give a linear and vertical gradient to another smaller rectangle. We’ll create a less harsh reflection by selecting the rectangle and going to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter an amount that you think works well and click OK.
To increase the realism of the illustration well add a bit more detail to the top rim. Use the Gradient Mesh Tool and add some mesh points to the shape. The key to using gradient mesh to its fullest extent is to not arbitrarily place the mesh points. Think of where you want highlights before you start placing points.
When two points are placed next to each other this works well for creating a quick transition from one color to another. When dealing with reflections a light color is generally adjacent to a darker gray, so as the mesh points go from left to right I make sure there are enough horizontal mesh points to allow for the rim to go from white to gray to darker gray and back to white, for example. Vertically I know that the very top edge will be lighter and just below the top edge will be darker so I place a row of mesh points just below the top edge.
Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select a few of the mesh points and change their color. You can drag over a range of mesh points with the Direct Selection Tool to select multiple points at once too!
Notice that the left edge of the rim is lighter and the next point is darker.
Observe how the bottom edge is light then the middle area fades to gray and the top edge is slightly lighter again. Give the back rim shape a light to dark gray gradient.
Repeat this process for the bottom edge of the can. To give the words at the bottom edge a bended look select them and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. I’d recommend using the Arch style to achieve a subtle curve.
We’ll give the can a halo by using the shapes below as a starting point. Duplicate the shapes that make up the can and click Add to Shape Area followed by clicking Expand, in the Pathfinder.
This is the shape you’ll be left with.
Move the shape behind the can and go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. Enter the values that look good to you and click OK.
Here is the final illustration. You’ve just learned how to create a shiny voluminous vector object!
Subscribe to the Vectortuts+ RSS Feed to stay up to date with the latest vector tutorials and articles.