Final Product What You'll Be Creating
Colorful and vibrant logos are extremely trendy recently. In this Quick Tip we will take a look at how you can easily create an appealing colored sphere which will make a great foundation for a successful logo. Let’s get started!
Start by opening Illustrator and creating a 1000px by 1000px file. Set the resolution to 300dpi and color mode to RGB.
Turn on Smart Guides (Control + U) – they will be very helpful throughout the whole process. If they start getting in your way, simply disable them by pressing Control + U again.
Select the Ellipse Tool (L) and click in the middle of the artboard. You will be prompted to input dimensions of your ellipse. Go ahead and make it a 450px by 450px perfect circle. Also, feel free to create a new layer underneath, place two guides there and center them using the Align Palette. They will prove very useful later. Your image (very simple, so far) should look like this:
Create a new layer on top of the stack and add eight more ellipses. Use the Transform Palette. to place them in their desired position and give them proper dimensions. Refer to the image below.
Let’s create an illusion of slight perspective now. Select all ellipses save for the most top one and open the Transform Each dialog box (Alt + Control + Shift + D). Change the vertical scaling to 103% and hit OK. Seven of your ellipses should get slightly taller.
Make sure you are using the Selection Tool (V). Shift-Click on the second ellipse from the top to deselect it. Now only six of your ellipses are selected so go ahead and press Control + D to repeat last transformation – this will make the ellipses another 3% taller.
Repeat this operation successively Shift-Clicking next ellipses and pressing Control + D. You will notice that the shape on the bottom extends the border of the big circle. Correct this by moving the lowest ellipse couple of pixels up – noboby will notice that little cheat ;)
This is the gentle result you should be looking for:
Select all contents of the "circles" layer (you can do that by Alt-Clicking the layer) and open the Transform Each dialog box again. This time input 115% for vertical scaling and press the Copy button. You will get 8 additional ellipses, each 15% taller than their originals.
That’s a mess but don’t worry – we will attend to it right now. Get the Selection Tool (V) and marquee over the two top ellipses. Bring up the Pathfinder palette and click the Divide button. Repeat this procedure for the remaining pairs of ellipses.
Visually, nothing should change but your shapes should be now nicely chopped into pieces.
Now grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus your attention on the most top set of ellipses. Alt-Click the sickle-like shape and hit Delete of Backspace to do away with it. You should be left with something that will later resemble an angled disc.
Repeat this step for the remaining groups of ellipses until you get something which resembles the image below:
Ok, we have the basis of the artwork, now let’s add some colors. You can use those I propose here but feel free to pick your own.
We’ll start with the little pieces giving the illusion of perspective. Select them successively with your Direct Selection Tool, change their stroke color to none and the fill to the following values:
This is the effect you should be looking for:
The edges have some definition, now let’s get to coloring the interiors of our rings.
Create eight gradients and apply them to the ellipses. All gradients are made of our eight base colors ranging from 100% opaque to fully translucent color. Use the Gradient Tool (G) to squish and reposition the gradients. Image below shows the desired outcome:
This is starting to look like something but still could be better. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the most top ellipse, go to Effect menu and choose Stylize > Inner Glow. Set the mode to Screen, opacity to 50%, blur to 10px and pick a nice light color matching the gradient. Of course I encourage you to go ahead and experiment here.
Repeat this step for the remaining ellipses to achieve this subtle effect:
Create a new layer and position it under the "circle layer". Place a 1000px by 1000px rectangle, fill it with a subtle grey radial gradient and lock the layer. At this point certain parts of the sphere may appear to dark or too light – feel free to adjust that to you liking. Generally, this is what it could look like:
Direct your attention to the Layers palette Grab the "circle" layer and drag it onto the top of the stack. Select the big ellipse, copy it and Past it in Front (Control + F) three times. Fill the one on the bottom with a gradient ranging from 100% white to translucent white and change its stroke to none. Adjust the position of the gradient with the Gradient Tool. Reduce opacity of the ellipse to 60%.
Select the next ellipse and apply a similar gradient to it, this time positioning it away from the center of the sphere to give an impression of glow. Reduce its opacity to 30%.
Fill the third ellipse with a pink gradient similarly to the previous one but here change its blend mode to Color and set its opacity to 60%. Fill the last ellipse with the lime gradient, change its blend mode to Color and set its opacity to 60%. Use the images below for reference:
Create a new layer, call it "highlights" and place it on top of the stack. Using your Pen Tool (P) draw couple curvy shapes. Fill them with a subtle white gradient to give your sphere a glossy surface. Reduce their opacity (I used 40% for a stronger and 10% for a lighter highlight) and position them around the sphere. Done and done!
Your colorful sphere is ready. Now you can include the name of your brand, drop a shadow, add reflections and whatnot. You can even overhaul the whole shape and apply this technique to many other figures – hexahedrons, bottles, cylinders and so on!