# How to Create a Vector Series of Linear Effects

As seen in previous tutorials, a mixed use of distortion filters often yields surprising results. In this tutorial, we will create a bunch of messy hair using distortion filters in quick and easy steps. In the end, we’ll use the same technique to obtain a “Knife Scratches” effect, a “Spider Web” effect and a “Grunge texture.” Let’s get started!

### Final Preview Images

Below are some examples of the effects we’ll be working towards in this tutorial. 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.

#### Tutorial Details

• Difficulty: Intermediate
• Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour

### Video Tutorial

Cheryl Graham created this video tutorial to compliment this text + image tutorial.

### Step 1

Create a new document of 500px by 500px size. Next, grab the Spiral Tool from the Tools Palette and click on the artboard to open the Spiral Options. Enter 115px for Radius, 90 for Decay and 200 for Segments, as shown below.

Stroke the Spiral with a black color and assign a weight of 0.1pt. Note: We could use any random or hand-drawn shape. For consistency and ease of understanding, we will use a Spiral here.

### Step 2

Select the Spiral and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter 4 for Size and 30 for Detail. Select “Smooth” from the Points option and hit “OK”.

### Step 3

With the Spiral still selected, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Tweak. Enter 30 for Horizontal and Vertical values and keep the rest of the values as shown in the red regions below.

### Step 4

Select the Spiral and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Next, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. Enter 6px for size and 6 for Ridges per segment. Select “Smooth” from the Points option and hit “Ok” to continue.

Keep a backup copy of this result, as we’ll use it later.

### Step 5

Select the result and expand it again using Object > Expand Appearance. Next, with Selection Tool (V), resize the entire shape to approximately 1000px by 1000px size, so that it extends the artboard boundaries.

### Step 6

The messy hair bunch is almost ready. To make it denser, duplicate the result and place it along the corners of the artboard. Try to play with stroke weight, color and size of the shape to make the result semi-realistic. In the result below, I have used 90% black for corner copies, and 100% black for the main copy. Finally, group everything (Command + G) and mask it within 500px by 500px clipping rectangle.

Next, we will proceed ahead for another effect.

### Step 7: The “Spider Web” effect

Grab the backup copy of Step 4 and open the Appearance Palette using Shift + F6. In the Appearance Palette, double-click on Zig Zag effect.

Next, enter the values as shown in the red regions below and select “Corner” from the Points option.

### Step 8

Select the object and expand it using Object > Expand Appearance. Next, with the Selection Tool (V), resize the entire shape to approximately 1000px by 1000px size, so that it extends the artboard boundaries.

### Step 9

Next, change the stroke color to White and use this result on any contrasting background, so that it looks like a spider web. Below are some results of this effect on a contrasting background.

### Step 10: The “Knife Scratches” effect

With the Rectangle Tool (M), create a rectangle 500px by 500px and fill it with a linear gradient, as shown below.

### Step 11

Grab the output of the Spider Web effect and place it above the rectangle. Next, change the Opacity of the “Spider Web” to 80% and blending mode to “Overlay.” The output should be something like below.

### Step 12: The Grunge Effect

Select the output of Step 5 or Step 8 and click on “Divide” in the Pathfinder options (Command + Shift + F9). Next, ungroup all using Shift + Command + G.

### Step 13

Select everything, remove the stroke and fill it with black. Next, go to Object > Transform > Transform each, and enter the values as shown below.

Hit “Ok” to continue. The grunge result will be something like below.

### Conclusion and Scope

We have seen some quick and easy techniques to obtain the hair effect, spider web effect and the grunge effect. The results shown in this tutorial are a few possibilities of this technique.

We can create beautiful backgrounds, colorful threads, broken glass effects, torn papers, bacteria effects and much more using this distortion technique. Hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial.

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Saurabh Sharma is SaurabhSharma on Themeforest
• Dean

Very nice effect used with a bit of imagination! thanks for the inspiration :)

• Tony

Reminds me of AFI’s new Crash Love cover.

• http://www.sthursby.com/blog Stuart Thursby

The good tutorials are ones which display the endless possibilities which can be achieved through the techniques discussed, as opposed to merely stopping at the created result. This is an eye-opener, thanks for posting it!

• http://vectronaut.ivanizm.net IVAN

wow :)))

• Dy0

When I apply the effet Zik-Zag, the program shows an error message..
I’m working on a Macbook Pro with 4Gb of RAM.. what’s wrong ? :(

• http://www.joaquinrevuelta.com Parkaboy

Sinple yet amzaing. Thanks for sharing.

• Paul

Thanx Saurabh – easy to follow for an old boy who hasn’t used Illustrator for yrs and is very rusty! and this type of action really allows me to use my creative pshop skills in a vector world. More Illustrator tuts plse!!!

• http://www.anden14.com Antonio

Excelente!!

• http://www.geniuzdesigns.de g3niuz

could be useful..

thanks again _;D

• http://www.w2point.com Web 2.0

Interesting effect…

• tariq

Man this is very very a very useful tip

nice…

There are so many applications for this. Great work. Really useful.

• http://misses-pooky.deviantart.com/ gishikin

Simple and extremely effective, well done

• http://www.devlindonnelly.com Devlin

Wonderfully expansive and helpful tutorial. It opens up a world of possibilities that I hadn’t even considered! Thank you!

Beautiful ! ill try to use it some how !

• http://jashsayani.com Jash Sayani

Wow man! Awesome.

• shelly

Very interesting effect !!!!!!! ;)

• http://www.studiografiko.com Grafiko

One of the most interesting effects that I have seen in months, thanks for sharing

• http://www.bryan-kun.deviantart.com Bryan G. C.

How did you made the “Bacterial” look? Is a brush applied to diverse lines and strokes? Loved the effect, btw.

• Saurabh

Bryan,

In Step 13, just apply the radial gradient to the grunge objects. You are done! Thanks for the appreciation :)

• http://www.tuff-studio.com kires

this is really cool

• xD

lol… she said vector toots :p

• Rebecca Choong

Hi :) Great Tutorial, Thanks!!! Especially useful for beginners like me..

btw, i’m stuck @ Step 13. After i divide and ungroup it, how should i remove the stroke and fill it with black? when i select everything and delate, the whole thing delate, i can’t get any remaining fills left..

Thanks for helping~

• http://www.mobilgen.com brktn

It’s awsome tutorial. I think also the knife straches like leather. Maybe it can be used for different covering types.

• http://andrewstuber.com Andrew

If one does this as the Knife scratches, but uses a really light blue and a white, it works well for an ice rink surface…