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How to quickly create an abstract 3D paper background

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Illustrator Tips / Small Tutorials/ Comments: 6
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How to quickly create an abstract 3D paper background

You can download the source vector file for this tutorial

In this tutorial we will find out how to create an abstract 3D paper background. It is pretty popular topic today, to make sure it's true, take a look at top sales of any microstock websites. In order to create this type of backgrounds, one needs a minimum of technical skills and doesn't necessarily need to know how to draw. So let's get started!

Step 1

Create a background for our composition. With the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle, which we fill with a linear gradient from white to grey.

Take the Gradient Tool (G) and change gradient's direction as it is indicated on the figure below.

Step 2

Now let's add some blue to grey. Click on a grey slider in the Gradient panel and in opened Color panel choose the HSB color mode, set the Hue shade, then move the Saturation slider a little bit to the right from zero point.

Step 3

And now let's create the main object of our composition. In fact, there can be any object, and to my point of view, the simpler the form is, the better it is. I decided to create a plain snowflake. I'll use the MirrorMe plug-in for its creation; however, you can draw it using standard methods. I used plug-in because it fasten the creation process of such forms by much. I created three straight segments with the Pen Tool (P) as it is indicated on the figure below.

And now go to the Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

Take the MirrorMe Tool and set the number of symmetry axes, which is six; click in the point A. Click on Apply the Selection in the Annotation system.

Keep the received objects selected, click on Unite in the Pathfinder panel.

Our snowflake is ready! My dear readers, if you don't know how to create such forms by using the standard methods and/or you're interested in learning to work in MirrorMe plug-in, leave your remarks and wishes in comments to this tutorial. I'll be happy to share my knowledge. And for now, I inform you of new technologies, which allow us to work more flexible and safe our time.

Step 4

Fill the snowflake's form with a radial gradient from light-grey to grey-blue.

In fact, gradient's colors should and must be edited after creation of highlights and shadows from the snowflake. It's simply impossible to choose the right color on this stage. Copy the snowflake's form and paste it back twice (Cmd/Ctrl + C; Cmd/Ctrl + B 2 times).

Recolor the upper copy into grey, and the lower into white. It is convenient to select the snowflake's copies in the Layers panel.

Step 5

Select the grey and white snowflakes, then use the keyboard shortcuts Cmd/Ctrl + B + Opt/Alt for blend object creation.

Click twice on the Blend Tool (W) icon in the Tool panel to open the Blend Options dialog box. Set the amount of specified steps.

Step 6

Keep the blend object selected, set the Multiply blending mode in the Transparency panel.

Select the white snowflake in the Layers panel, then set 0% Opacity in the Transparency panel.

Step 7

Shift the white snowflake a couple of pixels down and to the left by using the arrow keys.

Actions, described in these steps, allowed us to create drop shadow from a snowflake. This is a pretty rough, but fast method to create a shadow with the help of a blend object. Such shadow of course has certain artifacts, but nevertheless, it is not a reason for an inspector to reject your file.

I created a couple of similar backgrounds, and uploaded them to 5 micro stocks successfully. Those of you who want to create a more perfect shade, I recommend reading my article "How to Avoid Problems while Creating Blend Objects”.

Step 8

Copy snowflake's form, which is filled with a radial gradient, and paste the copy to the back. Fill the new object with white, then shift it a couple of pixels up and to the right. In such a way, we've created some highlights on the edges of our snowflake.

And now, when all snowflake's objects are ready, let's take a critical look at its colors. If necessary, adjust the colors of radial gradient in the upper snowflake and grey snowflake included to the blend object, which determines color and intensity of the shadow.

After our adjustments, group all the snowflake's elements (Cmd/Ctrl + G).

Step 9

Now we need to duplicate, re-size the copies, and place new snowflakes within our artboard to create our simple composition.

For those, for whom the word composition doesn't mean much, I say no worries, I'm planning to write an article about the basics of composition, where I'll try my best to explain comprehensible this subject, which, by the way, is very handy for every designer.

On this note, our today's tutorial is over. Having mastered this technique, go ahead and create a lot of similar backgrounds. I wish you all successful sales!

You can download the source vector file for this tutorial

Why do you, Iaroslav, draw winter backgrounds, when fall has just begun? It is time, my friends, to draw winter themes. Any experienced stoker will tell you the same.

Total comments: 2
1 bijutoha   (2014 Feb 12 04:31)
That means you used to make Drop Shadow by using blending option? Actually you didn't show any Effect after using Blend Tool in step 5.

2 jaroslav   (2014 Feb 15 00:34)
You are right. You can see effect only in the step 7, but you should do step 5 and 6. Just trust me LOL!

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