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You can download the source vector file for this tutorial
In this tutorial we will learn how to create a Christmas Bell using the 3D modeling and a couple of other coloring techniques which will make our illustration look professional. This tutorial is especially suitable for proficient users but I’m pretty sure that our beginner designers will find a lot of useful information here. Find out more at the jump.
3D Modeling of the Christmas Bell
Take the Pen Tool (P) and create two curved paths which match inner and outer surface of the bell.
Let’s create a vertical line with the Pen Tool (P). Apply a trapezoidal profile and the Round Cap in the Stroke panel.
This object corresponds to the shape of a bell handle. Select the handle and then go to the Objec t> Expand Appearance. Take the Scissors Tool (C) and cut the form in points A and B; delete the left part of the form.
It is desirable that the points A, B and C lay on the same vertical line. You can align them with the Align panel.
Group all created object; go to the Object > 3D >Revolve… and set the parameters indicated on the figure below.
3D model of the bell is ready.
Now, based on the form of our model we will create some regular vector objects with the Pen Tool (P) and the Ellipse Tool (L).
Create a form of a clapper.
Select a bar of the clapper and go to the Object > Path > Outline Stroke.
Let’s hide a part of the bar that should not be seen. Copy the brown ellipse and paste it to the front (Command / Ctrl + C, Command / Ctrl + F)
Place the new ellipse above all the objects; then select it and all the clapper objects. Go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make or use the Command / Ctrl + 7 shortcut.
Coloring of Christmas Bell
Fill the form of the handle with the linear gradient which consists of different shades of brown. Light-brown sliders in the left part of the gradient correspond to reflection of the light from the surface where our handle is situated. Light-brown slider in the right part of the gradient corresponds to the part of the handle which is illuminated by the direct rays from the lights sources. Note: We will work in RGB color mode.
Let’s create some form of highlight on the upper part of the handle with the Pen Tool (P). Fill this form with the linear gradient which consists of two shades of brown; then apply the Screen blending mode in the Transparency panel to it.
I always adjust colors after using blending mode and hide edges ( Command/Ctrl+H) in order to reach the right effect. I use the HSB color mode in the Color panel to mix the colors.
Fill the side surface of our bell with the linear gradient which has some shades of dark-yellow color.
Create a new form with the Pen Tool (P) and fill it with the linear gradient which consists of some shades of brown.
Create an ellipse and fill it with elliptic gradient which consists of two identical yellow sliders. Set 0% opacity for the right slider in the Gradient panel.
Draw a curved segment with the Pen Tool (P); then apply the triangular profile in the Stroke panel.
Keep the path selected and go to the Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Fill the received object with the linear gradient and then apply the Screen blending mode to it.
Create a curved segment. Apply a triangular profile to it in the Stroke panel; then reduce the opacity and apply the Screen blending mode to it in the Transparency panel.
And now let’s create Art Brush with soft edges. Create two circles with the brown fill. Set 0% opacity for the lower bigger circle.
Go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… and set the number of steps in the dialog box. Now go to the Object > Blend > Make
Drag the created blend object to the Brushes panel and save a new brush as Art Brush
Select the Stretch between Guides and place our guides as it is indicated on the figure above. Create two paths and apply the created brush to them.
Let’s go on creating the light effects on the metal surface of our Christmas bell. Draw a circle with the radial gradient fill from yellow to black. Apply the Screen blending mode to it.
Create a form of a highlight. Fill this object with the linear gradient and apply the Screen blending mode to it.
Create an ellipse as it is indicated on the figure below.
Select this ellipse and the circle created in this step; then go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make.
Copy the form of the side surface of our bell and paste it to the front. Place this form above all objects.
Select this form and the objects of the side surface of the bell; then use the Command / Ctrl + 7 shortcuts to create the Clipping path.
Let’s work on the creation of the inner surface of the bell and its rim. We will create these objects with the help of a couple of ellipses filled with the radiant gradients. Let’s look at this process on the figures below.
Let’s create highlights and shades on the rim of the bell. Create a rectangle with the fill of white-and-black linear gradient and apply the Screen blending mode to it.
Now let’s create a blend object as we made it in 11th step. Please note, the lower objects have 0% opacity. You can change the form of the object after blend has been created. This will help you to achieve the desired effect.
Now we need to hide protruded parts of our highlight’s shadow. Do it as earlier, with the Clipping Mask.
I hope you understood the main work approach. I will show you the creation process of other shadows and highlights.
Let’s work on the bell’s clapper. Fill a spherical shape with radial gradient.
Create two circles with yellow outline and apply the Screen blending mode to it.
Copy the form of a spherical object and paste it to the front. Fill the copy with radial gradient from white to brown; then apply Multiply blending mode to it.
Limit the objects of spherical surface with the Clipping Mask.
Fill the form of the bar with the linear gradient.
Create some highlights on the bar with the help of ellipse which is filled with elliptical radial gradient; apply the Screen blending mode to it.
We create some bright highlight on the spherical surface with the help of a circle filled with black-and-white radial gradient; apply the Color Dodge blending mode.
With blend objects let’s create some drop shadow from the clapper of the bell.
If you need to darken some part of the illustration or our shadow has a simple form, then you can use ellipses with black-and-white radial gradient to which Multiply blending mode should be applied.
In order to achieve the desired shade of color you can use one color slider in radial gradient, but the second should be necessarily white.
Let’s create one more bright highlight on the rim of the bell.
Let’s work on creation of the bow on the handle of the Christmas bell. The creation process of its elements is shown on the figures below. We will use the Pen Tool (P) for this work.
Sometimes it is very complicated to reproduce the complex lighting of some objects. In our case, we will need to create some additional objects. Exactly this way I’ve created some shadow on the ribbon. Create some blend object which consists of two grey ellipses; then apply the Multiply Blending Mode to it.
Now let’s restrict the visibility of this object with the Clipping Mask along the ribbon’s form.
Our bow will reflect on the metal surface of the bell. Let’s create this reflection.
To lighten the part of the reflection we create a circle filled with the radiant gradient from dark-red to black and we will apply the Screen blending mode to it.
You have probably noticed some pattern in the usage of the blending mode, haven’t you? In fact, such pattern really exists. The Screen blending mode is used for lightening of parts of objects and for highlight creation. Color Dodge Blending Mode is used for creation of very bright highlights. And Multiply Blending Mode is used for darkening of parts of objects and creation of shadows.
We just have to create some drop shadow from our bell. It consists of a couple of blend objects.
You can use the Pencil Tool (N) in order to change the forms of blend-objects. You can learn more about this technique in our other tutorial "How to Create a Vector Paper Butterfly and Apply Text Effect to It in Illustrator”.
I understand that this is technically difficult tutorial, so do not hesitate to ask me any questions in the commentaries or on my Illustrator Forum. Happy holidays!
You can download the source vector file for this tutorial