After reading our today's tutorial you'll learn how to create quickly a realistic vector image. Have fun learning our new Adobe illustrator tutorial!
I will use the photos of a laurel leaf and an orange from Shutterstock as my reference images.
In case of ready images usage, you should choose some isolated images. Surely, you can create similar images on your own. You'll need an inexpensive digital camera and a light box. If you want to create a light box yourself, check out this video tutorial.
Most likely, the objects on the picture will have some shadows. You'll need to delete them in Photoshop. The following video demonstrates one of the ways of this process.
And now place the image into Inkscape. I prefer particularly this free vector editor for image tracing. In my tutorial "How to Make High Quality Vector Texture" you will find detailed instruction in tracing, and you'll learn about the benefits of Inkscape.
Every element of the future composition should be traced in separate documents. After the tracing is done, we'll get the vector in excellent quality.
Save the files in SVG format.
Let's continue our work in Adobe Illustrator. Start the application and open the vector images with our orange and laurel leaf in it. Now delete the background in both files.
Proceed to optimize the sizes of the vector images, i.e. to reduction of points. To delete overlapped points use the script Marge Overlapped Anchors, which you can download here. Select all the objects of the laurel leaf, then go to the Object > Path > Simplify…. Then select settings in such way, that the number of points was significantly reduced without making the quality of image much worse.
You need to make the same actions with the second file.
Copy the vector orange and paste it into the file with the laurel leaf. And now we can create a simple composition from the existing objects.
Let's begin creating the shadows. Copy the whole vector leaf and paste it to the front (Cmd / Ctrl + C; Cmd / Ctrl + F). Keep the upper leaf selected and click on the Unite button in the Pathfinder panel.
Go to the Object > Compound Path > Release and click on the Unite button in the Pathfinder panel once again.
Temporary turn off the visibility of the created leaf form in the Layers panel. Create a rectangle with the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) and rotate it at some angle. Apply the linear gradient and the Multiply Blending Mode to the rectangle. The colors of our gradient should be controlled after blending mode application. Our task is to create some shadow on the lower part of the leaf. Move the rectangle in the Layers panel so that it is located between the orange and the leaf.
Create a circle with the help of the Ellipse Tool (L). Fill the circle with black-and-white radial gradient and apply the Multiply blending mode in the Transparency panel. This circle created some shadow from the orange on the leaf.
Turn the visibility of the leaf form back on, and place it so that it is located above the rectangle and the circle, but not lower than the orange.
Select the leaf form, the circle, and the rectangle; then click on the Cmd / Ctrl + 7 shortcuts creating the Clipping Mask.
Create two ellipses with the Ellipse Tool (L). The big ellipse is located below the smaller and has 0% opacity. Select both ellipses, and then click on the Cmd / Ctrl + Opt / Alt + B shortcuts creating the blend object. Click twice on the Blend Tool icon (W) in the Tool panel and set the necessary number of steps in the dialog box.
And now you can work on the colors of both ellipses to reach the desired color and saturation of shadow.
So, you must perform the following steps to create some realistic vector image.
Create isolated pictures of the objects, of which our composition will consist. It's better when you create them yourself, because when downloading this vector file to the microstock websites, you'll also need to download the Property Release.
Tracing of raster images in Inkscape.
Optimization of vector images in Adobe Illustrator.
Creation composition and shadows in Adobe Illustrator.