Today you will learn how to create a vector cacti in a flat style with the help of the Dynamic Shapes tool which is part of VectorScribe. This tool allows you to quickly create shadows on objects and modify ready-made elements. The combination of Dynamic Shapes and native Illustrator effects makes it possible to transform one kind of cactus into another, by managing only the parameters in the dialog windows and the Dynamic Shapes panel.
Note: Please be aware that some preferences were changed. For example, the default value for the angle (for slicing) in Dynamic Shapes tool is “degrees”, not “percentages”.
The below screenshot shows how to change the preferences.
We will create cacti using the Dynamic Shapes of VectorScribe. Using this tool enables us to quickly rebuild the shapes in the future, obtaining new plant species. Take the Dynamic Shapes Tool, then select Dynamic Ellipse in the Dynamic Shapes and draw a green ellipse (R = 142, G = 175, B = 6) with the parameters shown in the picture below.
Duplicate the ellipse (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + F) and recolor the new object into a dark green color (R = 98, G = 143, B = 0). Set 50% (or 180 degree depending on your preferences) at the end of the sliced shape in the panel. Thus, we get a shadow specific to a flat style.
Add a stroke to the bottom object of the same color as the fill. The parameters for this stroke are shown in the picture below.
Now add a stroke with the same parameters to the upper object. The fill and stroke colors of the upper object also match.
Group both shapes, select the group and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform…, then set the parameters shown below.
Go to Effect > Warp > Arc… and set the parameters shown in the picture below.
Now let's start creating a flower on the cactus. Using the Dynamic Shapes Tool, create a pink ellipse (R = 255, G = 135, B = 135).
Open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and create two new fills for this shape. Apply a light pink color (R = 255, G = 168, B = 168) to the upper fill and a light red color (R = 255, G = 107, B = 107) to the lower fill.
Select the upper fill in the Appearance panel, then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform…, set 32 degrees angle relatively to the lower reference point.
Select the lower fill in the Appearance panel, then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform…, set -32 degrees angle relatively to the lower Reference point.
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