Final Image Preview
Today we will review the technique of creating a simple cubic abstract composition that can be used by you as infographics element or in web design, for example.
Let's start creating our abstract composition with the creation of a background. Draw a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M), then fill it with a radial gradient from white to gray, as it is shown in the picture below.
Now create a square with a fill of light gray color, then go to Object > Transform > Rotate ... and set an angle of 45 degrees in the dialog box. Or simply turn the bounding box, holding down the Shift button.
Duplicate the rotated square, holding Option / Alt key while moving the object. Resize the new shape with the Selection Tool (V) and recolor it with orange color, as an example.
Using this technique, create a composition similar to the one shown in the picture below.
With the help of the horizontal guide determine the horizon line. Vertical guide will determine the position of the vanishing point.
Some of the sides of the shape will be visible to the viewer. To create them, connect the vertices of the squares with the vanishing point using the Pen Tool (P).
Move the created object below all the squares and change the fill to a darker shade of the basic color. This can be conveniently done in the Color panel, using the HSB color mode.
Create the rest of the visible sides of our shapes using the same technique.
Create the illusion of crossing objects. To do this, select the top of one of the squares using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move them up, holding down the Shift key, as it is shown in the picture below. The new position of the vertices must be on the lateral side of the adjacent object.
Repeat this process in the several areas of the composition; it will add additional volume to it.
Now let's create drop shadows. Copy one of the rectangles, such as a red one, and paste it in front. Fill the new object with a linear gradient from white to gray color. Rotate the gradient at the angle of 45 degrees in the Gradient panel.
Apply the Multiply blending mode to the object in the Transparency panel. As you can see, the white color has become transparent.
You may answer me back: "Why should we complicate the solution of the problem? You could have simply replaced the solid red color with the gradient fill of red shades.” Yes, it works the same well. But the offered method is more flexible. For example, you can quickly replace the colors of chiaroscuro by recoloring only the lower object. That means that you do not need to control the colors of a linear gradient.
In addition, using this method, you can create a complex chiaroscuro. To learn how to do it, you will see in the next step.
Create a shadow on one of the rectangles using the above mentioned method.
Copy the semi-transparent object that passes a shadow, and paste it in front. Now change the direction of a linear gradient. As you can see, the rectangle considered now has a shadow on two sides.
Of course, to achieve the desired effect, you can control the position of the sliders of the linear gradient and the intensity of a gray color. Apply the described technique to create chiaroscuro elsewhere in the abstract composition.
Drop Shadow can have clearly defined margins. Create the shape of a shadow using the Pen Tool (P). Now, as it was before, fill this object with gray-white linear gradient and apply the Multiply blending mode.
On the opposite side, a drop shadow may have blurred edges. Create a circle filled with a radial gradient from gray to white, and then apply the Multiply blending mode to it.
Deform the circle with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (V). At the same time the radial gradient will be transformed into an elliptical.
At that our tutorial is over. Created abstract composition can be used as infographics element or web design element.