Pause, it's time for a bit of Illustrator

posted on 6th of july, 2009

Raster images are made up tiny solid color areas called pixels. Every pixel contains information about color and placement.The number of pixels determines the resolution of the image. A bitmap image of 600 pixels enlarged by 500% will have the same number of pixels but each pixel will cover a larger area and this results in a pixelated image. Unlike raster images, vector files are generated by programs (Ai, Corel) which combine mathematical functions and coordinates that allow them to be stored in less space than bitmap images.The most important characteristic of vector files is that images can be scaled at any size without any loss in detail and the vector object will appears smooth even at 500% or 5000%.

Having said this, here it is a small tutorial about creating vector shape.

1.Select the pen tool (P) and create an arc or use the Arc Tool

2.Duplicate the arc: (Ctrl + C, Ctrl +V or press Alt key and drag-and-drop)

3.Modify the angle of the second arc so that the two end points can overlap.

1.Go to the Direct selection tool (A), select the two end points, right click and join the two points

2.Make the same thing with the other two end points (direct selection tool – select the two points – right click– join)

1.Go to the Ellipse tool ( L) and create a circle. (for a perfect circle press and hold the Shift key)

2.Select the two objects , then go to pathfider* - shape modes - and press add shape button. After that expand it.

* window - pathfinder or Shift+Ctrl + F9

3.Your image should look like image 3.

1.Select the Spiral Tool

2.Click on an empty space and modify the radius and number of segments (decrease the number from 10 to 6).

3.You will have a spiral with 6 segements

4.Apply a brush from artistic ink : Tapered Sharp

1.Create 2 circles.

2.Select the two circles and go to the Blend Tool (W) and click on the small ellipse and after that on the big ellipse. To modify the spacing between the circles , click on the Blend Mode and increase the Specified Distance to 10 px.You can also modify the orientation.

3.Select the two shapes and go to Object - Blend - Replace spine .

4.The result should look like image 4

1.Create an arc with the pen tool or with Arc Tool and duplicate it ( Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V), and join the two end points

2.Press the Shift key and left click on the end points

3.Join the two end points

1 Create circles with different sizes ( Ellipse Tool - L)

2. Create rectangles with rounded corner ( Rouded Rectangle Tool)

3. Mix the shapes as you wish

Mix all the created shapes at different sizes, add shadows, use mesh tool, gradient, brushes, mix the colors. The result depends only on your imagination.

Good luck!

Comments (9)

Comment by Lenutaidi on September 22, 2012

Very interesting information and very useful for those working in vectors and illustrations!

Comment by Joezachs on May 06, 2010

Just discovered this.
Just one question. Can this be done in Photoshop too ?

Comment by Kaththea on October 17, 2009

I've just found your article. Thanks a lot! It's very useful.

Comment by Andreeadobrescu on August 25, 2009


For this kind of shapes you don't need a graphic tablet, you can use the mouse.I have also a graphic tablet but i don't really use it
I think graphic tablet is for those who draw with their free hand :)

Comment by Raimondiphotography on July 14, 2009

I got a Wacom Bamboo tablet (small ones are a little over 100$ - big ones up to 2k), but it's the COOLEST! I still draw alot with my mouse though, both are great tools

Comment by Kbkgraphx on July 13, 2009

Illustrator rocks!!! It's probably Adobe's best program when you get into its amazing vector capabilities and ability to pull things out of PDF files. And the very fact you can tell a client that their vector logo can be blown up to ANY size with no loss of quality sells itself.

Comment by Littlemacproductions on July 08, 2009

I find creating shapes and such to be a very difficult creative process. Mine always appear 'gunked up' or just to busy. To make a vector and know when to stop is hard work! You do a nice job and I think I will give it another shot. Thanks for the tut!

Comment by Hlehnerer on July 06, 2009

Have to try this more often. Thank you for the inspiration!

Comment by Noonie on July 06, 2009

...something else to try----Thanks a lot!!!! I've been saying I'd give it a go when I got down to just a few photos to edit. Guess the first step is a tablet :-0 more $$$$$. ( how cheap can you go on those and still get a decent one?)

Comments (9)

This article has been read 3702 times. 10 readers have found this article useful.

About me

Three years ago, I started editing photographs for others, until I bought myself a Nikon f801, I love making and editing photographs, and I spend quite some time using the Adobe suite to achieve some great final results. I finished some editing and graphic design courses, which helped me a lot to understand and apply retouching techniques. I'm one of the admins on Dreamstime since 2007

Bucharest, RO

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