A few weeks back we made a Whirly Pop in Illustrator. Thanks to the never-ending heat, summer imagery is rarely far from my mind. While that tutorial was born from fantasies about midways and carnival rides, this week’s tutorial is born of beach memories.
In this quickie but goody we’ll explore some shortcuts and incredibly useful tools in Illustrator.
Create a Beach Ball in Adobe Illustrator
In a new document, any size you like, or a new layer in a document you’re already working on, because this is just an element, open up your Rectangle Tool and click anywhere on the screen. In the popup create a rectangle with dimensions of 90 px wide and 200 px high.
Fill it with a fun, beach ball-y color. Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F to copy and paste in front. With the duplicate selected, and using the X-coordinates transform option at the top (circled, image 2 below), add 90 pixels to your x-coordinate. You do this by simply clicking past the number (100 in this case) and typing “+90”, then hit enter. Illustrator will do the math for you.
While this may seem silly in a case like this, where you can obviously add 90 pixels to 100 pixels instantly in your head, these shortcuts can be used throughout Illustrator and become invaluable when you have a lot of math to do.
Change the fill on the duplicate to a color just darker than white. Grab both the shapes with your Direct Selection Tool (keyboard shortcut V) by holding Shift after clicking one and then clicking the second. Back in your X-coordinate, this time add 180 pixels. You should see something akin to the third image below. Paste in front (Ctrl + F) again and once more adjust your x-coordinate with your two new rectangles selected, this time by adding 360 pixels. Grab rectangles 3 and 5 and change their colors (or keep them as they are if you would like a ball with just two colors, whatever your preference is!) (image 4 below).
Using your rectangle tool again, click inside your artboard. In the popup you’ll see the dimensions of your previous rectangles. We are going to make a rectangle to border the top and bottom of our rectangles, so we will make it match the entire width of all of our rectangles put together. To do this simply add *6 after the number in the Width field (90 here) (image 2 below). Again, while this math is easy for us, the technique is very useful. Since the height will need to be increased only slightly we will put +40 after the number there (image 3 below). Now you should have a big grey rectangle like I have in Image 4 below. If it doesn’t cover your colorful rectangles, don’t worry.
Whether your colorful shapes are covered or not go to Object> Arrange> Send to Back (or right click> Arrange> Send to Back) (image 1 below). If they’re aligned, they’ll look like the second image below. If it looks more like image 3, we’ll align them real quick. With your Direct Selection Tool, select the leftmost colorful shape and your new big shape. In the top bar (image 4 below) use your alignment dropdown and choose ‘Key Object’. If your colored shape isn’t selected, click it. It should now be your key shape. Now click ‘Horizontal Align Left’ (image 5 below) and ‘Vertical Align Center’ (four options to the right). Your results should look like image 6 below.
With all of your shapes now aligned, select them all and make sure your Symbols window is open (Windows> Symbols or Ctrl + Shift + F11). Simply drag and drop all of those shapes into the empty area under the predefine symbols. Give it an easy name (Beach Ball, anyone?) and click OK. The default options should be fine (image 3 below).
Now create a circle using the Ellipse tool (hold shift while dragging to get constrained proportions, ie, a circle!). It doesn’t matter what color, it doesn’t matter what size. Seriously. It doesn’t. : ) Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) grab and delete the leftmost point on your ellipse. You’ll have a half circle. In your Appearance Window (Window> Appearance if it isn’t open) go to the bottom and choose FX> 3D> Revolve.
The 3d revolve effect will turn your half circle into a sphere. Make sure your revolve is coming from ‘Left Edge’. That should be default, but JIC. Click the ‘Map Art’ button. In Illustrator CC it’s on the bottom of the Revolve screen. In the Map Art screen choose your Beach Ball symbol from the drop down (image 2 below). Make sure preview is checked and you’ll see how it maps your symbol to your sphere. Not perfect, but promising (image 3 below)! Now click the ‘Scale to Fit’ button and tick ‘Shade Artwork’ (image 4 below). Click OK. Back in the 3d Revolve window toggle the angle of your beach ball by dragging around the cube.
And you have your beach ball! If you need to adjust the angle, revisit your appearance panel, click the ‘3d revolve’ effect as applied to reopen the options window and adjust it in there.
Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone : )