Illustrator Tutorial: Create Some Marble Balls

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By: Bao Nguyen

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create some marble balls in Adobe Illustrator. We’ll use some simple shapes and tools that you would normally use on a daily basis to achieve the final result. Hopefully, you will learn some handy tips along the way. Let’s get started!

Create a New document

  1. Launch Illustrator and then press (Ctrl + N) to create a New Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 1060 in the width box and 710 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Create the First Marble Ball

2. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 215 by 215px black ellipse. Still having the newly created ellipse selected, remove its stroke and fill this object with the radial gradient as shown in the second image. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create a red object like you see in the third image. Now select the ellipse created in this step and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Keep the copy selected, hold down Shift and click on the red object created in this step. Open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Intersect Make sure that the resulting object is still selected, remove its stroke and fill this object with very dark grayish green (#656762).

3. We are going to start making highlights on the marble ball to give it more of a 3D look. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create two objects like you see in the first and the second image. Keep working with the Pen Tool (P), create two blue curved paths as shown in the third image. Reselect these two curved paths, right click on the artboard and then select the Join section from the drop-down menu. Next right click on the artboard again, then select the Join Now select three objects created in this step, then open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Minus Front button. Still having the resulting group selected, remove its stroke and then fill it with very light gray (#fefefe).

4. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create three objects like you see in the first image. Once your objects are drawn, reselect the red object, remove its stroke and fill this object with the radial gradient as shown in the second image. Next select the magenta object, remove its stroke and fill this object with light grayish orange (#e5e1d7). Continue select the blue object, remove its stroke and fill this object with the radial gradient as shown in the next to last image. Finally select all objects created from beginning step 3 to this time, then set the Blending Mode to Overlay.

5. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a blue ellipse like you see in the first image. Once your ellipse is drawn, remove its stroke and fill this object with the radial gradient. With the help of the Ellipse Tool (L) and the Gradient Tool (G), create an ellipse as shown in the third and the fourth image.

6. At this point your marble ball should look like in the next image:

7. Select all objects of the first marble ball and go to the Object > Transform > Scale… Check the Uniform, enter an 84% in the Scale box and click Copy. Then move the newly created marble ball to new position. Keep this ball selected and open the Scale dialog box again. Check the Uniform, enter a 92% in the Scale box and click Copy. Then move the newly created marble ball to new position. At this point your marble balls should look like in the last image.

8. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create two curved paths like you see in the first and the second image. Once your paths are drawn, reselect the right path and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Then press (Ctrl +3) to hide this copy. Now reselect the two curved paths created in this step and go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the third image and click OK. Then go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

9. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the curved path hidden in step 8. Keep this path selected and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it, then press (Ctrl +3) to hide the copy. Then reselect the original path and replace the existing stroke color with very dark red (#6f211b). Next with the Pen Tool (P), create a vivid red curved path (#f40c1d) like you see in the second image. Now reselect the two curved paths created in this step and go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the third image and click OK. Then go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

10. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the curved path hidden in step 9. Then replace the existing stroke color of this path with light grayish yellow (#f0eee4). With the help of the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), click on the point highlighted with blue to add a new anchor point. Select this newly added anchor point and click on the “Cut path at selected anchor points” icon from the Properties This make the path becomes two paths. Select and remove the upper path. Continue with the Pen Tool (P), create a light grayish orange curved path (#e6e2d7) as shown in the third image. Keep working with the Pen Tool (P), create a dark grayish orange curved path (#a59780) like you see in the fourth image. Once your path is drawn, reselect it and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Keep this copy selected, hold down Shift and click on the upper path created in this step. Then go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the fourth image and click OK. Next go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B). Continue select the two remaining paths, make a copy of them and then press (Ctrl +3) to hide these copies. Now reselect the two original paths and open the Blend Options dialog box. Follow the data as shown in the next to last image and click OK. Then go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

11. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show two paths hidden in step 10. Select the lower path and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Still having this copy selected, change the stroke weight to 5px and replace the existing stroke color with dark grayish orange (#a59780). Then apply the Width Profile 5 and a 3px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting path. Now select the two remaining paths, right click on the artboard and then select the Join section from the drop-down menu. Next right click on the artboard again, then select the Join Still having the resulting object selected, press (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket) to bring it to front. Keep this object selected, hold down Shift and click on the path with blur effect applied in this step. Right-click on the artboard and then select the Make Clipping Mask section from the drop-down menu.

12. Now select and group (Ctrl +G) all blended objects of the first marble ball. Then hide this group behind the highlight shapes. The first marble ball is ready and looks like this:

13. Next comes the medium ball. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create two curved paths like you see in the first and the second image. Once your paths are drawn, reselect the right path and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Then press (Ctrl +3) to hide this copy. Now reselect the two curved paths created in this step and go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the third image and click OK. Then go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

14. Press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the curved path hidden in step 13, then replace the existing stroke color with strong yellow (#c9a800). Next pick the Pen Tool (P) and create a dark yellow curved path (#877400) like you see in the second image. Once your path is drawn, reselect it and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Then press (Ctrl +3) to hide this copy. Now reselect the remaining two curved paths and go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the last image and click OK. Then go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

15. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the curved path hidden in step 14. Keep this path selected and replace the existing stroke color with strong yellow (#c6cd0b). Next with the Pen Tool (P), create a dark green curved path (#7caa00) like you see in the second image. Keep this path selected and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Still having this copy selected, hold down Shift and click on the strong yellow path. Next go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the third image and click OK. Then go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B). Before you continue, select the remaining curved path and bring it to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Continue with the Pen Tool (P), create a strong green curved path (#94c510) as shown in the next to last image. Now select the two curved paths created in this step and go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the last image and click OK. Next go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

16. Select all blended objects of the medium ball and press (Ctrl +G) to group them. Next hide this group behind the highlight shapes of this ball. At this point your medium ball should look like in the next image:

17. We will continue with the smallest ball. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create two curved paths like you see in the first and the second image. Once your paths are drawn, reselect them and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of them. Then press (Ctrl +3) to hide these copies. Now reselect the two curved paths created in this step and go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the last image and click OK. Then go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

18. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show two paths hidden in step 17. Keep these paths selected and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of them. Next select the right path and press (Ctrl +3) to hide it. Reselect a left path, change the stroke weight to 5px and replace the existing stroke color with the linear gradient as shown in the first image. Then apply the Width Profile 2 and a 3px Gaussian Blur effect for the resulting path. Now select the two remaining paths, right click on the artboard and then select the Join section from the drop-down menu. Next right click on the artboard again, then select the Join Still having the resulting object selected, press (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket) to bring it to front. Keep this object selected, hold down Shift and click on the path with blur effect applied in this step. Right-click on the artboard and then select the Make Clipping Mask section from the drop-down menu.

19. Before you continue, press (Ctrl +Alt +3) to show the curved path hidden in step 18. Keep this path selected and replace the existing stroke color with dark cyan (#00a492). Next with the Pen Tool (P), create a dark cyan curved path (#007666) like you see in the second image. Keep this path selected and make a copy (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) of it. Still having this copy selected, hold down Shift and click on the left path. Next go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the third image and click OK. Then go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B). Before you continue, select the remaining curved path and bring it to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Continue with the Pen Tool (P), create a slightly cyan curved path (#9bced1) as shown in the fifth image. Next select the right path and make a copy of it. Keep the copy selected, hold down Shift and click on the left path. Then go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options… Follow the data like you see in the sixth image and click OK. Next go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B). Now select the remaining curved path, replace the existing stroke color with soft orange (#de9048) and bring it to front. Next with the help of the Pen Tool (P), create a soft yellow curved path (#ddd26b) as shown in the next to last image. Once your path is drawn, reselect the two curved paths and open the Blend Options dialog box again. Follow the data like you see in the last image and click OK. Then go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

20. Select all blended objects of the smallest ball and press (Ctrl +G) to group them. Next hide this group behind the highlight shapes of this ball. At this point your smallest ball should look like in the next image:

21. You should end up with something like this:

22. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create three magenta objects like you see in the first image. Once your objects are drawn, remove their strokes and then fill them with light grayish yellow (#fefdd1). Keep these resulting shapes are selected and go to the Effect > Stylize > Feather… Enter a 3px Radius and click OK.

23. Place the marble balls to the positions like you see in the first image. Continue with the Ellipse Tool (L), create three ellipse as shown in the second image. Once your ellipses are drawn, reselect the blue ellipse, remove its stroke and fill this object with the radial gradient as shown in the third image. Next select the red ellipse, remove its stroke and fill this object with the radial gradient like you see in the fourth image. Continue select the magenta ellipse, remove its stroke and fill this object with the radial gradient as shown in the next to last image. Finally apply a 10px Gaussian Blur effect for three newly created ellipses and then hide them behind the marble balls.

24. We’re done with the marble balls. It’s time for the background now. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) and the Gradient Tool (G), create a 1060 by 707px Next place three marble balls into the newly created background.

Here is what the completed design looks like:

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