Today you’ll find out how to create vector smoke with the help of gradient meshes, Transparency panel and Warp Tool. This is a very simple technique that every beginner can master, but you will still need to work hard to get a good result. Let’s get started!
Tutorial Details: Vector Smoke
- Program: Adobe Illustrator CS5
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Topics Covered: Warp Tool, Gradient Mesh, Transparency panel
- Estimated Completion Time: 30 minutes
Final Image: Vector Smoke
Step 1: Vector Smoke
To begin this vector smoke tutorial open your Adobe Illustrator and create a new document (Cmd / Ctrl + N). Your artboard can be of any size. We will work in the RGB color mode.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a dark-blue rectangle. It will serve us as our background. As a matter of fact, background can be of any color. And now create a rectangle with a black fill (R=0, G=0, B=0).
Take the Gradient Mesh Tool (U) and click on a black rectangle a couple of times herewith creating gradient mesh.
Re-color a couple of inside mesh points into different shades of grey.
Take the Warp Tool (Shift + R) and then click on Enter key in order to open the Warp Tool Options dialog box. Increase the size of the brush.
Deform the gradient mesh as it is indicated on the figure below.
Apply the Screen blending mode to the gradient mesh in the Transparency panel.
As you can see, black mesh points became transparent.
And now you can continue deforming the gradient mesh in order to get better result.
If necessary, mesh points can be re-colored into another shade of grey which will cause the local change of transparency.
Create some more gradient meshes in different shapes by using the described technique. When we put these half-transparent objects over one another we receive vector smoke.
Perhaps, after combining all gradient meshes you’ll need to work some more on your form and color of smoke. The last stage is definitely the most difficult but always try to get the best out of it – at least try to do better than me.
And there you go! Your very own smoke you can use in any kind of project.
Author: Iaroslav Lazunov
My name is Iaroslav Lazunov, I am a graphic designer from Ukraine. I am glad that I finally found a job in my life that I can share my knowledge and experiments with you in my tutorials. Follow me on Twitter or visit my blog Vectorboom.com