Transparent Glass Ball
Learn how to create a transparent glass ball element and save it as a symbol to reuse in other graphics.
- Using the Ellipse Tool (l) create a circle and apply add a radial gradient going from white to gray. Since our light source is coming from the top left, shift the gradient center up and to the left. From the Appearance panel change the Fill blending mode to Soft Light.
- To make the ball look a little more realistic we need more light. From the Appearance Panel add a new Fill and give it a soft white gradient and place it in the upper left. Change the blending mode to Screen and choose a desired opacity.
- Repeat the previous step with a smaller light source and place it slightly above the previous.
- To enhance the shadows a little add a radial gradient going from transparent to light blue. Set the Fill blending mode to Overlay and choose a desired opacity. Lock layer.
You should have something that looks like this. Rename layer to Ball.
- To test the transparency draw a rectangle and place it behind the ball.
- This is great, but it still doesn’t look real. It needs more reflective light and shadows. To do that we need to create crescents of variable sizes and add gradients to them. Where there should be light add a light gradient and where there should be shadows add a dark gradient. Play around with the transparency and opacity, use your judgment and pile the layers up.
- Copy the Ball layer and paste it in front of all the layers (ctrl + c + f). Select all layers / right click / Make Clipping Mask. Rename group Light/Shadow.
Transparent Glass Ball Tutorial in Illustrator
There are some elements that are reusable over and over again in many designs, like a Transparent Glass Ball, so it’s best to build a custom Symbol library that gives you quick access to all your elements. Select the elements from your art board, drag them into the Symbols Panel, rename and press ok. Leave all other setting as is. To create your own library, go the Symbols Panel fly out menu, Save Symbol Library, give it a name (Elements in my case) and save. To access the symbol again in other graphics, go to Symbol Libraries Menu / User Defined / Elements. You can also access it from the Symbol Panel fly out menu, Open Symbol Library / User Defined / Elements.
Now you are ready to use the Transparent Glass Ball in other graphics.
I went ahead and took this graphic a little further by transforming it into a Santa Claus Christmas Ball.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.