How to Make a Soccer Ball in Illustrator


You can make a soccer ball in Adobe Illustrator by using an option of the program's 3D Revolve command to wrap a soccer ball's characteristics pattern around a sphere object. To enhance the realism and appeal of your soccer ball image, simulate lighting on it by coloring it with a smooth blend of shades of gray. Use Illustrator's Gradient panel and the related Gradient fill tool for this effect. Also, add to your composition by using Illustrator's Paintbrush or Pen tools to paint a goal net, turf and other items often seen with soccer balls.

  • Click the tool palette icon shaped like a hexagon to run the tool for drawing polygons. This tool enables you to quickly produce the soccer ball's familiar geometric pattern.

  • Click the canvas to open a dialog box prompting you for the number of sides for the polygon. Type "5" in the Sides text box of the dialog box that appears to indicate a pentagon, which Illustrator will place on the canvas. This shape will form the black portions of the soccer ball. Use the instruction just given to create a hexagon, a six-sided polygon. However, type a "6" in the Sides text box instead of "5" to create the hexagon. You'll use this shape to form the white portions of the ball.

  • Click the pentagon to select it, then click the black swatch from the leftmost drop-down box atop the canvas. This action colors the pentagon black.

  • Drag the hexagon so one of its sides overlaps one of the pentagon's sides. Create five more hexagons using step 2's instructions, then use the dragging instruction just given to connect each hexagon to a side of the pentagon. This step forms the soccer ball's characteristic pattern.

  • Drag a selection region around all shapes to select them, then press "Control" and "G" simultaneously to group the shapes.

  • Drag the group you just created onto the "Symbols" panel to begin creation of a new symbol, which is needed to map the pentagon graphic to the sphere you'll make next. Type "soccer" for the symbol's name when prompted, then click "OK" to complete the symbol.

  • Click the tool palette icon shaped like a nib pen to run the "Pen" tool, then click and drag on the canvas to create a series of connected segments that form the right half of a circle.

  • Click the "Effects" menu, then click the "Revolve" command to open a dialog box whose controls enable you to spin the half-circle you made into a sphere, and map your soccer graphic to that sphere.

  • Click the "Map art" button, then click the "soccer" item in the "Symbol" dropdown control to load the soccer graphic you made in step 4. Click "OK" to map the graphic to the sphere and complete the soccer ball.

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