Lighting Effects Illustrator Tutorial

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Adobe Illustrator has nearly as many effects and filters for its use as Adobe Photoshop does, but for artists coming from Photoshop, these effects are in different places, and finding them can be a little bit tricky. Both programs are converging in their functionality, but they aren't alike yet. One example of this is how lighting effects are handled in Adobe Illustrator.

Using Artistic Effects

  • Click on the Rectangle tool on the floating toolbar, and draw a square by holding down the "Shift" key while dragging the mouse.

  • Click on the Color Picker tool at the bottom of the floating toolbar and make the fill color dark.

  • Click on the "Effects" menu at the top of the window, and click "Artistic," "Neon Glow." Several effects change how an object is lit in Illustrator; Neon Glow happens to be one whose effects are easiest to spot.

  • Adjust the sliders for glow brightness to 30 and glow size to -12. You'll see that there's a glow around the inside edge of your square. You can change the color of the glow to match the color of the light source you want to simulate. You also see a palette with several artistic effects listed and their impact on a sample object, with Neon Glow selected. Click on other effects to see how each one changes your square. A few other techniques, including inner and outer glow, are in this part of the program and can be experimented with.

Using 3-D Effects

  • Click the Ellipse option from the Rectangle tool, hold down the "Shift" key and create a circle. Change the color to something neutral --- a medium blue or gray is ideal.

  • Click on the Direct Selection tool, and select the right-most edge of the circle you created, then press the "Delete" key. You have a semicircle with the curve on the left side.

  • Click on the "Effects" menu and select "3D, "Revolve." A 3D Revolve Options dialog box comes up. Click on the "More Options" button to reveal the lighting controls.

  • Click on the "Preview" check box, and experiment with the settings. You can adjust the perspective with the slider, and you can change where the lighting is coming from, how much ambient light there is and the intensity. With the other controls you can rotate the object on different axes.

  • Click on "OK" when you are happy with the object.

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