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In this tutorial, we'll look at how to create a semi-realistic object with gradients and layer blends. Also, we'll learn more about the Blend Tool and how to create glass-like material with gradients and layers.
Final Image Preview
To begin with let's have a look at the image we'll be creating.
Open up a new document and draw a shape with the Pen Tool (T), just like you see in the image below.
Select the shape and choose the Rotate Tool (R), click on the upper-left path point, and rotate the object counter-clockwise. How much you rotate it is up to you.
Select the rotated shape and fill it with a linear gradient. I set up a gradient with light gray colors. Select the Gradient Tool (G) and drag the gradient in your object from the left-bottom to the upper-right corner of the object.
With the object still selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow and apply the settings you see in the images below.
Make a copy of the shape on top (Command + C + F) and select the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top middle point and pull it downwards.
Then apply a linear gradient with light gray/white colors to it. I chose a gray (K=20%) on the left and white on the right. I added two more colors by clicking on the gradient bar. This will add extra color sliders. Then set the Transparency Layer Mode to Color Burn with an Opacity of 40%.
Let's create the wine next. Draw a shape with the Pen Tool (T), as you see in the image below. Fill the shape with a radial red/black gradient. Select the Gradient Tool (G) and drag the gradient from the bottom-right to the top-left. This will give us our first wine like shape.
Make a copy of the wine shape on top (Command + C + F). Then alter the path with the Direct Selection Tool (A) by selecting the top middle point and dragging it downwards.
Select the outer point on the left and pull the handle downwards.
Do the same on the other side by selecting the outer point on the right and pull the handle downwards.
Fill the second shape with a radial black/red gradient. Drag the gradient from bottom-left to top-right.
Make a copy of the shape on top again (Command + C + F) and set the Transparency Layer Option to 100% Overlay. Move it slightly upwards. That will create an illusion that the wine is in a glass.
Now we'll add some reflection to the glass shape. Make a copy of the second glass shape we created in Step 5. Select the middle-top point with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and drag it almost to the bottom of the shape. Select the right-side handle and drag it a bit to the right.
In the Appearance Palette, Delete the Outer Glow and the Stroke, but leave the gradient fill as it is. Place the just created shape on top of all the other shapes and set the Layer Mode in the Transparency Palette to Overlay with an Opacity of 40%.
Let's create the glass stem. Draw a shape like you see in the image below and fill it with a golden linear gradient. Below you can see which colors I chose. Select the shape and set the Transparency Layer Mode to Multiply at 100%
To give the glass stem a little bit more depth and interest, create a copy of it on top (Command + C + F). Then fill it with a gray linear gradient. Move it slightly to the left-top and set the Transparency Layer Mode to Color Burn at 100%. If you want, you can make it just a little bit bigger so the edges stick out of the original golden stem.
Create a small shape for the top part of the stem. Place it on top and fill it with a gray linear gradient. Set the Transparency Layer Mode to Color Burn at 100%.
Create a small shape for the bottom part of the stem and also fill it with a golden/white linear gradient. Set the Layer Blending Mode to Darken at 100%.
Let's add the stand of the glass. Create an ellipse shape and fill it with a light gray color.
Create a copy of it on top (Command + C + F) and fill it with a gray/white/gray linear gradient. Move the shape slightly to the top-right to offset it a bit. This will create a sense of thickness.
To give the glass stand a more realistic look, we'll create a circular blend. We'll need seven elliptical shapes that are identical to each other, but smaller in size. Fill them with the colors indicated in the images. Layer them on top of each other - almost centered.
Now go to Object > Blend > Blend Options, choose Specified Steps of 50, and click OK. Select all the elliptical shapes and press Command + Alt + B. This will blend them together. Move the blended shape on top of the other ellipses and set the Transparency to 49%.
Create a small shape to hide the stand part on the bottom, so the stem will be visible. Make sure the layer is on top of the "stand layers," but behind the "stem layers."
Let's create a highlight for the glass. Draw a similar shape with he Pen Tool (T) and fill it with white. Set the Blend Mode in the Transparency Palette to Soft Light at 100%. Place the highlight on top of all the layers.
Now we'll create a soft shadow for the stand. Draw an ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L), like we did for the stand. Then rotate it clockwise and place it below the "stand layers." Fill it with a gray/white radial gradient and set the Opacity to 34%.
With the ellipse selected, got to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 29px.
With the shadow shape still selected, create an Opacity Mask (Transparency Palette > Make Opacity Mask), and fade the right side of the shadow shape. Just in case you forgot how the Opacity Mask works, you can hide and unhide the shape by putting a black/white linear gradient shape over it. Black hides the shape and white makes it visible.
There you have a nice wine glass with a golden stem and some good tasting red wine (It looks like a red Zinfandel to me).
To finish the illustration, I created a small wine glass ring with three red pearls. As always, you can create anything you can think of. Have fun with it!