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Illustration

Create an Illustration of a Pearl-Filled Clam on an Ocean Bed

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Plunge with me on a vector ocean dive. In this tutorial, we'll create a shell with pearls in a unique ocean scene. We'll be using various effects, such as: mesh, blend, warp, clipping mask, opacity mask, depth of sharpness, editing of swatches, and pathfinder box. Have fun diving in and then surfacing!

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS3
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Estimated Completion Time: 60 - 90 minutes

Step 1

Let's start with the pearl creation. Open up a new document and select the Ellipse Tool (L), then use it to create an ellipse. Set the fill color to C=2, M=7, Y=24, and K=0, without a stroke.

Step 2

Select the ellipse you made and take Mesh Tool from the panel of tools. Put in the ellipse and center the first point.

Step 3

Now we deform a mesh line by using the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Step 4

Add mesh lines using the Mesh Tool (U).

Step 5

Let's start to paint the pearl. Select points by using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and change the colors. Feel free to get creative and experiment here. Rename the layer to "pearles1."

Step 6

Now we will create the shell. We'll begin with the creation of the structure of our shell. We'll use 9 colors. I used the CMYK color mode.

Step 7

Over the "pearles1" layer create a "shell" layer. Select the Rectangle Tool (M), then use it to create rectangles, and fill them with sample shell colors. Experiment here. Note: Rectangles should not be crossed.

Step 8

Now we group all rectangles. Create above one rectangle of the same size as the group. Now align a rectangle horizontal and vertical by using the Align box. We then fill the rectangle with a linear gradient.

Step 9

Select the rectangle you made and change the Blending mode to Darken and Opacity to 50% in the Transparency palette.

Step 10

Select and group all the rectangles and go to Object > Transform > Move... Position it 12 px (width of group of rectangles) Horizontal and press Copy. Now press Ctrl + D forty times.

Step 11

Select all the textures and apply Divide from the Pathfinder palette. Ungroup all textures. Now displace the horizontal segments of a texture by using the Selection Tool (V).

Step 12

Select and group all textures. Duplicate and place a texture to the side. It is useful to us for working with the bottom part of the shell.

Step 13

Select a texture and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp... Apply the settings you see below. Select this object and go to Object > Expand.

Step 14

Select the object you made and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp... Apply the settings you see below. Select this object and go to Object > Expand.

Step 15

Select the object and go to Effect > Distort and Transform > ZigZag... Apply the settings you see below. Select this object and go to Object > Expand.

Step 16

Select the Pen Tool (P), then use it to create a shell shape. Now reduce to the size of a texture height.

Step 17

We duplicate a shell and click on Toggle Visibility in the Layers box. It is useful to us for work in following steps.

Step 18

Now select the form and texture of the shell, then make a Clipping Mask.

Step 19

Now we will add shade to the shell. Select the duplicate shape of the shell (see Step 17) and fill it with a radial gradient, and make the layer visible. Change the Blending mode to Multiply at 47% Opacity in the Transparency palette.

Step 20

Rotate the top part of the shell. Under the layer "pearles1," create an "Internal shell" layer. Select the Ellipse Tool (L), then use it to create an ellipse. Select the Pen Tool (P), then use it to create the bottom part of the shell as shown.

Step 21

Duplicate an ellipse and select the bottom part of the shell. Now use this ellipse and apply Subtract From Shape Area in the Pathfinder palette, then press Expand.

Step 22

Take the texture, which was duplicated in a Step 12, and reduce its height.

Step 23

Select the texture you made and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp... Apply the settings you see below. Select this object and go to Object > Expand.

Step 24

Rotate and place a texture under the bottom part of the shell.

Step 25

Repeat Step 18 to make the bottom part of a shell. Select the texture and go to Trim by using a Pathfinder palette or make a clipping mask.

Step 26

Now create the shadows on the bottom part of a shell. Repeat Step 19 for this.

Step 27

Now we'll work on the internal part of the shell. Select the ellipse and add anchor points by using the Pen Tool (P). Then deform the shape a bit.

Step 28

Now create a new shape by using the Pen Tool (P).

Step 29

Fill the bottom shape with a linear gradient.

Step 30

We the top shape with a linear gradient.

Step 31

Now create a new shape by using the Pen Tool (P) and fill the shape with a linear gradient.

Step 32

Select both the top shapes and apply a Blend (Object > Blend > Make). Apply the settings you see below.

Step 33

Let's create a pearl necklace. Go to the "pearles1" layer. Select the pearl we created earlier, duplicate it and move it by using the Direct Selection Tool, while holding Alt.

Step 34

Add some more threads.

Step 35

Go to the "shell" layer. We create a shade from the top part of a shell. Go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow... Apply the settings you see below.

Step 36

Go to the "Internal shell" layer. Now let's create the shade from the bottom part of the shell. Select the Ellipse Tool (L), then use it to create an ellipse. Fill it with gray, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and enter a value of 80% Opacity in the Transparency palette.

Step 37

Now we'll create the sand. Select the Pen Tool (P), then use it to create a shape of sand, and fill with C=13, M=13, Y=64, K=0. Place it in the "Internal shell" layer.

Step 38

Now we'll work with Swatches palette. Open the Swatch Library and select Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures > Stipple Irregular. Pull out the Texture onto the artboard for editing. Select it and go to Object > Expand. Now paint the texture and move back into the Swatches palette.

Step 39

We duplicate the sand shape and apply the new swatch we just created to it.

Step 40

Go to the "pearles1" layer and we'll be creating a shadow from the pearls. First, select the pearls that lie on the sand.

Step 41

Go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow, and apply the settings you see below.

Step 42

Now create a background. Below all the other layers make a "BG" layer. Select the Rectangle Tool (M), then use it to create a Rectangle. Fill Radial gradient, color C 84, M 34, Y 56, K 13 to color C 84, M 34, Y 56, K 0, without stroke.

Step 43

Over the "BG" layer create a "ray" layer. Now we'll make the solar beams in the sea depths. Create a point of divergence for the beam beams by using Guides. Select the Pen Tool (P), then use it to create the beams. Fill with white. Select all the beams and group them.

Step 44

Let's make an Opacity Mask. Select the Rectangle Tool (M), then use it to create a Rectangle 600 px by 600 px. Fill it with a Radial gradient.

Step 45

Select the group of beams and the rectangle, then make an Opacity Mask.

Step 46

Select the group of beams and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur, apply the settings you see below.

Step 47

Now we'll create a school of fish. Select the Pen Tool (P), then use it to create a fish.

Step 48

Create a reflected light on the top part of the fish's body. Select Pen Tool (P) and use it to create reflected light outlines on the fish.

Step 49

Now select the fish and reflected light, then apply Intersect Shape Areas from Pathfinder palette, and press Expand.

Step 50

Fill the reflected light with a solid color (C=64, M=26, Y=56, K=0) and group it with the fish.

Step 51

Now create a school of fish by duplicating, scaling, and rotating. Group the fish before moving on to the next step.

Step 52

Select the group and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur, apply the settings you see below.

Step 53

Create a "front" layer at the top of the layer stack. Select the Rectangle Tool (M), then use it to create a Rectangle 600 px by 600 px. Fill it with a linear gradient and change the Blending mode to Multiply and Opacity to 37%.

Step 54

Let's create a visibly smoother crossing of sand. Go to a the "sand" layer and duplicate the shape of sand, then move a bit upwards. Fill it with a linear gradient that goes from aqua (C=84, M=34, Y=56, K=13) to dark aqua (C=59, M=27, Y=58, K9).

Step 55

Select both shapes of sand and apply a Blend, use the settings you see below.

Step 56

Under the "front" layer create a layer called "air vials." Select the Ellipse Tool (L), then use it to create an ellipse. Fill it with a radial gradient and change the Blending mode to Soft Light.

Step 57

Now scale, duplicate, place as shown below.

Step 58

Now let's create the effect of depth of sharpness. Under the "air vials" layer create a layer called "Depth of sharpness." Copy a shell and pearls and paste into a new layer. Select these objects and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur with a Radius of 10 px.

Step 59

Create a rectangle by using the Rectangle Tool (M) and fill it with a linear gradient.

Step 60

Select all objects of the "Depth of sharpness" layer and make and Opacity mask. We edit can edit the gradient to control the mask. And we're done.

Conclusion

The final image is below. Have fun creating your own ocean floor landscapes built on interesting themes from your imagination. Good luck!

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