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Create a Vector Space Composition in Illustrator

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In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a vector space composition featuring the planet Saturn. We'll use simple shapes, various Blending Modes, and follow a strait-forward workflow that is as simple as a basic circle. Check this out yourself at the jump.


Step 1

First, we'll create a background for our space composition. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle filled with a radial gradient that goes from orange to black.

The orange halo will represent the planet's glow, so the center of the radial gradient should coincide with the center of the planet. For convenience of further constructions, I have checked the center of the gradient with the help of two guides.


Step 2

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a circle with the center located at the intersection of the guides. Fill the circle with a radial gradient that goes from dark brown to dark green.


Step 3

Create a new circle. The diameter of this circle should be slightly larger than the diameter of the circle created in the previous step. Fill this circle with a radial gradient, which consists of blue, white, and black colors.


Step 4

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create an ellipse filled with a black color. Rotate an ellipse with the help of the Selection Tool (V), as shown in the picture below.

Now take the Gradient Mesh Tool (U) and create a simple grid. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move nodes.

Color 6 nodes of the Gradient Mesh in white as shown.


Step 5

Select the Gradient Mesh and set the Multiply Blending Mode in the Transparency panel.

Group up the circle created in step 3 and the Gradient Mesh. Set the Lighten Blending Mode for this group and reduce the Opacity to 80% in the Transparency panel.


Step 6

Copy the group created in the previous step and paste it in front (Command + C; Command + F). Reduce the new group using the Selection Tool (V), while holding down the Shift key. Place it in the bottom right-hand side of our composition.

Keeping the group selected, go to Object > Transform > Reflect... and choose "Vertical" in the dialog window.

Reduce the Opacity of the group to 30% in the Transparency panel.


Step 7

Create a circle over the second planet and fill it with a radial gradient that consists of blue and black colors.

Set the Screen Blending Mode for this circle and reduce the Opacity to 60% in the Transparency panel.


Step 8

Go back to the first planet. Create a circle and fill it with a radial gradient, using the same color as for the second planet. Set the Screen Blending Mode for this circle in the Transparency panel.

Create another circle which must be smaller than the previous one. Fill this circle with a radial gradient that consists of white, blue, and black colors. Set the Screen Blending Mode for this object and 70% Opacity in the Transparency panel.


Step 9

Proceed to the creation of the Saturn's rings. Create a circle with a radial gradient fill. This gradient consists of rotating black sliders and various shades of yellow. Black color will correspond to the space between the rings and yellow sliders will correspond to the rings.


Step 10

Transform a circle into an ellipse with the help of the Selection Tool (V) and hold down the Alt key in order not to shift the center of the object.

Keep the ellipse selected, go to Object > Transform > Rotate... and set the rotation angle in the dialog window.

Now set the Screen Blending Mode for the rings in the Transparency panel.


Step 11

Now we need to hide some of the rings which are located beyond the planet. Create a circle, and using the Scissors Tool (C), cut it at the points A and B, and then remove the bottom part.

Connect the points A and B using the Pen Tool (P).


Step 12

Fill the resulting shape with a radial gradient that consists of black and white colors.

Set the Multiply Blending Mode for it in the Transparency panel.


Step 13

Group up the rings and shape created in the previous steps. Set the Lighten Blending Mode for this group in the Transparency panel.


Step 14

Create a few colored spots on Saturn's surface. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a circle with a radial gradient fill that goes from orange to black.

Transform a circle into an ellipse with the Selection Tool (V), while holding down the Alt key.

Rotate the circle at 20 degrees, set the Screen Blending Mode and 75% Opacity in the Transparency panel.


Step 15

Using this technique, create a few colored spots. You can experiment with color gradients and the level of object transparency.

Create a circle with a radial gradient fill, which consists of white, orange, brown, and black colors. Set the Screen Blending Mode for this circle in the Transparency panel.


Step 16

Reduce the planet's glow in its lower part. Create a circle and fill it with a radial gradient, and then transform it into an ellipse and rotate at 20 degrees. Now set the Multiply Blending mode for it in the Transparency panel and place at the bottom of the planet. Besides, this object must be located below all the Planets elements in the Layers panel.


Step 17

Create a shadow of the planet on the rings. Take the Pen Tool (P) and create an object shown in the figure below.

Fill it with a black and white radial gradient and set the Multiply Blending Mode.


Step 18

Start to create a starry sky. Create a circle and fill it with a radial gradient, then set the Screen Blending Mode.

Create a new circle filled with a black to white radial gradient, and transform it into an ellipse. Set the Screen Blending Mode and reduce the Opacity.

Keep the ellipse selected, go to Object > Transform > Rotate, and set the angle at 90 degrees in the dialog window, then click on the Copy button.

Finally, create glow around the star.


Step 19

Group up all the elements of the star, reduce to desired size, then drag it to the Symbols panel and save as a new character.

Take the Symbol Sprayer Tool and sprinkle the stars.


Step 20

Create a few circles filled with radial gradients as shown. Save these objects as symbols in the Symbols panel.

Now, using the Symbol Sprayer Tool, sprinkle them on the surface of the background creating a starry sky.

You can change the size and opacity of the stars using the Symbol Sizer Tool and Symbol Screener Tool.


Step 21

Hide the elements that go beyond the background. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a rectangle the size of which corresponds to the size of the background.

Select all the created elements of our artwork and click Command + 7 to create a Clipping Path.


Conclusion

Now your work is done. Here is how the final image should look. Use these techniques to add a unique space composition to your portfolio.