In this tutorial you'll learn how to create a vector pool table. We'll be using the Appearance panel to create textures and add effects; we'll use the Swatches panel for creating pattern swatches; and we'll use some 3D and scripting. Let's get started!
Create a new Adobe Illustrator document. The pool table will be 600px by 300px, so I made the artboard a bit larger, 740px by 500px. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create the table 600px by 300px, and align it to the center of the artboard. Name the layer "table," to keep things organized. With the rectangle selected, open the Appearance panel (Shift + F6) and delete the stroke and fill. Be sure to keep the Appearance panel open, as we'll be using it alot throughout this tutorial.
Set the fill to a light green using the Appearance panel. I used the color #16BF04. With this fill selected, add a new gray fill above it. For this one I used the color #A5A5A5. We will use this fill to create the felt texture.
Now, let's create the texture. Select the gray fill, and go to Effects > Texture > Grain. Set the following: Intensity at 67, Contrast at 75, Grain Type at Sprinkles, and then click OK.
Click on the little triangle on the gray fill layer to expand it. Change the fill's transparency to a 50% Overlay. Now you should see a textured green rectangle. if not, make sure you have the same stacking order in the Appearance panel as shown.
Let's add some effects for more realistic shading. Add the following effects: Inner Glow, Drop Shadow and Rounded Corners, with the following settings:
Your table layer is almost done. Now you should have something like this:
Now we'll add the table markings. Draw a 2-point white line from top to bottom at about the quarter mark on the table. Draw a 100-point radius circle, also 2-point line width and white, cut it in half and snap its left half to the white line from its left side. Align it to the middle of the table. Select both the line and the half-circle, and lower their Opacity to 40%. We're done with this layer and we can lock it.
The next step is to create the wooden rails. Create a new layer with this name. First, we need to create the wooden pattern. Create somewhere outside the table area a 100px by 20px rectangle. Give it a dark brown color, like #4F290F. Zoom in a little, and draw with the Rectangle Tool some lighter brown (#703312) stripes over the dark brown rectangle. Make them different heights and varied spacing between them.
We'll use the Warp and the Bloat tools to modify the stripes to look like a wooden pattern. Select these tools, then double-click on them to change their settings as shown.
With the light brown stripes selected, click and drag with the Warp Tool, or click with the Bloat Tool to get something like this:
Copy the dark brown rectangle and paste it in front of the stripes (select the stripes and hit Command + F). Select all the wood shapes, open the pathfinder panel, and click Crop.
Drag the cropped pattern into the Swatches panel to create a new swatch from it. Rotate the pattern 90 degrees and drag it also to the Swatches panel to create another swatch.
Create two 560px by 20px rectangle, align one to the top of the table and one to the bottom. Set the rectangles with the horizontal wood pattern swatch. Create two other rectangles (20px by 260px) align them to the left and right edges of the table, then set them with the vertical wood pattern swatch.
Somewhere on the artboard draw a 7px by 7px circle and give it a radial gradient, darker to lighter brown. With the circle still selected, press G and drag the gradient a little lower to the left, so it won't be centered.
Copy the circle and paste it in front. Resize the duplicate circle to 5px by 5px. Select both circles and drag them to the Symbols panel to create a new symbol. Spread six instances of this symbol on each of the horizontal wood rectangles, and three on the vertical ones. We're done with this layer.
Create a new layer and name it "rail cushions." Draw two 520px by 10px rectangles, snap one below the top wooden rail, and the other on top of the bottom wooden rail. Create two 10px by 220px rectangles and snap them to the right and to the left of the left and the right wooden rail, accordingly.
With the Direct Selection Tool (A), click on the bottom left anchor point of the top rectangle. Press Shift + Right Arrow key to move it 10 pixels to the right. Using the same method, move the bottom right point 10 pixels to the left. Use this method with the other rectangles until your artwork looks like this:
Now, let's style these rail cushions. Select all the cushions, go to the Appearance panel and apply to them a slightly darker green than the table's color (#1B7203). Add a new gray fill (#A5A5A5). Add to the gray fill the same grain effect as in step 3. Go to Effect > Texture > Grain, set the Intensity to 67, Contrast to 75, Grain Type to Sprinkles, and then click OK.
Add a Drop Shadow to the top cushion with the following settings:
Apply the same effect to the rest of the cushions. Change the bottom cushion's Y Offset to -2. Change the left and right cushions' Y Offset to 0, change the left cushion's X offset to 2, and the right's to -2.
Create a new layer called "pockets." For the pockets I used an extremely useful Illustrator script called "Round Any Corner." It does exactly that: rounds only the corner you want, instead of all the object's corners. You can read about it in the article on ways to customize Adobe Illustrator and download it here. Once you are set, create a 40px by 40px rectangle. Align it to the table's top-left corner. Use the Direct Selection Tool to select the rectangle's top-left and bottom-right corners, click Command + F12, go to the folder where you saved the script file and open it. Enter 18 as the corner radius in the script prompt and click OK.
Change the object's fill to a radial gradient from dark gray (#333333) to light gray (#A5A5A5). Move the Gradient Slider to 80%. With the object still selected, press G and drag the gradient a little lower to the right.
Go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Change the mode to Multiply and the color to black. Set the Opacity to 10% and the blur to 10 points.
Duplicate this object and reflect it vertically. Align it to the right side of the table. Duplicate these two objects, reflect them horizontally and align them to the bottom of the table.
Apply a Drop Shadow to the top-left object with the following settings:
Apply the same effect to the rest of these objects. Change the bottom object's Y Offset to -5. Change the top-right and bottom-right objects' X Offset to -5, change the top-right object's Y offset to 5, and the bottom-right's to -5.
Let's create the holes. Draw a 30px by 30px circle and apply it a dark gray (#1A1A1A) to a lighter gray (#333333) linear gradient. Duplicate the circle, reverse the gradient direction and resize the circle to 26px by 26px. Draw a third circle, make it black and 22px by 22px. Select all circles, center-align and group them. Drag the hole object to the symbols panel to create a new symbol.
Align the hole to the bottom-right of the top-left pocket object we created earlier. Duplicate it and align the copy to the bottom-left of the top-right pocket object. Duplicate this one, horizontal-align it to the center of the table and vertical-align it to the other holes. Duplicate these three holes and align them to the top of the bottom pockets.
Add a white Drop Shadow to the top-left hole with the following settings:
Apply to the top-center hole the same effect, but change the X offset to 0. For the top-right hole change the X Offset to -2. Do the same with the bottom holes. Change their Y Offset to -2 and the X Offset to 2, 0 and -2 (left, center, right) accordingly.
Our table is done! Now lock all the layers and create a new layer for the cue stick. Draw a 3px by 300px rectangle and color it #EFC26E. Use the Direct Selection Tool to click on the top-left corner and move it 2 points to the right. Draw the following rectangles and place them on top of the stick:
Now, for each rectangle, do the following: duplicate the stick, select it and the other rectangle, go to the Pathfinder panel and click Intersect.
Group all the shapes and apply a Revolve effect (Effect > 3D > Revolve). Tilt it to the position you like and make sure the offset is set to Right Edge.
To finish, add a drop shadow.
The last stage would be to draw some balls. I used a great tutorial by Cheryl Graham. Place your cue stick and balls on the table and that's it!
For a final touch I added a background layer, and there you have it! In this tutorial we used some techniques to create patterns and textures, use symbols and several panels and tools. I hoped you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something useful today.