In the following tutorial, you will learn how to create a holographic effect in Illustrator using a mesh and a bunch of effects.
If you don't have the time to learn how to create a holographic effect in Illustrator, you can always try Envato Elements, where you can find plenty of holographic Illustrator design resources. Here's just one of the many examples:
Looking for a video tutorial instead? We've got it covered. You can watch how to create a holographic effect in Illustrator in this new video from the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:
What You'll Learn in This Holographic Illustrator Tutorial
- How to create a rectangular grid in Illustrator
- How to save a group of colors in Illustrator
- How to create a mesh in Illustrator
- How to create a holographic effect in Illustrator
- How to edit a flyer design using holographic foil
What You'll Need
You will need the following template in order to complete this holographic effect Illustrator tutorial:
1. How to Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid
Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, set the Width to 1680 px and the Height to 1220 px, and then click that Advanced Options button. Select RGB for the Color Mode and set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click the Create button.
Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid or Control-") and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid or Shift-Control-"). You will need a grid every 20 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 20 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.
You can learn more about Illustrator's grid system in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator's Grid System.
You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don't forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. All these options will significantly increase your work speed. Now that you're set, let's see how you can create a holographic effect in Illustrator.
2. How to Make a Mesh Holographic in Illustrator
Focus on your toolbar and pick the Rectangle Tool (M), and then focus on the color settings. Select the stroke and remove the color, and then double-click the fill and set it to yellow.
Move to your artboard and simply create a 1600 x 1140 px shape—the grid and the Snap to Grid should make it easier.
Keep this shape selected and focus on the control panel. Make sure that the Alignment is set to Artboard and then click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons to easily move your yellow rectangle to the center of the artboard.
Select the Rectangular Grid Tool from your toolbar and simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangular Grid Tool Options window. Go to Window > Toolbars > Advanced if you can't find the Rectangular Grid Tool.
Set the Width to 1600 px and the Height to 1140 px, lower the number of Horizontal Dividers to 0 and increase the Vertical Dividers to 19, and then click OK to create your grid. Make sure that you have a 1 px black stroke applied for this grid, and then use the Selection Tool (V) to place it on top of your yellow rectangle, as shown in the following image.
Once you're done, move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and lock the grid to make sure that you won't select or move it by accident. You'll only need it as a point of guidance in the next steps.
Reselect your yellow rectangle and switch to the Mesh Tool (U).
Focus on the top side of your selection and use simple clicks to add 19 mesh points, as shown in the following image. Use that locked grid as a reference to make sure that you're adding a mesh point every 80 px.
Now, you need to focus on the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) to save a bunch of colors. Click that New Swatch button, set the color to R=35 G=31 B=32, and click OK to add it to the Swatches panel. Use the same technique to add the remaining 15 colors shown below. Follow the exact order because it will be easier to apply these in the following steps.
Once you're done, you can hold down the Shift key to select all 16 colors and click the New Color Group button to move your saved colors into a separate group.
Make sure that you have nothing selected and pick the Eyedropper Tool (I) from your toolbar. Move to the Swatches panel to select your first color from the group, and then focus on the leftmost grid box. Hold down the Alt key and simply click inside that grid box. This will fill the surrounding mesh points with your selected color.
Make sure that the Eyedropper Tool (I) remains selected and select your second color from the Swatches panel. Move to the next grid box, remember to hold down the Alt key, and click inside it.
Head back to the Swatches panel to select the third color from your group, return to the design, hold down the Alt key, and click inside that third grid box.
Make sure that the Eyedropper Tool (I) remains selected, remember to always hold down the Alt key, and click the rest of your grid boxes using the colors shown in the following image.
Once you're done, you can go to the Layers panel to select that locked grid and delete it.
Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), use it to select the two rightmost mesh points (highlighted in the following image), and replace the existing color with your first color from the group.
Use the Selection Tool (V) to select your entire mesh and lower its Opacity to 90%.
3. How to Create a Holographic Foil Texture in Illustrator
Reselect the Rectangle Tool (M) and use it to create a new 1600 x 1140 px shape. Fill it with R=66 G=84 B=252 and center it, and then press Shift-Control-[ to send it to the back.
Focus on your toolbar, select the Warp Tool (Shift-R) and then double-click it to open the Warp Tool Options window. Enter the settings shown in the following image and click OK.
Make sure that just your mesh is selected and use the Warp Tool (Shift-R) to distort it roughly as shown in the following image.
Focus on the Layers panel to select the rectangle which lies behind your mesh, press Control-C to copy it, and then press Control-Shift-V to add a copy in the same place, on top of your mesh.
Switch to the Selection Tool (V) and hold down the Shift key to select this new rectangle along with your mesh, and then go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7).
Now that you've got the holographic effect, let's see how you can apply a foil texture in Illustrator. Press again Shift-Control-V to add another copy of that rectangle. Keep it selected and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance).
Focus on the existing fill, replace the color with black (R=0 G=0 B=0), lower its Opacity to 40%, and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.
Make sure that your black rectangle is still selected and go to Effect > Sketch > Note Paper. Set the Image Balance to 25, the Graininess to 10, and the Relief to 11, and then click OK to apply the effect.
With your black rectangle still selected, go to Effect > Artistic > Underpainting. Enter the settings shown below and then click OK to apply the effect.
Keep your black rectangle selected and go to Effect > Distort > Glass. Enter the settings shown below and then click OK to apply the effect.
Select the Artboard Tool (Shift-O) and use it to quickly squeeze your artboard around the final design. Again, the grid and the Snap to Grid will make things super easy.
When you're done, you can press Shift-Control-Alt-S to save your holographic foil effect.
4. How to Use a Holographic Effect in Illustrator
Open this Music flyer design and let's make some changes before we add the holographic foil effect.
Focus on the Layers panel and open the third layer. Select the paths and groups highlighted in the following image and simply remove them.
Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) and hold down the Shift key to select the two anchor points highlighted in the first image.
Hold down the Shift key as you click and drag your selected points down, as shown in the second image.
Return to the Layers panel and select that bottom layer. Add your holographic foil effect to this flyer design and select it.
Focus on the control panel to set the Width to 216 mm, and then use the same Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons to easily center it.
Return to the Layers panel and focus on that bottom layer. Select the existing group and press Shift-Control-G to Ungroup it. Drag the resulting shape on top of your holographic foil effect and select it.
Focus on the Appearance panel to replace the fill color with R=35 G=31 B=32, lower its Opacity to 50%, and don't forget to change the Blending Mode to Overlay.
Congratulations! You're Done!
Here is how your final design should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future holographic Illustrator designs.
Once created, you might want to check how your design would look in real life. Check out this mockup from Placeit, and apply your holographic design with just a few clicks.
Popular Assets From Envato Elements
Envato Elements is an excellent resource for holographic foil effects. Here's a short list of some of the most popular assets that you can find.
This massive collection of holographic foil effects includes 54 high-resolution backgrounds comprising three different color schemes and three different types of textures.
Here's another impressive collection of iridescent holographic foil effects. You can choose from one of the 50 high-resolution textures.
Holographic Liquid Background Set (JPG, PNG)
Searching for something different? This pack of liquid backgrounds might be what you were looking for. The pack comes with ten vibrant designs to choose from.
Looking for renditions that use more mellow colors? This set of ten holographic foil effects might be the perfect fit.
Neon Holographic Abstract Background Set (JPG, PNG)
Seeking something bold and bright? Try this set of ten neon holographic backgrounds.
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