In this tutorial you will learn how to use the Mesh Tool, as well as how to make your images look better simply with some tweaks to Transparency settings. And you'll also be creating a natural spring background with flowers!
If you'd like to skip this tutorial and wish to purchase the end result in a variety of layouts in banner form, with Christmas themed tags, head over to GraphicRiver to purchase Spring Background with Blossoming Tree Branch.
Before we start, you will need to download the attachment using the button on the right. It contains a file, created by me, that is going to be useful.
1. How to Create Flower Petals
Start by creating a pink ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L). Color it with
#FAE8E6 and create a node in the middle by clicking with the Mesh Tool (U).
Modify the shape to look like the picture below by dragging nodes with the Mesh Tool (U).
Using the Mesh Tool (U), create a mesh, similar to the one in the screenshot.
Color the individual Mesh Nodes according to the picture below—the code of the color you need to use is written in the annotation. To select multiple nodes at the same time, use the Lasso Tool (Q) or Shift-click with the Direct Selection Tool (A).
Now that we have finished creating the petal, let's use it to make a flower! Create a few copies of the finished petal (use Control-C, Control-V or drag them while holding the Alt key) and rotate them to look like this:
The top-right petal should be under the other petals. You can achieve that by using the Send Backward (Control-[) function you can find in the Arrange menu after right-clicking an object.
Finish arranging the flower by adding a few more petals.
Don't worry about the opening in the middle—it will be taken care of in the next couple of sections!
2. How to Create Flower Stamens and Assemble the Flower
Let's create the stamens of the flower. Start by creating a narrow rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a Mesh Node in the middle, just as we did in the previous section of the tutorial. Color the rectangle with
Create more Mesh Nodes and color them as shown in the screenshot below—use the Mesh Tool (U).
Now that our rectangle is colored, Warp it using Effect > Warp > Arch. The settings should be as follows:
Expand Appearance of the shape using Object > Expand Appearance. Don't forget to do this any time you use the Warp effect in the future!
Copy and arrange the bent shape to look like the picture below.
Create a smaller copy of the shape and arrange it as shown in the screenshot below. Change the color with Edit > Edit Colors > Saturate. Set the Intensity to -20%.
Move the second group under the first one.
Let's move on to create the second part of the stamen. Create an ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L) and fill it with an orange color—you can use
Create a Mesh in the shape using Object > Create Gradient Mesh. Set the number of Rows to 4 and of Columns to 5.
Color in the Mesh by selecting the nodes shown in the screenshot and coloring them with the color indicated.
Add the finished ellipses to the group we finished in Step 7. You can arrange them yourself or follow the picture below.
Create a copy of the finished creation, rotate it, and scale it so the result looks similar to the shape below.
Finally, we will make a shadow for our stamens. Create an ellipse and fill it with a radial Gradient from brown to orange to white.
With the Gradient Tool (G), stretch the gradient so it follows the shape of the ellipse.
Set the Transparency to Multiply and the Opacity to 80% in the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency).
Finally, arrange the objects created in this section onto the petals from the previous section.
For this step, be creative! Create a couple more different versions of the flower. You can rotate, add or take away petals, arrange them differently, and adjust their Opacity in the Transparency panel or even their color in Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors.
I have made a few sample flowers:
Once you're happy with the flowers you have made, move on to the next section!
3. How to Create Leaves
Create an ellipse and fill it with
Follow the picture to create and color a Mesh.
Draw lines for the leaf with the Pen Tool (P). Apply a green
#9E9E02 stroke to it and assign Width Profile 4 to it in the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke).
Select all the lines and Unite them in the Window > Pathfinder panel.
Put the lines on top of the ellipse. Open the .ai file you downloaded from clicking Download Attachment on the right of the page, and put the shape you find in there on top of the leaf. You can use your own shape for this step, if you want.
Select all the elements and right click, choosing Make Clipping Mask in the menu.
This is how your finished leaf should look.
Create a copy of the leaf and Edit > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors to make it look lighter. Use 13% Red and 10% Green.
4. How to Create Twigs
Create a narrow rectangle and fill it with
Create a single Mesh node in the middle with the Mesh Tool (U), and color it with
Bend the shape by Effect > Warp > Arch, applying 10% Bend to it. Don't forget to Expand Appearance.
Create a couple of Mesh nodes and drag one of them so it looks like the picture below.
Create more Mesh nodes to mimic the Mesh in the screenshot.
Color the twig, following the pictures below.
Create another rectangle, this time filling it with
Warp it, as we did it in Step 2 of this section, applying the following settings:
- Horizontal -40%
Expand Appearance of the object.
Color the object using the Mesh and following the pictures below.
Attach the newly made shape to the twig we finished in Step 6.
5. How to Create the Background
Create a rectangle and color it with the
Using the Mesh Tool (U), create a Mesh as shown in the picture below.
Color the different nodes, following the picture below.
6. How to Put It All Together
Great! We have finished making all of the different elements! This section depends on your creativity.
Simply grab all of the objects we have made in Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 and arrange them to make one or two beautiful branches with spring flowers and leaves! You can look at my result for inspiration.
Take the background we made in Section 5 and put your flowers on top of it. Next, create a rectangle on top of all elements. The rectangle should include everything you want in the final picture.
Finally, select all elements (Control-A), right click and choose Make Clipping Mask.
Awesome Work, You're Now Done!
What now? You can add some additional elements (for example, bokeh highlights) and play around until you are fully satisfied with your spring flowers background!
In this tutorial, you learned how to create a spring flower background, primarily using the Mesh Tool and the Warp effects.
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and learned how to use some useful tools for the future!