Drawing a Gradient Sphere as a 2D Shape in Adobe Illustrator (aka “The Cue Ball)

This week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques is one of my favorite types of dekeArt, making something from nothing. In this case, Deke creates a cue ball in Adobe Illustrator (for the long-term purpose of making something else that doesn’t exist, a clock made expressly for a pool hall—stay tuned).

Deke starts with an appropriate “felt” background (you can borrow his at the bottom of the post if you’d like to work along, just click on “Related Downloads”), then adds a simple white circle to the center:

White circle on a green gradient background

The next step is to add a radial gradient to the soon-to-be-sphere:

A circle with a white to black radial gradient on a green background

Then Deke adjusts the color stop and overall positions of the gradient using Illustrator’s Gradient editor:

The gradient editor in Adobe Illustrator

Then, by dragging some pre-selected colors (you’ll find them in the Swatches panel of the sample file), he gives the cue ball its glowing ivory color.

A cueball on the green background with an ivory gradient supplied

And a drop shadow based on the color of the “felt” helps ground the ball in dekeReality:

A cueball with a drop shadow in Adobe Illustrator

And finally, he sets the Raster Effect settings to a higher resolution in order to smooth out the drop shadow:

The Document Raster Effects dialog box in Adobe Illustrator

Deke’s Techniques, with a capital D and that stands for Deke.

Related downloads

  • Deke's Billiard Swatches Background File

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