Adobe Illustrator tutorial: Create realistic glass surfaces

Create a wine glass from scratch in Illustrator using transparency and translucency settings, with tips from Rare Design's James Arnott.

Illustrator allows you to create art of all varieties, from the highly stylized to the photorealistic. Here, digital design expert James Arnott shows how to make an impressively realistic and convincing wine glass using the software.

1_Create_realistic_glass__urfaces

The tutorial gives you the tools to master transparency and translucency in Illustrator, including a step-by-step guide on using the transparency palette, blending modes and black-and-white gradients.

Pair this with some smart use of the Gaussian blur and you’ve got the tools to add some touches of realism to any image.

2_Create_realistic_glass__urfaces

Step 1 Create a new document measuring 500-x-800 pixels. Create a box that covers 75% of the artboard from top down. Apply a circular background gradient to this box with three colours in it, ensuring the centre of the radial gradient starts at the base of the box and ends at the top of the box. The colours should be the following: at position 35%, C = 0, M = 0, Y = 0, K = 0; at position 80%, C = 15, M = 10, Y = 23, K = 0; and at position 100%, C = 25, M = 20, Y = 40, K = 0.

3_Create_realistic_glass__urfaces

Step 2 We need to create a glass shape. I would recommend drawing half the glass using the Pen tool, then copy-and-pasting and flipping this to create the other half. This way it’s guaranteed to be symmetrical. Put the two sides together and join using the Pathfinder palette button ‘Add to Shape Area’, which unifies the objects.

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