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What technique/process is this?

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Katryna Sleptzoff
What technique/process is this?
on Jun 30, 2020 at 7:03:36 pm

Recently downloaded a stock vector file and really want to know what process was used to make it.
See attached pic for context.



It essentially looks like they made a path somehow and then those circles are the shape that the path like, idk if this is the right word, but extrudes from? Like uses those shapes to make the 3d'ish shape you see there.

When I tried to change the gradient it didn't react how I thought it would, and ended up looking like hundreds of smaller circles crammed together which makes me think that's how the 3d effect is made somehow?

I love that I can just move the path around willy nilly and it won't break, and how changing the shape of the circles affects the 3d shape itself. And also have always wondered how to make an object that overlaps itself in illustrator.

Can anyone shed some light here? I'm not googling the right words. Also, how would I be able to change the colors? Thank you in advance for your help.


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John Stanowski
Re: What technique/process is this?
on Jun 30, 2020 at 7:34:22 pm

As for the twirl, I think they either modified the spline and skillfully made it twirl like that.
Or they replaced the spline with the same twirl.
As for the shadows, looks to me like it's a set of very clever fills on each of the circles.
I could never reproduce this, so it's just a guess.

2019 iMac
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Katryna Sleptzoff
Re: What technique/process is this?
on Jun 30, 2020 at 7:56:07 pm

I'm not sure what you mean by spline, I can't find anything related to illustrator + spline when I look it up. I was just calling it a path, not sure if there is a difference.

I can easily edit the path to be any shape not just a swirl, it essentially acts like a regular stoke that I made with the pen tool.

I was thinking that too with the multiple circles that are filled in cleverly but now I don't think so. Inside the layers panel, when I open up the object theres only a few circles, looks like the match up to the circles outlined in the picture. They are filled with what looks like a gradient and I'm actually able to change that. Whats interesting is that when I do change the gradient it only affects the path next to the circle, so if I want to change the whole thing I have to change all the circles.

It's like somehow it was extruded along this path and then grouped together, which would explain how they got certain parts of the path to overlap itself, but it's also NOT just grouped because the twisted path itself acts like one object rather than a grouped one --- Idk if I'm explaining this right but it obviously HAS to be some trick in illustrator bc to my knowledge this wasnt even possible.

I'm really thinking this has to be some kind of effect or fancy path thing that I have no idea about. I'm almost positive it's likely a way easier process than it seems.


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Tom Van Damme
Re: What technique/process is this?
on Jul 1, 2020 at 7:55:34 am

Isn't this done with the Blend tool?
Select a begin and end shape and Illustrator warps the begin shape in the end shape in any given number of steps.
I tried a few things and it does create a similar effect. Tricky part is finding the best gradient fills for the shapes though :D


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Katryna Sleptzoff
Re: What technique/process is this?
on Jul 1, 2020 at 6:06:19 pm

Tom Van Damme, this is it!! Thank you so much. Wow, learn new things all the time despite using illustrator for years and years. I had the best luck when changing the blending options to a specified number of steps and putting a large number in to make it very smooth. Amazing, love it, thanks again so much!


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John Stanowski
Re: What technique/process is this?
on Jul 1, 2020 at 6:34:25 pm

I'm sorry. I assumed you realized that it was a Blend.
The "spline" is the path the blend follows.
In a linear blend, the spline is just a straight line.
But you can edit the spline and make the path of the blend go into any direction you like.

2019 iMac
3.6 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9
64 GB 2667 MHz DDR4
Radeon Pro Vega 48 8 GB
Software OS 10.15.3
Adobe CC


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