Blog: Secrets from the Chef

Cone Gradient in Adobe Illustrator. Episode One: A False Trail

Dmitri JoukovAuthor: Dmitri Joukov
18 April 2006

Angel (cone) gradient in Adobe PhotoshopOnce upon a time there was a conversation about the various opportunities, advantages and disadvantages of vector-based drawing programs, and it was then that Yegor said, a hint of sadness to his voice, “I wish we had some cone gradient at hand, like we do in Corel Draw”. To which I had a delicate question, “Ah, why would you need the cone gradient?” I’ve been feeling uneasy about this question for many years. Who would ever need such a trite thing as the cone gradient? Yegor said, dreamily, “It’s so good when it comes to drawing compact discs!”

Our professional specifics sometimes requires that we draw a wide range of everyday life objects, CDs included. It is true that creating a CD icon is a painstaking process over and over again. How good it would be, had we an opportunity to take two circles, cut one of them from the center of another and apply the cone gradient to the object. Tempting, is it not?

Everyone knows, though, that Adobe Illustrator does not allow you create those cone gradients. How should we draw this CD in Adobe Illustrator then? All right, my beloved reader, I hope you are ready! If need be for preparation, I would recommend reading my article “Pure Vector”. Don’t forget to turn on the Scale Strokes & Effects option, it’s the last time I remind you about it.

First, we need a blank CD. Download mine if you want, or make a sketch yourself.

Blank CD sketch

Next, you need to concentrate really hard, because the whole process is a punctual repetition of one and the same operation. Take the central section of the CD where our iridescent flares have to be and copy it several times. Fill the first one with pale blue, for example, and make a mask for it out of two circles, as the illustration shows.

Blue flare

A slight touch will scale the circles in the mask vertically to 15-20% of the original size.

Vertically scale down

Your blue flare is now ready. Make the same green, yellow, red, white and other colors. Your fantasy and creativity will help you. Rotate each of suck flares at their own axes and you will have something resembling a specter. To make it all the more realistic, you cal apply gradients to the very flare objects.

Applying gradients to flares

The white flare goes vertically. White flares can also be used to dilute the inside of your specter.

White flare

As you can see, the CD is almost ready. You need to add the tracks and a nice shade, which we make quite with ease.


According to our tradition, all the eager ones can go download the compact disc and try to study the process down to the tiniest nuance.

The method described above allows you to make the object fade to transparency, which remotely resembles a part of the cone gradient. Group several objects like this, and you will have a fake cone gradient. Next time I will tell you how to make a real cone gradient in Adobe Illustrator. Coming to your screens in next week, “Cone Gradient: Episode Two: The Truth Is Out There”.

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Wow ,i think .this tut is so great
Be a beginner ,i have not understood the second step,Please show me it for more details

Reply QUen, 7 March 2008

If you tell me which step is the second one I help you with this.

Reply joukov, 7 March 2008

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