I am trying to create a template for a dead card game. My end goal is to generate a vector template that I can use to create new cards for personal use. I've toyed around with using an image trace, but that doesn't work particularly well for gradients.

I am looking for help in re-creating the effects seen, starting with the card border: card border

Ignoring the box in the bottom-right corner (which appears to be a flat shape with an implied shadow surrounding it on the top and left), the border seems to be trying to communicate a metallic border with an inner peak, with some lighting effects. Pragmatically, how would this be implemented in Illustrator? Two shapes, and inner border and an outer border (and possibly a middle track for the peak? Is the "metallic" look just a couple of gradients, or is this a surface with shading effects? If a gradient is applied, what degree rotation is being used, here?

1 Answer 1


The shape is divided to parts which have different gradient fills. The angles can be quite arbitary because in real world seen metallic gradients are as well affected by the environment, only be sure that there's contrast between differently tilted surface facets.

Radial gradients can create more limited highlight areas than linear gradients. Best control is achieved with Gradient Mesh.

enter image description here

In the left inner and outer rings have opposite linear gradients. In the right they have stretched (=elliptical) radial gradients. The centre of the gradient is the seen highlight.

The rings have also very faint strokes. Making them bright and maybe inserting different gradients to them affect to the appearance

I used only 2 stop gradients. Chrome or gold like gloss needs more stops and steeper slopes. The next version has linear 4 stop gradients:

enter image description here

ADD: Here's an alternative approach in Inkscape:

enter image description here

1-2. A rounded rectangle was drawn. It was copied in three sizes, 2 fitting rings were made with Path > Subtract. There's no fills, only a faint grey stroke

  1. A random black patten was drawn on a white rectangle

4-5. Two different versions were made with blurred black parts, both were grouped to keep them together (here a little thinking would be extremely useful, one should see now how he wants dark and light areas)

  1. The rings in image 2 were copied and used to clip the shapes 4 and 5, the results were aligned. On white background also layering the stroke only versions from step 2 was a must.
  • I'm accepting this answer because it's the radial gradient that is the real answer to my question. That, and about 5-6 gradient stops to get the desired effect. The only thing "missing" from this answer is covered over here, using 'rays' rather than 'circles'. Aug 21, 2018 at 21:22
  • I like the idea of using a Gradient Mesh, but I have had some difficulty getting them created; I have lines and curves joined into paths for the layers of the border, and copies of those paths to use Pathfinder to create the objects that receive the actual gradient. Aug 21, 2018 at 21:24
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    @Erik Frantz the ray-thing ie. conical gradient isn't in Illustrator, but it is usually faked with gradient along path. Wide stroke which covers the circle does the job. Gradient meshes are tricky in complex shapes. You can have easier meshes and force them to the right shape with clipping masks. This way you can use any blurred patterns instead of gradients.
    – user82991
    Aug 22, 2018 at 4:34
  • I am also open to things like InkScape, which does support conical gradients. My target is SVC that I can re-used to my heart's content to eventually render as raster [at whatever resolution]. Aug 23, 2018 at 5:49
  • @ErikFrantz I haven't found any fast way to make conical gradient in Inkscape. But gradient meshes are there quite easy. They can be used to simulate a conical gradient, too. I added the blur method to the answer.
    – user82991
    Aug 23, 2018 at 7:51

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