I am trying to create 3d ball in Illustrator. I have the following strategy:

  • create a solid colour background;
  • create a "diffuse" shape;
  • create a "reflection" shape;
  • mix them together.

Final result should look like this: enter image description here

The problem is that radial gradient has a "background" color. To mix it with background figure properly I use "multiply mode", but then it mixes active colour as well.

Another solution might be to create a radiant gradient from transparency to active colour, but how?

How do I create such a illustration, consisting of two shapes in AI:

enter image description here


3 Answers 3


Shape 1

  • A circumference with a radial gradient fill

enter image description here

Shape 2

  • Fill 100% white, Hard Light Mode, 40% and a Feather effect


Shape 3

  • A circumference with a linear gradient stroke, 90º, from black 100% to black 0%, and a Feather effect.
  • Mode Multiply, 60%

enter image description here



  • I will be much obliged if you share your layers window screenshot as well. Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 17:30
  • :-) It's just one layer, three shapes
    – user120647
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 17:31
  • You mean shape2 is just over shape1 and not in between background and radial gradient fill? Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 17:34
  • The shapes order is exactly the same as the answer order, the 3rd shape has no fill, is a ring
    – user120647
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 17:35
  • Nice solution! But is there a way to split Shape1 into tho different shapes: solid background colour and white radial gradient fill? (The purpose is to be able to put Shape2 in between them.) Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 17:38

You can actually do quite a bit with only the Appearance Panel

enter image description here

Stacking multiple fills with various gradients and then transforming the fills can allow you to keep one object which can easily be color changed or saved as a graphic Style to apply later.

And.. if you want the orb to be translucent, merely remove the base fill (And possibly adjust the gradients on the shadows/reflection so they are radial rather than linear)...

enter image description here


Layering different types of light effects makes the shape complex, generating variations will be tricky. Illustrators 3D effect Revolve creates easily a sphere with the wanted glossy oval reflection + shading. The light and the reflection are adjustable in the effect dialog:

enter image description here

In the left there's a copy of the revolved half circle. An extra light was added to get the oval reflection.

A circle with three stop gradient fill was inserted on top with blending mode Hard light for the other shading:

enter image description here

The inserted circle and its white - grey - lighter grey gradient are shown in the left.

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