Here is an image that I want to vectorize, there is something that I can't do in Illustrator. As you can see in the picture below, shadows inside the eye should be traced to the vector. I don't know how to do this, could you please help me?Image of the eye with shadow inside

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    It's just a gradient, or gradient mesh.. or freeform gradient.
    – Scott
    Feb 24 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


The pure 2D vector drawing method - make gradients - is already said in a comment. Other possibilities:

1. Insert blurred black shapes on a white circle. That probably succeeds with less trial and error than making the right gradients. You can still adjust the the shapes and the blur after inserting them. The drawback is that blurs are raster images, but you can define their rendering PPI beforehand.

2. Use a 3D effect. The next example uses the legacy revolve:

enter image description here

It's not an exact replica of the used shading, but it can be close enough.

In the top left there's the used shape. Before applying the 3D revolve effect the stroke must be removed and the fill color must be changed to white.

The shape can be edited with the white arrow tool and the lights can be adjusted in the effect dialog.

When it's good enough and you want to fix the effect apply Expand Appearance. It generates a group of shapes which together resemble a gradient. I have defined 124 blending steps, so there's 124 different grey shapes. The number is high to avoid too sparse banding.

Saving as SVG performs "Expand Appearance" automatically to the exported SVG only. The original stays unexpanded i.e. the 3D effect and the revolved shape are still editable.

Using gradients doesn't generate this many shapes to the vector file.

Using 3D effect has one advantage: You'll get geometrically right shadings with no effort. If you have the freedom to decide what you draw it's well possible that you find a curve, maybe a much simpler one, which generates the right appearance.

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