5. Add glare using Adobe Illustrator

This tutorial is part of a detailed guide on making an abstract scientific illustration. You can get all the files associated with the guide here.


This was made using Adobe Illustrator CS5.1.

1. Load the bitmap file produced by POV-Ray into a new Adobe Illustrator (ai) session.

2. Go to the Layers panel and rename the current layer to Background.

3. Make a new layer from top right corner of the Layers panel and name it Glare.

4. Select the Ellipse Tool from the toolbar.

5. Pick a dye color color scale from the swatches menu. Here CMYK Cyan was used.

6. From the Color menu, set the color whiter. Here cyan was set to 50%. Draw a circle on top of the dye using the selected ellipse tool. Set the Opacity to 50%.

7. Go to Effect -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur.

8. Set a proper radius. Here 55 pixels was used.

9. Now get that intense white color in the middle of the glare.

First make a transparent circle somewhere within the Glare-layer using the ellipse tool. Set its size to 1.05x1.05 and its opacity to 0%.

10. Make a new, smaller, white circle with size 0.175x0.175 and opacity 100%.

11. Select both new circles and align them so their centers are in the same point. Then go to Object -> Blend -> Make.

12. Finally, position the new blended circles in the center of the dye.

13. Repeat step 5-12 for the other dyes. Set a new color for each of them but keep the bright center white.