Here is a step by step tutorial for creating a shiny ball vector artwork using any vector graphics software.
Few days back, I happened to come across Inkscape and even created few give aways (Red Ornament and Dreidel). Some of the readers contacted me on my intentions of creating some tutorials to create vector art. This is a direct result of it.
In this tutorial, I will explain the steps in creating a basic subject - a shiny blue ball - in vector form. I have attempted here to give the fundamental steps and not the actual commands and menu items to choose from any particular software.
Using this tutorial you should be able to create a shiny blue (or any color for that matter) in vector form in a vector graphics software like Illustrator or Inkscape.
Start you favorite vector software and open a new canvas. Decide on the color of the shiny ball you want to create. For this example, let us try creating a blue shiny ball. Take the darker hue of the color and then use the circle shape tool to create the shape as above. If it draws an outline, look around to switch it off. Ideally, setting the stroke to none, and fill to solid color gives the above result.
Make a copy of the circle and place it beside the original. Change its fill color to the basic hue of the color you want. Scale it a wee bit smaller than the first one.
Make another copy of any of the circle and set the fill color to something contrasting. Scale it to almost one fourth the size and place it at the lower left corner of the second circle. The position should be diagonally opposite to the source of light - I am assuming a top right position for the light source.
Now comes the bit tricky part. Select the blue circle and from it subtract the smaller circle at its lower corner - this should give a crescent shape. (On Inkscape, you will use the 'Difference' option in the Path menu).
Go ahead and make a copy of the crescent shape, and set it to a very light hue of the base color. We are attempting to make a highlight patch.
The following steps are a bit tricky, but if you could do the Step 4, these should follow logically, once you have the visualization of what is required.
Again, make a copy of the crescent shape, set a contrasting color, and place it so that it is overlapping the light blue shape.
You guessed it right - subtract the dark shape from the light blue shape to get the result as above.
Now we need to cut out the parts that are not required from this highlight patch. Owing to the fact that the light is on the right top corner, we would not require the left part of the patch. Also we will segment the highlight patch, to give a nice artistic effect. Use a line path tool to mark out the area of the highlight patch that is not required. Study the above image carefully. The actual shape of the lines is not that important at the places where the lines are not intersecting the patch - but the three intersections that mark out the unwanted area are more or less parallel to each other.
If you have been following the previous steps, you will understand the what was done to get the above result. The outlined shape was subtracted out of the highlight patch.
We are almost done.
Just drag the blue colored crescent shape over the dark blue circle and then drag the highlight patch on them. Position the blue crescent carefully so that there is an outline formed other than the shadow area. Position the highlight patch diagonally opposite to the shadow area - nearer to the light source.
And we have a shiny ball vector art. You may select all the shapes and group them so that they act as one unit.
This is a very basic portrayal of the steps involved in creating vector arts. The above artwork may be polished more by use of additional shapes that have partial alpha channels and have gradient fills turned on in them.
Let me know how you feel about the above tutorial. You may also post links to the artworks created by you along with your comments.