Life & Style tutorial: Create realistic glass surfaces

Step 11
Add some more reflections to the left-hand side of the glass to simulate the light source, using the same process as before: create a shape, add a gradient, change the blending mode to Screen, reduce the opacity, and add a small Gaussian blur to soften the effect.

Step 12
Now we’ve introduced light reflections, we should add shadows and wine reflections. At the base of the wine create the shape in shown here. Add a five colour gradient to it, then add an inner glow and some Gaussian blur. Finally change the blending mode to Multiply and set the opacity to 75%. Try adding some more shadows to the stem of the glass.

Step 13
Finally let’s add more depth to the translucent wine. Add a new layer below the glass highlights. Create a black round-edged shape near the top of the wine. Add some inner glow to it. Then change the opacity to 20% and change the blending mode to Multiply. Add some highlights to the wine using white shapes with the blending mode set to Overlay. Don’t forget to add some Gaussian blur to soften the effect.

Step 14
In the final image you can see how I’ve used these techniques to add further reflections, light glows and shadows to the image to add more realism. If you get stuck working out where to add more life to your illustration I find a search through the images the search engines have to offer is great for getting inspired.


01. If your document is CMYK you will have to ensure the black you create is a ‘rich’ black made up of four colours e.g C = 100, M = 100, Y= 100, K = 100 – otherwise the blending mode will not translate properly.

02. If you find adding the inner glow leaves a line of fill colour around the edge of the shape, add a small white stroke to it. As we are removing the white with the screen blending mode, it will disappear.

Who: As creative director for London digital creative agency Rare Design, James Arnott has produced illustration, character design and Web sites for a variety of companies over the past 11 years.
Software: Adobe Illustrator
Time to complete: 1 hour

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