Create a Psychedelic Background in Illustrator CS5
In the late 60s the word “psychedelic” was invented to describe hallucinogens. Today, the word “psychedelic” refers to any artwork or decoration with abstract shapes and bright colors. In this tutorial, we will learn how to use Illustrator CS5 to create a psychedelic background. The key to creating this type of art is to play with colors and shapes; therefore, we are going to learn how to apply default swatches and play with a single shape to obtain a nonfigurative, patterned background.
Open Illustrator CS5 and create a New Document with a size of 800px by 600px.
Select the Ellipse Tool (L), click anywhere on the canvas to open its dialog box, and enter a Weight and Height of 182px.
With the circle selected go to the SWATCHES palette (Window > Swatches), click its menu icon (), and go to Open Swatch Library > Gradients > Spectrums. At the SPECTRUMS palette select Spectrum.
Remove its stroke, if any.
Select the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) and click the top and bottom points of the circle.
With the shape selected go to Object > Scale and enter the following settings:
You should obtain a shape similar to this one:
With the shape still selected go to Effect > Distort and Transform > Twist and enter an Angle degree of 50.
Now, with the shape selected go to Object > Transform > Transform Each and enter the following settings:
Instead of clicking the OK button, click the Copy button.
You should obtain the following effect:
With the new shape selected go to the TRANSPARENCY palette (Window > Transparency) and change its Blending Mode to Multiply.
Next, with the new shape still selected press (Mac: Command + D / PC: Control + D) 10 times.
I know, now your graphic is way too big. Press (Mac: Command + - / PC: Control + -) to zoom out your canvas and scale it to fit your canvas size.
Image zoomed out to 18%.
Select the Rectangle Tool (M), click anywhere on the canvas area to open its dialog box. Enter a Width of 800px and a Height of 600px. Give it a stroke of any color with no fill color.
Place it on top of the spectrum graphic and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make.
Image zoomed out to 50%.
Select the entire shape and go to the SWATCHES palette. Click the menu icon and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Dots. At the BASIC GRAPHICS_DOTS choose the 6 dpi 50% pattern.
Then, within the TRASNPARENCY palette change its Blending Mode to Overlay.
Experiment with more shapes and colors to create more authentic, psychedelic backgrounds. Have fun!
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