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In this tutorial, we are going to use Transfuchsian’s bokeh brushes to create a magical glowing sun vector background.  You will learn how to build up some glowing elements to create a dreamy final image.

 

To begin, if you haven’t already purchased our brush set, please click the image below to download and unzip the brush set.

 Vector Bokeh Brushes

 

Step 1:  Create a new document.  Ours is set to 625 x 550.  Using the rectangle tool (M) draw out a background shape at the size of your artboard and set the color to #F3E7C9.

 magical vector background

Step 2:  Create another rectangle that is a little smaller than the first. Fill this rectangle with a Radial gradient.  The left color is #E1CE92, the right is #71B8AA.  Adjust the gradient with the gradient tool (G) so that it isn’t directly in the middle of your design.  I made it a little bit more of an oval shape and moved the center so that it is off to the side a little.

 magical vector background

Step 3: Lock your background layer and create a new layer on top of it. Draw out a simple circle with the Ellipse tool (Tip: Hold shift as you draw it out so it stays a perfect circle shape). Set the color to #E1CE92.

 magical vector background

Step 4: Make a copy of the circle (ctrl + C) and paste it in front (Ctrl + F).  Remove the fill color and set a stroke color to any color (we are going to expand in the next step).  Set the stroke weight to around 10 pt and the variable width profile to #1.

 magical vector background

Step 5: Go ahead and expand the stroke (Object > Expand Appearance). With the expanded stroke still selected, use the eye dropper tool (I) and click on the background so that the stroke has the same gradient colors.  Change the type of gradient from Radial to Linear.  Finally, change the Transparency to Overlay.

 magical vector background

Step 6: Lock this layer and create a new one UNDER the sun layer. Load up the Bokeh brushes by opening the Brush Palette (F5) and click on the menu > Open Brush Library > Other Library.  Navigate to where you saved the brushes and click to open.

 magical vector background

Step 7: Draw out a few lines around the sun and in the corners set the fill to nothing and the stroke color to #F5F5F5 and apply the brush titled “Round Bokeh” to the lines.  If the circles are too large, you can lower the stroke weight or adjust them through the brush menu by double clicking the brush in the Brush Panel (F5).

 magical vector background

Step 8: Change the transparency to “Soft Light” and lower the opacity to around 30%. Lock this layer and create a new one above it.

 magical vector background

Step 9:  This layer, we are going to draw out some swirly shapes.  Using the pen, pencil or brush tool (whichever you prefer) draw out a few swirly lines around your sun shape.  Set the stroke weight to 20 pt and the variable width profile to profile #1.

 magical vector background

Step 10:  Expand the strokes.  Set the fill color to the same background gradient and leave it Radial. Set the Transparency mode to soft light. You may also need to adjust the gradients with the Gradient tool (G).  Just click and drag with the Gradient tool so that the coloring of the lines is contrasting on the background. Basically, when working with the gradient for the line, you want the orange part of the gradient to overlay the blue part of the background gradient.

 magical vector background

Step 11: Create a new layer on top of this one.  Draw out some more swirly lines around where your thicker lines are.  These lines are going to be much thinner. Set the stroke to around 5pt with the same Variable Width Profile (#1). Set the color to #F5F5F5 with the Transparency mode at normal and lower the opacity to around 35%.  

 magical vector background

Step 12: Create a new layer above the Sun layer.  Create a circle set to the same color as the sun #E1CE92 and set the opacity to 0%.  Draw another much smaller circle inside this one and set the color to # F5F5F5. Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and set the Spacing to “Specified Step” and the number to 35. Click OK.  With both of the circles selected, Go to Object > Blend > Make

 magical vector background

Step 13: Make a few copies of this blend and place them around the sun and in the corners.

 magical vector background

Step 14: Create a new layer on top of the one you just made. With the stroke color set to # F9ECCA, make some lines that flow around your sun and corner glows and apply the “small sparkle with glow” brush to them.  I lowered the stroke to .75 and set the Transparency to overlay.

 magical vector background

Step 15: Create another layer on top of this one.  Using the “Tiny spots” brush and the stroke color set to # F8ECCA draw some more lines around to add to the sparkle.  Set the transparency to Overly at 50%.

 magical vector background

Step 16: I want to break up the background a little more, so I create a new layer directly above the background layer and draw a few lines with the stroke color set to #F5F5F5, set the transparency to Overlay at 20% and apply the “Half Blur” brush.

 magical vector background

Step 17: If you want, you can roughen up the border a little by applying your favorite grunge brush, or you can create your own.  To create your own rough border, you can draw out a short rectangle shape across the top of your artboard and set the color to the same we used for the border # F2E6C9. 

 magical vector background

Step 18: With the rectangle still selected, go to Effect > Distort and Transform > Roughen. Lower the Size to 1% and the detail to around 35/in. Click OK.

 magical vector background

Step 19:  Now to go Effect > Distort and Transform > Tweak.  Change the Horizontal to around 13% and vertical to 4%. Click OK. 

 magical vector background

Step 20: Make a copy of this rectangle and drag it to the bottom of the artboard.  Make another copy and rotate it for either side of the artboard as well.

 magical vector background

Step 21:  Now we are going to clean up the parts that hang off the artboard with Clipping Masks.  This is very easy to do.  Select the very first background rectangle that we drew (it is the one that takes up the full artboard) and make a copy.

 magical vector background

Step 22:  For each layer where you have elements hanging off the side, you are going to paste the background rectangle on to that layer.  When you paste, you will want to make sure you “paste in front” Ctrl +F so that it is covering up all of the elements.  Select the pasted front rectangle along with all the other elements in the layer and to go Object > Clipping Mask > Make.

 magical vector background

Step 23:  Work your way through each layer and apply a clipping mask.  This will allow you to come back to the file later and make changes if you want.  If you are just outputting to a raster format or don’t care about the bits outside the artboard, you don’t have to create the clipping masks.  It is just a good way to crop the image without losing the ability to edit the layers.

 magical vector background

And… we are done!  Hope you enjoyed.

 Vector Background

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