Create Lightsaber Vectors in Adobe Illustrator

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS5 – CC
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Topics Covered: blend objects, blending modes and gradient fills
  • Estimated Completion Time: 45 minutes

Final Image

Lightsaber vectors crossed

Step 1

To begin our Light Swords vector tutorial, start Adobe Illustrator, and then go to the File> New…. In the opened dialog box choose the RGB color mode for our illustration.
Illustrator Color Mode
Create a rectangle with the help of the Rectangle Tool (M), the size of which corresponds to the size of an artboard. Fill the rectangle with a radial gradient from dark blue to black color.
Rectangle Tool
This object will serve as a background for the illustration and allow us to pick the right colors in the process of creating light swords.

Step 2

Proceed to the creation of the plasma blade of the first sword. Take the Line Tool (\) and holding down Shift, create a vertical straight line segment with a black stroke (R = 0, G = 0, B = 0) and without a fill. Set the width of 44px and tick Round Cap option in the Stroke panel.

Line Tool for Plasma Blade

Duplicate the straight-line segment (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + F). Set 2px stroke width and blue color (R = 0, G = 7, B = 105) for the new object.

Straight Line Duplication

Select both straight-line segments and create the blend object (Opt / Alt + Cmd / Ctrl + B).

Blend object
Select the black stroke in the blend object (it is convenient to do so in the Layers panel) and set the 0% Opacity in the Transparency panel.
Set opacity
Select the entire blend object and use Screen blending mode in the Transparency panel.
screen blending mode

Step 3

Duplicate the blend object (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + F) and apply the Normal blending mode to it
duplicate blend object
Decrease black stroke width down to 29px and recolor it with blue color (R = 4, G = 42, B = 107).
recolor stroke
Recolor the stroke of the upper path of this blend object with light blue color (R = 59, G = 109, B = 255).
recolor upper path

Step 4

Duplicate the upper blend object (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + F). For the lower path of this blend object set 8px for Stroke width and recolor it with blue (R = 54, G = 141, B = 255).
duplicate the upper blend object
Recolor the upper path with light blue color (R = 237, G = 245, B = 255).
Recolor the upper path
Select and group up all three blend objects (Cmd / Ctrl + G).

Step 5

Select the group, then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. As a result of this action stroke paths have converted to filled objects.
convert paths to filled objects
Now go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp…. In the Warp Options dialog box, select the Arc Style and set -5% for the Horizontal Bend.
warp object

Step 6

Proceed to the creation of the handle of the sword. Create two horizontal straight-line segments using the Line Tool (\) at a certain distance from each other. Apply to these paths 6px wide stroke of any color and turn on the Round Cap option in the Stroke panel.

Select these paths and create a blend object (Opt / Alt + Cmd / Ctrl + B).
blend options, smooth color
Create two more horizontal straight-line segments at the top and bottom of the handle as shown in the picture below.
straight line segments on handle

Step 7

Select all the objects of the handle, then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke and fill obtained objects with vertical linear gradient, which consists of two black (on the edges) and one white (in the center) slider.
vertical linear gradient fill
Group up all the elements of the handle (Cmd / Ctrl + G). Duplicate the handle (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + F), fill its objects with horizontal linear gradient, which consists of various shades of blue, like the one shown in the picture below. Apply to the upper group the Multiply blending mode in the Transparency panel.
group objects and blue horozontal linear gradient
Blue sword is ready, duplicate it and recolor blue colors of the copy with red shades. Although this manual work will take some time, but you will surely get better result than the result after applying the Recolor Artwork feature (Edit > Edit Color > Recolor Artwork …).
duplicate and recolor

Step 8

Before crossing the swords, select their plasma blades and go to Object > Expand …, choose the Objects option in the dialog box.
expand object
Now turn swords into meeting each other at an angle equal to 45 degrees.
rotate objects

Step 9

In place of swords crossing create a circle using the Ellipse Tool and fill it with a radial gradient from white to black.
ellipse tool radial gradient
Apply to the circle the Color Dodge blending mode in the Transparency panel.
color dodge blending mode

Step 10

Take the Flare Tool and click at the place of swords crossing. In the opened dialog box, turn off the Rings option, and pick parameters for Rays option.
flare tool without rings, with rays
Select the Flare object, then go to Object > Expand… and tick Objects option in dialog box.
expand flare object
Delete all the options leaving only the divergent rays.
delete leaving rays

Step 11

Increase the Opacity of the rays up to 20% in the Transparency panel.
increase opacity of rays
Now apply the radial gradient from white to black to the strokes of the rays.
apply radial gradient
Here is how it should look. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.
final image

laroslav Lazunov

Iaroslav Lazunov is a graphic designer from Ukraine. He loves sharing his knowledge and experimenting with tutorials. You can follow him on Twitter or on his blog, Vectorboom.


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