How to Create Vintage Vector Light Rays in Illustrator
Ornate Vintage Decoration For Typography
With this tutorial you will be guided step by step through the process of creating unique vector light rays in Illustrator. This vintage style effect is perfect for embellishing and adding visual impact to typography. We will creating the light rays first, and then integrate the text, and finally add some finishing touches.
Begin by opening Illustrator and creating a new document. 800 x 600 px will be large enough for the artboard, and the Color Mode should be RGB.
Create 2 new guides by dragging from the rulers (CMD/CTRL+R to display rulers) and place them so that they overlap in the center of the document, this will be 400 px horizontal and 300 px vertical.
Draw a new line segment above the horizontal guide and along the vertical guide, it should be approximately 200 px high. The stroke color should be black and the weight of the stroke 3 pt, also select the rounded cap option.
Duplicate the line and make each line a different height with a small space between them, the combined height should be close to 200 px but it isn't too important. Duplicate the lines again and move them over to the side a little, then create another variation. Repeat this until you have 4 lines which are broken into 2-3 segments each. Don't worry if the results look messy, the lines are supposed to look random.
Use the screenshot below to better understand this step.
Move 3 of the lines over to the edge of the canvas out of the way, and just leave the first line. The first line should still be aligned with the vertical guide.
Highlight the line and select the Rotate tool (R), then hold down the Alt key and click the center of the canvas where the guides intersect. In the dialog box that appears you can enter the angle to rotate the line. If you don't know the exact angle you need, Illustrator can do some simple maths for you. A full circle is 360 degrees, so we start with 360 and divide it by the amount of steps it would take for this shape to arrive back at its original position. In this example the amount of steps is 9, so enter the formula 360/9
and click Copy
Press CMD/CTRL + D to repeat the last step until you have 9 lines. (if the lines are just moving and not duplicating, make sure you clicked Copy
in the last step.
Grab the next line from the edge of the canvas and move it over to the vertical guide. We want to repeat the last 2 steps with this line, but if we do that right now the line will end up in the exact same position as the first line. So first we need to offset it slightly. Select the Rotate tool and Alt click in the center of the canvas enter 10 degrees and click OK
A full circle has 360 degrees and we want to divide that by 9, this gives us 40 degrees. We have 4 lines that each need to be within those 40 degrees. 40 divided by 4 is 10, so each line needs to be offset 10 degrees from the previous. The first line isn't offset, the second is offset by 10, the third will be offset 10 plus another 10, which is 20. And finally the fourth will be offset another 10 on top of that which is 30.
Repeat steps 6 and 7.
Grab the next line from the edge of the canvas and move it over to the vertical guide. Select the Rotate tool and Alt click in the center of the canvas enter 20 degrees and click OK
Repeat steps 6 and 7.
Grab the next line from the edge of the canvas and move it over to the vertical guide. Select the Rotate tool and Alt click in the center of the canvas enter 30 degrees and click OK
Repeat steps 6 and 7.
Select all of the line segments and group them (CMD/CTRL + G). To create a more hand drawn appearance apply the Roughen effect (Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen) with 0.5% size, 10/in detail, and smooth points.
To make the radial shape look a little less uniform, rotate it by about 5 degrees, so that it is no longer aligned to the guides. You can also hide the guides now as they won't be needed again.
Type your text and lay it out on top of the radial shape how you want it, I am using the font Frente H1
for this tutorial.
Draw two white rectangles above the radial shape but below the text to partially hide the line segments behind the text.
Use the Pathfinder window to Unite
the two white rectangles.
Select the radial shape and the combined rectangles, then use the Pathfinder window to Trim
the radial shape.
Delete the remnants of the combined rectangles and any small parts of the radial shape.
Select any line segments which now have flat edges and with the Direct Selection Tool active, increase the Live Corners value to 1.5 or as high as it will allow. If your version of Illustrator doesn't have the Live Corners feature you can use Effect > Stylize > Round Corners..
Draw a large rectangle that fills the whole canvas and place it below all other layers. Fill it with a dark background color (#2B2630).
Select all layers except for the background layer and set the fill to white.
To finish up we can also add some noise, grab one of the transparent .png files from this free resource: Dust & Dirt Overlay Textures
and place it onto your canvas.
Use the Image Trace feature in Illustrator to vectorize the texture, the Silhouettes preset is perfect for this. Click Expand
to confirm the trace.
Adjust the size and position of the dust texture to fill the canvas. Set the fill to white and lower the transparency to 25%.
And here is the final result. You can make your vintage sun rays really unique by playing around with the amount of lines used or creating variations in height and stroke weight. This tutorial has covered various techniques including the Rotate tool, applying subtle Effects, Pathfinder operations and even some basic maths!
Vintage Light Ray Vectors
This pack contains 16 vintage vector light rays with a hand drawn, sketched effect. These completely scalable sun burst graphics are ideal for decorating and adding retro ornaments to your designs.Download
Dust & Dirt Overlay Textures
A collection of 8 authentic dust and dirt textures. They were created by sprinkling specs of dust, dirt and loose fibres on a flatbed scanner and scanning them. They are included as high resolution inverted white on black jpg images, and transparent .png textures.Download