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Developing a Free and Easy Inkscape Glass Ball: A Simple Graphic Design School Type Vector Image Tutorial

The original glass ball comprised of just two objects and was quite basic in its appearance, but it can made more convincing with some minor tweaks.

Add a Drop Shadow

The Designer duplicates the ball by selecting it and going to Edit > Copy and then Edit > Paste. This new ball will become a shadow below the main ball and so needs to be squashed into an ellipse by selecting it and dragging the vertical arrow just above the ball downwards. If the arrow is horizontal, the Designer needs to click on the ball again to change it to a vertical one. The object is then placed underneath the original ball.

If the Fill and Stroke palette isn’t open, the Designer goes to Object > Fill and Stroke. With the new ball selected, the blur slider at the bottom of the palette can be dragged to the right a little and the opacity slider quite a way to the left, until the Designer is happy with the appearance of the drop shadow.

Add an Internal Shadow

Adding a drop shadow helps to give a greater feeling of depth to the graphic and this can be further enhanced by adding an internal shadow effect.

The Designer needs to draw a circle on top of the glass ball, making it a little smaller than the ball itself. This then needs to be filled with a dark blue from the color swatch. A slightly flattened ellipse is then drawn on top of the blue circle so that just a crescent of the blue circle is visible below the ellipse. It makes things easier for the Designer if they fill the ellipse with a contrasting color,

When these two objects are placed correctly, the Designer clicks on the visible crescent of the blue circle and then, holding the Shift key, clicks on the ellipse on top of it, so selecting both objects. They now go to Path > Difference and the result is a blue crescent at the bottom of the glass ball.

By selecting the Gradient tool, the Designer can apply a blend from dark blue to transparent to the crescent, running from the bottom upwards.

The final step is to select the crescent and adjust the Blur and Opacity sliders at the bottom of the Fill and Stroke palette until the Designer is happy with the effect of this internal shadow.

This Graphic Design School type tutorial has shown how two very simple additions can make the basic glass ball appear visually more convincing. Once a Graphic Designer has learned and understood these techniques, they can apply them to many other different objects and use them in a wide variety of Graphic Design projects.

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