In this tutorial we will learn how to create a vector diamond. Every diamond has a complex shape, especially when it comes to the largest and most beautiful diamond which is the Star of Africa. In order to simplify the upcoming work, use VectorScribe and DrawScribe plugins which really help when drawing geometric artwork. These are available as full 14 day trial downloads.
The Star of Africa
All the diamonds of the world cannot be compared with the huge stone that appeared to world in the “Premier” mine in South Africa. Originally it weighed 621 grams (3106 carats). This remarkable stone was presented to the British monarch King Edward VII on his birthday, November 9, 1907. After careful consideration, it was cut into several parts and each faceted. The largest of the resultant diamonds was named the Star of Africa. That is the one that adorns the Royal Scepter.
The Star of Africa, a tear shaped diamond has 74 facets, and is the largest diamond in the world. And today it was chosen to help commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations — 60 years since her ascent to the throne — with a tutorial showing how to draw this in vector.
After a brief digression into the history of diamonds, let’s proceed to the creation of its shape.
The geometry of the diamond is quite complicated, so I will simplify it a little bit, since we are illustrators, not stone cutters. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a circle.
Select the lowest point of the circle and move it vertically down, as it is shown in the picture below. By holding down the Shift key whilst dragging the point, you can ensure it’s a perfectly vertical movement.
The lowest point of the shape is smooth
Transform it into a corner point. If you are using in your work the plugins developed by the Astute Graphics, such transformation is done in a very simple way. You can double-click on this point, using the InkScribe Tool (DrawScribe plugin), or click on the appropriate buttons in the InkScribe panel or PathScribe panel (VectorScribe plugin)
You will not be able to make such transformations using the standard features of the Adobe Illustrator. For example, the convert selected anchor points to corner command will change the original shape and retract handles, as it is shown in the picture below.
We need to rotate the handles to the lowest point of the ellipse at the same angle. To do this, select the ends of the handles with the help of the Path Scribe Tool (VectorScribe plugin) and move them up achieving an absolutely symmetric shape
Proceed to the creation of the diamond faces. Create vertical and horizontal guides, which pass through the anchor points of the shape.
Take the Dynamic Shapes Tool (VectorScribe plugin), and holding down Shift, create a square from the center of the guides intersection. Three upper vertices of the square should touch the outline of the diamond shape.
The Dynamic Shapes Tool enables us to create shapes at a certain angle
Note: if the angle control is not present in your installation of the Dynamic Shapes panel, please upgrade to the latest version.
Create another horizontal guide which passes through the bottom part of the stone. Move the bottom vertex of the rectangle vertically down until it intersects with this guide.
Split the rhombus shape into individual segments. Select the shape, ensure all the points are selected, and click on split path in the PathScribe (VectorScribe plugin) panel button.
Now we need to divide the segments AB and BC into three equal parts each. To do this, use the script called Divide (length) that you can download here.
Select the segment AB, run the script and enter the required number of parts into the Script Prompt.
As a result we get two new points on this segment.
Using this method, divide the segment BC into three equal parts
With the help of InkScribe (part of DrawScribe) or the Pen Tool (P) create a line that consists of straight-line segments and passes through the points 1, 2 and 3
Then create a line that passes through the points 1, 4 and 5
Continue the lines so that they pass through the points A and B, as it is shown in the picture below
We already have enough points for further work. Create a new line consisting of straight-line segments; the points through which it must pass can be seen in the picture below.
Create two faces of diamond with the help of four new single straight line segments.
Copy the diamond shape and paste it in front.
Now split it into four curved segments using the PathScribe panel
With the help of the Divide (length) script divide AB and BC into four equal parts.
Now we need to create two lines which consist of straight-line segments and pass through the created points.
The geometry of the front of the diamond is ready. Proceed to the creation of the faces on its back.
Duplicate the shape of a diamond and create a vertical guide which will pass through the center of the new object.
With the help of the Dynamic Shapes Tool (VectorScribe plugin) create a nine-pointed star which center should be located at the intersection of the guides, as it is shown in the picture below.
The five upper points of the star touch the outer shape of the diamond. You can always change the angle of the star arms by starting to drag the corner points, and then holding down the Cmd / Ctrl.
Create lines coming from the center of the star and passing through its vertices, as it is shown in the picture below.
I use the InkScribe Tool (DrawScribe plugin) for this purposes. This tool has a very useful feature, Rubberband, which allows you to see the path in the process of its creation.
Move the star vertices, marked with the letters A and B, to the points of intersection of the horizontal guidel and the outer outline of the diamond.
Now move the inner vertices C and D vertically downward to match with straight-line segments.
Create two new horizontal guides.
Now move the star vertices as it is shown in the picture below
Select and delete the vertices E, F, G and H
Now create the last face on the back of the diamond
Fill both diamond shapes with a solid color.
Select all the created objects, and then click on the Divide button in the Pathfinder panel.
Now we have a set of objects that correspond to the diamond faces.
Group up both parts of the diamond separately, select both groups and align them relative to each other with the help of the Align panel.
Proceed to the diamond coloring. Light affects the color of the objects, so create a background that will determine the position of the light source and the color of the surroundings. Create a rectangle and fill it with a radial gradient from blue to black.
It is never an easy task to describe working with color. I can tell the exact variety of colors which I used in this work. But, I do not think it will teach you how to work with colors. The colors of objects are always chosen through trial and error method, and sometimes you have to go back a few steps back in order to achieve a good result. Instead, I’m going to show you the basic principles of working with color when coloring a diamond…
Turn off the visibility of the upper group which corresponds to front faces of the diamond in the Layers panel. Now fill diamond faces with multidirectional linear gradients which contain very different (very contrasting) shades of blue color. The transition of color should be sharp in some areas, so align the adjacent sliders in the Gradient Panel.
You should also use black and white colors in these gradients.
In order for an external light source to affect the color of the faces of the diamond, select all the groups and set the Screen Blending mode in the Transparency panel.
Now turn on the visibility of the group which corresponds to the front faces of the diamond in the Layers panel. Turn off the visibility of all facets of this group but the central one. Fill this face with a linear gradient, which contains of various shades of blue color, white and black. A few sliders of this gradient have different opacity.
Play with the angle of the gradient, colors and opacity of its sliders until you get a result that will satisfy you. It is more likely that you will need to reconfigure the gradients of the lower faces in the process of this work. Turning on the visibility of the front faces of the diamond, fill them with similar gradients.
You can experiment not only with the opacity sliders of the gradients, but also with the Blending mode of individual faces.
After filling all the faces, my diamond looks like this:
Create glares of light on the faces of the diamond with the help of circles that are filled with a radial gradient from gray to black color. Set the Color Dodge Blending mode for these objects.
For some of the glares use the intersecting ellipses, filled with elliptical radial gradient.
Highlight the bottom of the diamond. Create an ellipse; fill it with a radial gradient from white to black. Set the Screen Blending mode for this object and place it below all the objects of the diamond.
Create glares on the surface on which the diamond is located with the help of ellipses filled with elliptical radial gradient to which the Screen Blending and Color Dodge modes and different opacity are applied.
I created a glow under the diamond using two blend objects. The first one consists of blue and black ellipses. The black (larger) ellipse has 30% opacity
The second blend object has ellipses with the same properties, but the shape and size are different from the first blend object
I hope you will agree that the final artwork is definitely eye-catching! Don’t be deterred if you weren’t able to follow each individual step in this tutorial as it is fairly advanced, not helped by its precise geometric nature. However, a variety of techniques have been demonstrated that should assist you in a wide variety of creative work.
Several Illustrator plugins have been used in the tutorial, so in conclusion I would like to provide the links to where you can find detailed information about each.
Download the Star of Africa artwork
Click here for the Illustrator CS3/CS4 version (also PDF compatible)…
Click here for the Illustrator CS5 version (also PDF compatible)…