graphicxtras.com > Illustrator graphic styles > How to create spherical designs using Illustrator graphic styles tutorial
Above, a gradient filled path on an orange background
It is very easy to create a spherical path using the Illustrator graphic styles and with the appearance setup, you can always re-apply the effect over and over to a round path (it doesn't work so well with objects that are square or type etc) - you don't have to re-create the effect by hand each and every time. Re-usability is one of the key features.
The design is set to a radial setting
1) Create or select a round path
2) Double click the gradient tool - this displays the panel
3) Select a tile - this fills the current selected path
4) Set type to radial type
5) Position the center point by selecting and moving the bar
6) Set the first stop (left) to white or light color - creating a highlight
7) Set the last or end stop to a darker color - creates the shadow for the sphere
8) Set the middle stops as required - gives the overall color to the sphere
9) Display the graphic style panel and then select the right side menu 'new graphic style'
10) Save this Illustrator graphic style (spherical style)
Below, two combined to create a much deeper appearance
Adding in additional stops below to make the whole thing even deeper / richer
Two highlights can be added to the effect by changing the blending mode of the gradient to screen. Go to the appearance palette and then then select the fill and then duplicate via the right side menu. Go to the fill higher up and change the opacity / blending mode to screen. More than two highlights can be added - though the more you add, the less of the actual color of the sphere you see
The sphere gradient style can be applied multiple times to circles etc. The result can be exported to other apps such as Photoshop by copying the artwork to the pasteboard and then to Photoshop or perhaps using the CC libraries.
You can also combine the result of the gradients and use transformations which are also live effects and can be altered to make spirals, circular artwork and much more. Use the effect menu and the distort and transform and transform command. Set the number of copies as well as set the scale and shift etc to achieve different results with the gradients (remember to set the preview to ON)
You can use blending modes of the objects to combine the artworks in all kinds of ways to create some truly abstract designs. Below, spheres but with a lighten blending mode to 'blend' all the gradients together.
After all of that, you can just go to the styles panel and then define the spheres as one and then you can just select any round path and just re-apply the whole complex (or basic) thing to that path. Really quick and easy and very effective and the results can also be exported to Photoshop etc (as with all the pics above)
You find the gradient swatches available on this site of interest and use