In this tutorial we use the pucker and roughen effects and some gradients to make a simple pine tree. Throw in some ornaments and you have a Christmas tree.
First start off by selecting the polygon tool. Left click on your canvas to create a polygon with a 20 px radius and 3 sides.
Set the fill color to a light green (I used R=57 G=181 B=74) and set the stroke to none. Next, select your triangle and hold down alt and left click and drag down to create a copy of your triangle. Holding down shift after you start alt-dragging will keep the new shape aligned with the previous one.
Double-click the scale tool and set it to uniform and 120% as shown.
Next open the gradient window and set the type to linear. Set the second color to a dark green (R=0 G=64 B=34) Adjust the angle to 90 degrees and set the gradient slider as shown.
Now we are going to copy this new triangle and alt-drag it down a bit to create a third triangle. Double click the scale tool again and scale the third triangle just as you scaled the second (uniform/120%). Repeat this one more time and you will have four progressively larger triangles as shown:
Click second triangle and select Object/Arrange/Send to back. Repeat this for the third and fourth triangles. Position your triangles until they are fairly evenly spaced as shown:
Now you have a modest, beginner-level tree, but we are going to kick it up a notch. With your selection tool select all 4 triangles. Next select Effects/Distort & Transform/Pucker & Bloat. Set it to -12 so the triangles are puckered a bit. Now we have a slightly swanky, albeit modest tree!
Next, with all four triangles selected, go to Effects/Distort & Transform/Roughen and set the size to 4 and the detail to 50.
Now our modest, beginner-level, slightly swanky tree has been kicked up a notch. You may need to adjust the gradient on the second though fourth triangles. The effect we are going for here is to create a bit of shadow below the each layer of branches:
The shadow gives it depth or “pop” as Mark Kistler would say.
Finally, our tree needs a stump. Select the rectangle tool and draw a stump. You don’t need any dimensions from me… just eye-ball it. Color it brown or open your swatch library and see if you have any gradients/wood. I used Black Walnut. Drag your trunk into place and use Object/Arrange/Send to back to make it look right.
If you want a Christmas tree, just add some ornaments: