How To Make Smoke In Illustrator

Creating smoke can be a great way to add some cool effects to your project in Illustrator. However, it may not come so easily to beginners who are just coming to understand the basics of this digital art application. So, how do you make smoke in Illustrator?

Ensure that the shape you just created is on top, then click on it. Press the Object > Arrange > Bring to Front key (Command-Shift-Right Bracket) after that. Go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make With Top Object after selecting the path and the strokes (Command-Alt-C).

Keep reading below as we take you through these steps in more detail.

How to Make a Smoke Brush

The line tool, pen tool, envelope distort, and Transparency panel is all the tools you’ll be employing to create smoke. Although it’s not hard, it may be a little tricky, so pay close attention to the little things. Set the artboard backdrop color to black as you begin since we’ll be utilizing white to create the smoke.

Step 1: Start by drawing a straight line using the Line tool. The stroke weight should be 0.02 points, and the stroke color should be white.

Keep in mind that the smoke will appear softer the narrower the stroke.

Step 2: To access the Move options, double-click the Selection Tool. The vertical value ought to be 0, and the horizontal and distance values must be changed to 0.02 (the equivalent of the stroke weight).

Select Copy.

Step 3: To replicate the line, press and hold the Command (or Ctrl key for Windows users) and D keys. 

Step 4: Group the lines and reduce the opacity to roughly 20%.

Step 5: Finish the path by drawing a smoke form with several crossing points using the Pen tool. Set the fill color to white and get rid of the stroke color.

Step 6: With the lines and the form selected, select Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top object from the upper menu.

You have now produced a vector of smoke. Create a brush out of it next.

Step 7: Move this vector smoke into the Brushes panel after opening it. Set the colorization technique to Tints and Shades after selecting Art Brush.

You may give your smokey brush a name or alter its orientation.

We are now finished. Test it out to see how it appears.

How to Create Smoke Effect

To produce vector smoke, you may use the envelope distort and mix tools, or you could just blend in a raster picture to achieve the same effect. Read on for instructions on the two different smoke effects.

For more information on how to create a smoke effect in Illustrator, watch this video below:


You can create and add a smoke effect by using the smoke brush demonstrated in the abovementioned steps because it is already a vector. And it is one method for creating vector smoke. But let’s also check out another method for producing vector smoke that uses the mixing tool.

Step 1: Using the pen tool, draw two wavy lines overlapping. Stroke weight should be changed to 0.05 or less. The lines appear more lifelike when they are narrower.

Step 2: Click both lines, then select Object > Blend > Make from the upper menu.

As you will see, it doesn’t appear very realistic because there is too much space between the pathways.

Step 3: Switch the Spacing to Specified Steps and raise the number of steps by going to Object > Blend > Blend Options.

As you make adjustments, use the Preview box to view how it appears.

And we are now done! Although it doesn’t have the same realistic appearance as a smoke brush, you may change the opacity or blending mode to make it work with your design.


Although Photoshop should be used for this, because only some have access to it, we’ll demonstrate how to create a smoke effect with Adobe Illustrator.

Step 1: Locate a smoke- or cloud-containing picture and insert it into Adobe Illustrator.

For better blending, look for a picture with a backdrop color close to yours. If not, you may need to create a clipping mask to eliminate the backdrop.

Step 2: Reposition and resize the smoke/cloud picture to match the original image where the smoke should appear. To view the position, reduce the opacity.

Step 3: From the Appearance panel, choose the smoke picture and adjust the Blending Mode. You may select the blending mode by clicking Opacity.

For the best outcome, you may also experiment with the opacity.


Adobe Illustrator can create smoke effects, and a benefit is that the vector smoke may be edited. The blend tool approach is the quickest way to do it, but the outcome is less realistic than what Envelope Distort produces. It ultimately depends on the type of project you’re working on. It’s beneficial to have a variety of smoke for various purposes.