Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

March 16 2012

07:04

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: Creating a Tattered Parchment


  

Today, in this all new Adobe Illustrator tutorial, we will be learning how to create a very popular illustration; old tattered parchment. There are many beautiful illustrations that seem to be complicated to create, but they are actually not. This is the main purpose of this tutorial, to show you how easily some of these can be achieved. We will deform some basic shapes and objects, combine them, and perfectly complete the whole illustration with some decorative elements and gradients.

This is what we will be creating.

Setting Up the Elements for the Basic Shape

We will start with some simple rectangles. Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tool Panel and create rectangles as shown in the picture below. Just make sure to create the lower rectangle slightly larger than the upper.

Now we need to distort the rectangles a little bit. To do that we will need a few extra anchor points. Grab the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) from the Tool Panel and add anchor points in the middle of each rectangle.

Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel, select the each individual anchor points (we have just added) and nudge them towards center, as shown below.

With the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) try to make new corners less sharp. Just click on the anchor point and drag its handle downwards (or to the right, depending on which anchor point you are editing). You should end up with something like this.

You will notice that some parts of the rectangles have changed position. Make sure to correct all the flaws that may cause any problems with the smoothness.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create ellipses as pictured below. Make sure to match the edges properly.

Now we will make some adjustments to the ellipses we have just created. The point is to create the effect of rolled up parchment on the ends.

First select the lower parts of the illustration (the purple shape with two green ellipses) and bring them to the Front (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + ]). This way it will look like the upper part of the parchment is folded back and the lower part is rolled up the front.

Now select the upper part of the illustration (the red shape and two ellipses) and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button. It will turn the shapes into one object. Make sure the new object stays behind the yellow shape.

Lets adjust the upper part of the yellow shape. We have to make both shapes (green and yellow) look connected. To do this we will need the Direct Selection Tool (A) again. Select it in the Tool Panel and select the left upper anchor point. We will move it to the left (where the green shape starts to curve).

As you can see, we didn’t accomplish all we needed with previous step. We will try harder to make it look like rolled up parchment. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the lower part of the handle and place it as shown in the picture below. This will give the impression of rolled effect we were looking for.

Repeat the previous step for the right side of the illustration as well.

You should end up with something like this.

Now it’s time to adjust lower part of the illustration.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) both green ellipses. Select the purple shape and the copy of the green ellipse on the left, then under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button.

Now we have one green ellipse left on each side. Remove the Fill color and set the Stroke color to any color you wish (color is not important).

Now we need to remove some anchor points. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select two anchor points and remove them by hitting the Delete key on your keyboard.

You should end up with something like this.

Repeat the previous step for the ellipse on the right side as well.

Now we need to connect the paths on both sides and use them to create a new shape. To do that grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and just click on the end points of those paths.

Remove the Stroke color and set the Fill color to any solid color. Grab the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) from the Tool Panel and add the anchor point to the new shape as it’s shown below.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) grab the new anchor point and move it downwards, in order to hide the unwanted part of the green shape.

Basically, this is the shape of our parchment. Feel free to play around with position of the anchor points, add new ones or remove some (if needed). You might improve the look.

Creating the Rips

We are moving on on the next step, creating the rips in the sides of the parchment. We will need to create small shapes that we will be using to cut from the parchment in several places. The creation process is quite simple. Grab the Arc Tool from the Tool Panel and click somewhere on the Artboard. The Arc Segment Tool Options window will popup.

Leave all settings at the default and hit the OK button. This way we have created a curved path. Make sure to set the Stroke color (to any color you like), and the value for stroke to 10 pt. We will also have to change the shape of the stroke. Under the Stroke Panel (if the Stroke Panel isn’t visible you will find it under Window > Stroke) set the Profile to Width Profile 5. This way you can create different shapes. Just try to experiment with Stroke settings to get the look you want.

To be able to create the rips we will need to expand the Stroke we have just created. Select the arc, and under Object select Expand Appearance.

Place the new shape, we have just created, where the end just partially covers the edge of the parchment. Feel free to rotate it, if needed. Select the new shape and the yellow shape (parchment), and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. It will create a small rip.

Repeat this step a few times to create several more rips. Just place them randomly all over the folded parchment. You should end up with something like this.

Applying Gradients

Get ready to apply some nicely colored gradients to our folded parchment. We will combine linear and radial gradients in order to create a nice realistic look. So let’s get started.

For the largest part of the parchment we will be using a radial gradient. The radial gradient will help us create a nice color transition, especially in the upper segment. We will be using a large radius on the radial gradient in order to follow the shape of the page.

We will use similar gradients for the other parts of the illustration as well.

More on Page Two

As you can see we have made a nice improvement to the illustration, but there are some other things we can do to make it even better. The rest of the tutorial is over on page two.

February 14 2012

09:05

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: Be My Valentine


  

Valentine’s Day, the most romantic holiday of the year is upon us. So why not take the opportunity to learn how to create a romantic gift box in AI. In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial we will be learning how to create a heart shaped gift box by using a few basic tools such as the Ellipse Tool (L) and Pen Tool (P).

3D effect Extrude & Bevel will help us with the Perspective (which is a very important aspect of this tutorial). Beside that we will create a nice pattern that we will use as wrapping paper and fancy ribbon to complete our illustration.

So, let’s move from words to deeds. This is what we will be creating.

Creating the Heart

In this tutorial we will do everything from scratch. First thing we have to do is to create a nice heart. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a perfect circle (hold the Shift key on the keyboard for the even shape).

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the circle and nudge it to the right, as shown in the picture below.

Select both circles and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button. It will turn both circles into one object.

Now grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel and select the lower middle anchor point. Hold the Shift key on the keyboard and drag that anchor point downwards.

With the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) click on that anchor point in order to create a sharp corner.

With Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) we will now remove two anchor points.

You should end up with something like this.

As you can see, this isn’t a perfect heart. It seems a little bit edgy. Let fix that. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel. Click on the anchor point on the left side of the heart. Make sure to pull the end of the handle downwards (don’t forget to hold the Shift key on your keyboard while you’re doing this, for straight dragging).

You can see the difference between the left and right sides of the heart.

Repeat that step for the right side of the heart as well. You should end up with the perfect shape of the heart.

Feel free to adjust the position and the number of anchor points until you reach desirable look of the heart.

Creating the Wrapping Paper

In this part of the tutorial we will create a nice and simple pattern for our gift box. Select the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tool Panel and create a large rectangle. We will use it to create a symbol for the wrapping paper. The rectangle has to be large enough to cover all the parts of the gift box. Set the Fill color to any color you like, we will change the color in the final step anyway.

Now grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a small circle.

Duplicate the circle and move it to the right side of the rectangle. To do that hold the Alt / Opt key on your keyboard, click on the circle and drag it to the right side of the rectangle. Don’t forget to hold the Shift key on your keyboard for straight dragging. If this is too complicated for you, just duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the circle and move it to the right.

Select both circles and under Object select Blend > Make. It will create more circles in the middle.

To set the exact number of the circles select Object > Blend > Blend Options.

Set the Spacing to Specified Steps and the value to 15.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the row of circles and place the copy as is pictured below. Make sure to expand both rows (to turn them into an editable object). Just select Object > Expand.

Select both rows and under the Object select Blend > Make. It will create a few rows with circles in the middle. To set the exact number of the rows again select Object > Blend > Blend Options. Set the Spacing to Specified Steps and the value to 6.

Expand the circles again (Object > Expand). Select all the circles and duplicate them (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Place the copy as it is in the picture. Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) the circles. Select all the elements and under the Align Panel hit the Vertical and Horizontal Align Center.

Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) all the elements and drag them to the Symbol Panel. Set the name to Pattern and Type to Graphic. Then hit the OK button.

Now we have the wrapping paper for our gift box completed. So, let’s create the gift box now.

Creating the Shape of the Gift Box

First we will create the cover for the box.

Select the shape of the heart we created in the beginning of this tutorial. Under Effect select 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Make sure to check the Preview box to be able to monitor the changes.

Feel free to play around with the rotation of the box until you find the right angle and the position of the cover. Perspective is very important to the tutorial, so don’t forget to include it. For our purpose we will set the Perspective to 100. Feel free to adjust to your liking.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the heart and nudge it downwards, using the arrow key on your keyboard. We need to make sure to bring the upper heart to the front (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + ]).

As you can see, we are not expanding the hearts yet. We have to be able to adjust all 3D parameters if needed. Within the Appearance Panel (Window > Appearance) we can see which effects have been applied to our objects.

If you select one of the hearts and click on the 3D Extrude & Bevel link under the Appearance Panel you will open the Extrude & Bevel Options window and you will be able to adjust the look of the object.

So, let’s edit a little bit of our illustration.

Select the lower heart and open Extrude & Bevel Options window. We will have to increase the Extrude Depth in order to create the lower part of the gift box. Set the value for Extrude Depth to 80.

Make sure to upscale the upper heart (cover of the gift box) a little bit. You may have to adjust other settings as well, in order to achieve the right look for your gift box. You should end up with something like this.

Applying the Symbol of the Wrapping Paper to the Gift Box

If you are satisfied with the basic look of the gift box we can move on. Basically, we have two hearts with applied 3D effects. Now we will apply the symbol of the wrapping paper to each heart.

To apply the symbol to the 3D shape simply hit the Map Art button inside the Extrude & Bevel Options window. A new window will pop up. Switch between the surfaces to apply the pattern we created earlier.

When we are done with the cover it should look like this.

Repeat the previous step for the lower part of the gift box. You should end up with something like this.

More on Page Two

We are nearly halfway through the tutorial, but there are still some vital details to come. To complete the design, simply head on over to page two for the rest.

Sponsored post
feedback2020-admin
14:56
you are awesome!
Reposted bysirthomasbolton sirthomasbolton

February 01 2012

20:07

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: Creating a Disco Ball


  

Creating an illustration of a sparkling disco ball might seem very complicated, and with good reason. In this new Adobe Illustrator tutorial we will try make it simple. We will be creating a really nice, shiny disco ball using only AI and our good taste in color selection. Overall, the coloring will be a real challenge. So get ready to create a vector that will have you dancing in your chair.

This is what we will be creating.

Creating the Basic Shape of the Disco Ball

In this part of tutorial we will create the basic shape of the ball with small rectangles. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and just click on the Artboard. It will bring up the Ellipse Options box where we can set the dimension of the circle. Let’s set it to 200 x 200.

Now, grab the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tool Panel and click somewhere on the Artboard. It will bring up the Rectangle Options box. We will set the width to 400 pixels and the height to 200 pixels.

Now we have to divide our rectangle into small squares.  To do that, under Object click Rasterize. Leave everything at its default and hit the OK button.

Select Object again and then Create Object Mosaic.

Set the Tile Spacing to 1 and the Number of Tiles to 60 and 30.

This way we have created many small squares that we will apply to the Disco Ball later.

We have to make a small adjustment to the group of small squares. In the Layer Panel make sure to remove the last rectangle on the list. This way we’ll have only small squares.

Grab the group of the small squares and drag it to the Symbol Panel. Make sure to set the Type to Graphic and hit the OK button.

Now when we have the symbol of the squares we can remove it from the Artboard.

Now we have to prepare the circle we created in the beginning of this tutorial. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel and select the left anchor point on the circle. Hit the Delete button on your keyboard in order to remove it.

Under Effect select 3D > Revolve. Make sure to set the Surface to No Shading. This way we will avoid creating unnecessary parts of the ball.

Now is the time to apply our squares to the ball. To do that hit the Map Art button. A new window will pop up. In the Symbol drop down menu select the symbol of the squares.

You will notice that the squares don’t cover the whole surface of the ball. To fix that just hit the Scale to Fit button in the bottom of the window. It will stretch out our symbol and will cover the ball.

Feel free to change the rotation of the cube in the 3D Revolve Options window. This way we will change the rotation of the disco ball as well.

When you are satisfied with the basic look of the Disco Ball make sure to select Object > Expand. Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the ball (several times). You should end up with the Layer Panel like this.

You will notice that one of the layers contains the front side of the ball, the other layer contains back side of the ball, and the other two layers contain only round paths. Remove both paths and the back side of the ball. You should end up with something like this.

This is actually the look of the Disco Ball without the nice colors which will give our illustration the fancy look we desire.

Applying Color Gradients

This is the part of the tutorial where we will show off our ability to turn something very simple (our red ball with small squares) into a stunning illustration of a shiny disco ball. In theory, all we have to do to it is Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the ball and to change their Fill color to something more colorful. Sounds easy.

For the right look, we have to find the exact combination of colors which will create the impression of a three dimensional object (ball) and the shiny effects. This can be very tricky. Given that a disco ball is actually a ball with many small mirrors attached to the surface all with the ability to reflect light and we have to recreate this effect. What we will try in this tutorial is to make several groups of rectangles and change their Fill color with colors that will blend nicely. But let’s move from words to deeds.

As we said, Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the disco ball. Now, with the Selection Tool (V) select the rectangles as it’s shown in the pictures below (don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for multiple selections).

There are many rectangles that needs to be selected. It might be easier if you select the larger area at once and then holding the Shift key on your keyboard with Selection Tool (V) just deselect some rectangles.

Now, grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and click somewhere on the Artboard. In the Ellipse Options box set the dimensions to 200 x 200 (same as we did at the beginning) and hit the OK button. Send the new circle behind our disco ball (Shift + Ctrl . Cmd + [) and align it horizontally and vertically with the disco ball using the (Align Panel > Horizontal and Vertical Align Center).

Now we need to find a way to turn this boring illustration into a nice and fancy disco ball. Color gradients will help us to do that.

In this tutorial we will use a golden gradient, but feel free to use any color combination you like.

Apply the golden gradient to the circle behind the rectangles.

We will apply the same radial gradient to each part of the disco ball we’ve grouped. Make sure to use different angles when you are dragging the gradient with the Gradient Tool (G).

As you can see, we’ve made some improvements but we still need to work on details.

To emphasize the influence of the light we will set the Fill color for some rectangles to white (#FFFFFF). Feel free to use other colors as well, in order to reach the look you like. To be able to edit individual rectangles inside their groups, without ungrouping them, just enter the Isolation Mode that can be found under the right click.

Play around with colors, use different shades of the gradient until you create something you like.

To exit the Isolation Mode just click on the bar at the top of the window.

Our disco ball looks better now, but there is one more thing we can do to improve it. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a circle. Apply a radial gradient to the circle, as is shown below. Just make sure to set the Opacity of the white color on the left side of the slider to 0%.

Make a few copies (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + V) of the circle and place them on some of the white rectangles on the disco ball. It will create a nice glow around the sparkling mirrors.

Next Page to Continue

Almost there, but not quite done. Read more here to add the rest of the finishing touches!

January 05 2012

09:09

40+ Fresh And Useful Adobe Illustrator Tutorials


  

Tutorials are one of the best ways to learn and practice new tricks using Illustrator’s various tools. Learning through a step-by-step AI tutorial not only assists you in twisting the tools, but will also let you learn how to combine them in order to generate innovative and compound vector artwork, icons, and more.

In today’s post, we are presenting a collection of some valuable step by step Adobe Illustrator tutorials. These learning tools have been compiled to help guide you through the process of using this powerful program more efficiently. All the tutorials presented in this showcase have been created by some astute members of the graphic design community; therefore you will definitely be doing yourself a favor by checking out this collection.

Let us take a close look at the tuts. Feel free to share your opinion via the comment section below, and do let us know if we have missed out on any great Illustrator tutorials that you tend to turn to for enhancing your skills.

The Tutorials

Create a Burning, Vector Match Using Gradient Meshes
In this tutorial you will learn how to generate pragmatic vector fire, via the Gradient Mesh Tool and Screen Blending mode. Not as difficult a tutorial as you might think. Let’s strike a match!

Screenshot

How to Make a Classic Air Mail Envelope with Adobe Illustrator
In this tutorial Ryan shows us how to create a classic air mail envelope in Adobe Illustrator, using simple shapes, effects, and gradients.

Screenshot

How to Create a Vector Snake Using Adobe Illustrator CS5 and Mesh Tormentor
In this tutorial we will find out how to create a vector snake using the Mesh Tormentor – a free Gradient Mesh plugin, which will make your work with the gradient mesh easy and pleasurable.

Screenshot

How to Create a Vector Radiator Artwork
In this detailed tutorial you will use 3D-rendering, blends, as well as other tools and techniques for creating an oil filled, vector radiator. The skills you will learn here can easily be transferred to other creations and projects. So let’s get started!

Screenshot

How to Illustrate a Tomato Using Adobe Illustrator
You will employ meshes, gradients and blends for producing the resulted picture. The techniques learned in this tutorial will come in handy far beyond this creation alone. So let’s get started!

Screenshot

Basics of the Mesh Tool in Illustrator
In this tutorial we’re going to find out about Illustrator’s mesh tool. We’re going to build a Super Mario-style mushroom so as to better comprehend how to use this tool by means of a real life example.

Screenshot

How to Draw a Vector, Music Folder Icon
Here, you can learn how to draw a music folder icon in Illustrator. In this tutorial, you will learn how to use the 3D revolve tool and extrude & bevel effects. They are put into use all through the complete workflow, starting from shaping a 3D folder by means of a single path and finishing with all the bright lustrous musical notes.

Screenshot

How To Design a Print Ready Die-Cut Business Card
Want a new set of business cards? Follow this step by step tutorial to learn how to produce a cool business card design in Adobe Illustrator.

Screenshot

How to Illustrate a Vector Kitchen Pot
In this thorough tutorial you will study how to illustrate a standard, everyday household utensil, a cooking pot.

Screenshot

How to Create Advertising Billboard Using Adobe Illustrator
Create an advertising billboard by means of 3D modeling and a small amount of other simple techniques; for example shape building with the pathfinder palette, defining the vanishing point by means of using the guides, filling an object through gradients and using the blend tool.

Screenshot

Creating a Realistic Curtain
In this tutorial, you will learn to create realistic looking illustrations with the mesh tool. You can use this to create an interesting damask style curtain as it shows you how to give the piece the illusion of the silk accompanied by a nice floral design.

Screenshot

How to Turn a Photo into Vector Artwork
In this Adobe Illustrator tutorial, we’ll construct a vector illustration of a high-heeled shoe by tracing a reference photo using the pen tool.

Screenshot

Create a Steel, Vector Power Button Set
This tutorial will walk you through creating a set of steel looking power buttons in simple easy to follow steps.

Screenshot

Create a Cute Robot Using Adobe Illustrator
There are several reasons why Adobe Illustrator is an exceptional application for producing icons. The same components can be applied as building blocks to ensure uniformity and expedite your workflow. This tutorial is filled with a variety of techniques, from fundamental shape-building to more intricate lighting effects.

Screenshot

How to Make an iOS Style Mobile Navigation Bar
This tutorial will teach you how to recreate the navigation bar of an iOS mobile device complete with icons. This plain, easy to follow tutorial is great for a novice to intermediate level user. Let’s get started!

Screenshot

How To Create a Cubist Style Logo Design in Illustrator
Create a cubist-esque design perfect for logos using Illustrator and learn how you can incorporate lots of detailed vector facets in it. This tutorial explains the whole process of logo designing right from the initial sketches to finishing off the final design.

Screenshot

Create a Detailed Toilet Plunger Illustration
In the following tutorial you will employ essential shape building techniques, together with advanced Illustrator tools, to create the best plunger artwork you’ve ever made. By using these techniques you’ll become skilled at making several household tools to boot.

Screenshot

Create a Simple Vector Ninja Character in Illustrator
In order to create your very own set of awesome vector ninjas, you can follow this simple Illustrator tutorial. You will learn how to make the designs from basic shapes by using Illustrator’s core tools.

Screenshot

How to Create a Simple Web Button Set Using the Appearance Panel
In the following tutorial you will learn how to generate your own set of web buttons using Adobe Illustrator that can come in handy for any of your web design projects. Let’s get started!

Screenshot

Make a Fun Holiday Reindeer Illustration
This tutorial covers illustration style, color choice, shading and touches on typography. The procedure of adapting your illustration throughout the creation is also covered. This tutorial is created by Jesse Hora and Darrin Higgins.

Screenshot

Easy Clock Icon in Illustrator
A very simple and easy to follow tutorial to show you how to create this slick looking clock icon in AI. This tutorial is perfect for the beginners as well as for the pros.

Screenshot

How to Create an Open Book with Illustrator’s 3D Extrude & Bevel Tool
In this tutorial, we’ll generate open pages with graphics and put in a crimped background. The book can be personalized by employing your own graphics to the pages.

Screenshot

How to Create a Watercolor Background Using Adobe Illustrator
In this tutorial, we will make a watercolor painted styled background by means of a gradient mesh, tools of deformation and blending modes. The techniques covered here permit the creation of intricate textural backgrounds in an easy and effective way.

Screenshot

Create Super Mario’s Head in Illustrator
In this tutorial the artist explains how to craft a Super Mario face using mostly plain and easy to create shapes.

Screenshot

Create a Garden Scene Using Brushes in Illustrator
Become skilled at how to create a magnificent garden scene in Illustrator. You’ll explore the depth of the appearance panel, and art and scatter brushes in this tutorial.

Screenshot

Magnifying Glass Tutorial for Adobe Illustrator
In this tutorial we will be learning how to create a simple magnifying glass in perspective with Illustrator. This process uses the pen tool and a few ellipses.

Screenshot

Create a Wireframe Face with the Envelope Distort Tool
In this comprehensive and methodical tutorial you will learn step-by-step how to produce a wireframe face in Illustrator using the envelope distort tool.

Screenshot

How to Cell Shade and Add Texture to a Vector Comic Character
This tutorial will demonstrate how to produce a cell shaded character in Adobe Illustrator. This is a quick technique applying the live paint bucket used for block coloring, the gradient tool to add depth and form, and masked blended shapes for texture.

Screenshot

Create a Vector Gift Box for Upcoming Christmas
Here we will be creating an eye-catching gift box in Adobe Illustrator. We are going to apply a few standard types of tools, for example, the rectangle tool, ellipse tool, extrude & bevel 3D effect and some pleasant colors to help us in this creation.

Screenshot

Create a Magical Vector Landscape Using Illustrator
In this extremely detailed and magical tutorial you will learn how to produce a fantasy landscape by means of some of Illustrator’s powerful tools.

Screenshot

How to Create a Vector Stamp Set in Illustrator
In the subsequent tutorial you will learn how to craft your very own set of vintage styled stamps with AI. Go through creating the stamp border, emphasizing the edges, generating the branding, and providing the vector postage stamp a vintage texture, to help complete the effect.

Screenshot

How To Create a Cute Hairy Vector Monster Character
Follow this step by step Illustrator tutorial to generate an attractive vector monster character. We’ll generate the character from fundamental shapes to furnish a cute and forthcoming appearance then we’ll bring the character to life with gradient colors and a meticulous fur effect.

Screenshot

How To Create a Gruesome Zombie Illustration
Follow this step by step Adobe Illustrator tutorial to craft a hand-drawn zombie illustration. We’ll make use of a photograph as a critical reference then bring into play our Wacom tablet together with Illustrator’s vector brush tools to put together a range of gruesome components on our zombie character.

Screenshot

Create a Macbook Pro Illustration Leftside View
In the following tutorial you will gain knowledge that will teach you how to generate a semi-realistic looking MacBook Pro illustration. This is the left side view of the product.

Screenshot

Create a Simple Penguin Character
In the following tutorial the artist will demonstrate how to generate a plain little penguin character. The twenty-seven comprehensive steps will set up the fundamental tools and shape building techniques needed. Once you’ve created the starting paths, you will insert some basic colors and effects. At last, you will learn some fundamental stuff about the blending techniques.

Screenshot

A Complete Guide to Drawing Evil Vector Skulls in Illustrator
This tutorial will teach you how to pencil in evil looking skulls with ease, as well as learn a little anatomy along the way.

Screenshot

Create a Cocktail Glass in Adobe Illustrator
In this very comprehensive tutorial we will learn how to produce a cocktail glass with a multi-colored drink and fancy ornamentation. Producing a glass object can be a challenge seeing as there are only few colors you’re allowed to employ, frequently white, light blue and light gray.

Screenshot

Create a Sale Tag Icon with Adobe Illustrator
In this tutorial, we will be learning how to produce a smart looking sale tag in Adobe Illustrator. This tutorial will show you how to reproduce the look of a folded corner of the paper by using plain color gradients.

Screenshot

How to Create a Rainbow Beetle Using Adobe Illustrator
Here you will learn how to use some basics like the gradient tool, gradient mesh tool, art and scatter brushes, blend tool, and many other techniques to create a rainbow beetle.

Screenshot

How to Create a 3D Chart Using the Perspective Grid Tool and Adobe Illustrator CS5
The perspective grid is not extensively employed by designers. It’s a moderately powerful tool, although not truly a suitable one. Let’s learn how to make use of it on this simple example of the construction of a three dimensional chart.

Screenshot

How to Create an Illustration of Stylish Club Shades Using Adobe Illustrator
In this tutorial we will learn how to create club shades via simple and wide-ranging techniques. To create dramatic reflections from the lights of the discotheque club, we will make use of different blending modes. The tutorial contains lots of professional tips and techniques.

Screenshot

Create Vector Whiskey on the Rocks Using Adobe Illustrator CS5
In this complete and handy tutorial you will learn how to craft a vector glass of whiskey on the rocks by means of Adobe Illustrator CS5.

Screenshot

Make a Worm in Illustrator
In this throwback tutorial the artist demonstrates some quick tips on how to make an effortless but efficient vector illustration inspired by the classic video game, Worms.

Screenshot

Create a 50s Ad Poster in Illustrator
This tutorial will teach you how to make a retro looking poster for a web designer that gives off the impression that it was crafted in the 50’s.

Screenshot

(rb)

December 13 2011

15:14

Mixing Up Illustration: Combining Analog And Digital Techniques





 



 


In the digital age, don’t forget to use your digits! Your hands are the original digital devices

Lynda Barry

People often ask how I arrived at a finished illustration. Honestly, it’s different every time, but it always starts with a hand-drawn sketch. Sometimes, I paint it completely by hand; sometimes I’ll scan in a pencil drawing. Many of my pieces are 100% analog that I’ll show only at shops or galleries. Use anything you can; if the illustration would work as a wood carving, go that route. There are concrete steps one can take, but they certainly don’t have to be the same every time. My goal is to take a sketch or idea as far as it can go — and also, to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself with every new job. For this article, I’ll use handcrafted brushes and Photoshop as my tools.

Sketching It Out

Concepting for me always starts with pencil and paper. If there is one consistent element through all of my pieces, it’s sketching. I love to draw. If I could establish and execute everything with a single pencil drawing, I would. The best thing to do is keep some type of sketchbook or journal with you as much as possible. Milton Glaser said it best: “Drawing is visual thinking.” Drawing creates many possibilities for any idea you might have. It’s then when the character’s personality starts to emerge. Then, I’ll add some volume to the sketch to show where the textures should really come through.

Sketch It Out

Researching

This is the most underestimated part of the process, but one of the most important. Here, we’re assessing the sketch. What textures would work? What colors would work? It helps to look at your influences.

Some artists who always inspire me are Mary Blair, Alice Provensen, Charley Harper, Maurice Noble and Eyvind Earle. And there are so many ways now to catalog and bookmark historical artwork.

Also, if I’m drawing an elephant’s skin, or wood on a camera, or a band on a helmet, I’ll want to take a close look at the real thing. Google Images is quick, but if I have time I’ll run to the library. Sometimes I do this as soon as I have an idea. Really seeing what you’ll be working with helps.

Researching It image

Crafting Your Own Brushes

I do this because I want my brushes to be my own. Many great websites out there offer textured brushes for Photoshop. For me, the more unique these brushes, the better. Based on my sketch and research, I will have some idea of what I want to capture. I’ll use oil pastels, paint, paper towels, charcoal and anything else. It’s all about being resourceful — use everything. One more thing: when making brushes, the grittier the paper, the better. The more tooth it has, the more the marks will scan. It is for this reason alone I have to clean my scanner all the time.

Tools for Making Brushes

Crafting the Brushes

Pastel Marks on Paper for Brushes
Some rough crosshatching for the elephant’s skin, with an oil pastel on drawing paper.

Scanning It All In

Scan everything: the initial sketch, the textures, anything you’ve made to this point. I’ll keep anything that I don’t use at this point in a library, possibly to use for something else. I’ve set the scanner to 600 DPI at “Millions” of colors. If your scanner has a “Sharpen” setting, crank it to “High.” You can scan the sketches in black and white at 1200 DPI, or in grayscale since the brushes will be black and white. I’ve set the colors to “High” so that I can archive the files and use them for something else. Once everything has been scanned, let’s open the images in Photoshop.

Here is a scan of my original sketch. I scanned it in at 300 DPI because I will eventually be printing this piece.

Original Scan

Initial Brushes

Up the Levels

If you scan as black and white, you won’t need to worry about adjusting the levels. I’ve scanned in color, so I’ll increase the black and white values in Photoshop. The levels can be found in Images → Adjustments → Levels.

Defining Brushes In Photoshop

I recommend making each one of these brushes a separate file. For the resolution, you can go up to 2500 × 2500. It really depends on what the finished piece needs to be. For this exercise, I’ll select a portion of the scan and define a brush from it.

Selecting the Brush to Make

Define Brush in PS

From the menu drop-down, go to “Edit” and then “Define Brush.”

Name Selected Brush

Now that we have created a brush, we can name it. It will be added to our Brush palette.

Brush Added to the Palette

You can view the Brush palette by selecting the Brush tool. Look at the options toolbar, and you’ll see a thumbnail of the brush; you can pull this down to view the entire palette. From the menu arrow in the top right, you can save brushes you’ve created. Brushes are saved in Photoshop’s Presets/Brushes folder. You can also load brushes from this menu as well.

Selecting A Color Palette

Now that our brush set is in order, let’s start painting. For the color palette, I’ve researched my idols. Mary Blair and Alice Provensen are masters of color and shape. I always look at their use of color and design. Again, this is why research is so important. Study the people you admire, and analyze why you admire their work. I really like a somewhat muted palette, with some small areas of intense color. In my scanned sketch, I’ve added another layer and sampled the colors I’d like to use.

Color Palette

Making Shapes And Painting

Let’s go to the Paths menu and draw the shapes that we want to paint. From here, we create a “New Path” using the Pen tool, to define the shapes that we established in the sketch. So, let’s open the sketch that we scanned, select the Pen tool from the toolbar, and select “New Path” from the Path menu. Once the Path is saved, we use the Path tool (which is the Pen tool), and start tracing out our shapes. The image below shows all the paths I’ve created that I intend to paint.

Creating Paths

Let’s start by painting the shape that will be the background. From the toolbar, select the Path tool, and select a specific path.

Selecting an Individual path

Now that we’ve selected a Path, we can create a selection from that path. To do this, select from the pull-down menu on the right in the Paths menu. You’ll see an option named “Make Selection.”

Make Selection from Path

Once that’s selected, a dialog box will pop up asking for a radius to feather the selection; 0 is fine. Also, enable “Anti-aliased” and “New Selection.”

Make Selection from Path

Now that we have a selection, we can “Create a New Layer.” This layer will be specific to this shape. We’ll end up with many layers for each shape, but they will give us the flexibility to edit down the road.

Create a New Layer

Now that we have a new layer, and the Path is a selection, we can use a brush from the brush set that we created. Also, I’m still using the colors from the palette that I created earlier.

Painting Shapes

Here’s where the research, brush creation and painting all come together. Let’s paint the path on a “New Layer,” using the steps described above.

Painting Shapes

Painting within the shapes you’ve defined is a chance to experiment. You can try all kinds of things, like making the brush more transparent or painting over other textures. For me, it’s a lot of trial and error. This image below is a close-up of the brush I’m painting with.

Brush Close Up

After many painted layers, I end up with a piece that is digitally painted with hand-crafted brushes.

Finished Illustration

Other Resources

You might be interested in the following articles and related resources:

  • Illustrations of Alice and Martin Provensen
    Alice and Martin Provensen were a husband-and-wife illustration team. They wrote and illustrated numerous children’s books, including many little and giant golden books from the ’40s until Martin’s death in 1987. Alice continues to work as an illustrator.
  • How to Steal Like an Artist
    An excellent article on creativity and life by the brilliant Austin Kleon.
  • The Drawn Blog
    A daily source of inspiration for illustration, animation, cartooning, and comic art.
  • Today’s Inspiration
    A great source for inspiration and the history of Illustration by Professor Leif Peng.

(al)


© David Mottram for Smashing Magazine, 2011.

December 07 2011

18:57

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: Creating a Realistic Curtain


  

Adobe Illustrator has an amazing feature that allows us create many realistic illustrations. Today we will have the opportunity to practice with the Mesh Tool once again. We will use it to create an interesting damask curtain. The Mesh Tool will help us to create the illusion of the silk look of the curtain with a nice floral design. You can use this simple technique to create similar illustrations (a waving flag, for example).

So, let’s get started on this new Adobe Illustrator tutorial.

The final result should look something like this.

Creating the Floral Pattern

There are numerous patterns you can create to apply to the curtain. We will make a nice and interesting floral design. Creating the floral design is actually very simple. The only thing you have to pay attention to is creating smooth paths and symmetrical shapes. We will be using the Pen Tool (P), Ellipse Tool (L), Blend Tool and some other very useful Adobe Illustrator features. First we will prepare a few brushes that we’ll apply to some simple shapes.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a circle.

Duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) and place it as it’s shown on the picture below (hold the Shift key on the keyboard for straight dragging).

With the Ellipse Tool (L) create an ellipse and place it in the middle.

Select all the elements and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button. It will unite all the elements into one shape.

Create another circle and place it as shown in the picture below.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the red circle and move it to the right. Make sure to align the elements properly. Under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) again from the Tool Panel and create a small circle. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) grab the lower anchor point and drag it downwards (hold the Shift key on the keyboard to ensure straight dragging).

Drag and drop the shape we have just created to the Brush Panel. The New Brush window will pop up. Make sure to check the Art Brush box.

In the Art Brush Options window make sure to set the Colorization Method to Tint. It will allow you to change the color of the brush directly, without expanding the objects.

This way we have created the brush that we will use a little bit later.

Now, grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create the path as pictured.

Set the Stroke to 5pt.

Now we are going to turn the path into an editable shape. This is going to allow us to adjust the positions of some anchor points. Under Object select Expand. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel and try to adjust the shape as it’s shown.

This is also one of the shapes we will use a little bit later.

Now, let’s create a small leaf. To do that we will be using the Ellipse Tool (L). Create a circle (hold the Shift key on the keyboard for the proper circle). With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the upper anchor point and drag it upwards (Shift for straight dragging).  With the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) turn the top of the shape into the sharp corner.

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create the shape shown below.

Select both shapes and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button.

For the next floral element we will use the Pen Tool (P). Draw the path as it is shown on the picture below.

Set the Stroke to 5 pt and expand the path under Object > Expand.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) adjust the positions of the anchor points and the angle of their handles. Try to create something like this.

There are numerous shapes we can create this way. Just use your imagination and make sure to create smooth shapes.

Let’s put our elements together and try to create a nice looking floral pattern.

Grab the Arc Tool from the Tool Panel and create the arc as shown in the picture below.

Reflect the arc by using the reflecting feature under Object > Transform > Reflect. Set the Axis to Vertical and hit the OK button.

Make two more copies (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) of the arc and place them like they are below.

With all arcs selected, choose the brush from the Brush Panel that we made earlier. You should end up with something like this.

Continue arranging the shapes we have already made.

Each time we add a new shape to our illustration we will use Reflection to create a mirror image in order to create a symmetrical illustration. In the same time make sure to align all of the elements to be centered.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a circle . With the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) add one anchor point like we’ve done below.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the new anchor point and remove it by hitting the Delete key on the keyboard.

Remove the Fill color and apply the brush we have made earlier.

Place the new shape as it shown on the picture below.

You can also add three flowers to make this part more interesting.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the curved path with the brush and scale it down little bit.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) one more time and create a circle.

With the Pen Tool (P) create a path as you can see done on the picture below.

Select the circle and the red path and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Divide button. Ungroup the (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) divided circle and remove one part by hitting the Delete key on the keyboard. Place the new shape as it shown on the picture below.

Select the new elements on the right side of the floral design and under Object select Transform > Reflect. Set the Axis to Vertical and hit the OK button. Place the copies on the left side.

Using techniques from previous steps create new elements.

Let’s create one more interesting detail for our floral design. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a small circle. Duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F), scale it down and move it to the right.

Select both circles and under Object select Blend > Make. To set the number of the circles that are going to appear between these two circles under the Blend Tool set the Spacing to Specified Steps and the value to 15. It will create 15 circles in the middle.

Now we are going to use the Arc Tool again. Create the arc, select it within our line of descending circles and under the Object select Blend > Replace Spine. It will arrange the circles to follow the path of the arc.

Using the same technique, create a few more interesting details and complete our floral design.

Creating the Curtain

Now when we have our floral design ready and set, we can move on and create the illustration of a fancy curtain.

First of all we are going to grab the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tool Panel and to create an arbitrary rectangle.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the rectangle and lock the layer with the original rectangle. We are locking it to make sure not to distort it during our creation process.

Now grab the Mesh Tool (U) and make sure to add new anchor points to the rectangle by clicking exactly on the edge of the rectangle.

Keep applying new anchor points randomly.

Now we are going to apply different tones of gray color to the anchor points. Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel and by selecting each individual anchor point apply the gray color. Just make sure to apply the same tone of the gray color to the opposite anchor points.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) try to adjust the angle of the handles of each anchor point. Just feel free to play around until you create smooth folded parts of the curtain.

When you are satisfied with the result unlock the layer we locked earlier and set the Fill color of the rectangle to #8DC63F. Now we are going to change the Blend Mode of the layer with the Mesh to Hard Light. This will change the color of the curtain to a nice green. Feel free to try out other Blending Modes until you achieve a nice result.

At this moment we will add the floral pattern we created earlier.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the floral shape we made earlier and place it as shown on the picture below.

Don’t forget to align the shape by using Vertical Align Center. Select both shapes and under Object select Blend > Make. It will create a few more floral elements in the middle. To set the exact number of the floral elements we need to bring up the Blending Options box. To do that go to Object > Blend > Blend Options. Set the Spacing to Specified Steps and the value to 3.

Turn the result into an editable shape by selecting Object > Expand.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the row of floral elements and place them as they are below.

Repeat the previous step. To make sure to create equal distance between the rows select all the elements and under the Align Panel hit the Vertical Distribute Space.

Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) all the elements and place them on the top of the curtain we already created.

Make sure to set the Fill color of the floral elements to #58595B and under the Transparency Panel set the Blending Mode to Overlay. Feel free to try out a combination of Fill colors (make sure to use a gray color, just change the tone) and different type of Blending Modes. You should end up with something similar to this.

Select all the elements we have created so far and Group them (Ctrl / Cmd + G). Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tool Panel and create the rectangle.

Remove the Fill color and the Stroke color of the rectangle. Select all the elements and under Object select Clipping Mask > Make. It will hide all the elements outside the new rectangle.

This is actually the final result of our vector illustration.

Feel free to use different colors, shapes and angles. The results can be very interesting.

Conclusion

Today we had the opportunity to use the Mesh Tool for creating a 3D illusion for the curtain in vector format. As you can see we didn’t experiment with lots of colors. The most important thing is to find the right balance between different tones of gray color. Blending Mode will do the rest. There are numerous textures you can create. Just be creative. If you happen to have any questions or comments please post them in the comment section below. It would be nice to see your achievements as well. I hope you like this tutorial. Feel free to visit other Mesh Tool tutorials: Create a Halloween Ghost with Mesh Tool and Christmas Greeting Card for more practice. Thank you for following along.

(rb)

November 21 2011

18:27

Create a Business Icon from Scratch an Adobe Illustrator Tutorial


  

Business icons are one of the most poplar vector illustrations. As with all vectors in general, business icons are scalable which makes them perfect for use in web design. The best way to create an icon is to use one of the vector based programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, etc. We are going to create an interesting business icon that consists of two arrows and a globe in this Adobe Illustrator tutorial. The techniques we are going to describe is applicable for creation other kinds of illustrations as well.

So, let’s get down to business.

This is what we will be creating.

Creating the Globe

Before we create the globe we need to prepare a grid of parallels and meridians. It means we have to prepare the symbol that we’ll apply to the globe. The Blend Tool will help us do that.

Grab the Line Tool (/) from the Tool Panel and create a vertical line. Now, select Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add an anchor point exactly in the middle of the line.

Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel, grab that anchor point and drag it to the left (don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for straight dragging).

This way we have created a sharp corner. We need to smooth it out. Grab the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) from the Tool Panel, click on the anchor point and to drag it downwards (Shift for straight dragging).

Select the path and under Object select Transform > Reflect. Set the Axis to Vertical and hit the Copy button. It will create a mirror image of our path. Move the new path to the right (Shift for straight dragging).

Select both paths and under Object select Blend > Make. It will create more paths in the middle. To specify the exact number of the paths open Blend Options (Object > Blend > Blend Options). We’ll set the value for the Specified Steps to 17.

Grab the Line Tool (/) from the Tool Panel and create a horizontal line (Shift for straight dragging), as shown on the picture below.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the line and place it as pictured.

Select both horizontal lines and under the Object select Blend > Make. Set the value for Specified Steps to 9.

Select all the elements we’ve created so far and Group them (Ctrl / Cmd + G). Grab the group of elements and drag it to the Symbol Panel. Symbol Options window will pop up. Set the name to Grid, make sure to set the Type to Graphic and hit the OK button.

Now we have created a symbol which we’ll use to apply to our globe.

Creating the Globe

First of all, we have to create a circle. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a circle (don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for the proper circle).

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the anchor on the left side and hit the Delete key on the keyboard to remove it. You should end up with something like this.

Under Effect select 3D > Revolve.

Under the 3D Revolve Options box make sure to set the Surface to Diffuse Shading and then hit the Map Art button. This is the where we are going to apply the symbol we created to our sphere.

In the Symbol drop down Menu select the symbol of the grid we have already made. Make sure to hit Scale to Fit button. It will apply the grid symbol properly.

You should end up with something like this.

Now we need to apply some nice color gradients. To be able to do that, first we have to turn our object into editable shapes. Under Object select Expand Appearance. Then we need to Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl/ Cmd + G) the object. Be ready to repeat that action a few times, until you “separate” the sphere from the grid. When you achieve that select the sphere (you’ll notice that it contains many concentric circles) and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button. This will turn the circles into a single one.

Set the Fill color for the grid to #61D4E0.

We are going to apply a nice blue radial gradient to the circle. It will turn our circle into a nice blue sphere.

There is one more thing we should add to the globe. Select the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tool Panel and create the ellipse. Set its Fill color to white (#FFFFFF) and place it as it shown on the picture below.

Set the Opacity of the new ellipse to 26%.

Our globe is ready for some nice arrows. Before we create them don’t forget to Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) all the elements of the globe together.

Creating the Arrows

To create nice 3D arrows we will be using 3D effect Revolve. It will help us to fold the arrow around the globe. So, lets get started. First we will create the shape of the arrow.

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle, as it’s shown on the picture below.

Now, grab the Star Tool from the Tool Panel and click on the Artboard. The Star Options window will pop up. Set the value for Points to 3 and hit the OK button.

It will create a triangle. Rotate it and place it as it show on the picture below. Align the shapes by using Vertical Align Center under the Align Panel.

When you are satisfied with the result under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button. It will turn both shapes into the arrow shape.

Drag the arrow to the Symbol Panel and name it Arrow. Set the Type to Graphic. This way we are creating the symbol of the arrow which we’ll be using later.

Now, grab the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tool Panel and create a rectangle, as pictured.

Under the Effects select 3D > Revolve. Check the Preview box in order to be able to see what are we doing. Under the Revolve Options box click on the Map Art button.

You will notice that the cylinder contains three sides. Upper ellipse, lower ellipse and the lateral side of the cylinder. Switch between sides, and when you select the lateral side of cylinder select the arrow in the drop down menu for Symbol. Also, make sure to check Invisible Geometry. It will remove the cylinder shape and only the arrow will be visible.

Feel free to play with the size and the rotation of the arrow, until you reach the right angle and position.

When you reach a desirable result hit the OK button. We can also change the rotation of the invisible cylinder in order to find the best position for our arrow by rotating the cube in the 3D Revolve Options box.

Now we have to turn our arrow into an editable shape. Select the shape with the arrow and under Object hit Expand Appearance. You should end up with something like this.

Lets Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the new shape (we’ll have to do it more than once) and remove everything besides the arrow. This is what we should have by now (blue color is changed to be able to see the result clearly).

Take a good look at the arrow. See if there are any unnecessary anchor points and remove them.

Now we have to turn the arrow into a 3D shape. Select both parts of the arrow and duplicate them (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Using the arrow keys on the keyboard nudge the copies a few pixels to the right and then downwards. You should end up with something like this.

We have to connect some shapes now. Grab the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) from the Tool Panel and add few anchor points.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) grab the new anchor point and move it to the lower corner of the green shape.

Repeat this step for the other corners of the arrow as well.

To be able to create a glossy arrow with lots of reflected parts, we’ll have to divide some parts of the arrow. Select the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create the path as it’s shown in the picture. We will use the path to divide the red part of the arrow. Just select them both (red shape and the green path) and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Divide button. It will split the red shape exactly in half. Don’t forget to Ungroup it (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G).

And, now our arrow is ready to get some nice colors.

Applying the Color Gradients

In this part of the tutorial we will try to achieve a nice glossy look for the arrow.

To start we will apply some nice linear gradients.

Use a radial gradient for lateral side.

We can also divide the inner part of the arrow. Just create another path using the Pen Tool (P) and divide the inner side of the arrow. Apply a nice radial gradient to both sides.

We can also make some additional shapes that will help us to create the glossy look of the arrow. Select the right upper side of the arrow and under Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -3 and hit the OK button.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) move the upper side of the new shape. Just select the upper anchor points and move them upwards, as shown below.

Apply a nice linear gradient to the new shape.

We can do the same thing with the left side of the arrow. You should end up with something like this.

In order to create more light reflections we will divide some other parts of the arrow as well. Grab the Line Tool (/) from the Tool Panel and create a few random lines.

Use each of the lines to divide the surface underneath the line. Just select the line and the shape you want to divide and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Divide button.

Apply a green radial gradient to the new shape, just make sure to create a sharp transition, just as it’s shown in the pictures below.

Repeat this step for the other shapes as well. It will create nice light reflections.

Some nice edge highlights will give our illustration a real glossy look.

The Final Touch

Now we will combine our globe with the arrows. To be able to set the two arrows in the right place we will have to learn to draw a Clipping Mask. A Clipping Mask is actually a random shape without the Fill and Stroke colors which allows us to hide some parts of the illustration.

Let’s get down to business.

Place the arrow on the top of the globe (as pictured). Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the arrow and send the copy behind the globe (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + [). You should end up with something like this.

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and draw a shape similar to this.

When you are drawing the shape for the Clipping Mask keep in mind what parts of the arrows needs to be visible (everything inside the path will remain visible). Also make sure to follow the shape of the globe in order to avoid overlapping the globe and the part of the arrow that needs to be behind it.

When you are satisfied with the shape of the Clipping Mask remove the Stroke color, select the globe and the arrow and under the right click select Make Clipping Mask.

This action will hide all parts of the arrow outside the Clipping Mask. This way we have created the illusion that the arrow is "sitting" on the globe.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the green arrow behind the globe, Bring it to the Front (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + ]) and change the color to red. Using the Reflection feature under Object > Transform > Reflect flip the arrow upside down by using reflection on a Horizontal and Vertical axis. You should end up with something like this.

Repeat the steps for creating the Clipping Mask and you should get something like this.

Feel free to create a few more shadows and some sparks…

…and we are done!

The Conclusion

Glad that you went through the entire tutorial. It will help you to create a really interesting web icon that can be used for different kinds of purposes (business, environment, communication, etc). Using this technique you can actually do other kinds of illustrations as well.

Just feel free to be creative and to explore the other possibilities. Hope you like this tutorial. Thank you for following along.

(rb)

November 07 2011

20:40

Tips And Tricks: Increase The Realism Of Your Vector Images In Adobe Illustrator


  

Over the years, Adobe Illustrator has become one of the top applications for creating vector illustrations. There is almost nothing you can’t make in Illustrator. It is a powerful tool for creating vectors for all kind of logos, websites, icons, business cards, print materials, etc. One of the best features of the vector format is its ability to scale up or down to any size without any loss in quality (unlike raster illustrations).

But let’s not forget that Adobe Illustrator is complex software. Despite all of its advantages, Illustrator demands a lot of skill, work, time and patience. The software will not generate effects automatically; excellent effects are the result of trying and testing different settings. Trial and error is an effective method in achieving the desired result. Creating realistic vector illustrations in Adobe Illustrator can be fun, but it can also give you a headache if you can tell something’s missing from an illustration but don’t know how to get it.

Here is a list of things to consider when creating stunning vector illustrations:

  • Perspective,
  • Smooth lines,
  • Colors,
  • Edge highlights,
  • Reflections,
  • Shadows.

Stick To Perspective

When it comes to drawing realistic vector illustrations, perspective is paramount in importance. If you ignore perspective, the illustration will look flat and distorted and lack depth.

The most important aspects of perspective are size and distance. The farther away an object is, the smaller it will appear, and vice versa. By increasing and decreasing size in this way, you can achieve good depth in your illustrations.

There are a several methods of drawing perspective.

Perspective Grid

One very useful way is to use a perspective grid, which is a new feature in Illustrator CS5. Establishing a horizon and the vanishing point is part of this. The perspective grid in Illustrator is an editable tool, so it can be adapted to suit one’s purpose. You can change the perspective simply by dragging the corner nodes of the grid. You can make the vanishing point longer or shorter and change the number of boxes in the grid. Being able to adapt the working environment to your needs will make it easy for you to do advanced drawings.

Extrude and Bevel

Some people have trouble seeing and presenting perspective in the first place. In this case, I would recommend “Extrude and Bevel,” which is a convenient tool for creating 3-D objects. You can set a value for “Perspective” in the “Extrude and Bevel” options box (either type in a value or drag the slider over). Expanding an object will make it editable. Because the Extrude and Bevel effect gives you an object with many parts and anchor points, it is highly recommended that you use that object as the reference for tracing with the Pen tool (P). This way, you’ll create clean and simple vector illustrations without any unwanted parts or any anchor points that are an obstacle in the printing process.

If you have imagination and some skill, you will be able to draw an illustration based on an estimation of perspective. Of course, this method is not quite precise.

But adding perspective alone is obviously not enough to create stunning artwork.

Using The Pen Tool For Smoother Lines

Creating shapes in Illustrator shouldn’t be complicated. To draw paths and curves, either use the Pen tool (P) or simply combine objects with Pathfinder features such as “Unite,” “Minus Front,” “Subtract,” “Intersect,” etc. Because the paths contain numerous anchor points, you will have to adjust them to create smooth lines. Anchor points are highly editable and can be adjusted with a few excellent tools. You can change the position of the path just by editing one anchor point. This takes a lot of practice; you’ll need a steady hand and patience.

Live tracing is one effective way to create vector illustrations. Try to complete a drawing with as few anchor points as possible; avoid adding anchor points at shorter intervals just to maintain the smoothness. To get smooth lines, make sure that the handle of the anchor point forms a tangent on the curve (i.e. inner or outer tangent). You can always add or remove anchor points by going to the “Add Anchor Point” (+) and “Delete Anchor Point” tools (-).

“Convert Anchor Point” (Shift + C) allows you to make changes on the anchor points themselves. With this amazing tool, you will be able to change the angle of the handle, thus enabling you to change the path of the lines. Whereas adjusting just one side of the handle will result in an angular shape.

Coloring

This part of the creative process is quite fun, but still demanding. Choosing the right colors can be a challenge. First, you have to determine what style you want. Gentle and pastel colors might work for retro illustrations, which would be rather simple and two-dimensional.

If you want to get photo-realistic, you might want more vivid colors. Good contrast can make the artwork stunning. If you don’t know how to mix and match colors, Adobe has a great website with color swatches and beautiful combinations.

There is also a swatch library in Adobe Illustrator, where you can find a lot of useful swatches and even create your own and save for future projects.

Gradients

When it comes to coloring, applying linear and radial gradients is the best way to show light sources and to give depth to your artwork. Establishing the position and angle of the light source is the first step in the coloring process. Shadows and highlights should be added according to the source of the light. Dark colors will simulate shadows and shade, while light colors will create highlights.

Besides creating shadows and highlights, gradients are the great way to simulate shape. Using color, you can give volume to an object or character. Use as many colors as you’d like to build a gradient, but just blend them well; otherwise, you’ll end up with harsh color transitions. If you tend to blend colors effectively, then try out the different “Blending Modes,” such as “Multiply,” “Overlay,” “Screen” and “Light.”

Linear gradients are mostly used to present a plane. Radial gradients are suited to ovals and round shapes.

Transitions between colors in gradients can be smooth or sharp. Smooth transitions are convenient for representing shade, shapes and forms. Sharp transitions are good for simulating gold, steel, chrome and other metals (i.e. for representing the reflection of light on these metals).

Gradient Mesh Tool

Because gradients are limited to linear and radial shapes, we sometimes have to find ways to use gradients in unconventional ways. Creating a gradient for an irregular shape is complex, because it involves blending colors between uneven forms with the use of linear and radial gradients. This can be a lot of work, but the Gradient Mesh tool is handy for this purpose.

The Gradient Mesh tool is a powerful tool that enables you to split up any part of an object by adding editable points and applying solid colors to those points. This way, you are able to create a gradient that follows the actual shape of the illustration.

While gradients make illustrations more realistic, there is always room for improvement. A great illustration is made up of many well-integrated details. Mixing and matching colors and shapes is not easy, but it does lead to a beautiful result.

Highlighting The Edges

When you are done with the gradients, your illustration should be ready for some nice edges. There are a few ways to create them. If your illustration has straight edges, the best way to highlight them is with the Pen tool (P). This enables you to create simple shapes that can be blended (via gradients) with the rest of the illustration. Or you can create a sharp white edge and turn it into the reflection using a low-opacity setting. Either way, you will be emphasizing the shape of the object.

Creating a highlight for curves is not much different. The most important thing is to make the shape of the highlight follow the shape of the object. The Pathfinder panel has a lot of features for creating curved highlights; doing it with the Pen tool alone would be tricky.

Reflections

Besides edge highlights and shade, light sources can create many reflections and shadows. Take a good look around you and you’ll see all kinds of reflections: on glass, plastic, wood, metal, clay, even in liquid. Reflections come in various forms. The most important thing, again, is to follow the shape of the object. For those skilled with the Pen tool, curved highlights shouldn’t be a problem. If you are unsure how to draw highlights with the Pen tool, try combining different shapes in the Pathfinder panel.

Even though the most common color for reflections is white, with reduced opacity, try out different color combinations.

Highlights are useful for showing off the material of an object. With a careful color combination and reflections in the right places, you can simulate the look of a surface quite well. The result is a nice illustration with a glossy surface.

The Final Touch: Shadows

The main purpose of a shadow is to create an illusion of three-dimensionality. Without shadows, the illustration is not really complete. The shadow “defines” the illustration in a way. Like reflections, shadows are created by the influence of light sources. The intensity or softness of the shadow depends on the distance between the object and the light source. A light source above an object will cover almost the entire object. Uncovered parts of the object will cast shadows on surfaces below and on objects nearby.

You can create a shadow with a solid color (for a sharp shadow) or with a linear or radial gradient (for a soft shadow).

If your object is complex, the best way to create a shadow that follows the entire shape of the object is to use the Blending tool.

There is one rule about the Blending tool, and that is to create two objects or paths with the exact same number of anchor points. This way, you ensure that every anchor point on one object (or path) has a corresponding anchor point on the other object (or path). The result will be a shadow with nice color transition.

Summary

Although there are just six rules to follow, there is the danger of too much detail. Try not to exaggerate the details, or else the illustration could look messy and overcrowded.

Light is your greatest ally. It will lead you through the whole creation process, connecting the different parts of the illustration and making them come alive.

Just keep the illustration simple and clean to minimize mistakes.

(al)(rb)

October 25 2011

05:03

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: Create a Christmas Greeting Card


  

Today’s Adobe Illustrator tutorial will walk you through creating a nice greeting card for the upcoming Christmas holiday. In order to create nice, colorful presents to stuff a Christmas sock we will combine different kinds of tools, such as; the Pen Tool, Mesh Tool, Ellipse Tool and the Rectangle Tool.

Besides that we will have the opportunity to mix and match some vivid colors and gradients in order to create a catchy illustration to suit our needs. We will have a great fun exploring some nice techniques during the creation process. So, get ready to create a nice Christmas illustration.

This is how the final product will look.

Creating the Sock

For the basic shape of the Christmas sock we will be using a Pen Tool (P). Grab it from the Tool Panel and try to draw the shape of a distorted sock. Don’t forget, the sock looks little bit distorted because it is full of presents. Feel free to experiment with the shape, trying to achieve the look like there is actually something inside the sock.

To achieve the look of a distorted Christmas sock full of presents we will be using a Mesh Tool. It will allow us to play around with the shape of the sock by creating interesting shadows and highlights.

Grab the Mesh Tool (U) and start adding the anchor points. You don’t have to add all anchor points at once. After applying the colors you’ll be able to see the illustration more clearly and to decide whether to add or remove some anchor points. All anchor points are editable. You can change their positions and the length of the paths between anchor points. While you are doing this think about all the fabric wrinkles you are intending to create.

After adding all the anchor points grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel and adjust the position of the anchor points and the angle of their handles. This way you’ll be able to change the position of the paths, which will affect the spreading of the colors which we’ve applied to a particular anchor point.

On the following pictures you can monitor applying colors process.

The animation below is showing the rest of the coloring process.

Feel free to adjust the position of all the anchor points after applying colors, if needed.

Creating the Upper Part of the Christmas Sock

Now we will try to create the fluffy upper part of the Christmas sock. To do that we will use the Arc Tool.

Grab the Arc Tool from the Tool Panel and click somewhere on the Artboard. In the Arc Segment Tool Options box just hit the Ok button (don’t change anything).

Set the Stroke color to white #FFFFFF and make sure to create many copies of the path. Move them around to form the fluffy part of the sock. You should end up with something like this.

Place the fluffy part we have just created on the top of the sock.

Creating the Presents

In this part of tutorial we will create the elements to ‘fill’ the Christmas sock with. First we will create the Christmas ball.

For the basic shape of the Christmas ball we will be using the Ellipse Tool (L). Holding the Shift key on the keyboard create a circle.

Let’s apply a nice radial gradient to our circle. Feel free to use any color combination you like. We will use a nice purple gradient.

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tool Panel and create a rectangle as it is shown in the picture below. Use the same radial gradient we have used in the previous step.

We will need to use the Rectangle Tool (M) one more time for the top of the Christmas ball. Create another rectangle, a bit larger, but make sure to make the upper part of the rectangle a bit curvy. To achieve that just grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel and pull the handles of the endpoints upwards, as it is shown in the picture below. This will create a nice curvy side of the rectangle.

Now grab the Ellipse Tool (L) again and create a circle. Holding the AltOption key on the keyboard click on the circle and drag it to the right. It will create a copy of the circle. Don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for the straight dragging. Repeat this step four more times.

In order to create an equal distance between the circles select them all and under the Align Panel hit the Horizontal Distribute Space. You should end up with something like this.

Select the blue shape and one of the circles and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. Repeat this step with the rest of the red circles.

You should end up with something like this.

Now, grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create another circle. Remove the Fill color and set the Stroke color to any color you like. Set the stroke to 4pt.

Let’s apply some nice golden gradients to the upper part of the Christmas ball . This will give our ball a fancy look. But first we have to turn the red circle into an editable path. Select the red circle and under Object select Expand and send the ring to the back (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + [). This way we will hide the lower part of the ring we actually don’t need.

In the following pictures you will find the information about applying a golden, linear gradient.

For the handle of the Christmas ball use the same linear gradient, just move gradient more to the left (to do that, select the Gradient Tool (G) from the Tool Panel and after applying the gradient grab the slider and move it to the left).

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the handle twice and nudge one of the copies 1 pixel down and to the left. Select both copies and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button (just make sure that the nudged copy is below the copy we didn’t move).

You should end up with something like this.

Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the new shape and delete the lower part. Under the Gradient Panel make sure to click on the Reverse Gradient in order to change the color order inside the gradient.

This way we’ve created a depth for the handle. Just make sure to place the new shape behind the golden handle. You should end up with something like this.

Now we have to do something with the part of the Christmas ball between the actual ball and the upper part. You will all agree that it shouldn’t be left like that.

One of the things we might do is to hide it with a nice blue bow. There are many different ways to create a nice bow. Just use your imagination and try to be creative.

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and draw the shapes as shown below.

These are the basic shapes we will need. With some nice gradients and additional shapes we will create a nice blue bow that will help us complete our Christmas ball.

Use the radial gradient for the knot. We will try to emphasize the upper part of the knot with the light blue color.

Use the same radial gradient for the inner part of the bow as well.

Select all the elements besides the knot, and under Object select Transform > Reflect. Set the Axis to Vertical and hit the Copy button. Scale down the copied elements a bit and adjust the angle and the position, just like in the picture below.

Now we have to add some details in order to make the bow more interesting.

First, we will create a thickness for the fabric. For each part of the bow use the same technique.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the shape twice that you want to give some thickness. Nudge one of the copies 1 pixel (downwards, upwards, right or left, depends on the position of the shape). Select both copies and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. In the picture below you can see the improvement we have achieved with this technique.

There is one more thing we can do. We can create some nice yellowish stripes which can make our bow even more interesting.

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create a curved paths as is done in the picture below.

It might look a little bit confusing like this but in the next few steps we will make it more clear.

First we need to turn the paths into editable shapes. To do that, select them all and under Object select Expand.

Now we need to crop them. Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the blue shape underneath the red stripe. Select the copy we have just made and the red stripe and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Intersect button.

Repeat this step for the other red stripes as well. You should end up with something like this.

And now we will apply a nice linear gradient to our stripes.

Repeat this step to complete the other stripes as well. Use the same gradient, just make sure to match the highlighted part of the stripe with the rest of the bow. Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) all elements of the bow.

Place the bow on the Christmas ball, just make sure to hide the flaw the best you can.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the bow. Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the copy and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button.

Set the Fill color of the new shape to #4C0230, rotate a bit, move around and make sure to place it underneath the actual bow.

Select the basic shape of the Christmas ball and duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Select the copy we have just made and the purple shape of the bow and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Intersect button. It will create the shape of a shadow that the bow is casting on the Christmas ball.

Creating a Candy Cane

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a circle. Remove the Fill color and set the Stroke color to any color you like.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom Anchor point and hit the delete key on your keyboard. You should end up with something like this.

Now select the Line Segment Tool (/) and draw a vertical line. Select both objects and in the Align Panel hit Horizontal Align Right.

Hit the up arrow on the keyboard until the vertical lines meet the arc. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the end points of both paths and under the right click select Join.

Now we need to set the thickness of the candy cane. Set the Stroke to 50 pt and under the Stroke Panel hit the Round Cap button. It will make the endpoints of the Candy Cane round.

Under Object select Expand in order to turn the Candy Cane into an editable shape. You should end up with something like this.

Creating the Stripes

This part of the creation process is quite simple. All we have to do is to create white and red stripes and to make sure to make them look as though they curve around the Candy Cane.

Grab the Arc Tool and click somewhere on the Artboard. It will bring up a dialog box like this.

Do not change the settings in the Arc Segment Tool Option box and hit the OK button. It will create an arc. Rotate it and place it as it shown in the picture below.

Holding the Alt / Option key on the keyboard click on the arc and drag it upwards (don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for the straight dragging). Feel free to rotate some of the arcs if needed. Repeat this step until you get something like this.

Select all the elements and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Divide button. It will divide our Candy Cane into the small segments whose colors we’ll change to white and red.

Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the candy cane and get ready to apply some nice linear and radial gradients.

Applying Color Gradients to the Candy Cane

We will try to achieve a semi-realistic look by using some very nice color gradients. The most important thing is to highlight the middle part of the Candy cane. This way we will simulate the oval look of the cane.  For curved parts of the candy cane we will be using a radial gradient.

To the white parts of the candy cane we will apply a gray – white – gray linear gradient.

Apply the same gradient to the other white parts of the candy cane as well. For the curved part use a radial gradient with the exact same colors.

You should end up with something like this.

Let’s do the same thing for the red parts of the candy cane. Apply a red linear gradient for the straight parts of the candy cane, and a red radial gradient for the curved parts.

Our candy cane is done. We can add a small detail like a colorful bow to make it look more interesting.

Next Stop: Mistletoe

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a little mistletoe. This is the reason why we will include it in our illustration. The creation process is quite simple, all we have to do is create a few berries and some nice green leaves.

Let’s start with the leaves. For the shape of the leaf we will be using the Pen Tool (P). Try to draw the shape as shown below.

Remove the Stroke color and apply a nice green linear gradient.

Let’s “divide” the leaf. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a small circle. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the lower anchor point of the circle, and holding the Shift key on the keyboard drag that anchor point downwards (we are holding the Shift key for the straight dragging). In order to create a sharp corner, grab the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) from the Tool Panel and click one the lower anchor point.

Grab the shape we have just created and drag it to the Brush Panel. In the New Brush dialog box select Art Brush and hit OK.

Make sure to set the Colorization Method to Tints. This way we’ll be able to change the color of the brush without expanding the brush.

Now we have created a brush that we’ll apply to some paths. Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create few paths, just like it’s shown in the picture below.

Now apply the brush, that we have created in the previous step, to each individual path. Adjust the position of the anchor points, adjust the stroke if needed and set the Stroke color to #8DC63F.

Select the shape of the mistletoe and under Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -4.

Select the middle path we created in the previous step and duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel and move the end points as it is in the picture below. This way we’ve created a path that will help us divide the smaller shape of the mistletoe.

Select the new path and the smaller shape of the mistletoe and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Divide button. It will divide our shape in half.

Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the new shape and apply some nice color gradients to the right side of the mistletoe.

We will use the left part to create a smaller shape. Select it and under Object hit Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -4.

Delete the larger part of the left side and apply the color gradient.

Select all elements of the mistletoe leaf and Group them (Ctrl / Cmd + G). Grab the Rotate Tool (R) from the Tool Panel and holding the Alt / Option key on the keyboard click underneath the leaf. Set the value for Angle to 120 degrees and hit the Copy button.

To create another leaf rotated for another 120 degrees simply hit the shortcut on the keyboard Ctrl / Cmd + D.

As far as the mistletoe leaves are concerned we are done. Now we have to create some berries.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a circle (hold the Shift key on the keyboard to create a circle). Apply a red radial gradient.

With the Ellipse Tool (L) create two ellipses and apply darker radial gradients, like it is shown in the image below.

Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) all the elements of the berry, create three copies of the berry and place them on the leaves. Scale down some of the leaves and berries and rearrange them until you reach a desirable result.

Now Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) all of our elements for the Christmas sock (Christmas ball, candy cane and the mistletoe) and place it “in” the sock. Adjust the position and the angle of the elements as needed.

With a nice floral background and some additional details and shadows you can turn your illustration into a nice Christmas greeting card. Voila!

Conclusion

As you can see, the creation of the Christmas greeting card can be great fun. Christmas is an amazing holiday characterized by many wonderful motives and elements. There are numerous things you may create; snowflakes, gingerbread, presents, snowmen, etc. The creation of these elements require the use of different kinds of techniques, but all together you are making a catchy illustration which can be used for many different purposes.

This time we’ve had the opportunity to practice again with the Mesh Tool. For more practice feel free to visit the Halloween ghost tutorial where you can find some additional information regarding this useful technique. It may seem that the Mesh Tool is complicated to use, but actually it’s not. Even when the illustration is finished it is possible to make minor or major changes in order to make improvements.

If you happen to have any questions feel free to post them in the comment section below. Hope you like the tutorial. Thank you for following along.

(rb)

October 07 2011

04:51

Create a Neat Ribbon in Adobe Illustrator


  

Holidays are arriving. One of the most necessary things for gift wrapping is the ribbon. Today we will be learning how to create a vector illustration of a beautiful red ribbon in Adobe Illustrator. All you need is the Pen Tool, 3D effect Extrude & Bevel and a good taste in color selection. This could be a nice practice for less skilled Pen Tool users.

This is what we will be creating.

Creating the Bow

We will start with the Pen Tool (P). Select it from the Tool Panel and create a shape as it is shown in the picture below. We will use this shape to complete the inner part of the bow.

With the Pen Tool (P) still selected draw another shape.

Make sure to match the sides of both the shapes.

Under Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -2 pt.

This is the basic shape of the bow. To complete it we need to apply some nice gradients.

Gradients

For the inner part of the bow we will be using a radial gradient.

For the outer part of the bow we will be using a linear gradient. Make sure to use the right angle when you are applying linear gradient.

You can notice how we’ve used the lighter colors to emphasize the influence of the light and to simulate the silk look of the ribbon.

Shadow

If you take a look at the inner part of the bow you will notice that we’ve simulated a soft shadow that is caused by upper part of the bow. Besides this soft shadow we will create a sharp one as well.

Duplicate (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F) the small shape that represents the inner part of the bow. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create an ellipse as it shown in the picture below.

Select both shapes and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. Set the color of the new shape to #7E0022.

Select all the elements we have created so far and Group them (Ctrl / Cmd + G). Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) this group and move it upwards. Rotate it a little bit as well in order to place it in the right spot.

Although our illustration looks nice like this we will make a few changes. We are all aware how difficult it is to tie a bow with symmetrical sides. This is the reason why we are going to distort the copy we have just made. First of all remove the sharp shadow on the inner side of the bow. Remove the smaller part of the inner side of the bow as well. You should end up with something like  this.

Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel and start to move around anchor points until you get something you like. This is one of the possible results.

We need to create two things in order to complete this part of the bow. One of them is the inner part of the bow. Select the pink shape and under the Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for the Offset to -2 pt. Don’t forget to apply the same radial gradient we’ve used in the previous step to complete the lower part of the bow.

Repeat one of the previous steps where we’ve explained how to create a sharp edge. You should end up with something like this.

We need one more shadow. Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create the shape as it shown on the picture below.

Set the Fill color of the new shape to #BF144A and place the shadow under the upper part of the ribbon.

We have to make sure to adjust the shape of the shadow to cast properly on the lower part of the ribbon. Our shadow crosses the border of the lower part of the bow. To fix, this duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the pink shape of the lower part of the bow. Select the shadow and the copy we have just made and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. Just make sure to bring the copy of the pink shape to the Front. This way you’ll be able to create a nice form of the shadow.

Place the shadow underneath the upper part of the bow.

This way we have created one side of the bow. Let’s create the mirror image for the right side.

Select all the elements and Group them (Ctrl / Cmd + G). Under the Object select Transform > Reflect. Set the Axis to Vertical and hit the Copy button. Drag the copy we have just created to the right. Don’t forget to hold the Shift key on the keyboard for straight dragging.

You should end up with something like this.

Creating the Knot

We need a midpoint for the ribbon. This mean we need to create the knot. For this part of the illustration we will need the Pen Tool (P) again.

There are various shapes of the knot you can create. Feel free to be creative. Select the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create the shape as it shown on the picture below.

After you are done adjusting the shape of the knot apply a nice radial gradient as it is shown below.

For the knot we have to create the same thickness as we did for the bow. Select the shape of the knot and duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F), set the Fill color of the copy to some other color (just to make sure that we are editing the right shape) and send it behind the actual shape of the knot (Ctrl / Cmd+[). Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the anchor points around a bit, as it is shown in the picture below.

Set the Fill color of the new shape to #F5A2C5.

You should end up with something like this.

Completing the Ribbon

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create the path as it shown on the picture below.

Under Effect select Extrude & Bevel.

These are the settings we have used in this tutorial. Feel free to play with settings until you reach a desired look.

Under Object select Expand Appearance in order to turn the path into an editable shape.

Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the red shape (since the shape contains many parts we will have to ungroup it several times) and prepare a nice linear gradient for the ribbon.

You can get more information about gradient use on the following pictures. Don’t forget to use lighter colors to emphasize the influence of the light and dark colors for the shadows.

 

Set the Fill color of the thickness to #F5A2C5.

Using the same technique complete the left side of the ribbon. Make a small color adjustment if needed, and we are done!

Conclusion

Today we have learned how to create a neat ribbon for gift wrapping. It includes a few very simple techniques such as drawing with the Pen Tool, using the right angle to apply gradients and some adjustments within 3D effects Extrude & Bevel. The main thing about this tutorial is to chose the right colors for your artwork. Ribbons and bows can be very colorful as well. Feel free to experiment and you might end up with some interesting results.

Hope you like this tutorial as well. Thank you for following along!

(rb)

October 03 2011

14:04

The Whys And The Hows Of Textures In Web Design





 



 


Texture is becoming integral to design. It’s gone beyond being a trend — it’s now a simple and effective way to add depth to a website. Wielding the power of texture is a great responsibility. It increases the effectiveness of websites and is a quality tool in the arsenal of designers. It can guide the user’s eye and emphasize the importance of key elements.

However, texture has long been synonymous with “dirty” or “grungy” design. Its overuse can be seen throughout the world of music group websites and has left a bad taste in the mouths of designers. Due to its frequent misuse, its benefits have long been overlooked. Texture can bring a website together, but should not be the main focus.

Textures vs. Patterns

Before we get into textures in depth, let’s distinguish between patterns and textures. These words are often used synonymously. Patterns are typically small, repeating, tileable elements, whereas textures tend to be much bigger images that don’t repeat. Imagine a Venn diagram, with textures on the left and patterns on the right, with a little overlap in the middle. So, some textures are also patterns. Several of the tileable texture packs found on Tileables are good examples.

The Function Of Textures

We love texture on the Web for a multitude of reasons. Design decisions shouldn’t be made simply on the basis of, “Oh, well. It looks good.” Design should serve a purpose, and each decision about texture should be made by weighing the pros and cons. Let’s start by going over some of the key benefits.

Grabbing Attention With a Call to Action

Texture can highlight elements such as titles, headings, icons and buttons. It draws the eye to calls to action and main headings. This is perhaps the clearest way that the trend towards textures is catching on.

When used minimally, texture separates the content from the rest of the website. It guides the user’s eye directly to the intended element. It can be a great way to separate key branding elements.

You can grab attention in different ways, but two common ways can be easily demonstrated with branding: a textured logo against a clean background, and a clean logo against a textured background.

The header from Poco People demonstrates use of a textured brand on a clean background.
Notice how Poco People’s grunge logo is accentuated against the clean background.

A demonstration of clean brand against a textured background.
Cultural Solutions UK’s branding is the opposite: a clean logo against a textured background.

Enhancing Information Architecture

Texture can be used to guide the eye. And like lines, boxes and contrast, it can be used to separate content into logical divisions. Using it effectively in conjunction with other methods is vital. The goal is not to abandon other methods of information architecture, but to enhance their effectiveness.

A Modern Eden’s website provides a good example of content separation by use of texture.
By setting off the sliding banner with a texture, A Modern Eden highlights the content within.

See how you can use textures without violating best practices? High contrast and legibility are evident and work in tandem with the texture.

This site perfectly divides content with textured elements.
Sky’s Guide Service perfectly separates its content with textured elements.

Above, each element is individually textured for a particular purpose. Sky’s Guide Service divides the content into logical sections, and the user sees where they start and end. Texture enhances the information architecture by creating logical content areas that help the user process the information accurately.

Also, the texture perfectly suits the style and topic of the website. All of the elements are custom-tailored to fit a logical theme, thus enhancing the website’s overall message.

Building an Atmosphere and Bolstering Identity

More and more, clients want website designs that do more than display their content in a user-friendly way. They want websites that enhance their identity and enable users to identify with the brand. Texture can be used to achieve this in many ways.

Deda’s website builds a persona through use of textured personality
While texture is plenteous on Deda, it is gentle and never over-bearing.

Deidre “Deda” Bain does exactly this for her personal brand. Her use of texture helps to put a face — almost literally — to the service. Without the texture, the website would be rather bland and would lack the personality of its creator. With legibility and a proper information architecture, the design would still be nice, but that extra something would be missing.

Texture adds to the “intangibles” of Web design: that wow factor and sexiness of a memorable website.

Tips And General Advice

All of this is fine and dandy, but you’ll want to avoid common traps while refining certain techniques and modes of thought.

Maintain Legibility

Never (ever!) sacrifice legibility for texture. Many of us make this mistake, and will continue to for a while to come. Legibility on the Web is paramount in importance. If a user can’t even read the message, then what’s the point in composing it, let alone texturing it?

Avoid doing this to your type:

Sometimes, we take it a bit overboard. We just get excited about texture.
Sometimes, we go a bit overboard. This poster shows what happens when you get too excited about texture.

Don’t Beat a Dead Horse

In print, texture is hard to overdo — depending on the genre, of course. On the Web, however, texture can be extremely distracting when used in “bulk.”

Hinder’s Website
On Hinder’s website, legibility gets lost in the menu, and the texture is distracting. (And watch out for the auto-playing music.) Oops!

Practice Means Improvement

Experiment with your designs. Try new things. Apply textures in places where you wouldn’t normally put them. Use textures that you’ve never used before. You never know what you’ll discover until you try it.

If It Serves No Purpose, Take It Out

Refine your technique before using it on a client’s website. Always make sure that your use of texture is based on a sound plan, as would be the case with any website you create. If you can’t justify something that you’ve done as being an improvement, take it out.

There’s no point in overdoing texture. The entire purpose of the Web is to disseminate information. How can you accomplish this if your content is unreadable? Besides, subtlety and nuance are a better way to demonstrate mastery of a subject.

Consider the Effect You Are Trying to Achieve

As we know from experience, getting carried away with texture is all too easy. Keeping in mind the final effect you are trying to achieve is the best way to avoid this. If you want a subtle textured background, just do it and then move on to the next item on your list. Otherwise, you’ll never get it done.

Collect Resources So That You Don’t Have to Search Later

You can save a huge amount of time by downloading and archiving resources that seem useful to you. Keeping your files organized is a great back-up plan. Trust us: nothing is more frustrating than coming across the perfect brush pack and not being able to remember where you found it. Our list of brushes is long and diverse. We’ve been collecting the brushes over the years from websites such as deviantART and Brusheezy, from the freebie sections of various design blogs, and by making our own.

Learn Masks

Learning to work with layer masks will save you a lot of time in the long run and will be a strong tool in your arsenal. Masks are also a fantastic way to non-destructively experiment with your designs. A lot of great tutorials are out there; a quick Google search led me to “Understanding Layer Masks in Photoshop.”

Don’t Sacrifice Quality for Loading Time

There are plenty of interesting ways to keep textures from killing loading times. But don’t sacrifice the quality of the texture too much, because rather than appearing finished and professional, the website will look outdated right out of the gate. Repeating texture patterns are a good way to save on the loading times of backgrounds and larger elements.

Of course, we want to design with the Web’s inherent constraints in mind, but as Internet connection speeds rise globally, loading time shouldn’t be your primary concern. Nevertheless, use texture within reason: a website with a lot of textures will inevitably have a long loading time. A simple method to get around file size is to use repeating textures, especially for backgrounds. Tileables is a fantastic resource to get started. And we’re always learning about CSS Sprites and using Smush.it to further compress our files.

An example of texture quality differences
The difference in texture quality here is major. The texture on the left is compressed. The one on the right is, too, but not as much.

Choose Textures Logically

Lastly, and perhaps as important as maintaining legibility, choose textures that are logical for your design. If you’re building a website for a furniture store, then rusty textures wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. Textures are meant to build identity, not to confuse the visitor, regardless of whether they look good. Usability should always take precedence.

Textures: A D.I.Y. Attitude

One of the many ways to get textures is to create them yourself. We are big proponents of this because it can save you time and give the exact result you’re looking for. And don’t worry: it’s not as difficult as it looks.

Snap Some Photos

The simplest method is to grab your trusty digital camera and snap shots of textures that are around you, especially ones that you’ve never considered to be “textures.” Unique textures can advance your style. For example, would you consider the top of a cake or bubbles in a sink as workable textures? They’re all around you.

An unusual example of a photo that can be used for texture
This photo from Lost and Taken demonstrates that a distinctive photograph can be used for a special-purpose texture.

If you look around yourself, you will see plenty of grunge: worn-down buildings, concrete walls, rusted metal, tree bark, weathered wood. These are all fantastic specimens. In fact, a decent point-and-shoot camera is enough to start. We started shooting our own textures with an old Nikon Coolpix 4200, which worked flawlessly.

When you shoot, you could use full auto mode. But don’t use flash, because it will “flatten” the image and remove most of the detail in the texture, especially in close-up shots. Let the camera do the work, and always take multiple shots of a texture to get the best possible result. You can always rely on post-processing in your favorite image editor.

Scanners Work, Too

Another great tool is the good ol’ flatbed scanner. Old paper, cardboard, mouse pads (shout out to Trent Walton for this idea), paper bags, skin — the list of what you can scan goes on. Scan at a very high resolution, 600 to 1200 DPI, so that the texture is of high quality and can be adapted to any project, including large print pieces. High-resolution scans also allow you to isolate particular spots in an image to use as a texture.

Once you’re comfortable with that, you can start creating elements using traditional art techniques. For example, apply a bit of charcoal to some beautiful heavy paper, which could be the finishing touch for that grunge background you’ve been after. What about acrylic paint splatters to add depth to your UI? Or coffee stains on paper? The possibilities are endless!

Icing on the Cake

You can always spice up the process by combining textures. Using the layer blending modes in Photoshop, you can combine various textures into one. Caleb of Lost and Taken has posted an in-depth walkthrough of the process that he follows to create his packs.

Believe it or not, Photoshop’s somewhat gimmicky filters can also be used to create textures. Noise textures are a snap with the Noise filter. Playing with the values and levels of the filter, you can obtain results for a wide range of needs. There’s also the Texturize filter, although it’s rather gimmicky and rarely useful. Still, it could help you achieve part of the effect you’re going for.

Noise Filter - Before and After
A brief experiment with noise filters. Light noise is better, but make sure you can still see the effect.

Noise Filter Settings
If you want the texture to be seamless, then a uniform distribution is easier to work with. “Monochromatic” ensures that the texture has no color noise that could conflict with other colors in your design.

If you’re interested in learning the basic techniques of applying texture to elements, we’ve produced several videos to get you started. More advanced users may already know these techniques but might want to brush up on them anyway. Either way, we hope you find them useful.


A demonstration of using brushes, levels and layers to create texture.


A demonstration of using texture files, packs, levels and layers to create texture.


A combination of the two techniques above, with an overview of more advanced ideas.

Articles and Resources

Articles and Tutorials

Free Resources

Premium Resources

Related Posts

You might be interested in the following related posts here, on Smashing Magazine:

(al) (tg) (vf)


© Jon Savage and Simon H. for Smashing Magazine, 2011.

September 19 2011

17:16

Magnifying Glass Tutorial for Adobe Illustrator


  

In this tutorial we will be learning how to create a Magnifying glass in perspective in Adobe Illustrator. When it comes to creating semi-realistic vector illustrations the most important items are to find the easiest way to create them, make sure to create reliability and to try to keep from creating objects with too many anchor points in order to avoid an obstacle in the printing process.

In this tutorial we wont use some of the amazing Illustrator features within the 3D Effect. Using them would make the creation process much easier for sure, but on the other hand there are a few disadvantages we would like to avoid (creating numerous anchor points as previously mentioned). We will try to create a magnifying glass just with the Pen Tool (P) and a few ellipses. Some details will helps us to improve the illustration.

Let’s get down to business!

We will be creating this.

Creating the Head of the Magnifying Glass

Since we are creating a magnifying glass in perspective we will start with the ellipse. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and create the ellipse as it is shown in the picture below.

Grab the Selection Tool (V) and rotate this ellipse.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the ellipse and move the copy to the left.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the anchor point on the right side. Hit the Delete key on the keyboard to remove it. Make sure to match end points of the curved path and the red ellipse.

Now we have to close the path. Select the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel to close the path. Send the new shape behind the ellipse (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + [).

Select the ellipse and under the Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -5 pt.

Repeat the previous step and offset the smaller ellipse for another -5 pt. Grab the Selection Tool (V) and move the smallest ellipse to the left lower corner, as it shown on the picture below.

Applying a Color Gradients

Now, it is time to apply some nice color gradients. We have to simulate the look of the metal frame and the look of the magnifying glass. On the following pictures you can see the information about color gradients you can use.

As you can see, a nice color contrast has contributed to the semi-realistic look of the metal frame.

To make the illustration more authentic there is one thing we should not forget, the metal part of the framework that can be seen through the glass.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the glass twice and move one of the copies to the left. Select both ellipses and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button.

You should end up with the shape like this.

Apply a linear gradient as it shown on the picture below. The gradient we are using for this part is actually the same gradient we have used for the inner part of the frame. We have adjusted the colors inside the gradient by giving them a nice bluish tone.

Two highlighted edges will improve the illustration. Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the ellipse twice that represents the inner part of the metal frame. Move one of the copies to the left 1 pixel. Select both copies under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. Set the Fill color of the highlight to #FFFDE5.

We will create another highlight for the outer side of the metal frame.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a small circle. Apply a radial white-transparent gradient.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the circle from the previous step and place it on the right part of the metal frame. It will emphasize the metal look of the frame a little bit.

Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) all the elements.

Creating the Handle

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create the shape of the handle.

Apply the linear gradient to the handle. Just make sure to create the highlight that will follow the shape of the handle.

Select the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create two curved paths as it's shown on the picture below.

Select the handle and both paths and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Divide button.

Apply the linear gradient, but make sure to create the same highlight we have created for the handle.

Use the same technique to create one more metal part of the handle.

And our magnifying glass is done. To make the illustration more interesting we will create a nice bit of additional text.

Creating Magnified Text

Let's try to create a magnification effect. You can do it with any shape you like, but we will do it with text.

Grab the Type Tool (T) from the Tool Panel and type a word (we've used Noupe). You can choose any Font you like.

We will have to edit the letters a little bit. To be able to do that we have to transform them into editable shapes. Under the right click menu select Create Outlines.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the letters and Ungroup the copy (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G). Remove N and O from the copied word. Change the Fill color of the original letters to green (just to be able to see what we are doing, later we will set the Fill color back to black).

Select all three black letters (u, p and e), scale them up a little bit and move them to the right.

Under the Object select Envelope Distort > Make with Warp.

The Warp Options box will pop up. Set the Style to Fisheye  and the value for Bend to 25%. Hit the OK button.

If you are not quite happy with the result you have achieved, feel free to grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and to adjust some anchor points. Under the Object select Expand. This way we will turn the letters back into an editable shape.

Now we have to duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the ellipse that represents the glass. Bring it to front (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + ]) and remove the Stroke and Fill colors. Select the ellipse and U, P, E letters and under the Object select Clipping Mask > Make.

Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the green letters and remove the p and e letters at the end of the word. Set the Fill color for the rest of the letters to black (#000000) and send them back (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + [).

For the end duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the black shape of the handle, apply a nice linear gradient (#FFFFFF to # BDBDBD) and place it as it shown in the picture below.

And our magnifying glass is done!

Conclusion

This tutorial can be a nice practice for creating objects in perspective. If you are unsure how to put all the elements together, feel free to use a reference image (tracing technique can help a lot in this situation). There is one more thing I would like to encourage you about. Take your time when you are applying color gradients. Instead of using Blending Modes and transparency try to simulate a certain look by using the right combination of colors and gradients (just like we did in this tutorial with the part of the metal frame seen through the glass).

If you have any comments or questions please post them in the comments section below. Really hope you like this tutorial. Thank you for following along.

(rb)

September 16 2011

10:00

An In-Depth Study Of Symbols In Illustrator CS5


  

For drawing and painting digital illustrations, Adobe Illustrator is a favorite among designers for many reasons. One of the reasons is some of the amazing time-saving features that come with it. The Symbols feature in Illustrator does just this: it saves valuable time by creating a “symbol,” or copy, of an object. This means that all of the time you have spent creating a minutely detailed flower does not have to be repeated. Instead, simply save the flower as a symbol for future use. Plus, symbols greatly reduce the size of image files.

Illustrator makes it easy to use symbols multiple times within a document as well. With the Symbols tools, you can add and alter several symbols at once. And in CS5, you can now change the settings for a symbol while editing. Another benefit of symbols in Illustrator CS5 is that you can change a symbol to a movie clip, making it easy to export to Adobe Flash. You can also make sure that the symbol scales correctly for your interface design by choosing 9-Slice Scaling while still in Illustrator.

CS5 makes working with symbols even easier by adding a few new features, explained below. If you are working in an earlier version of Illustrator, you will still be able to follow along and become as much a master of symbols in Illustrator as the next guy.

The topics covered in this article are:

  1. Basic Symbol Use
    • Symbols panel 101
    • Creating symbols
    • Symbol libraries
    • Placing symbols
    • Breaking links
    • Changing symbol options
    • Adding or duplicating symbols
    • Deleting symbols
    • Redefine a symbol
    • Swap/replace a symbol
  2. Advanced Symbol Use
    • Control window
    • Editing as a graphic
    • Registration point edits
    • 9-Slice Scaling edits
    • Sub-layer for symbols
  3. Symbolism Tools
    • Symbol sets
    • Symbol Sprayer tool
    • Symbol Shifter tool
    • Symbol Scruncher tool
    • Symbol Sizer tool
    • Symbol Spinner tool
    • Symbol Stainer tool
    • Symbol Screener tool
    • Symbol Styler tool
  4. Symbolism Tools Advanced Options
    • Options available to all symbol tools
    • Symbol Sprayer options
    • Symbol Sizer options
  5. Make Symbols Your Best Friend
    • More resources

Basic Symbol Use

Some of the actions for Symbols are quite easy to figure out just by playing around with them, while others take some explanation. Below is an overview of how to use symbols, but remember that you can move, scale, rotate, reflect and skew (shear) symbols just like other objects.

Symbols Panel 101

To open the Symbols panel, click on the button that looks like a clover, located in the menu on the right side of the Illustrator screen. Or go to WindowSymbols. As always the case with Adobe software, there are several ways to complete a task with Symbols.

The drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of the Symbols panel offers access to nearly every action for the panel, including creating a symbol, editing a symbol, breaking links, changing the view in the panel and more. To save you time, along the bottom of the Symbols panel are a few shortcuts to the most commons actions. You can also use the options in the Control window at the top of the screen.

To select a symbol in the panel, click on the icon. With a symbol selected, you can now edit it, place it on your artboard, delete it and more.

You can also organize the symbols in the panel by clicking and dragging them around. Or choose “Sort by Name” to change the view of the icons from within the drop-down menu.

Creating Symbols

Nearly any object can be made into a symbol. A couple of exceptions are art that is not linked and groups of graphics. Make sure the Symbols panel is open.

Click on the “New Symbols” icon (it looks like two white squares, one smaller than the other) at the bottom of the Symbols window, or drag an object directly into the Symbols panel. Illustrator will automatically turn the object you have selected into a symbol and also add the object to the Symbols window.

If you do not want your original object to become a symbol, then hold down Shift while creating the new symbol. This allows you to quickly create a symbol while retaining editable work on your artboard.

In the Symbols dialog box that appears, first specify a name, one that you will easily remember later.

Next, select the “Type” of symbol you want to create: a graphic or movie clip. If you will be using the symbol only in Illustrator, it does not matter which you select. The only reason why the two options are available is if you want to use the symbol in Adobe Flash: a movie-clip symbol in Flash can be manipulated for animation purposes, while a graphic symbol in Flash will remain static.

Symbol Libraries

The Symbol Libraries provide a clean way to organize the symbols that you acquire. To open them, click on the Symbols Library menu in the far left of your Symbols tools, or go to WindowSymbol Libraries[symbol]. The library that you select will open in a new window. When you choose a symbol from an open library, it is automatically added to the Symbols panel.

Remember that you can change the symbol once it is in your panel, but the original symbol in the library will never change.

Adding symbols from the panel to your library is easy but can be confusing at first. Begin by deleting any symbols that you do not want to add. (To quickly remove unused symbols, choose “Select All Unused” from the Symbols panel menu.) Then choose “Save Symbols” from the Symbols Library menu button, or go to the Symbols panel menu and select “Save Symbol Library.” Name your symbol library, and save it to the default Symbols folder. You can now find your new library folder in Symbols Library MenuUser Defined[symbol].

Note: You can create a new library from any symbols, whether default Illustrator symbols or your own. Just drag the desired symbols into the Symbols panel, and follow the steps above to create a new library.

Saving symbol libraries in locations other than the default library folder enables you to more easily share your created symbols with other designers. First, create your library as explained in the section above. When you get to the step where Illustrator asks you to choose a name and location for your library, choose a location other than the default folder (such as the desktop or “My Documents”). Remember that you can always access the symbols in this alternate location when working in Illustrator by choosing “Other Library” from the Symbols Library menu.

Placing Symbols

To place a symbol on your artboard, simply click on the icon in the panel and drag the symbol onto your board, or select the Symbol icon in the panel and then click the “Place Symbol Instance” button. Dragging the symbol is helpful if you have a specific place for it, whereas the “Place Symbol Instance” button works well when you want to place several on the board but are not yet sure where.

Breaking Links

The “Break Link to Symbol” button simply turns the symbol that you’ve placed on your artboard back into a regular graphic. While changes such as move, scale, rotate, reflect and skew (shear) can be made to a symbol’s instance on the artboard without changing the original symbol in the panel, more advanced edits will affect both the instance and the symbol if they are linked. By clicking on the “Break Link to Symbol” button, you can now modify the symbol in the panel without affecting the graphic on your artboard. The opposite is also true: edits made to an instance with a broken link will no longer affect the symbol.

Changing Symbol Options

The “Symbol Options” button opens the Options dialog box, where you can change the symbol to “Graphic” or “Movie Clip,” change it to 9-Slice Scaling, and make the symbol automatically align to a grid. See the section above on “Creating Symbols” for more explanation. You can also change the name, which is helpful if you duplicate a symbol.

Adding or Duplicating Symbols

The “New Symbol” button allows you to change a selected object into a symbol. Or, to quickly duplicate a symbol, just select it in the panel and drag it onto the “New Symbol” button. Illustrator will automatically name it the original symbol’s name plus a number, such as “Cube 1,” but you can change the name with the Options button.


Drag the symbol to the “New Symbol” button.


A new symbol will appear with a numbered name.

Deleting Symbols

Drag a symbol onto the Delete button to delete it from the panel. This will not delete it from your library, so if you need to use it again, just open the library and drag it back onto the panel. You can also click on the “Delete” button when a symbol is selected to delete it; a dialog box will appear asking “Delete the selected symbol?”

If you delete a symbol that has instances on the artboard, an alert dialog box will appear saying that the symbol cannot be deleted until its instance in use is either deleted or expanded. Choose “Expand Instances” to break the link to the symbol; this option will turn the instance on the artboard into a regular graphic and will delete the symbol from the panel. Choose “Delete Instances” to remove the instance from the artboard and delete the symbol from the panel.

Redefine Symbol

“Redefine Symbols” (located in the drop-down menu of the Symbols panel) allows you to change a symbol to the selected graphic on your artboard. Keep in mind that this action will change only the appearance of the symbol, while the name and other options (such as the type) will remain the same.


With the symbol selected on the artboard, select one of the previously defined symbols in the Symbols panel. In this example, we have selected the bow-tie symbol.


The bow-tie symbol now looks like the grime symbol, but the name and other options remain unchanged.

Swap/Replace a Symbol

To swap a symbol with another, select the symbol on your artboard, then select the symbol icon in the panel that you want to use in its place. From the drop-down menu, select “Replace Symbol.”

2. Advanced Symbol Use

Symbols can be edited several ways. In fact, CS5 now offers more editing options than previous versions of Illustrator, including 9-Slice Scaling (see below) and much more.

Control Window

One way to edit symbols is with the options in the Control window, located along the top (or bottom, depending on how you have arranged your Illustrator window) of your artboard. Simply click on the symbol that you want to edit, and you will notice that many of the Control window options for symbols are similar to the options for other objects, such as “Opacity,” “Recolor Artwork,” “Transform” and “Align to Selection.” You might also notice that you can break links and replace symbols from this menu.


The Control window’s options change depending on what type of graphic is selected, so some of these options are available to normal graphics, while others are exclusive to symbols.

To undo transformations, just select the symbol on the artboard and click “Reset” on the Control window; or choose “Reset Transformation” from the drop-down menu in the Symbols panel; or simply right-click on the symbol’s instance on the artboard and choose “Reset Transformation” from the context menu.

Editing as a Graphic

To edit a symbol with your primary editing tools just as you would any other graphic, click on a symbol in the panel (or, to be safe, duplicate the symbol and then edit the duplication), and select “Edit Symbol” in the drop-down menu. (Alternatively, double-click on the symbol in the panel.) You will now be able to modify the symbol in your panel as well as any instances on your artboard.

To modify only the instance(s) on your artboard and not the symbol in your panel, select the instance(s) on the artboard and break the link first. The instance will now be regular artwork that you can edit using any tool in the Tool menu.

You can always turn your edited graphic back into a new symbol by selecting the graphic and clicking “New Symbol” in the symbol’s palette.

To break links to all symbol instances at once, select the symbol’s icon in the Symbols panel, then choose “Select All Instances” from the drop-down menu.

You can also edit all symbol instances along with the symbol in the panel. Simply double-click the symbol on the artboard; or select the instance and click the “Edit Symbol” button in the Control window; or select “Edit Symbol” from the fly-out menu. An alert dialog box will appear, warning you that you are about to edit the symbol and that any changes will be made to all instances of that symbol.

You can choose “OK” or “Cancel.” This means what it says: all instances and the symbol in the panel will be changed according to the edits you make while in this “Isolation Mode.” Check the “Don’t Show Again” checkbox to prevent this warning from appearing again.

To exit the Edit Symbol mode, click on the “Back” arrow in the edit bar at the top of the artboard, or hit the “Escape” key. You can also right-click on the instance that you are editing and choose “Exit Isolation Mode.”

Registration Point Edits

In CS5, editing the registration point of symbols is possible. For those of you familiar with Flash, no more explanation is needed. For those who know nothing of Flash, the registration point basically allows you to select where to place the anchor point, which determines how a symbol will be placed within a screen coordinate.

One time when the registration grid makes a difference in Illustrator is when rotating symbols. If your registration is set to the upper-right corner of your symbol, then the symbol will rotate around that corner. You can see the location of the registration point simply by selecting the symbol on the artboard using the Selection tool. It looks like a small crosshair.

You can set the registration point by selecting a point on the registration grid when you create a new symbol. In the example below, the registration is set to the bottom-left corner. The default is centered. Just click the “New Symbol” button, and the Symbol options dialog box will pop up.

To edit the registration point or to fine tune the location, simply double-click the symbol on the artboard, and you will enter Isolation Mode. Move the graphic around; the registration point will remain stationary. When finished, click the “Back” button in the Control window. In this example, the symbol has been moved to the left, which has the effect of shifting the registration point to the right on the symbol.

Illustrator automatically uses the registration grid’s settings on a symbol, but you can turn this off. Say that you want to set the registration point to the left side of a symbol for Flash purposes, but while in Illustrator you do not want to use the grid. With the symbol selected, click on “Transform” in the Control window. Then click on the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of the Transform panel. From this menu, select “Use Registration Point for Symbol.” With it deselected, this setting is now off.

9-Slice Scaling Edits

You can select 9-Slice Scaling for a symbol, either when you first create it or later through the Symbol options.

You can also edit the 9-Slice Scaling grid on a symbol when in “Edit (Isolation) Mode.” Double-click the symbol on the artboard to enter “Edit (Isolation) Mode.” Then hover the Selection tool over any of the gridlines until it changes to the move cursor.

Sub-Layers for Symbols

In CS5, you can now create sub-layers for symbols. The reason this is possible is that CS5 has given symbols an independent layer hierarchy, even when you expand symbols. Also, the “Paste Remember Layers” setting works when pasting objects in the symbol’s Edit Mode.

3. Symbolism Tools

One of the best aspects of symbols in Illustrator is the Symbol tools (referred to as “Symbolism Tools” by Adobe). Using symbol sets and the tools available, designing even the most detailed graphics is quick and easy.

Symbol Sets

Although you can use the Symbolism tools in a single symbol’s instance, they really shine when you use them with symbol sets. A symbol set is a group of symbol instances, often sprayed onto the artboard using the Symbol Sprayer tool. To select an entire set, just click on that symbol’s icon in your panel, or click on more than one symbol icon to select more than one symbol set.


In this example, a symbol has been sprayed onto the artboard. To select the set, simply use the Selection tool, and click on any of the symbols.

Symbol Sprayer Tool

With the Symbol Sprayer tool, you can add single instances, add single or multiple sets of instances, and delete individual or sets of symbol instances. To spray symbol instances onto the artboard, select the symbol from the panel, select the Symbol Sprayer tool from the toolbar, and click to add one instance at a time, or drag to spray several at a time.

To delete symbols from the artboard, hold down Alt or Option while clicking or dragging on the instances that you want to remove.

Symbol Shifter Tool

To move entire sets of symbols, use the Symbol Shifter tool. Just select the set or individual symbol instances that you want to shift, and with the Symbol Shifter tool selected, drag the instances in any direction on the board. You can also change the stacking order of symbols with this tool. Simply hold down Shift while clicking on an instance or a set to move it forward. Hold down Alt/Option + Shift while clicking on an instance or set to move it backward.

Symbol Scruncher Tool

The Scruncher tool is helpful for when you want to adjust the space between symbols in a set. To move symbol instances closer together, select the Symbol Scruncher tool, and click or drag in the areas between symbols. To push symbols apart, hold down Alt/Option while clicking or dragging between symbols.

Symbol Sizer Tool

Quickly resize entire sets of symbols by selecting the Symbol Sizer tool and then clicking or dragging on the symbols in the set that you want to resize. Keep in mind that only those symbols within the brush’s dimensions will change size. To decrease in size, hold down Alt/Option while clicking or dragging on symbol instances.

Hold down Shift while clicking or dragging the tool over several symbols in the set to preserve their density. You have to be careful with this shortcut, though. If you are enlarging symbols and hold down Shift, they will often be deleted to keep the density the same. But if you are downsizing symbols and use the Shift key, more symbols of the same size will be added to the set.

Symbol Spinner Tool

Another way to create variety in a symbol set made up of the same symbols is to select the Symbol Spinner tool and rotate the symbols in different directions. Click on a group of symbols and drag and rotate the cursor to turn the symbols in different directions.

Keep in mind that, just as when using the Rotate tool on symbol instances, with the Symbol Spinner tool, instances in a set will rotate based on the registration grid settings. So, if you’ve selected the upper-right corner of the registration grid when creating symbols, then your symbols will “lock” on the upper-right corner and rotate around that locked position.

Symbol Stainer Tool

This is an incredible tool for creating a naturally random color variety within a symbol set. It uses both the color’s hue and luminosity to “stain” symbol instances. Therefore, both black symbols (low luminosity) and white symbols (high luminosity) do not change at all; the higher or lower the luminosity, the less drastic the change in color.

First, you will need to select a staining color from the Color panel. With the Symbol Stainer tool selected, click or drag across the symbol instances that you want to colorize. If you want to reverse the stain effect, hold down Alt/Option and click or drag across symbols.

With the Stainer tool, the longer you hold it over a symbol set, the greater the amount of tint change. But if you want the same amount of tint no matter how much you drag the tool across a symbol set, hold down Shift. This works well when you want to change an entire set to a new shade without much variation.

Symbol Screener Tool

To change the transparency of symbol instances, select the Symbol Screener tool and click or drag across symbols. Hold down Alt/Option to reverse the transparency effect.


In this example, we have duplicated the Symbol layer several times and used the Symbol Stainer tool to add color depth. The Symbol Screen tool allows us to tone down the effect.

Symbol Styler Tool

The Symbol Styler tool allows you to add or remove graphic styles from symbol instances. First, select the Symbol Styler tool (if you select a graphic style first, then Illustrator will apply the graphic style to the entire selected symbol set). Then choose a graphic style from the Graphic Styles panel by going to WindowGraphic Styles, and click or drag across symbol instances for a gradual increase in a graphic style.

Hold down Alt/Option while clicking or dragging to reverse the style effect. Keep in mind that if you want to keep the graphic style changes the same throughout the symbol set, hold down Shift while using the Symbol Styler tool.


Here, we’ve opened a standard Graphics Style library called Illuminate Styles, by going to Windows → Graphic Styles Library → Illuminate Styles.

4. Symbolism Tools Advanced Options

To access the Symbolism tool’s options, double-click on any of the tools. It doesn’t matter which tool you double-click, because all of them can be accessed from the Options dialog box.

Options Available to All Symbolism Tools

At the top of the dialog box are options that stay the same, no matter which tool is selected. Some are fairly self-explanatory. “Diameter” determines the brush size. “Intensity” sets the change rate. “Symbol Set Density” sets the amount of symbols placed within a given area based on a formula; the higher the number, the denser the symbols will be.

“Method” (not available for all tools) adjusts the symbol’s instances: “User Defined” allows a gradual adjustment, determined by the location of the cursor; “Random” adjusts the symbols at a random rate; and “Average” smoothens the symbols gradually. Select “Show Brush Size and Intensity” to see these options while using the tools.

Click on each of the tool icons within the options dialog box to see individual adjustments and shortcuts. Not all of the tools have adjustments, and not all have shortcuts.

Symbol Sprayer Options

The Symbol Sprayer tool contains the most options. All six options contain two choices: “User Defined” and “Average.” If you already have symbol instances in place, the “Average” setting allows the sprayer to spray according to the settings of instances within the brush’s area. For example, with “Average” as the setting, spraying next to instances with variegated sizes will cause your symbol’s instances to spray in variegated sizes, depending on which ones fall within the brush’s radius.

“User Defined” means that the sprayer will place symbols using preset settings:

  • Scrunch”: The density based on the size of the original symbol.
  • Size”: Once again, based on the original symbol size.
  • Spin”: Symbols will orient themselves based on the movement of the mouse.
  • Screen”: 100% opacity automatically.
  • Stain”: A full amount of tint and the current color of the symbol.
  • Style”: This is determined by the current style of the symbol.

Symbol Sizer Options

The Symbol Sizer options include only two choices. When the “Proportional Resizing” checkbox is selected, the symbol instance’s size will remain uniform when resizing. When “Resizing Affects Density” is selected, the symbol’s instances will move further away when enlarged and closer together when shrunk.

5. Make Symbols Your Best Friend

If you plan to create illustrations that repeat a lot of graphics, such as trees, grass, flowers, floating shapes and swirls, to name a few, then symbols should become your best friend in Illustrator. Rather than just copying and pasting a graphic that you have created, you can use a symbol to quickly spray hundreds to millions of copies on your artboard and make changes to them in a matter of minutes. Even if you have used symbols before, taking the time to really play around with them and maybe even following some tutorials will help you grasp this gem of an Illustrator tool.

More Resources

(al) (il)


© Tara Hornor for Smashing Magazine, 2011.

September 12 2011

21:26

Illustrator Quick Tip: Align to Key Anchor (point)

Today I want to share a quick alignment tip for Illustrator (I’m using CS4). First of all let me say that this is a very simple tip but it won’t be useful every time. You have to need one of your points not to move. That’s the purpose of this technique. Like I said, it’s easy, so let’s get started.

Aligning to a key anchor works very much the same as aligning to a key object except you need 1 less click. I have a very crude shape drawn below as an example. I want to align a few of these anchors to the highest anchor on the left, but I DON”T WANT THE ANCHOR I ALIGN TO TO MOVE AT ALL, which is why I’m using this technique and not simply the align to selection option in the align palette.

Step 1:

Select each anchor individually, and the LAST anchor you select will automatically be your “key anchor.”

Step 2:

First, make sure that “Align to Key Anchor” is active in the Align palette (it should happen automatically when manually selecting points), and then hit the “Vertical Align Center” button.

Step 3:

Done. You’ll notice that the last anchor we selected didn’t move at all. All of the other points wore aligned to match the key anchor’s vertical location. Like I said, this probably won’t be something you use every day, but it is good to know. :)

September 09 2011

20:34

Create a St. Patrick’s Day Postcard in Adobe Illustrator


  

Today we will be creating a design fit for any number of St. Patrick’s Day uses. In this tutorial you will find useful information on how to create a pile of golden coins and a Pilgrim hat. There is one very convenient way to create a hat in Adobe Illustrator. It includes 3D effect Revolve. Revolve is a very handy tool which will create 3D objects in just a few steps. However, it has one flaw. It creates too many anchor points that can be an obstacle in the printing process. We will try to avoid that and to create our illustration with simple tools, such as the Pen Tool (P), Ellipse Tool (L) and Rectangle Tool (M).

So let’s get this started!

This is what we will be creating.

Creating the Hat

Let’s break the creation process into a few parts. First, we’ll create the Crown. So, grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create the shape as it is shown in the picture below.

As you can see, the right side of the shape is a little bit longer than the left side. Besides that, the new shape looks a little bit deformed. The reason for drawing a shape like this is the perspective. When you are using 3D effects you don’t have to think about perspective. Software will think about that and perspective will be included automatically. Sometimes, drawing the illustration manually can be tricky. You have to be aware of the existence of the perspective, which will give your illustration a realistic look. This is something we should keep in mind.

Next part of the hat is the Brim. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and create one larger ellipse for the Brim,

and, one smaller one for the top of the hat.

This is the basic shape of the hat. Select all the elements and rotate the hat as it shown on the picture below.

We will apply a radial gradient to the top of the hat.

Creating Details

You’ll probably agree that the Brim is too thin. Let’s create the thickness.

Select the larger ellipse and duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Nudge the copy downwards for 2 - 3 pixels. Feel free to adjust the anchor points until you make a perfect match.

Apply the linear gradient as it’s shown on the picture below.

Let’s create some edge highlights.

Duplicate the smaller ellipse on the top of the hat twice (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Nudge one of the copies upwards, select both copies and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button.

Set the Fill color to #939598.

Repeat the previous step for the larger ellipse.

Creating a Hatband

It is time to create a ribbon with a buckle. This is the final detail that will complete our hat construction.

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create a shape as it is shown below.

Make sure to create the bold sides of the ribbon. This way it looks like the ribbon is going around the Crown.

Apply a nice linear gradient. Make sure to create a small highlight on the left side of the ribbon, as a result of the influence of light.

We have to create an edge for the ribbon as well. It will give the illustration a certain depth.

Duplicate the green ribbon (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) twice. Nudge one of the copies downwards for 1 pixel. Select both of the copies and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button.

You will end up with something like this.

We have to adjust the new shape a little bit. There are some anchor points that spoil the shape we have just created. Just grab the Delete Anchor Points Tool (-) and remove the excess anchor points.

With the Direct Selection Tool (A) adjust the handler of the anchor points to perfect the shape.

A linear gradient will help us to emphasize the thickness of the ribbon.

For creating the buckle we will need the Rounded Rectangle Tool. Create a rounded rectangle like below.

Under the Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for the Offset to -20.

As you can see, we have created a smaller rectangle with sharp corners, but we need a rectangle with rounded corners. Under the Effect select Stylize > Round Corners. Set the value for Radius to 10 pt.

In order to be able to use the new rounded rectangle we have to expand the shape (Object > Expand Appearance).

Select both rectangles and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. You should end up with something like this.

This is the basic shape of the buckle. Let’s do some adjustment for creating the necessary depth.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the pink shape and change the color to blue (for easier manipulation). Nudge the copy downwards for 1 -2 pixels.

Let’s apply nice linear gradients.

To make it more realistic we will create nice edge highlights, just like we did for the hat.

Select the front shape of the buckle, duplicate it twice (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) and nudge one of the copies for 1 pixel downwards and for 1 pixel to the right. Select both copies we have just created and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. Set the Fill color of the highlight to #FFF9AE.

Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) all the elements, rotate the buckle and place it on the hat.

A small shadow that the buckle is casting on the ribbon will benefit the semi-realistic look we are trying to achieve.

Just duplicate the buckle (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F), Ungroup it (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button.

Make sure to place the new shape underneath the buckle and nudge it for few pixels to the right.

Duplicate the green ribbon (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Select both new shapes and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Intersect button.

Set the Fill color of the new shape to #0D350E.

With some light reflections our hat is complete.

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create a shape like the one shown in the picture…

…and apply a linear gradient.

Do the same for the brim.

Creating the Golden Coins 

It is time to make a “fortune”. We will create a shiny pile of coins.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create an ellipse.

Holding the Alt / Opt key on the keyboard click on the ellipse and drag it upwards (don’t forget to hold the Shift key for straight dragging). This way we are making a copy of the ellipse.

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tool Panel and create a rectangle as it shown on the picture below.

Make sure to match endpoints properly.

When you are done adjusting the position of the anchor points, select the red rectangle and the blue ellipse and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button. It will convert these two shapes into one.

Bring to front (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + ]) the green ellipse and start to apply some nice gradients.

Select the ellipse and under Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -1.5 pt.

Apply a linear gradient.

Duplicate (Ctrl /Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the smaller ellipse. Grab the the left middle point of the selection box and move it just a little bit to the right side (so-calling non-uniform scale). Apply a linear gradient to this ellipse too.

Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) all the elements. Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the coin many times and place the copies in a big pile.

Place the hat on the top of the pile, as shown.

Apply a green radial gradient to the background.

As you can see, something is missing. We can’t leave the illustration like this. It looks like the hat and the coins are floating in the air. Some shadows will fix that.

We will have to create a shadow for each coin.

Choose one coin and duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Ungroup the copy (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button. Set the Fill color of the new shape to #10340D. Send it behind the coin (Ctrl / Cmd + [) and rotate to look as it shown on the picture below.

Repeat the previous step for each coin that is touching the surface.

We have to create a shadow for the hat as well. Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and create an ellipse like pictured. Make it sure to set the hat on the top of the ellipse. This way you’ll be able to find the right angle and position for the new shadow.

Select the pile of coins and duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the copy we have just made and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button. You should end up with something like this.

Select the white ellipse and the pink shape and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Intersect button. Set the Fill color to #FF4200 and lower the Opacity to 30%.

For the other part of the shadow we will once again need the Pen Tool (P). Create a shape as it’s shown on the picture below. Set the Fill color to #1A3219.

We will create a tiny border in order to give the illustration a postcard feel. Select the background and under the Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -10. Remove the Fill color and set the Stroke to 5 pt.

Under Object hit the Expand button. It will turn the closed path into the editable path. Apply a linear gradient like the one below.

And…voila! Our illustration is finished.

Conclusion

There are many ways to realize a good idea, but sometimes it is not that simple to choose the right technique to create a great looking illustration. Adobe Illustrator is not the type of software which will automatically generate the effect based on given instructions. Most of the things you have to plan well, to find a way to create the illusion of something that actually does not exist. It includes turning flat shapes into a 3D illustration just by using the right color gradients or a wised placed shadow. With a creative idea and the right technique a good result will be guaranteed.

Thank you for following along.

(rb)

August 29 2011

19:18

Adobe Illustrator Tutorial: Create a Cute Halloween Ghost


  

Use of the Mesh Tool is one of the best techniques for achieving a semi-realistic look for an illustration. Today we will demonstrate how to use this great Adobe Illustrator feature for creating a cute little ghost. The only colors we are going to use are white and different shades of gray. So, It might be little tricky to transform this floating bedding into the cute little ghost. We will have to find a way to create the illusion of the wrinkled sheet. The Mesh Tool will help us a lot to achieve that.

Our final result should look like this:

So, let’s get down to business!

Creating the Ghost’s Body

First, we will create the shape of the ghost. There are two methods to do that. If you have a tablet you can draw it very easily. If not, the Pen Tool (P) is always available. Select it from the Tool Panel and draw the curvy path, something  similar to this:

We will need to divide this shape. This will actually create the inner side of the floating bedding. With the Pen Tool (P) create a curve which we’ll use to divide the large shape.

Select the path and the blue shape and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Divide button.

Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the shape we have just created and change the Fill color of the lower part. This way we have the idea what our ghost should look like.

At this moment we are pretty much done with the shape of the ghost.

When it comes to coloring we will try to keep it simple, by using gray colors from the Swatch Panel.

Time for the Mesh Tool

We have to realize that creating gradients for irregular shapes is not that simple. The Mesh Tool (U) will help us to do that. We will have to “divide” the blue shape in order to define some highlights and shadows. During the dividing process we will create new anchor points and paths. For each anchor point we will have to define the Fill color. This will create nice transitions between colors. Some transitions will be smooth and some very sharp, depending on what we are trying to achieve.

Grab the Mesh Tool (U) and click on the blue shape. It will create paths with anchor points as is shown on the picture below.

On the following pictures you can keep track of creating the new anchor points.

These are some of the possible anchor points. Later on we will create some more. First, we will apply some colors in order to monitor our creating process, just to make sure that we are going to right direction.

To assign the colors to the anchor points grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) from the Tool Panel, select each individual anchor point and select the color from the Swatch Panel. You may think that this is a lot of work, but at the end it will pay off.

Continue with applying colors.

Continue applying colors. Feel free to experiment and to try out different combinations.


Larger Preview

You should end up with something like this (or maybe with something even better):

You may notice that we have a shadow on the right side of the sheet. Left side is slightly highlighted (like the light is coming from upper left corner). Besides that, there is some roughness caused by the light source. We have managed to represent all of that by using the Mesh Tool (U).

Creating the Fabric Wrinkles

Now, we have to create some fabric wrinkles. Fabric wrinkles tell us a lot about the position of the body. Gravity is something we should keep in mind as well. It dictates how our bed sheet will behave.

Grab the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) from the Tool Panel and add few anchor points on the right ‘shoulder’ of our ghost. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) try to raise new anchor points and to adjust the handlers in order to form a smooth corner.

Before

After

Do the same for the left lower part of the linen.

Before

After

You should end up with something like this.

As you can see on the previous picture, our wrinkles don’t quite give the illusion that there is something going on, yet. We have to find a way to avoid a flat look for the illustration and to create an illusion of 3D. The Mesh Tool (U) will help us again. There is just one thing you should keep in mind. With the Mesh Tool (U) we are defining gradients between two anchor points. It’s up to us to make the color transition as smooth as possible.

Grab the Mesh Tool (U) from the Tool Panel and apply a few more anchor points. Add anchor points like you can see on the picture below.

In order to create a realistic wrinkle we will assign light gray colors to some of the anchor points.

On the pictures below you can see the information about color applying.

We will do the same thing for the right shoulder. Just make sure to add important anchor points. Each wrinkle has a highlighted part and a shadow. We will try to represent the influence of the light, which will allow us to create an illusion of a 3D look.

Let’s apply some colors, like we did in previous steps.

During our creation process we’ve created a few anchor points and paths we didn’t need at first, but now we can use them.

With alternate combinations of light gray and dark gray colors we are achieving the impression of a wrinkled sheet.

On the pictures below you can find more information about color details.

This is how our ghost looks right now.

Let’s improve our ghost a little bit more. We have some curves in the lower area, but it doesn’t look realistic. To make it properly we’ll have to highlight some parts.

If we take a look, the network of the paths and the anchor points in that field looks like this.

Let’s make some minor changes. Just grab the Mesh Tool (U) and add a new anchor point. We will apply a nice light gray color in order to create a highlight.

This has created a highlight for the raised part of the sheet. But we will need some shadows as well. Apply a slightly darker gray color, as is shown on the pictures below.

There is one more thing we can do. Let’s focus one the raised part of the bedding. We could add a small part of the inner side of the sheet and make it visible.

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and draw the shape as you can see on the picture below.

Make sure to match the lower side of the new shape and the lower edge of the sheet. It’s supposed to be lined up.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the red shape of the ghost. Select both shapes, green and the copy we have just created and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Intersect button. It will create a shape like this.

Let’s make it fit into the illustration. Apply the radial gradient as you can see on the picture below.

Select the lower part of the illustration (the part that actually represents the inside of the sheet) and set the Fill color to #F1F2F2.

Under the Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -2. Apply the radial gradient as is shown on the picture below.

Creating the Eyes

Since we are creating a cute ghost we will create big confused eyes to make it more interesting.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create the ellipse. Duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) and holding a Shift key on the keyboard move it to the right side. Make sure to scale down the copy.

Select both ellipses and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Unite button. It will turn our ellipses into one shape. Under the Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -2.

Let’s apply some colors. Set the Fill color of the larger shape to #BCBEC0 and apply the radial gradient to the smaller shape. This way we are creating an illusion that someone is really under the sheet.

With the Ellipse Tool (L) create two circles, one bigger and one smaller. Set the Fill color to #414042.

Select both of them and under Object select Path > Offset. Set the value for Offset to -3. Change the Fill color to black (#000000).

We need just two white ellipses for the reflection. Select all eye elements and Group them (Ctrl / Cmd + G).

With minor adjustments and some polishing our cute ghost is done!

The Final Word

Some graphic artists are using the Mesh Tool in combination with a reference image. The image is helping a lot. This way you have a preview of the object you are creating. You are able to follow all the paths, shapes, highlights and shadows. If you don’t have a reference image you can always make a quick sketch or a complete drawing to use as a guide.

In this Illustrator tutorial we did it just with help of our imagination. The main purpose of this tutorial was to demonstrate how the Mesh Tool can be very useful in creating irregular gradients. As you could see, all paths and anchor points are quite editable (you can change the number, position and the angle of anchor points) so there is not much room for making mistakes. I encourage you to try this technique by creating different kinds of illustrations, and, do not hesitate to post your results.

Hope you like our little ghost. Thank you for following along.

(rb)

August 24 2011

23:59

Illustrator: How to average points for perfect alignment

I’ve only recently been using this Illustrator feature, but I’ve found it to be very useful for really precise drawing. In my case, when I draw fonts. I want to show you how to use the Illustrator “Average” feature to get perfect point alignment during drawing.

As you can see in the image above, I have two pieces of a lowercase “f” that I want to merge together with pathfinder. Below I have the two pieces lined up where I want them, and If I simply use pathfinder now and merge them, I will get more than one point on the bottom left curve, where the arrow is. I want to have a nice clean curve there, so I’m going to use the “Average” function.

As you can see here, in wireframe mode zoomed way in, the 2 points are not exactly lined up.

Step 1:

As pictured above, use the Direct Select Tool (white arrow) and select the 2 points you want to align.

Step 2:

Go to Object > Path > Average, and select “both,” then hit ok.

And that’s it. Now your points are in exactly the same x,y coordinates, so when you use pathfinder, the result is only a single point, not two.

Now I have my nice clean path outline to work with!

August 15 2011

17:04

[Requested Illustrator Tip] Edit Styles in Multiple Text Boxes at Once

This Illustrator quick tip was requested by Chris. Chris asks, “I want to make a global change to the FONT or STYLE of a bunch of text boxes (each with different text inside them) at once. Is there a way to do this?” As a matter of fact, there are a couple different solutions, both of which take no time at all, however, graphic styles must be applied differently, but we can take care of all of the font formatting with ease. Let’s get started.

Step 1:

Ok, let’s say for example, you have all of the different text boxes like in this image, and you want to change all of the, sizes, and fonts, and colors to match the text box on the bottom right. In that case, step 1 would be to fine tune your text formatting in the bottom right text box and get it exactly the way you want it.

Step 2:

Shift + Select all of the text boxes except for the one you want to match.

Step 3:

Select your Eyedropper Tool, or hit (I).

Step 4:

Click your Eyedropper Tool on the text box on the bottom right. (The one you want to copy, font and size, etc. from) and it applies the formatting from that text box to all of the other selected text boxes! And Done :) It won’t change the actual TEXT in the boxes, only the font, color, and size, etc. Basically, anything you can control in the Type Panel, including letter spacing, leading, etc. Styles (effects) must be applied manually, which you can do easily by Shift + Selecting and then applying a graphic style, or drop shadow, or whatever you need.

Alternate Method:

Shift + Select all of the text boxes and the adjust your settings in the Type (Character Panel). It’s as simple as that.

August 05 2011

14:03

Getting It Wrong: Edward Fella


  

“I am interested in graphic design as art,” Ed Fella says. “This is a kind of art practice that uses forms that come out of graphic design, decorative illustration, and lettering, all mixed together-forms that come out of Twentieth Century art, out of Miró and Picasso — all of it has a genealogy and a certain look — in the same way that artists today use comic books and graphic novels. I was an illustrator, so you see endless styles popping in and out of the books. The drawings are an unconscious discharge of all the styles and forms that I used as a commercial artist for 30 years — that was my profession — I did it every single day. So, my unconscious has all this stuff in it, and now, because I don’t have to make meaning anymore, I can just use the techniques, like a machine that has long ago stopped making widgets, but the machine is still running. I’m still making stuff. I love the craft of it — of carefully making some little thing.”

Ed Fella: A Lesson In Being Truly Creative

Many articles and interviews have been done with Ed Fella. It wouldn’t do him justice to do another… at least not the same way others have done it. Mr. Fella is different, and not in a good way… or bad way. It depends on how you view design. A base of commercial art led him to create design that is the very destruction of design. It broke every rule and he knew it.

The bad boy in me loves him for that because he chose to do it and keeps on doing it. Best of all, people in design worship him for it. My only sadness lay with his breaking the rules BECOMING the rules. Someone like Fella sets the high bar and eventually, it becomes the standard. Society, and certainly design, is too weird at times and eventually weirdness becomes the mundane.

But the tribute to Fella is that he did it first and for many years while other designers failed to “get it.” The greatest thing that can be said is that he thumbed his nose at the rules and kept doing it until it was accepted and even touted as greatness by his detractors. Bastards!

CalArts, where Mr. Fella teaches, lists his bio as:

“Edward Fella is an artist and graphic designer whose work has had an important influence on contemporary typography here and in Europe. He practiced professionally as a commercial artist in Detroit for 30 years before receiving a master’s degree in Design from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1987. He has since devoted his time to teaching and his own unique self-published work has appeared in many design publications and anthologies. In 1997 he received the Chrysler Award and in 1999 an honorary doctorate from CCS in Detroit. In 2007 he was recognized with a medal from AIGA. His work is in the National Design Museum and MOMA in New York. A recent monograph of his work, Letters on America, documents some of his extensive practice.”

I hope he laughs and prints that out to wipe himself with after each bowel movement he takes. Moreover, I hope those who believe hiring “young and cheap” choke on their own words when they say older designers have nothing to add to design. Mr. Fella was old and talented and set the tone many years ago that young and cheap designers now mimic. Take THAT Madison Ave!

Idiosyncratic And Juxtaposing.

Just looking at his work, one would think that he’s a lunatic. He forces contradiction yet still plays to the grid. Not because it’s there but because it serves his purpose to help pull the eye all over the place and still make pleasing, readable design. There is chaos and balance, existing side-by-side like identical Siamese twins – one good and the other evil.

His hand drawn type and inkblot icons are now Emigré font sets. Personally, I think it an insult to the man who hand rendered his own type to contradict the mainstream fonts of the time. Still, no innovation goes un-copied. No movement of rebellion is long lived as it often becomes commonplace with familiarity. The design world is always changing and eventually, Ed’s rebellion became the commerciality of later years.

It is not the lines or placement or type usage of Ed’s that designers should admire and mimic – it’s the strength of conviction, the exploration, the dedication and the utter balls the size of church bells.

When Crazy Becomes The Norm.

Fella is quoted as saying, “anything can be made in anything” and “everything is possible.”

That leaves little to no limitations in the creative process and Fella certainly saw no limitations in his work. His work is a forced contradiction and he revels in it. If red is the color a designer would use for a Valentine, Fella would no doubt use black or yellow. Considering Fella’s decades of work under strict control of both an ad agency and clients, someone of his creative talent… and needs, had a driving urge for a freer outlet or risk spontaneous combustion.

One of Fella’s early sketchbooks contains some telling clippings. One is an advice column in which a young creative sadly wrote that he is depressed by numerous rejections and being told his work is, not “with it.”

The columnist answered with a quote from Orson Wells. “I passionately hate the idea of being ‘with it.’ A true artist is always out of step with his time. He has to be.”

Obviously that struck a cord with Fella. Either it inspired him or just legitimized his entrenched belief in his own design sensibilities. Another clipping within his sketchbook was a quote from Marcel Duchamp. “I force myself into contradiction to avoid following my own taste.”

It was the strict guidelines of corporate design that forced Fella into his greatness and, I suspect, happiest place in his design career. He claimed to flourish with the erratic quality of cheap typesetting (before the years of the PC) and “quickie” offset printing. The arts community quickly grew to know and admire his work and because of the volunteer and low pay jobs associated with that community, he was able to control his own design decisions. By making grand images that were jumbles and unidentifiable, Fella’s work invited closer inspection of individual elements within the entire work.

Fella referred to his work as stylistically “getting it wrong.” His work is raw and obsessive. It has power and spontaneity. Born from the knowledge of layout, typography, design and theory, he seems to have ended up getting it very, very right.

(all images © Ed Fella)

(rb)

August 04 2011

10:09

Create a Corn Cob in Adobe Illustrator


  

In this very interesting tutorial we will have the opportunity to create something unusual. We will create a Corn Cob by using Adobe Illustrator. We will use some great tools such as Blend Tool, Envelope Distort and of course the Pen Tool. Blend Tool will help us to create the grains, Envelope Distort will help us to form the cob and we will practice the usage of Pen Tool by creating beautiful green leaves.

Let’s get down to business!

Grains

Create new illustrator document with 500 x 500 pixels in size.

For the start grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool from the Tool Panel and create the shape as it shown on the picture below.

Apply radial gradient.

Let’s make a small reflection on the top. Under the Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -2.

Apply a nice linear gradient and using the up arrow key on the keyboard nudge the new shape for the few pixels upwards. Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) the grain.

Now we have to create the smaller grain for the top of the cob. Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the grain we already have, scale it down and holding the Shift key keyboard (for straight dragging) drag the scaled copy upwards.

Select both grains and under the Object select Blend > Make.

This will create the row of grains. Select Object > Blend > Blend Options. For the Spacing set the Specified Steps. In this case we will set the value for the Specified Steps to 46.

Expand the row of the grains (Object > Expand) and duplicate it (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Move the copy to the right and rotate it a bit, as it shown on the picture below.

Let’s distort our rows a little bit. Select the left row of the grains and under the Object select Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. Under the Style select Bulge (Vertical) and set the value for the Bend to 1%.

We have to distort the right row of grains as well. Select it and under the Object select Envelope Distort > Make with Warp. This time set the Style to Arc (Vertical). Set the value for Bend to -1%. This will bend the row to the left side. Under the Object select Expand.

Reflection will help us to create more grains . Under Object select Transform > Reflect. Set the Axis to Vertical and hit the Copy button. This will create a mirror image. Place the reflected copy on the left side.

Create a copy ( Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) of the left and the right row and place them as it shown on the picture below. Feel free to scale down the end rows by using non-uniforme scale.

Group (Ctrl / Cmd + G) the grains. Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and draw the shape as it shown on the picture below. Set the Fill color to #FFE73B.

Under the Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to -10.

Take a good look at the shape we have just created. You will notice it contains more anchor points then the larger shape. Grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and remove some of the anchor points. Feel free to adjust the handlers of the anchor points in order to create nice and round corners.

Set the Fill color of the smaller shape to #FBC415. Select both shapes and under the Object hit Blend > Make. Bring up the Blend  Option box and under Specified Steps set the number to 35. This will create a nice color transition.

Send the blanded object behind the grains (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + [).

Blend Tool is amazing Illustrator feature. You can create a color transition for the objects with irregular shape. There is just one thing you should keep on mind. Make sure to create two objects or paths with the exact same number of anchor points. That way you will ensure that each anchor point of one object (path) has the correspondent anchor point on the other object (path).

Leaves

In this part we will exercise drawing with Pen Tool (P). Get ready for creating nice curved paths and combining some shapes inside Pathfinder Panel.

Let’s start!

Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and draw the shape as it shown on the picture below.

Apply a nice green radial gradient.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the leaf and create a small curved path. Select the copy of the leaf and the path and under the Pathfinder Panel hit Divide button

Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the new shape and remove the lower part of divided leaf. Apply linear gradient as it shown on the picture below.

Hereafter we will try our best to create nice details which will make our leaves more interesting.

With the Pen Tool (P) create the path as it shown on the picture below.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl /Cmd +F) the shape of the leaf. Select the copy of the leaf and the path from the previous step and under the Pathfinder Panel hit Divide button. Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the new shape, remove the larger part of the shape and apply green radial gradient.

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) from the Tool Panel and create a small black circle. With Direct Selection Tool (A) select the lower anchor point and drag it downwards (don’t forget to hold a Shift key on the keyboard for straight dragging). With Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) turn that anchor point into the sharp corner. This way we’ve created a brush that will help us to improve our leaf.

Grab the new shape and drag it to the Brush Panel. In the New Brush Panel check the New Art Brush and hit OK button.

Make sure to set the Colorization Method to Tint in the Art Brush Option Panel. This way you’ll be able to set the Fill color of the brush to any color you like.

Now when we have the brush let’s create some interesting paths for our leaf. Grab the Pen Tool (P) from the Tool Panel and create a small arc.

Apply the brush we have created few steps earlier.

You will notice that the black shape we have just created overlap the upper part of the leaf . To fix this we will have to expand the brush (Object > Expand Appearance). Create the copy of the upper part of the leaf, select both objects and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Intersect button.

Apply a nice linear green gradient.

Use the same technique try to improve the illustration by creating interesting details. Just make nice curves and apply the brush. After expanding, apply nice green colors and gradients. You should end up with something similar like this.

Grab the Pen Tool (P) again and create the shape as it shown on the picture below.

Apply a green radial gradient.

Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the new leaf twice. Nudge one of the copies downwards for 1 pixel and select them both. Under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button.

Set the Fill color of the new shape to dark green (#0F4C1A). This way we’ve created a thickness for the leaf.

Create another copy of the leaf (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). We have to divide this shape to half. Grab the Pen Tool (P) and create a path as it shown on the picture below.

Select the copy of the leaf and the blue path and under the Pathfinder Panel hit Divide button. It will divide the leaf to half. Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the leaf, delete the lower part and apply the linear green gradient to the upper part.

Few more details and the leaf is ready. Duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the large shape of the leaf  twice. Rotate one of the copies (you can scale it up as well). Select both of the copies and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. Apply radial green gradient.

With the Pen Tool (P) create the path as it shown on the picture below.

Apply the brush we’ve created earlier.

Let’s turn the path into editable shape. Under the Object select Expand Appearance. You will notice that the shape we have just created overlap the leaf. To fix that we will have to create a copy of the upper part of the leaf. Hit the well known shortcut to do that (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F). Select the copy of the leaf and the yellow shape and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Intersect button.

Apply nice radial green gradient

Creating a Water Drop

Select the Ellipse Tool (L) from a Tool Panel and create an ellipse. Apply nice radial white-green gradient. We are using a combination with green color because the water drop is semi-transparent and green color is reflecting from the leaf.

With the Ellipse Tool (L) create another, smaller ellipse and place it as you see on the picture below. For this ellipse we will use linear white-green gradient.

Select the larger ellipse and duplicate it (Ctrl/Cmd+C, Ctrl/Cmd+F). Set the Fill color to #206128 and nudge it for 3 pixels to the right. This will be the shadow that the water drop creates on the leaf.

Select all the three ellipses and Group them (Ctrl / Cmd + G). Place it on the leaf.

Use the same technique and create few more leaves with nice details.

And voila!

Conclusion

With the combination of different kinds of techniques, and with some nice colors and gradients we have created quite a neat Corn Cob. The Blend Tool was quite useful in creation process. We have learned how to use the Blend Tool in order to create nice and smooth color transitions. The Autumn is coming, so I am quite sure you’ll find this illustration very useful. If you have any comments or questions feel free to post them in the comment section below, I would be glad to answer them. I hope you like this tutorial as much as you liked Circus Tent and Piggy Bank tutorials. Thank you for following along.

(rb)

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.
(PRO)
No Soup for you

Don't be the product, buy the product!

close
YES, I want to SOUP ●UP for ...