Monthly Archives: March 2011

3D Red Pin Tutorial

Today I’ll show you how to make a 3-D pin with a realistic shadow.

Forgive me for having the casted shadow on the wrong side.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator
  • Pen-Tool
  • 3D Revolve
  • Gradient
  • Blur


1. A. Use the Pen-Tool to draw half of what a front-view of a pin looks like. It looks like a curvy I shape cut in half.

B. Add to the bottom of our object, a half-draw needle. Also, make sure to group these two objects together or “bad things will happen”.

2. A. WIth our object selected, go to Effect>3D>Revolve … .

B. Make sure to turn preview on. Adjust the perspective by dragging on the cube. Leave the angle on 360° since we want a full revolution.

C. Click OK to look at your revolve pin shape. If you would still like to edit the 3D effect, go to the Appearance tab and click on the 3D effect.

D. Use the White-arrow Tool to select different portions of the shape. Color the top shape red. Color the bottom shape white. The 3-D effect will update automatically after you change the colors.

3. A. Drag another copy of our pin. With the copied pin selected go to Object>Expand Appearance .

B. You will see now that the copied pin will be editable.

C. Use the Pathfinder (or Shape Builder) Tool to Unite all the portions of the cloned 3-d pin.

D. Use the Shear Tool and adjust the angle to 30° or so. Then use the black arrow tool to resize the object by dragging its corner handles.

4. A. Check to see if you’re at this checkpoint now by seeing how close you are to this image.

B. Finally add a gradient (make it fade from solid black to 0% black). Also add a Gaussian Blur to it.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.


T-Shirts Time

As I’ve been tasked with redesigning buttons/brochures, I have also been tasked to redesign the AVID 2011 T-shirts. Since the AVID team voted for a certain T-shirt design, I’ve been told to illustrate the design onto a computer version. I started this project today and this is its progress so far.

Look out for a tutorial tomorrow.

Olive Branch Tutorial

Today I will show you how to make a simple Olive Branch Symbol. As I mentioned before, there are different ways to recreate a symbol but I’ll teach my own method first.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator CS5
  • Transform Tool
  • Anchor Points
  • Strokes Profile


1. A. Make a new document and make a circle using the Ellipse Tool with a black stroke or with any color you want.

B. Make the stroke thicker if needed and choose Width Profile 1 (looks like a doulbe-covnex lens shape) from the default profiles.

NOTE: If you’re using different versions of Illustrator, use a long, thin triangle artbrush on a semi-circle.

2. A. Use the pen-tool to add two anchor-points on two sides (near the topmost anchor-point) of the circle (see picture for help).

B. Use the white arrow tool to select the topmost anchor-point and delete it. Your object should look like what you see below.

3. A. Draw somewhere else and away from the “stalk”.  Use the Ellipse Tool to draw a circle with some color fill and no stroke.

B. Use the white arrow to select the topmost anchor-point and move it up some significant distance.

4. A. When your selection is perfected, move up the texture layer above your working photograph layer. You will still see the dashed outline on top of all the layers.

B. With the anchor-point selected, click the button (that looks like a square with straight lines sticking out from its right and bottom side). This will convert the selected anchor-point to a “corner.”

5. With the leaf perfected, move it on the bottom of our “stalk.” Make sure to rotate it so it looks like it sticking out of the stalk. Copy this leaf onto the opposite side so it’s equidistant from the center of the stalk.

6. A. With one leaf selected, go to Effect>Distort and Transform>Transform… .

B. A window should show up. Input values and click preview to see what you’re doing. Adjust the scale (vertical and horizontal) so it’s less than 100%. Adjust the movement with a negative vertical value and a positive horizontal value. Adjust the rotation (positive value) as well. I recommend having 9 copies. Fine-tune the value to get an effect like you see below.

C. Transform the leaf on the other side as well. Switch the positive to negatives or vice versa if needed.

7. A. Go to Object>Expand appearance to expand all the leaves into individual objects.

B. You should see all the leaves having a blue outlining which indicates an editable object.

8. A. Add the same leaf shape above the original bottom leaf and rotate it so it looks like it sticks out of the stalk as well. Copy the leaf on the other side so it’s equidistant from the center of the stalk like last time.

B. Add a transformation effect to it as well. Adjust the values as needed.

C. Add a transformation effect to the other side as well. Adjust the values as needed.

D. Expand the appearance for these two transformations as well.

9. Finally add the same leaf shape to tips of the stalk shape. Add some color to it if you want.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.

Re: Senior

Not only did I redo the buttons from Junior year but I also recreated the Senior Awards Evening covers for Senior graduation. I have many tutorials to post but I’ll start with a “Making a…” first with one object you can see in the picture.

Adding Texture Tutorial

It may be uncanny to see me make Photoshop tutorials but you’ll get used to it. As a student requested, I will show you how to add textures to some parts of your photograph (i.e. dirt onto a ball).

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Photoshop
  • Quick Selection Tool
  • Pictures/Stocks
  • Layermasks
  • Brush


1. A. Make a new document.

B. Bring in your texture first onto one layer.

C. Bring in the picture you want to add the texture too.

2. If you haven’t done so already, move your texture layer below the layer of the picture you’re working on.

3. Press W to bring up the Quick Selection Tool. Your cursor should change to that of a circle with a plus sign in the middle. Use this tool select the area of which you want to place a texture on. You will a moving dashed line as the outline of your selection.

4. A. When your selection is perfected, move up the texture layer above your working photograph layer. You will still see the dashed outline on top of all the layers.

B. With the selection visible and the texture layer highlighted, click the Add Layer Mask button (the one that looks like a gray box with a white circle inside of it).

C. After doing so, your texture will be masked inside your selection. You can stop from here but you wouldn’t really want to without refining it a bit.

D. You could alter the fill’s opacity. You could even paint the mask with white (using just the brush) to soften  the edges.

5. Continue to play around and experiment to refine your masked texture.

Adding texture is key to enhancing images.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.

Buttons are Back

I received a job some while ago to redesign the API score badge. I took some time to design two (for now) new versions of the badge. One is presented as a target. The other is designed as arrows interacting with each other to form their opposites through negative space. There might also be a new tutorial soon.

UPDATE: The Gallery page was enhanced (fixed icons) to accommodate new pages such as the WallPapers page and the Photos page.

Aperture Symbol Tutorial

There are many kinds of symbols in the world but it’s sometimes tricky to know where to start with recreating one. There are multiples to recreate something and no one method is truly the best.

Today you will learn how to make a symbol aperture symbol.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator
  • Polygon Tool
  • ShapeBuilder or PathFinder
  • Strokes
  • Elipse Tool
  • Rotate Tool


1. Press L to bring up the Ellipse Tool. Hold option or alt to constrain your proportions to a circle. Draw a big circle with any color you want but preferably black.

2. A. Hold the little black arrow near the Ellipse Tool to bring up a sub-menu with other tools in it. Select the tool that looks like a hexagon. This is our Polygon Tool.

B. Click the Polygon Tool then click anywhere on your workspace to bring up a window. Ignore the radius but do change the sides to 8 since we need an octagon.

C. Resize the octagon if needed. Don’t make the octagon too big or too small. Make it small as half the circle.

D. Draw some guides or use rulers to divide the circle into 4 equal parts. Place the octagon dead center in the circle (and guides).

3. A. Draw a guide that goes through the octagon’s top side.

B. Click R to bring up the ruler tool. Select the guide that goes through the octagon’s top side, then place the rotation point in center of the guides and circles.

C. Hold your left mouse button and drag while holding Shift+Option/Alt to make copies of the guide in a 45° angle. This clone of the guide should intersect a side of the octagon. Press Command+D or Ctrl+D to duplicate your process and produce more copies of the guide. Do this till you have 8 guides intersecting the octagon.

4. NOTE: If lacking the Shape Builder Tool, use the pathfinder. Go to Window>Pathfinder to open the Pathfinder tab. Select everything, then click the Divide button to divide all the guides, octagon, and circle together and delete certain portions by selecting areas with the white arrow and then pressing the delete key. Also, shift-click on objects then press the Unite button to combine those objects together.

A. Press Shift+M to bring up the Shape Builder Tool. The cursor should turn into a plus sign (that means we’re going to add objects together).

B. Click and drag a line intersecting the shapes you want to merge. Merge certain shapes to get a combined triangle shape as you seen in the picture below.

C. Repeat this process 7 more times to get our 8 triangle shapes.

D. Hold Option/Alt to make the cursor into a Minus shape. This will let us delete portions instead of adding them. Now use this to delete the octagon shape and all other unnecessary objects.

5. Now add or change each triangles strokes to white to add more substance to this symbol.

Some symbols may look easy to create but sometimes it’s tricky to get started.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.

Icon Conversion Tutorial

Icon conversion is vital for icon design. Different operating systems have different formats for icons.

Today you will learn how to convert an icon.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator
  • Document Window
  • Save for Web & Devices


1. Create a new document with an art board that has a resolution of 512 px by 512 px.

2. We are going to ignore the icon-making process since you can do it yourself. With your completed icon, make sure to scale the icon so it’s at least 512 px long in one or both directions.

3. Next, choose the option File>Save for Web & Devices… .

4. Choose the preset PNG-24 with Transparency checked so that you won’t have any white boxes like you would have for jpgs. This icon will be saved as a 512 px by 512 px resolution.

5. Click SAVE and choose the best location for yourself to save this png file.

6. Some icon programs like IcoFx can convert your icons for you but I’ll save you the hassle and link you to iConvert which an online converter for icons. You can add more formats in the options button but the default is good enough to begin the conversion process. So choose your icon by clicking Browse… .

7. A window will pop out for you to select your file. Locate your icon file that ends in .png.

8. Now that your file is selected. Go ahead and click Convert.

9. You should it see it convert successfully (if not, always retry). Now you will be able to download the .icns (the format Macs uses for icon) as well .ico (Windows format for icons) and Linux usually uses .png . Now you have different formats for icon for each different system.

Icons are fun to design and create. For the ability to share your icons with others, you must acknowledge other people’s operating systems. Since each system uses different icon formats, it is best to convert your icons so that others may use/distribute them.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.

Clipping Mask Tip

I was busy for some two weeks but I’m posting today since someone requested at tutorial.

Today, you will learn how to use a clipping mask. Clipping Mask is extremely useful and is a valuable technique for Digital Artists.

What You’ll Be Making:


  • Illustrator
  • Clipping Mask


1. Start by placing a texture or any grouped object onto your workspace. In this case, I placed a wood texture.

2. Draw any shape you want ( I’m using a circle). NOTE: Make sure your shape is on top of your texture/other object.

3. Select both objects using the Selection Tool (V). Then right-click on your objects, then select Make Clipping Mask.

4. Now your texture will be bounded to the shape you made.

There are varieties of things you can do with clipping masks but it’s always important to know how to make one.

I hope you enjoyed this tip and learned something new.

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