# Blog Archives

A short and simple way to make shadows like this as shown below.

What You’ll Be Making:

Tools:

• Illustrator
• Gaussian Blur

Steps:

1. First create an ellipse that is very thin and long. Make it black.

2. Make sure that this object is selected and go to Effect>Blur>Gaussian Blur.

3. A window should pop up. Enter 20 pixels for the Radius and click OK.

4. It should look this. Now we will stray away from this for a second.

5. Draw a rectangle over half of this shadow. Make sure goes farther than the edge of the show.

6. Make sure both the shadow and rectangle are selected. Also make sure that the rectangle is on top. Right-click and choose Make Clipping Mask.

7. Double-click the clipping mask to edit its insides. Scale the shadow down if needed but it is not recommended to scale it up.

8. It should look like this. Adjust the opacity if needed.

I hoped you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.

## Stylish Rope Tutorial

Today I’ll show you how to make a stylized rope using Illustrator.

What You’ll Be Making:

Tools:

• Illustrator
• Ellipse Tool
• Pathfinder/Shape-Builder
• Rotate Tool

Steps:

1. A. Use the Ellipse Tool to draw a circle (by holding shift).

B. Draw a three circles vertically so they fit in the original circle. Thus each small circle has 33.333% the size of original circle.

C. Use the Shape-Builder Tool/Pathfinder to cut out a C-shape from all the combined shapes.

D. Copy and reflect the shape towards the other shape. Move the shapes as shown below.

2. A. Move several copies (of how many you want) down if such a way the C-Shapes will form an S shape. Lower the opacities of the shapes could help precisely move the C-shapes. Make a copy of some of the shapes for later.

B. Use the Shape-Builder tool to combine shapes into a rope-like structure as pictured below.

3. A. Move over two C-shapes to form an S-shape. Draw some black-filled circles inside the shapes’ “hollow” centers as shown below.

B. Copy a circle over the left circle as show.

C. Select the circle’s left anchor-point and delete it.

D. Select the semi-circle and click Shift+X to quickly switch the stroke and fills of the object so that the black fill will turn into a black stroke.

4. A. Click R to bring up the Rotate Tool. Hold option/alt and select the Rotation Point to be at the center of the left black-filled circle. Make the angle 10° or somewhat close.

B. Click OK then press Cmd/Ctrl+D to transform again. Rotate the black-stroke object several times but stop till one copy is between the two black circles such that it touches both of them. Then rotate about the center of the other circle and make the angle -10° or so.

C. Rotate several times again and stop when the black-stroke object stops intersecting  the S-shape object.

D. Delete the unnecessary parts (circles and s-shape) and group all the black-stroke objects together.

5. A. Copy over all the different parts that comprise the rope structure as pictured below.

B. Copy over and line up the black-stroke group under one other shape and select them both then right click and choose Make Clipping Mask.

C. Continue this clipping mask process for the other rope parts.

D. You should four separate clipped rope parts as seen below.

6. A. Add a black stroke to the rope structure.

B. Move over the clipped objects over to the rope structure. If their behind it (make sure it’s still selected), right-click and choose Arrange>Bring to Front.

C. Continue to move over the clipped objects and rotate/reflect if necessary.

D. When your pieces are all in the right places, make a final color change if needed.

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:

Tools:

• Illustrator

Steps:

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.

## Vector Orb Tutorial Part 2

Here is Part 2, which will finish up with the Orb’s shadows (using clipping masks) and the orb’s reflection (using opacity masks).

You’ve probably seen these types of orbs around the web and now you have the chance to make your own stylish vector orb.

Steps:

8. A. Draw a gray oval and make sure to give this oval an opacity of 50 %. B. Add a Gaussian Blur of 5 to it by going to Effect>Blur>Gaussian Blur. C. Draw an object on top of everything and make it obstruct the orb and the “shadow’s” intersection (see picture). Then right-click this object and choose Make Clipping Mask.

9. A. Make a circle a same size of the orb and copy the M as well. Make the M black and the new circle gray. B. Make the M into outlines by right-clicking the text and choosing Create Outlines. C. Now group these objects. D. Now scale it down so it’s on the same level as our original shadow.

9-I E. Give this object a blur of 20. F. Give this object and opacity of 50%. G. Now move this object back onto our orb. H. Draw a circle of the orb’s size and make sure it’s above our dark object.

10. Option-Drag a copy  of everything besides the 2 bottom shadows.

11. A. Open a Transparency window if one is not open already. B. Double click the area to the right of our orb’s thumbnail (see picture) and uncheck the Clip check box. B-I. Now draw a circular mask about the same size as our orb (see picture). C. Now add a linear gradient to our mask. Be sure to make it fade to black downward where black of an opacity of 100% goes to black of an opacity of 0%. D. Now check the check boxes for Clip and Invert Mask.

11-I. A. Adjust the linear gradient by pushing the side with 0% black more to the 100% side so there is more of the fade showing.

12. A. Double click the thumbnail instead of the mask to exit out the Masking Mode. B. Move the reflection under our orb.

13. A. With the reflection still selected, go to the Transparency window/tab and click the chain so it vanishes. B. Now use the Reflect Tool (O) and flip our reflection horizontally. This way, our mask won’t be effected when flipping. C. Give the reflection an opacity of 75%. D. Apply a Gaussian Blur of 10 onto the reflection.

14. Now you should have made something as close as mine.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will look forward to the next one.

## Vector Orb Tutorial Part 1

It’s time again for another tutorial but this one will be another long tutorial so I will break it up into two. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

You’ve probably seen these types of orbs around the web and now you have the chance to make your own stylish vector orb.

Prerequisites: Illustrator CS4/5          Some experience with Illustrator

Steps:

1. A. Draw a perfect circle using the ellipse tool and holding shift to constrain its proportions and give it a radial gradient where the inside is white and the outside is black/gray. B. Give this circle an opacity of 50 %.

2. A. Add an inner glow effect by going to Effect>Stylize>Inner Glow. B. A window should pop up; choose white for the fill, choose screen for the mode, make the opacity 75 %,  make the blur .007, and choose the edge option. C. Add another glow effect using the same process and you won’t need to enter the values again since the settings will be saved until you change them.

3. A. Copy a circle of the same size as our orb and make another circle slightly bigger than it, also making sure that it is behind it and that they each have different colors. B. Use the Shape Builder tool (Shift+M, hold option to subtract parts) or use pathfinder to cut out the inner circle. C. Now with this shape, give it nice linear gradient that goes from black to white upward (90°). D. Move this object back onto our orb.

4. A. Use the type tool to create some text. I wrote M in respect to the Mac Lab logo but feel free to write some short text (initials maybe). B. Apply an Outer Glow by going to Effect>Stylize>Outer Glow. C. A window will show up; set the fill to black, set the mode to  multiply, set the opacity to 75%, and the blur to .08.

5. A. Draw a white oval near the top of our orb. B. Apply a gradient where it fades to white downwards.

6. A. Draw another white oval near the bigger one  so it’s adjacent to it. B. Set the small oval’s opacity to 50%.

7. A. Draw a short arc segment with a .565 stroke or any stroke that is about the same width of the small oval and make it have a round cap. B. Use the Width Tool (Shift+W) to shorten one end to a point by dragging the endpoint’s width anchors inward. C. Move this curve onto the orb and give a white stroke. D. Give this curve a 50% stroke.

Note: If lacking the Width Tool, just draw the shape as best as you can.

This is the end of Part 1. Part 2 will finish off by giving it shadows and reflections. Click here for Part 2.

## Vector Orb Tutorial Preview

Sorry for not posting a tutorial sooner but I promise to give you one today. I been having computer problems at home but I finally managed to fix things. In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a vector bubble/orb/sphere with some shadows, highlights, and masks. Will post the complete tutorial in a few hours.

## Perspective Grid Part 2

This is Part 2 of the Perspective Grid tutorial. Part 2 consists of making our grid into a realistic library.

Materials: +Illustrator CS5 +Perspective Tool +Stock Photos +Blend Tool

Steps:

22. To leave off where we were before. We can draw some rectangles that represent the back of the shelves. Draw and group each rectangle in each row/column to fill all the “backs” of the shelves.

23. Let’s draw a black square that will be used for a clipping mask later.

24. Download some free stock textures and make sure they are wood patterns. I got these free stock textures from freestocktextures.com, go figure. I recommend download these items: http://freestocktextures.com/texture/id/698 and http://freestocktextures.com/texture/id/454.

25. In this step, we will make a clipping mask out of our front grid. To do this, send the grid to the back or front.

26. Bring the stock texture under/over our grid. Make sure that these two are both selected then right click and choose Create Clipping Mask.

27. Draw a similar black square anywhere on the screen. Stretch our second stock texture so it overlaps all of the black square. Select both of the square and texture and make a clipping mask.

28. Let’s drag our background text over our grid. Then, send this object to the back.

29. Now let’s have some fun and apply Inner Glow effects to each column/row of rectangles. Inner Glow is located in Effect>Stylize>Inner Glow. Set a shortcut for this effect or else keep clicking through the menu as we go through each rectangle. A good shortcut to set it to is PC: Shift+Ctrl+Alt+G or MAC: Shift+Ctrl+Opt+G. In the inner glow option box, choose a dark brown color, set the mode to multiply, set the opacity to 80, and blur to 15. These are recommended settings but feel free to change it.

30. Get through each rectangle and make sure they all have the inner glow effect.

31. Since we want the background texture to appear, let’s make all the squares that faces us, have an opacity of 50 or whatever you want.

32. Take some time to make sure everything is lined up and looking elegant.

33. Draw a square from one corner to another and apply a radial gradient.Make sure the color that is in the middle has an opacity of 0. See picture for reference.

34. Send this square to the back BUT in front of the texture.

And you’re down. Congratulations! This tutorial use some confusing methods but now you learned a lot more than you could’ve had.

The tutorial file will be uploaded via Box.net so you can play around with that.