illustrator tutorial: create a yummy vector cupcake

Some time ago I posted two similar cupcakes as vector freebies. Now it is the time to share my recipe (with a special dedication to Janna Hiromasa ;):)).

You may download the source file. I use the CS4 version but the file is back-saved to CS2.

Step 1

Create an irregular shape as in the image below. You can either use the Pen Tool (P) or start with an ellipse (L) and then move the anchor points and adjust the handles with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift+C).
Fill the shape with a solid color, R = 255 G = 174 B = 209 and set the stroke to none.
Copy Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste in back Cmd/Ctrl+B then drag it a little bit down and to the right as in the image.

Fill the bottom shape with the pink gradient as in the image. The numbers in the image represent the RGB values of the the gradient colors.

Step 2

With the Pen Tool (P) create a simple irregular shape as in the image

Fill it with the gradient as in the image, no stroke.

Copy Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste the yellow shape in the back Cmd/Ctrl+B.

Keep it selected, enlarge just a little bit and shift a bit down. Adjust the gradient so that the beneath copy was a bit darker.

Step 3

It is the time for our chocolate coating. First with the Pen Tool (P) create an irregular shape as in the image. Fill it with the dark chocolate color, mine is R = 48 G = 35 B = 19.

Deselect, set the fill color to R = 98 G = 69 B = 35 and choose the Gradient Mesh Tool (U).
Add (just by clicking) a mesh point as shown in the image.

Deselect, set the fill color to R = 73 G = 54 B = 31 and add another mesh point as shown below.

And once more with the milk chocolate brown R = 123 G = 84 B = 39.

Step 4

Now we will put our cupcake into a brown paper liner.
With the Rectangle Tool create a rectangle. Fill it with some light brown R = 143 G = 108 B = 86. With the Gradient Mesh Tool (U) add a mesh point in the middle of the bottom edge of the rectangle. Now with the Direct Selection Tool (A) reshape the bottom part of the rectangle so that to obtain the shape of the liner (you will have to replace the mesh points and to add some curviness by dragging the handles).
Send the liner shape to back the liner shape – select and go to Object > Arrange > Send to Back or use the shortcut Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+[.

(1) We will have 19 mesh points on the horizontal edges of the liner. The middle and the two extreme ones are already there.
First add two more in the middles of each half. Then try to distribute uniformly four in each quarter.
(2) Still with the Gradient Mesh Tool (U) click somewhere in the bottom part of the liner (make sure you click on the mesh line) to get some more mesh points as in the image.
(3) Select all the mesh points on the bottom edge and change their fill to some darker brown, mine is R = 58 G = 30 B = 18.
(4) Starting from one of the extreme points select every second mesh point on the top edge and every second mesh point on the mesh line inside the liner and change its fill to the same color as used in (3).

Step 5

We will add some shadow that comes from the cupcake.
In Step 1 we created two pink shapes. Select the bottom one, copy Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste it to back Cmd/Ctrl+B, still selected enlarge it a little, drag and rotate just a little bit. Change the fill color to black.

Next select the liner. We aim to intersect the just created shadow shape with the liner shape. The problem is that the liner is not a path but a mesh object and the Pathfinder won’t work in such case.
Don’t panic. Go to Object > Path > Offset path and set the Offset size to 0px. This way you’ve just created a path that has the exact shape of the outline of our mesh object.

Keep it selected. Press the Shift key and select the shadow shape.
Go to Pathfinder Panel and choose Intersect.

Go to the Appearance Panel, change the blending mode to Multiply and decrease the Opacity to 18%.

Step 5

For your convenience block the cupcake (to do that select it and hit Cmd/Ctrl+2).
Choose the Star Tool (You will find it under the Rectangle Tool in the Tools Panel). Double click and in the dialog box set the values as: Radius 1: 200 px, Radius 2: 210 px (I increase the Radius 1 by 5%) and Points: 36.

This will give you the napkin with the right proportions. Send it to back, Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+[. Select (V) and rescale the napkin.
Fill it with a light blue gray R = 236 G = 240 B = 242 , no stroke.

Step 6

Create an ellipse (L) and place it symmetrically under the cupcake. Set its fill to black with no stroke, change the blending mode to Multiply and decrease the Opacity to 12%.

Step 7

Create another ellipse (L) and put it between the napkin and the cupcake shadow that was created in the previous step. Make sure it is entirely within the napkin. Fill it with the black to white gradient as in the image.

Change the blending mode to Multiply and decrease the opacity a little (I set it to 80%).

Step 8

It’s the time for a cherry.
Create a simple shape of a cherry and bring it to front Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+]. To do that either go to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front or use the shortcut Shift + Cmd/Ctrl+].
Fill it with the solid color, R = 139 G = 0 B = 55, no stroke.

Copy Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste the cherry to front Cmd/Ctrl+F. With the Gradient Mesh Tool (U) add two mesh points as in the image.

With the Direct Selection Tool A, change the fill colors of some of the mesh points as in the image (the numbers correspond to the RGB values)

Decrease the opacity a bit (71%).

Group the two cherry shapes, select both and press Cmd/Ctrl+G.
Copy Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste Cmd/Ctrl+V the gradient shadow we used for the napkin. In the Layer panel place it above the cupcake group and below the cherry group. Position it and resize so that to obtain a nice shadow of the cherry on the chocolate cover.

Step 9

Now we will create the cherry stem.
(1) With the Pen Tool (P) create a simple two-points path. Set fill to none and stroke to R = 198 G = 221 B = 124. (2) Use the built-in Illustrator brushes from the Brushes panel (go to Window > Brushes). I chose the 3pt Round Calligraphic brush and set the stroke to 1,5 pt.
(3) Go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.
(4) Copy the stem to front Cmd/Ctrl+C, Cmd/Ctrl+F, with the Option/Alt key on drag the stem copy a bit to the right. You should now have three copies of the stem, select the two of them that do not overlap.

(5) Go to the Pathfinder Panel and choose Intersect.
(6) Apply the gradient fill as in image to the beyond (larger) part of the stem.

(7) Create a tiny ellipse as in the image. In the Layer Panel put it below the two parts of the stem.
(8) With the Shift key on select the small ellipse shape and the larger part of the stem (the one with gradient fill). Co to the Pathfinder Panel and choose Unite.

(9) Create a small ellipse (L) and in the Layer Panel put it between the cherry and the twi parts of the stem. Set the fill to R = 73 G = 54 B = 31, no stroke.

Your cupcake is ready!

tutorial: Create a vector Christmas ball

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a vector Christmas ball from scratch in Adobe Illustrator. In the first part of this tutorial I explain how to create a decor, in the second one how to create a 3D Christmas ball.
xmas_ball_preview
You may download the source file. I use the CS4 version but the file is back-saved to CS2.

Part 1 DECOR

Step 1

Choose the rectangle tool (M). Alt-click and set the width as 18px and height as 100 px. Fill the rectangle with R = 206 G = 21 B = 82 and set the stroke to none.
Copy Cmd/Ctrl+C your rectangle and paste it in front Cmd/Ctrl+F. Next holding the Shift key drag the copy 10 px down (don’t worry if you do a bit more).
Having your copy still selected to to Object > Stylize > Round Corners and set the radius to 10 px. Next expand it (Object > Expand Appearance).
Select both rectangles and choose Unite from the Pathfinder Panel.

symbol1

Step 2

Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and create 10 copies of the stylized rectangle with the settings as in the image below.

With your shapes still selected go tho Object > Expand Appearance. Next immediately ungroup your objects Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+G (or go to Object > Ungroup).

Select every second shape, go to the Appearance panel and set the Blending mode to Multiply and Opacity to 60%.

symbol2

Step 3

Select all your shapes, again go to Effect > Distort& Transform > Transform… and create an inverted copy with the settings as in the image.
Make sure to expand your selection (Object > Expand Appearance).

symbol3

Step 4

Select and drag your rectangles to the Symbols Panel.

symbol4

Part 2 BALL

Step 5

To create the ball you may use the top right shape from the image as a template. Then it is most convenient to place it in its own layer, double-click the layer in the Layers panel, select Template, and click OK. Create a new layer Cmd/Ctrl+L and … just retrace it.

Alternatively you may create the half-ball shape starting from the simple shapes. First draw a circle using the ellipse tool (L) and holding down the Shift key. Next with the Rectangle tool (M) create a rectangle and place it as in the image. With the direct selection tool (A) drag the bottom right corner a bit to the right and upward so that it meets the circle. To obtain the smooth transition make sure that the handles are parallel (or almost parallel) to the tangent line to the circle in the intersection point.
Select both shapes, go to Pathfinder Panel, choose Unite, select the unwanted parts with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and remove them.
ball_outline

Step 6

Set the fill to white, stroke to none and go to Effect > 3D > Revolve. Set the parameters as in the image. To set the shading click ‘More Options’. Use ‘Custom’ as the Shading Color and set the color to R = 226 G = 68 B = 147.

revolve1

Here is what you should obtain:

ball1

Step 7

In your 3D Revolve Options panel click Map Art… Go to the third surface and choose xmas_ball in the Symbol field (the left upper corner). Resize and reshape our symbol as in the image.

mapping

Here is what we get.

ball2

Step 8

Now we will add some shading to our ball. Choose the outline shape, copy it Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste in front Cmd/Ctrl+F. Go to the Appearance Panel. Now, we will change the 3D Revolve settings.
First go to the Map Art… and chose Clear All.

shading_map

Next change the settings as below:

shading1

Here is the result.

shading2

Step 9

Change the blending mode to Multiply and decrease the Opacity to 52%

shading3

Part 3 HANGING

Step 10

Now, we will create the cap of the ball. In a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl+L) create a rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (M). Fill it with light beige R = 229 G = 227 B = 214, no stroke. Choose the Direct Selection Tool (A) and convert the upper right corner. Next remove the bottom part and the left part.

cap1

Step 11

Go to Effect > 3D > Revolve.

cap3D
Here is what you should get.
cap3Dp

Step 12

Now, exactly as we did for the ball, we will add some shading. Copy Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste the cup in front Cmd/Ctrl+F. Change the fill color to white. Go to the Appearance Panel and change the 3D Revolve settings.
cap_shading
Next change the blending mode to Multiply and decrease the opacity to 30%.
cap_shadingp

Step 13

Replace and resize (if necessary) the cap shape so that it works well with the ball shape.

cap_place

Step 14

Copy the cap shading Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste it in front Cmd/Ctrl+F. For your convenience set the cap and its shading invisible and lock them for a while.
We will expand this object so to speed up the process go to the Appearance Panel and in 3D Revolve options (More Options…) choose No Shading. Change the fill color from white to any more visible.
Go to Object > Expand Appearance. Next go to the Pathfinder Panel and choose Unit.
clipping1

Step 15

With the Pen Tool (P) create the shape about as in the image. Make sure that its bottom boarders are all above the bottom boarders of the cap shape.

clipping2

Step 16

Select the two shapes and choose Divide from your Pathfinder Panel. Ungroup immediately Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+G and remove the unwanted parts.

clipping3

Step 17

Unlock and set visible the two cap parts. Select the whole layer and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make or use the keyboard shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+7.

clipping4

Step 18

Now we will create the shadow that the cap drops on the ball. In fact it is not very visible so you may omit this step.

Create a new layer Cmd/Ctrl+L, name it Shadow and put it between the ball and the cap layers.
Alt-drag the the ball shading from the Ball layer. In the Appearance Panel change the 3D Revolve options to No Shading and choose some fill color. Go to Object > Expand Appearance and next to Pathfinder Panel in order to choose Unite. (Yes, you have already done it once).
Next alt-drag the Clipping mask shape from the Cap layer to the Shadow layer. Choose some fill color.
shadow1

Step 19

Select the the copy of the cap clipping mask, move it down and resize a bit. Once you are satisfied with its shape and position Shift-click the ball shape so that both shapes are selected. Go to the Pathfinder Panel and choose Intersect.

shadow2

Step 20

Set the blending mode to Multiply and decrease the opacity (34%)

shadow3

Step 21

Now we will create the tiny hook. With the Ellipse tool (L) draw an Ellipse. Drag a little bit the handles of the upper point with the Direct Selection Tool (A).
Next go to Object > Path > Offset Path… Make sure that the Preview is checked and attune the Offset value (keep it negative). The appropriate value will vary depending on your ball size.
Select both paths and choose Minus Front in the Pathfinder Panel.
Starting from the point a bit above the hook top point draw the Ellipse (L) holding down the Alt-key. Intersect it with the hook (Pathfinder).

top0

Step 22

Play a little with the hook shape. Next apply the gradient fill with the settings as in the image.

top

Step 23

To finish you only have to add a tiny string (I clicked twice holding down the Shift key with the Pen Tool (P)). Add some background that you like in the new layer. Move that layer to the very bottom. You may also want to add some shading. Create an ellipse (L) and fill it with the black to white radial gradient as in the image. Set the blending mode as Multiply decrease the Opacity to 30%…. and MERRY CHRISTMAS..

finishing

ultra-easy pattern making – illustrator tutorial

In this post I will show you how to quickly create a seamless simple geometric pattern swatch in Adobe Illustrator. In the last (extra) step I will show you a very simple way to ‘export’ it as a pattern to Photoshop.

First, have a look at what we aim to obtain (this pattern is inspired by the fabric of my favorite tunic).

Vector pattern swatch - preview
Vector pattern swatch - preview

1. With the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle 20 px (width) x 60 px (height). Set stroke to none and fill to black.

2. With the black rectangle selected go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and choose the settings as below. Next go to Object menu and Expand Appearance.
Ungroup the bottom rectangles Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+G.

Multiply your rectangle by four
Multiply your rectangle by four

3. Once the rectangles are ungrouped you can change their fill colors. I used:
Color swatches
Color swatches

4. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the the top parts of your rectangles (so that to include all top apices) and drag it a little to the right holding down the Shift key (drag as you like, don’t worry – you can change it any time). Alternatively you can group your rectangle, select the group and use Object > Transform > Shear…

Shearing the rectangles
Shearing the rectangles

5. Group your rectangles Cmd/Ctrl+G and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and choose the settings as below

Applying reflection
Applying reflection

7. Again go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… Choose Apply New Effect and the settings as follows:

A copy to the right
A copy to the right

8. And once again (yes to Apply New Effect) and:

A copy to the left
A copy to the left

9. Creat a rectangle 80 px (width) x 120 px (height) (80 = number of colorful rectangles x width of a single rectangle; 120 = 2 x height of a single rectangle). Set its fill and stroke to none and send it to the very bottom of the layer Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+[. Select all. In the Align Panel choose: (1) Horizontal Align Center and (2) Vertical Align Top.

Creating bottom rectangle
Creating bottom rectangle

10. Now, drag your selection (make sure the whole layer is selected) to the Swatches Panel or go to Edit > Define Pattern… It’s done!

11. If you want to use this pattern in Photoshop, here is how to do it ultra-quickly: with a Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle 80 px x 120 px and fill it with your pattern (no stroke). Select it, copy and paste in Photoshop into a file that has the same canvas size. Go to Edit > Define Pattern…

Below: the tunic inspiration. Thnx to Pinkonhead for taking the photo and to Joe Vains for suggesting this idea ;) :)

I hope you find this tutorial useful, all comments are highly appreciatied. Please share and bookmark!
tunic

tutorial: Create and color an eco easter egg in Adobe Illustrator

In this tutorial you will learn how to prepare an eco colored egg for easter. Eco for there are no artificial colorants used. I wanted to recreate the look of a traditional polish egg: cooked in onion rinds with wax decors to be scratched off afterwards. In the first part of this tutorial I explain how to create a decor, in the second one how to create a 3D naturaly looking egg.

Preview: final result
Preview: final result

Part 1: Decor

Step 1: Creating a custom brush

Create a custom brush to be used for the decor. I call it a nail brush. Below you can find the template of mine (you can aslo create this shape combining two ellipses, then go to Pathfinder, choose Add to Shape Area and extract afterwards).

nail brush
nail brush

Using the Selection Tool (V) drag your shape to the Brushes panel and choose the settings as below:

Create a nail brush
Create a nail brush

Step 2: Creating a wax decor

Draw a straight line segment, apply the nail brush and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform…

Creating decor (1)
Creating decor (1)

Again go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and choose Apply New Effect when the dialog box pops up.

apply_n_e

Set the value of horizontal move so that to recreate what you can see below (that may vary depending on the initial size of your line segment).

Creating decor (2)
Create decor (2)

Draw another vertical line segment of the same length above the left border of the first circle of nails, apply the nail brush, go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and again set the value of horizontal move and number of copies so that to recreate what you can see below.

Creating decor (3)
Creating decor (3)

Then drag it down holding alt/option key (to make a copy) and Shift (to drag it vertically) key

Creating decor (4)
Creating decor (4)

You don’t have to be precise as far as the number of copies here (as you can see I was not) since the left and right edges will not be visible.

Step 3: Turning the decor into a symbol

Select your three objects, go to Object menu and expand them. Set stroke color to none and fill color to white. Drag the selection to the Symbols panel and choose Graphic:

Creating symbol
Creating symbol

Now, it’s time to create an egg.

Part 2: Creating a 3D egg object

Step 4: Creating an egg shape to be revoled

You may use the image below as a template to draw the shape of an egg.

Egg shape template
Egg shape template

To trace it, make sure the image is in its own layer, double-click the layer in the Layers panel, select Template, and click OK:

set_template1

Easiest way is to draw an elipse starting in the center of the template egg – hold the alt/option key. Then reshape your ellipse using the direct selection tool (A).

With the selection tool (A) select the right half or your egg and delete it. We are about to create an eco egg which means we only use purely natural colorants – the onion rinds in this case. To obtain the onion rinds effect set the stroke color to R = 165 G = 78 B = 61. Make sure you set fill color to none.

Shape to be revolved
Shape to be revolved

Step 5: From 2D to 3D

Go to Effect > 3D > Revolve. Click More Options to view the complete list of options. On the screenshot below you can see my choice of settings:

Rotated egg
Rotated egg

Step 6: Mapping Art

Choose the Map Art button and go to Surface 2, choose the eco veggtor symbol and place it on the grey area. Check the preview to properly position the symbol.

Mapping art
Mapping art

Step 7: Adding shade on the egg surface

Duplicate the revolved object (cmd/ctrl+C) and paste it to the front (cmd/ctrl+F). Change the stroke color to white (fill is still none), blending mode to Multiply and Opacity to 60%. Double click the Apperance panel, first go to Map Art and click the Clear All button – that removes art from all surfaces. Press OK than go to More Option, below are my settings:

Adding shadow to the egg surface
Adding shadow to the egg surface

Step 9: Adding background and shadow underneath the egg

Create an ellipse starting from the bottom peak of your egg. Set it to the back shift+cmd/ctrl+[. Fill the ellipse with a radial black to white gradient and adjust the gradient settings as below:

Adding shadow underneath the egg
Adding shadow underneath the egg

Set blending mode to Multiply and decrease the Opacity a bit. If you use Illustrator CS 4 you may use a black to transparent gradient instead, then you do not have to change the blending mode.
Now set the backround color, create a rectangle and set it to back shift+cmd/ctrl+[. I set the fill color to R = 157 G = 178 B = 178. The font I used are Skia Regular and Santa Fe LET.

Preview: final result
Preview: final result

I hope you found this tutorial useful – it’s my first one – some feedback much appreciated! So are tweets/diggs/stumbling… :)