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Andrei Marius On October - 21 - 2010

Hi there. In the following tutorial I will show you how to create a clean envelope icon. Give it a try and you might learn some new stuff about working with grid and the transform effect. You will also need some linear gradients, strokes, Opacity Mask, Pathfinder options plus some simple effects and techniques.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour
Number of Steps: 26


This is what you’ll be creating:

preview

Step 01

Create a 256 by 256px document. First, turn on the Grid (View > Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Next, you’ll need a grid every 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter “5″ in the “Gridline every :” box and “1″ in the “Subdivisions” box. You can also open the Info palette for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Al these options will significantly increase your work speed. Now, select the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a 210x130px shape. I filled it with red and I lowered it’s opacity (30%) so that you can distinguish the grid. You should do the same. It will be helpful in further steps. Double click on this shape (in the Layers panel) and name it “00″.

Step 02

Create a copy of “00″. Select this copy, move its top side 45px down then go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-) and click on the anchor points highlighted in image #2. You should get a triangle shape (image #3).

Step 03

Create a nother copy of “00″. Select it, move its bottom side 45px up then go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-) and click on the anchor points highlighted in image #2. Once again, you should get a triangle shape (image #3).

Step 04

Make a copy of “00″, rename it “vvv” and make it invisible. You’ll need it for the final steps. Duplicate the triangles made in the previous steps. Select these copies along with the “00″ shape and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. You should get two new triangles (image #2). Now, you should have a total of four triangles.

Step 05

Duplicate the left, triangle shape. Pick the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a shape like the yellow one shown in the first image (5px wide). Select it along with the copy of the triangle and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Double click on the resulting shape and name it “1″. Duplicate the bottom, triangle shape. Reselect the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a shape like the yellow one shown in the third image (5px high). Select it along with the copy of the triangle and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Double click on the resulting shape and name it “2″. Duplicate the right, triangle shape. Reselect the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a shape like the yellow one shown in the fifth image (5px wide). Select it along with the copy of the triangle and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Double click on the resulting shape and name it “3″. Duplicate the top, triangle shape. Reselect the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a shape like the yellow one shown in the seventh image (5px high). Select it along with the copy of the triangle and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Double click on the resulting shape and name it “4″.

Step 06

Pick the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a 10px by 250px shape. Make seven copies of this shape and move them to the left, as shown in the image below. Once again, the Snap to Grid, will ease your work. Fill these eight shapes with the colors shown below.

Step 07

Select the shapes made in the previous step and go to Object > Distort&Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown in the following image, click OK then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Step 08

Now, you need to organize the shapes made in the previous step. Select all red shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Select the resulting path and name it “Red Lines”. Select the blue shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Select the resulting path and name it “Blue Lines”. Select the white shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Select the resulting path and name it “White Lines”. Select “Red Lines”, “Blue Lines” and “White Lines” then hit Ctrl + G to group them. Select this newly created group and name it “Lines”.



Step 09

Now, let’s add some color. First, disable the Grid and the Snap to Grid then select the left triangle and fill it with R=242 G=242 B=242. Add a new fill for this shape (from the flyout menu of the Appearance panel) and use the linear gradient shown below. Select the second fill (from the Appearance panel) and lower its opacity to 50%.

Step 10

Duplicate the “Lines” group, rotate it and place it as shown in the following image (I lowered its opacity so that you can distinguish it). Create two copies of the “1″ shape. Select “Blue Lines” along with a copy of “1″ and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the first linear gradient. Select “White Lines” and the other copy of “1″ then click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the second linear gradient. Select “Red Lines” and the original shape “1″ then click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the third linear gradient. Save these gradients in the Swatches panel. You’ll need them in the further steps.


Step 11

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter “1″ in the “Keyboard Increment” box. Make two copies of the left triangle. Select the top copy and hit the Up Arrow twice. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like in the second image. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-) and click on the highlighted anchor point. Fill the resulting shape with black and lower its opacity to 5%.

Step 12

Le’s move to the bottom triangle. Fill it with R=242 G=242 B=242 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient shown below.

Step 13

Duplicate the bottom triangle. Fill this copy with none (remove the second fill from the Appearance panel) and add a 5px, aligned to inside stroke. Pick the Add Anchor Point Tool(+) and click on the highlighted points to add two, new anchor points. Select these anchor points (with the Direct Selection Tool) and move them in the direction pointed by the arrow. Reselect this shape and go to Object > Expand Appearance then make another copy of the bottom triangle. Select this copy along with the expanded stroke and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and lower its opacity to 30%.

Step 14

Duplicate the “Lines” group, rotate it and place it as shown in the following image. Create two copies of the “2″ shape. Select “Blue Lines” along with a copy of “2″ and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the first linear gradient. Select “White Lines” and the other copy of “2″ then click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the second linear gradient. Select “Red Lines” and the original shape “2″ then click on the Intersect button from the Pathfidner panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the third linear gradient.


Step 15

Make another two copies of the bottom triangle. Select the top copy and hit the down arrow twice. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like in the second image. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-) and click on the highlighted anchor points. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient and lower its opacity to 20%.

Step 16

Le’s continue with the right triangle. Fill it with R=242 G=242 B=242 then add a new fill and use the linear gradient shown below. Select the second fill and lower its opacity to 50%.

Step 17

Duplicate the “Lines” group, rotate it and place it as shown in the following image. Create two copies of the “3″ shape. Select “Blue Lines” along with a copy of “3″ and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the first linear gradient. Select “White Lines” and the other copy of “3″ then click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the second linear gradient. Select “Red Lines” and the original shape “3″ then click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the third linear gradient.


Step 18

Make two copies of the right triangle. Select the top copy and hit the Up Arrow twice. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like in the second image. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-) and click on the highlighted anchor point. Fill the resulting shape with black and lower its opacity to 5%.

Step 19

Now, the top triangle. First, you need to add a bit of roundness for this shape. Duplicate it then make the original shape invisible (for the moment). Select the copy, add a 5px Rounded Corners effect (Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners) then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Pick the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a shape like the black one shown in the second image. Move it below the expanded shape (in the Layers panel) then select both shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like in the third image. Turn the original, top triangle back to visible. Move the black shape in the top of the Layers panel then select both shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. You should get a shape like the one shown in the fifth image.

Step 20

Select the shape made in the previous step and fill it with R=242 G=242 B=242. Add two new fills and use the linear gradients shown below. Select the second fill and lower its opacity to 50%.

Step 21

Duplicate the top triangle. Pick the Direct Selection Tool(A), select the bottom anchor points and move them a few pixels down. Move this copy below the original shape (in the Layers panel) then fill it with the linear gradient and lower its opacity to 7%.

Step 22

Duplicate the top triangle. Fill this copy with none (remove the other two fills from the Appearance panel) and add a 5px, aligned to inside stroke. Pick the Add Anchor Point Tool(+) and click on the highlighted points to add two, new anchor points. Select these anchor points (with the Direct Selection Tool) and move them in the direction pointed by the arrow. Reselect this shape and go to Object > Expand Appearance then make another copy of the top triangle. Select this copy along with the expanded stroke and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and lower its opacity to 30%.

Step 23

Duplicate the “Lines” group, rotate it and place it as shown in the following image. Create two copies of the “4″ shape. Select “Blue Lines” along with a copy of “4″ and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the first linear gradient. Select “White Lines” and the other copy of “4″ then click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the second linear gradient. Select “Red Lines” and the original shape “4″ then click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill the resulting path with the third linear gradient.


Step 24

Make two copies of the top triangle. Select the top copy and hit the Up Arrow. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like in the second image. Pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-) and click on the highlighted anchor point. Fill the resulting shape with black and lower its opacity to 7%.

Step 25

Finally, you can add a bit of roundness for the overall envelope icon. First, select all the shapes create so far (except “vvv”) and group them (Ctrl + G). Turn “vvv” back to visible, Bring it to Front (Shift + Ctrl + ]) and fill it with white. Add a 1px Rounded Corners effect for this shape and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Create a copy of the resulting shape and Send it to Back (Shift + Ctrl + [). Open the Transparency panel. Select the original top, white shape along with the group of shapes and click on Make Opacity Mask from the flyout menu of the Transparency panel.

Step 26

Select the bottom, white shape, add the Drop Shadow effect (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) and you’re done.

Final

Now your work is done. Here is how it should look like.

Categories: Icons

12 Responses

  1. Nikola says:

    Super tutorial, very detailed as usual and written well.
    Bravo!

  2. Krishna says:

    Love it! always so detailed! :)
    bookmarked!

  3. Ahmad says:

    This is pretty nice Tutorial Thanks so much

  4. Sade says:

    Very useful tutorial for beginners ;) I will practice an enveleope as you mentioned ;) thank you…

  5. Great tutorial this comes in handy :)

  6. Hi. I practised the steps. Really wonderful.
    Good job done.
    Keep on posting new tutorials!!

    Keep it up!!!

  7. Jeprie says:

    Very nice. I really need to learn more on Illustrator. I always think Illustrator is harder than Photoshop but in this situation the final result is worth it.

  8. This is a fun tutorial! Thank you.

  9. Alex says:

    Very clean tutorial ! Thanks !

  10. dungce says:

    ths for shared

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