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Andrei Marius On November - 18 - 2010

Hi there. In the following tutorial I will show you how to create a detailed traffic light illustration. It covers some interesting techniques and effects. Give it a try and you might learn some new stuff about working with opacity masks, blends, Photoshop effects, multiple fills/strokes.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Number of Steps: 22


This is what you’ll be creating:

preview

Step 01

Create a 700 by 700px document. First, enable the Grid (View > Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Next, you’ll need a grid every 10px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter “10″ in the “Gridline every :” box and “1″ in the “Subdivisions” box. You can also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to replace the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Unit > General. Al these options will significantly increase your work speed.

Step 02

Pick the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a 220 by 520px shape. Select this shape and go to Object > Path > OFfset Path. Enter a -10px Offset and clcik OK.

Step 03

Select the first shape made in the previous step and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 10px Radius, click OK then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Double click on the resulting shape (in the Layers panel) and name it “01″. Select the second shape, add the same Rounded Corners effect then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Name the resulting shape “02″.

Step 04

Pick the Ellipse Tool(M), hold Shift and create a 120 by 120 px shape. Select this circle and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5px Offset and click OK. Now, select the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a shape like the one shown in the third image. Select it along with the larger circle and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. You should get half a circle, as shown in the final image.

Step 05

Select the circle made in the previous step and fill it with the radial gradient shown below. Select the Polar Grid Tool and click on your Artboard. Enter the data shown below then click OK. You will get a group of sixteen concentric circles. Place them above the red circle then add a 0,25px, white, aligned to inside stroke for all these shapes. Reselect the entire group and lower its opacity to 30%.

Step 06

Select the half circle shape, move it below the red circle (in the Layers panel) then fill it with the linear gradient shown in the first image. Disable the Snap to Grid then make two copies of this shape. Select the top copy and hit the right arrow and down arrow. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the third image and lower its opacity to 50%.

Step 07

Make two copies of the red circle. Select the first copy and hit the right arrow five times. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black and lower its opacity to 50%.

Step 08

Reenable the Snap to Grid, duplicate the red circle (Shift+C > Shift +F) then select the Ellipse Tool(L) and create a shape like the one shown in the first image. Select this new shape along with the fresh copy and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the radial gradient, lower its opacity to 20% and Bring it to Front (Shift + Ctrl + ]).

Step 09

Select the shapes made in the previous five steps and group them (Ctrl + G). Select this group of shapes and place it as shown in the first image. The Snap to Grid will ease your work. Make a copy of this group and move it down. Now, let’s focus on this new group of shapes. First, select the red shape and replace the red gradient with the yellow one shown in the first image. Select the group of concentric circles lower its opacity to 10% then change the stroke color to black. Select the bottom shape and raise its opacity to 60%.

Step 10

Make another copy of the red light group and move it below the yellow light (image #1). Select the basic circle and replace the red gradient with the green gradient then select the group of concentric circles and raise its opacity to 50%.

Step 11

Let’s continue with shapes “01″. First, fill it with R=42 G=49 B=57 then add two new fills (from the flyout menu of the Appearance panel) and use the linear gradients shown below. Select these new fills and lower their opacity to 10%. Add one final for this shape and make it black. Select it from the Appearance panel, lower its opacity to 10%, change its blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown in the final image then click OK.

Step 12

Pick the Rectangle Tool(M) and create two new shapes as shown in the first image. Pick the Direct Selection Tool(A) select the highlighted anchor points and move them up as shown. Once again the Snap to Grid will ease your work. Fill these shape with white and lower their opacity to 5%.

Step 13

Let’s continue with shape “02″. Select and move it above “01″ and the other two shapes made in the previous step (in the Layers panel). First fill it with R=42 G=49 B=57 then add a new fill and make it black. Select this new fill (from the Appearance panel), lower its opacity to 5%, change its blending mode to Multiply then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Next, add a 5pt, aligned to inside stroke (R=111 G=113 B=115). Once again, open the flyout menu of the Appearance panel and add a second stroke. Make it 4pt thick, align it to inside and fill it with R=42 G=55 B=64.

Step 14

Duplicate the red, yellow and green circles and shape “02″. Select all these copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -20px Offset and click OK. Delete the original shape then select the resulting shape and fill it with black. Lower its opacity to 30% then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 15px Radius then click OK.

Step 15

Pick the Rectangle Tool, create two thin shapes (1px high) and put them syde by side. Fill them with the colors shown below then place them below the red light. Duplicate these two shapes and move them below the yellow light.

Step 16

Pick the Ellipse Tool(L) and create a 300 by 280px shape then pick the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a shape like the one shown in the second image. It should cover a quarter of the circle area. Select both shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like in image #3. Pick the Direct Selection Tool(A), select the top anchor points and move them 5px down. Next you need to add a roundness effect for the top, left anchor points. For this you’ll need the Round Any Corner Script. Save it to your hard drive then pick the Direct Selection Tool(A). Select the top, left anchor points and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 5px Radius and click OK.

Step 17

Select the shape made in the previous step and fill it with R=42 G=49 B=57. Add a second fill for this shape and make it black. Select it (from the Appearance panel), lower its opacity to 10%, change its bledig mode to Multiply then add the Film Grain effect. Add one final fill for this shape and use the linear gradient shown in the third image.

Step 18

Reselect the shape from the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and fill it with the first linear gradient shown below (remove the extra fill and effect from the Appearance panel). Lower its opacity to 50% then add a 2px Gaussian Blur effect. Disable the Snap to Grid then make two copies of this shape. Select the the one then hit the right arrow twice and the down arrow five times. Reselect both shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the second linear gradient then add a 2px Gaussian Blur effect.

Step 19

Reenable the Snap to Grid. Select the shapes made in the previous two step and grup them (Ctrl + G). Select this group, Send it to Back (Shift + Ctrl + [) then make two copies and place them as shown in the first image. Duplicate all three group, move them to the right then use the Reflect Tool(O) to flip them horizontally.

Step 20

Pick the Ellipse Tool(L) and create a 100 by 100px shape then disable the Snap to Grid and create a small, squeezed shapes. Fill the large shape with R=42 G=49 B=57 and the small one with white. Reselect both shapes and go to Object > Blend > Make. Next, go to Object > Blend > Blend Option. Open the Specified Steps section from the drop down menu, enter 100 in the box then click OK. Reselect this blend, Send it to Back (Shift + Ctrl + [) and place it as shown in the final image.

Step 21

Now, if you take a closer look at your work you'll notice the pixelated edges. You need to get rid of it. First, open the Transparency panel then select all the shapes create so far and group them (Ctrl + G). Make a copy of this group, select it and hit the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with White and Bring it to Front (Shift + Ctrl + ]). Select it along with the original group, open the flyout menu of the Transparency panel and click on Make Opacity Mask. Now, the pixelated edges should be gone.

Step 22

Reenable the Snap to Grid. Duplicate the green circle and Bring it to Front (Shift + Ctrl + ]). Fill this copy with R=79 G=249 B=147, change its blending mode to Overlay then add a 15px Gaussian Blur effect. Once again, you need to mask a part of this shape. Pick the Rectangle Tool(M), create a shape like the one shown in the second image, fill it with black then go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Pick the Direct Selection Tool(A), select the highlighted anchor point (image #3) and move it 10px up. Duplicate the green shape. Select this copy along with the black shape and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Finally select the resulting, black shape along with the green, blurred shape and open flyout menu of the Transparency panel. Click on Make Opacity Mask, uncheck the Clip box (from the Transparency panel) and you’re done.

Final

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

Categories: Illustrations

12 Responses

  1. Great tutorial! Outcome was very clean great job!

  2. techwench says:

    fab work great tutorial in detail
    thanks!!!

  3. Amr Boghdady says:

    Awesome tutorial, well done :)

  4. kato andrew says:

    I tried this traffic light thing and I really got a lot of techniques and how to use the various tools of illustrator. I appreciate it. Thanks, but how can i get the latest Adobe illustrator software?

  5. This is a great tutorial! Thank you for sharing. I learned a lot of great new skills.

  6. Rochelle says:

    Quality content is the secret to attract the visitors to
    go to see the website, that’s what this web page is providing.

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