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Icon Design

Create a Binoculars Icon in Adobe Illustrator

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In this tutorial you will learn how to create a binocular icon design, using Adobe Illustrator's 3D effects, gradients and blending modes. So let's get into this tutorial.


Step 1

Open a new document, then select a 800px by 600px workspace. If you like to use an another size, no problem, though I almost always these sizes. Select the Rectangle Tool (M), and create a rectangle with this size: 90px by 190px. Create another smaller rectangle, and place that over the first rectangle. Now press Minus Front on the Window > Pathfinder panel.


Step 2

Select the Direct Selection Tool (A), and select the upper right point. Move it to left using the Left Arrow key on your keyboard. Remove the border and fill the object with a color.


Step 3

Go to Effect > 3D > Revolve… and use the settings as you see on the image below. This will create the tube in 3D.


Step 4

Now comes the body. Create three circles with the Ellipse Tool (L) while pressing the Shift key, with this size: 75px. Place them as shown below. Select the Pen Tool (P), and create a polygon shape to connect the three circles.


Step 5

Select the three circles and the polygon shape by clicking on them, while pressing the Shift key. Press Unite on the Pathfinder panel. Fill the object with a color and remove the border.


Step 6

Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel… set the rotation around the three axis, and set the Extrude Depth to 30pt. Go to Object > Arrange > Send to Back, to send the object behind the first object. Position it as you think looks best.


Step 7

Select the second object, copy it (Command C), paste it behind the object (Command + B) and move it upward with the Up Arrow key.

Hint: If you want to move the object faster, then hold down the Shift key, while moving with the Arrow key.


Step 8

With the third object selected, go to Appearance panel, search for the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect, then click on it. Now you can edit the applied effect. Change the Y axis to 6, Z axis to -8, and the Extrude Depth to 100. You need to shrink the third object. To do this, select and move a point from the corner when the object is selected, and hold down the Shift and Alt keys.


Step 9

Select the second object, copy and paste in front (Command +F), move upward, and press Command + Shift + Left Bracket key to send behind the other two objects.


Step 10

Next we'll create a new object and apply a 3D effect to it. This object can be created with the Pen Tool (P), or create a rectangle and modify it like we did on the first object. Anyway, the final object has this size: width = 55px, height = 137px.


Step 11

Fill it with a color and remove the border. Then go to Effect > 3D > Revolve... and enter these values: X axis = 42, Y axis = 0, Z axis = -13.


Step 12

Move the new object to its place, and send it to back (Command + Shift + Left Bracket key). You now have one half.

You need to duplicate and mirror as shown below. Select the three middle items. To copy them, start dragging, while holding the Alt (to copy) and Shift (to move them linearly) key. Now you need to move them with the arrow keys upwards.


Step 13

While the three items are still selected, go to the Transform panel and select from the drop-down menu the Flip Horizontal option. You need to align them again with the arrow keys.


Step 14

Before you start to align them, you have to rotate a little. While these three objects are still selected, go to Object > Transform > Rotate, set the angle to -8 and press OK.


Step 15

You need to align them with the arrow keys.


Step 16

Now select the other two objects, copy as you did with the others (Drag, while holding Alt + Shift), and place them to the right position. You don't have to Flip Horizontally because they are cylindrical objects.


Step 17

Create a new shape with the Pen Tool (P), you can copy from the image below. Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel... and use the settings, as you see in the image.


Step 18

Duplicate it (Command + C, Command + V), and place it between the two parts of the binoculars. Select the front-side items (1, 2, 3, 4), and bring to front (Command + Shift + Right Bracket key), to hide the second “bridge.”


Step 19

Create two circles with these sizes: 1. width = 65px, 2. width = 10px. Align them vertically. Select the two circles, go to Window > Align panel, and press Horizontal Align Center.


Step 20

Duplicate the smaller circle, and position it to these bottom of the bigger circle. Go to Object > Transform > Rotate and set the angle to 30. Check the Preview box to see the results. Press Copy. To repeat the above steps, press Command + D four times.


Step 21

Select all the circles. Go to the Pathfinder panel and press Minus Front. Now for the 3D part: Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Use the settings as shown below.


Step 22

Place this object onto the binoculars. After you find its place, you need to arrange the other objects in front. Select the numbered objects (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), and press Command + Shift + Right Bracket key to bring to front the selected items.


Step 23

Now for the final object. Create an ellipse with the Ellipse Tool (L), Use this size: width = 60px and height = 40px. Create a rectangle: width = 22px and height = 15px. Place the rectangle to the ellipse, as you see below, and press Intersect on the Pathfinder panel. Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel… and use the settings shown below.


Step 24

Place this object onto the binoculars.


Step 25

Select all objects. Go to Object > Expand Appearance. You transformed the 3D objects into separate groups. Select a group. I started with the lenses.

Press the right mouse button, and Isolate the selected group (or Double-click with the left button). In order to manipulate the shape further you will first need to go to Object > Ungroup. After expanding the 3D objects you get some hidden objects, which you don't need. To remove them, select all visible shapes by clicking on them while holding the Shift key.

When you're done, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (while holding the Shift key), and make a box around the design. Doing so, you will deselect all the items you need and select all the shapes you don't need. Press delete. If you see that something is missing, go to Edit > Undo, and repeat the selection until you get the correct results.


Step 26

Now select a shape and press Unite on the Pathfinder panel. The result will be a really simple shape with no Clipping Mask, nothing. Just a shape. Give it a color (no matter what), so you can identify it easier later. Repeat this step with every object inside the group.


Step 27

Repeat the above steps with all items, until you have only the needed (simple) shapes. At the end, you will see something like this.


Step 28

It's time to decide where the light source is. I prefer when the light comes from the left. This means, that the right side of the binoculars are darker. I used a gradient color to achieve this effect, as you see in the next image. Reposition the gradient to be as realistic as possible (G).


Step 29

You can use the same gradients on the other objects, with minor modification on gradients directions (G). You can copy these color from the first shape. Select the shape you want to fill, press the I key (Color Picker), and click the first shape you filled already.


Step 30

Some parts (the green ones) need a simple gradient. Color them with a simple gray to black gradient, or you can play with the possibilities.


Step 31

For better realism we need shadows and reflections. Duplicate the two front tubes (Command + C, Command +F). Fill them with a radial, white to black gradient. After you set the gradient direction, go to Window > Transparency panel, and set the Blending mode to Multiply.


Step 32

To create the shadow on the middle part of the binoculars, duplicate that side (Command + C, Command + F), create a big circle with the Ellipse Tool (E), go to Pathfinder panel, and select Minus Front. Fill the resulting shape with a radial, white to black gradient. After you set the gradient direction, go to Window > Transparency panel, and set the Blending mode to Multiply.


Step 33

Repeat this on the front tubes. Copy, paste in front, circle, Minus Front, fill with a gradient, and then Blending mode.


Step 34

To create a reflection on a lens, duplicate it, and move it upwards. Duplicate the second shape (Command + C, Command + F). Create a circle, and intersect (Pathfinder panel) with the duplicated lens. To place this, “inside” the tube, cut (Command + X) it, select the lens by clicking it, and paste in front (Command +F) from the clipboard.


Step 35

Choose a beautiful blue color, and fill the lenses with a radial gradient. Maybe you want to try this: 1. C=45, M=0, Y=0, K=0 and 2. C=100, M=50, Y=0, K=65.


Step 36

As a final step let's give a little shine to the binoculars! Select the dark object near the tube, make a copy of it (Command + C), and fill it with a gradient that goes from white to black. Place it so that the white part will be in the center.


Step 37

Paste the copied shape back into its place (Command + F), and move it down a bit with the arrow keys. You're done! I hope that everything was clear and detailed, feel free to ask questions in the comments.


Final Image

The final image is below.

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