This tutorial is made by Iaroslav Lazunov and a professional and in-demand designer Sant Valentin. Here he shares the secrets of his skills with us. This tutorial contains unusual technique for creating Opacity Masks and plenty of effective techniques that allow us to achieve stunning results.
Create a slightly specified pencil sketch of a robot.
We will be using this sketch as a visual aid in our further work. So, scan it and paste a digital version of the sketch into our document (File > Place ...).
Now, looking at the sketch, create the basic shapes of the robot. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a head, body, and hands of the robot.
Ellipses that correspond to the robot's hands are turned according to their axes. With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create the robot's feet.
Define the location of the light source, and according to it fill the robot's head with a radial gradient consisting of various shades of gray.
The gray color on the periphery of the radial gradient is lighter than it is in the center. It is a reflection - the reflection of light from other objects, for example such as the floor. Use the same radial gradient to fill the robot's body.
By controlling the position of the center of the radial gradient and the location of the sliders and their color, create a light and shadow on the hands of the robot.
In this work, your attention should be focused on the shape of the border between shadow and penumbra and its intensity.
Fill the robot's feet with a linear gradient that contains a white color and two shades of gray. Place the white slider of the gradient so that the mostly lighted spot is on the edge of the foot.
With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create a connection between the body and robot's limbs. Pick the required thickness of the line in the Stroke palette.
Keep the line selected, then go to Object > Expand and place the object in the Layers palette, as shown in the figure below.
Using this technique, combine all the limbs with the body of the robot.
Create a lateral surface of the right foot (it is to the left for you). With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create the shape shown in the figure below.
Now we need to remove the excess part of the shape which goes beyond the border of the right foot. If you work in Adobe Illustrator CS5, perform this operation with the Shape Builder Tool (Shift + M). Select the right foot and the shape with the gray color, hold Alt, click on the part of the gray shape that goes beyond the border removing it.
If you are working with earlier versions of Illustrator, do the following: Copy and Paste the shape of the foot in front (Command + C; Command + F); select the shape of the foot and the gray shape, then click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.
Now fill the resulting shape with a linear gradient, which contains shades of gray.
With the help of Pen Tool (P) create the robot's hands. It is not too difficult to do it while having a sketch on hand.
Now proceed to the creation of the robot's eyes. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a gray circle.
Now create another dark gray circle that is smaller than the first one and coinciding with it as its center.
It's easy to combine the centers of the circles if you have the Smart Guides on (Command + U). Create the third circle, and fill it with a radial gradient consisting of shades of blue.
In order to make the colors bright, you have to work in RGB color mode (File > Document Color Mode > RGB color). Images created in this color model are suitable for the Internet, but are not suitable for printing. If you are going to print your image, you have to work in CMYK color mode (File > Document Color Mode > CMYK color).
Now create glares on the robot's eye. Copy the circle with a radial gradient, and paste it in front (Command + C; Command + F), then fill this circle with a white color.
With the help of the Ellipse Tool (L) create an ellipse, then fill it with a black and white radial gradient.
With the help of Pen Tool (P) create a shape with a fill of white, which is indicated in the figure below.
Keeping this shape selected, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur... and set the Blurring Radius in the dialog window.
Group up the shape and ellipse with a radial gradient (Command + G) (Be attentive and make sure that you don't skip this step!). Now select the group and white circle and choose Make Opacity Mask from the Transparency panel menu.
Using this technique, create the second eye of the robot. I'm showing you the basic steps of this technique for better learning of the material.
Create light bulbs on the head of the robot. With the help of the Ellipse Tool (L) create an ellipse.
Drag the ellipse up, while holding down Shift + Alt, duplicating it.
Take the Scissors Tool (C) and cut the bottom ellipse at points A and B, removing the upper part of this ellipse.
Take the Pen Tool (P) and close the path as shown.
Fill the shape with a linear gradient consisting of shades of gray. Fill the upper ellipse with a light gray color.
With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create a bulb shape, which we will fill with a radial gradient consisting of three shades of blue.
Group up all the objects of the bulb and turn the group using the Selection Tool (V).
Using this technique, create the second light bulb on the head of the robot.
With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create a mouth shape and shadow on it.
With the same tool, create a line parallel to the mouth of the robot and a line on its forehead.
Create a horseshoe-shaped path with a gray fill on the side of the head.
Next to this path and with the help of the Ellipse Tool (L), create two ellipses filled with the same color.
Now create an arch-like line over the eyes of the robot, and a lighter one over it.
Create glares around the eyes. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create four ellipses as shown.
Select the two ellipses on the left eye and press the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.
Do the same actions with the ellipses on the right eye of the robot.
Part of this glare goes beyond the contour of the head. It should be removed by one of the methods described in step 7 (Shape Builder Tool or Intersect from the Pathfinder panel).
Fill the glares with a linear gradient which consists of the same shades of gray, one of the gradient sliders has 0% Opacity.
With the help of the Ellipse Tool (L) create an ellipse, and using the Pen Tool (P) create the black shape shown in the figure below.
Select both shapes and press Minus Front from the Pathfinder panel.
Use the Pen Tool (P) to create a new shape on the bottom of robot's body.
Fill these shapes with a linear gradient that goes from white to white with 0% Opacity.
With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create four curved lines on the body and set the Multiply Blending Mode for them in the Transparency panel.
Now create two curved lines on the side of the robot.
With the help of the Ellipse Tool (L) create an ellipse at the place of the robot's hand attachment.
Create a shadow from the head to the robot's body. Create an ellipse which we fill with a radial gradient consisting of two shades of gray color. Set the Multiply Blending Mode for this ellipse and reduce its transparency in the Transparency panel.
Using a similar technique, create a shadow from the robot's hand.
Now create a monitor on the robot's belly. Basic elements of the monitor are created with the help of the Pen Tool (P). I do not think there will be any difficulties doing this work, so I will only show the process of its creation.
Create the shape of a glare on the screen and fill it with a white linear gradient with one transparent slider.
Create a rectangle-like button under the monitor.
Now proceed to the robot's hands. With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create shapes from the picture below and fill them with a linear gradient that consists of two shades of gray.
Now create shapes of shadows on the hands.
Create glares on all the parts of the robot using shapes filled with white linear gradients. You can set the necessary transparency for both sliders to achieve the desired result.
With the help of ellipses and radial gradients create a luminous element on the robot's hand.
Create another ellipse with no fill with a gray stroke.
While keeping the ellipse selected, go to Object > Expand. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), change a little bit the position of inner points of the shape. Such an ellipse in projection cannot have a stroke of the same thickness.
Now with the help of the Pen Tool (P) create two curved segments, as shown in the figure below.
Select these segments and go to Object > Expand.
Select the ellipse and the two segments, then press the Add button in the Pathfinder panel.
Set for the created shape the Multiply Blending Mode in the Transparency panel.
Now, remove the part of the shape that goes beyond the hand's contour (see Step 7).
With the help of the Pen Tool (P) create a glare-like shape on the left shoulder of the robot.
Using similar techniques, create elements of the right hand.
Now let's create the elements of the robot's legs. When creating them we used the above-described techniques.
Create the background. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle with a linear gradient fill consisting of shades of blue.
Create shadows from the legs of the robot. Take the Pen Tool (P) and create a shape filled with blue. While keeping the shape selected, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Blur Radius in the dialog window.
In the same way create a shadow from the second leg and body of the robot.
You may have noticed some inaccuracy in the elements junction in this artwork. Do not think that this is negligence. The fact is that this icon and its raster analog should be 200 by 200 px. At this size all the errors will not be visible.
Always prepare a vector work of the size that the final product will be, and check how it will look like in a real size. This will allow you to avoid creating unnecessary elements and not to work so neatly. As a result, you will save a lot of time.