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Create a Detailed Calculator Interface with the Appearance Panel

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Gift

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In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a detailed calculator interface by using the Appearance panel, gradients and duplicated shapes. It's a great tutorial for those who like to avoid using the Pen Tool (P), so let's get stuck in!


Step 1

Create a New document with the dimensions of 600 pixels by 600 pixels and then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the "Align New Objects to Pixel Grid" box is unchecked before your click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show 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 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. All of these options will significantly increase your work speed.


Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 215 by 255px shape and fill it with grey. Go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 3

With the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 195 by 50px shape, fill it with white. Place it as shown in the below image and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 35 by 30px shape and fill it with R=0 G=51 B=97. Place it as shown in the following image and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 4px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 5

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px.

With the previously created blue filled shape, select it and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select it and move it 1px down using the down arrow from your keyboard. Select both shapes created in this step, open the Pathfinder panel and click on the Minus Front button.

Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 75% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. The yellow zeros from the gradient image stand for Opacity percentage while the white number stands for location percentage.


Step 6

Select the blue rounded rectangle and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select it and move it 1px up using the up arrow from your keyboard.

Select both shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Color Burn.


Step 7

Select the the blue rounded rectangle and go into the Appearance panel. Select the Fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the left window, click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the right window and click OK.

Make sure that your shape is still selected and add a 2pt Stroke Weight. Align it to Inside and set its color at R=23 G=86 B=139. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second stroke for this shape using the Add New Stroke button. It's the little, black square icon from the bottom, left corner of the Appearance panel. Select this new stroke, give it a 1pt Stroke Weight and Align it to Inside and set its color at R=1 G=30 B=66.


Step 8

Still on your blue rounded rectangle; select it, move to the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. It's the little, white square icon from the bottom of the Appearance panel. Select this new fill, drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel, set its color at R=0 G=51 B=97, lower the Opacity to 50% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK.


Step 9

Select your blue rounded rectangle along with the two shapes created in Steps 5 and 6 and Group them (Control + G).


Step 10

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Select the group created in the previous step and make four copies. Move to the Layers panel, select these copies one by one and move them as shown in the following image. The Snap to Grid will ease your work.


Step 11

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 35 by 25px shape, fill it with R=0 G=51 B=97. Place it as shown in the following image and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 4px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 12

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Focus on the blue rounded rectangle created in the previous step and create the two thin shapes using the techniques mentioned in Steps 5 and 6.


Step 13

Next, you need to copy the properties used for the 35 by 30px rounded rectangle and paste them onto the new rounded rectangle. Here is how you can easily do it. Go to the Layers panel, focus on the right side and you'll notice that every shape comes with a little grey circle. It's called a Target Icon. Hold Alt + Click on the Target Icon that stands for the 35 by 30px rounded rectangle and drag onto the circle that stands for your new rounded rectangle. In the end your new rounded rectangle should look like in the first image. Select it along with the two shapes created in the previous step and Group them (Control + G).


Step 14

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Select the group created in the previous step and make ten copies. Move to the Layers panel, select these new groups one by one and move them as shown in the following image. Again, the Snap to Grid will make this easier for you.


Step 15

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 35 by 25px shape, fill it with R=23 G=86 B=139. Place it as shown in the following image and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 4px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 16

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), focus on the blue rounded rectangle made in the previous step and create the two thin shapes using the techniques mentioned in Steps 5 and 6.


Step 17

Again, focus on the Layers panel and use those Target Icons to copy the properties used for the 35 by 30px rounded rectangle and paste them onto this new rounded rectangle. Make sure that your shape is still selected and move to the Appearance panel.

First, select the top fill and replace the exiting color with R=23 G=86 B=139. Move to the 2pt Stroke Weight, select it and set the color at R=21G =127 B=176. Finally, select the 1pt Stroke Weight and set its color at R=0 G=51 B=97.


Step 18

Select the rounded rectangle edited in the previous step along with the two thin shapes made in Step 16 and Group them (Control + G).


Step 19

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Select the group created in the previous step and make ten copies. Move to the Layers panel, select these copies one by one and move them as shown in the following image.


Step 20

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 75 by 25px shape and a 35 by 55px shape. Fill them both with R=23 G=86 B=139. Place them as shown in the following image and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 4px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 21

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) and focus on the two shapes created in the previous step. Once again, use the techniques mentioned in Steps 5 and 6 to create the thin shapes. Also, move to the Layers panel and use those Target Icons to copy the properties used for the rounded rectangle edited in Step 17 and paste them onto these two new rounded rectangle. In the end things should look like in the second image.


Step 22

Focus on one of the groups created in Step 19. First, select the top, thin shape. Replace the linear gradient use for the fill with R=0 G=51 B=97, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Color Burn. Next, select the rounded rectangle and go into the Appearance panel. Remove the bottom fill then focus on the top fill and edit the existing Drop Shadow effects as shown in the following image.


Step 23

Using the Type Tool (T), add a white zero and use the "Calibri" font with a size of 13pt. Select it, place it as shown in the following image then focus on the Appearance panel and add two fills using the Add New Fill button. Select the top fill and use the grey linear gradient shown below. Select the bottom fill, add the blue linear gradient shown below and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK.


Step 24

Using the same Appearance panel settings, add further numbers and symbols to your keypad.


Step 25

Now let's add the text for the dark buttons too. With the Type Tool (T), add a white "+" and use the "Calibri" font with a size of 11pt. Select it, place it as shown in the following image then focus on the Appearance panel and add two fills using the Add New Fill button. Select the top fill and use the grey linear gradient shown below. Select the bottom fill, add the blue linear gradient shown below and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK.


Step 26

Using these new Appearance panel settings, add the remaining text and symbols to the keypad.


Step 27

Focus on the white rounded rectangle created in the starting steps. Select it and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down using the down arrow. Select both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=0 G=51 B=97 and lower its Opacity to 30%.


Step 28

Select the white rounded rectangle and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px down using the down arrow. Select both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=0 G=51 B=97 and lower its Opacity to 20%.


Step 29

Select the white rounded rectangle and go into the Appearance panel. Replace the white with R=23 G=86 B=139 then add a second fill. Select it and use the linear gradient shown below. Return to the Appearance panel, make sure that your rounded rectangle is still selected and add three strokes. Align them to inside, lower their Opacity to 10% and set the color at R=0 G=51 B=97. Select the bottom stroke and give it a 3pt Stroke Weight, select the middle stroke and make this a 2pt Stroke Weight then select the top stroke and make it a 1pt Stroke Weight.


Step 30

Select the rounded rectangle created in the previous step, focus on the Appearance panel and add a fourth stroke. Give it a 1pt Stroke Weight, Align it to Outside and set its color at R=0 G=51 B=97. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that no fill or stroke is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 31

With the Type Tool (T) and add some simple text as shown in the following image. Use the Arcade font with the size set at 20pt.


Step 32

Select the grey rounded rectangle and replace the flat color used for the fill with the linear gradient shown in the following image.


Step 33

Select the rounded rectangle edited in the previous step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Select both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.


Step 34

Select the large rounded rectangle and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Select both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.


Step 35

Select the large rounded rectangle and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Move it 1px up then duplicate it (Control + C > Control + F). Select this new copy and move it 1px up. Select both copies created in this step and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image.


Step 36

Select the large rounded rectangle and make a copy in back (Control + C > Control + B). Move to the Layers panel, select this copy and focus on the Appearance panel. First, replace the linear gradient used for the fill with black. Next, lower its Opacity to 20% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 4px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 37

Select the large rounded rectangle, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, lower its Opacity to 70%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and add the linear gradient shown below.


Step 38

Select the large rounded rectangle, focus on the Appearance panel and add three strokes. Select the bottom stroke, give it a 3pt Stroke Weight, set its color at R=0 G=51 B=97, Align it to Inside and lower its Opacity to 20%. Select the middle stroke, give it a 2pt Stroke Weight, Align it to Outside and set its color at R=0 G=51 B=97. Select the top stroke, give it a 1pt Stroke Weight, Align it to Outside and set its color at R=0 G=31 B=77.


Step 39

Select the large rounded rectangle and focus on the Appearance panel. Make sure that no fill or stroke is selected and add the three Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.


Conclusion

Thanks to duplicated shapes and some focus on the Appearance panel, you're left with this great calculator graphic which you can use in a variety of projects.

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