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Create a Detailed, Vector Fan Illustration

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In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a detailed fan illustration. Begin with pixel perfect vector shape building techniques. Also, use Illustrator's pathfinder tools to build complex shapes. Then add dimension by coloring the shapes with complex gradients. You can use these professional techniques to create quality icons, detailed web graphics, and more.


Step 1

Hit Command + N to create a new document. Enter 600 in the width box and 800 in the height box, 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 these options will significantly increase your work speed.



Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 270 by 110px shape. Fill it with a random color and remove the color from the stroke. Grab the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 270 by 15px shape, and place it as shown in the second image. Again, fill it with a random color and make sure that there's no color set for the stroke. Select these two shapes, open the Pathfinder panel, and click on the Unite button.



Step 3

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 270 by 110px shape. Fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image. The Snap to Grid will ease your work.



Step 4

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select this copy, along with the shape built in the second 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. The white numbers from the gradient image stand for Location percentage.



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. Reselect the shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the bottom copy and hit the down arrow twice. This should move your shape 2px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=48 G=48 B=49.



Step 6

Reselect the shape created in the fourth step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the bottom copy and move it 1px down. 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 following image.



Step 7

Reselect the shape created in the third step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=133 G=142 B=141.



Step 8

Reselect the shape created in the third step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=210 G=213 B=212.



Step 9

Reselect the shape created in the third step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 10px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=133 G=142 B=141 and lower its Opacity to 30%.



Step 10

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Select the shape created in the third step and make a new copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 270 by 90px shape, and place it as shown in the second image. Select it, along with the fresh copy, and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image.



Step 11

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. 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 following image. The yellow zero from the gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.



Step 12

Reselect the shape created in the tenth step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select this copy and move it 2px to the left. Reselect both shapes 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 13

Reselect the shape created in the tenth step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select this copy and move it 2px to the right. Reselect both shapes 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 14

Reselect the shape created in the third step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. 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 following image and bring it to front (Shift + Command + ] ). Remember that the yellow zeros from the gradient imgae stand for Opacity percentage.



Step 15

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Select the shape created in the third step and make a new copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Pick the Ellipse Tool, create a 90 by 55px shape, and place it as shown in the second image. Select it, along with the fresh copy, and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image.



Step 16

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=207 G=210 B=209.



Step 17

Reselect the shape created in the fifteenth step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=10 G=10 B=10.



Step 18

Reselect the shape created in the fifteenth step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=65 G=64 B=66.



Step 19

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 40 by 240px shape. Fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image.



Step 20

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 3px to the left then select the bottom copy and move it 1px to the left. 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 following image.



Step 21

Reselect the shape created in the nineteenth step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 3px to the right, then select the bottom copy, and move it 1px to the right. 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 following image.



Step 22

Reselect the shape created in the nineteenth step and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a 1pt stroke, set its color at black, and align it to inside.



Step 23

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 10 by 185px shape. Fill it with the linear gradient shown below, place it as shown in the first image, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5px radius and click OK. In the end, your shape should look like the second image shown.



Step 24

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 70 by 35px shape. Fill it with a random color, place it as shown in the first image, and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top, left anchor point and move it 10px to the right, then select the top, right anchor point and move it 10px to the left.

Now your shape should look like a trapezoid (image 2). Select it and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK, and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the data shown below, click OK, and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Again, enter the data shown below, click OK, and go to Object > Expand Appearance. The resulting shape should look like the third image shown.



Step 25

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape created in the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select this copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both shapes 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 26

Reselect the shape created in step 24, fill it with R=30 G=30 B=30 and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a second fill for this shape using the Add New Fill button. It's the little, white square icon located at the bottom of the Appearance panel. Select this new fill and use the linear gradient shown below.

Next, add a 2pt stroke for this shape. Set its color at R=65 G=64 B=66 and align it to inside. Add a second stroke for this shape using the Add New Stroke button. It's the little, black square icon located at the bottom, left corner of the Appearance panel. Select this new stroke, make it 1pt wide, set its color at R=10 G=10 B=10, and align it to inside.



Step 27

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 190 by 230px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with red and lower its Opacity to 30%. This will make it easier for you to notice the grid behind.

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 75 by 115px shape, and place it as shown in the second image. Select these two shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like the fourth image shown.



Step 28

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 165 by 160px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Select it, along with the shape created in the previous step, and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like the second image shown below.



Step 29

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 195 by 125px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Select it, along with the shape created in the previous step and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like the second image shown below.



Step 30

For the following step you'll need the Round Any Corner script. You can find it in the Vectortuts+ article 20 Free and Useful Adobe Illustrator Scripts. Save it to your hard drive, return to Illustrator, and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Focus on the shape created in the previous step, select the anchor point highlighted in the first image, and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 40px Radius, and click OK. The resulting shape should look like the second image shown.



Step 31

Keep focusing on the shapes created in the previous step. Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the anchor point highlighted in the first image, and move it as shown in the first image. Again, the Snap to Grid will ease your work.



Step 32

Reselect the shape edited in the previous step and fill it with the linear gradient shown in the following image.



Step 33

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape edited in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black.



Step 34

Reselect the shape edited in step 32 and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 3px up. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=88 G=89 B=91.



Step 35

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape edited in step 32 and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 260 by 155px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Select it, along with the fresh copy, and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the following image.



Step 36

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape edited in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. 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 following image.



Step 37

Select all the shapes created in the last ten steps and group them (Command + G). Select this group and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below and click OK.



Step 38

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 400px circle, and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it with none but add a 5pt stroke. Set its color at R=133 G=142 B=141, align it to inside, and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.



Step 39

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the compound path created in the previous step and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F).

Select this copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both shapes created in this step and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Move to the Layers panel, select the resulting group of shapes, turn it into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make), and fill it with R=210 G=213 B=212.



Step 40

Reselect the compound path created in step 38 and add a 1pt stroke. Set its color at R=72 G=86 B=84 and align it to inside.



Step 41

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For the following step you will need a grid every 1px. So, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Rectangle Tool, create a 2 by 398px shape, fill it with a random color, and make sure that there's no color set for the stroke. Select this new shape along with the compound path created in step 38.

Switch to the Selection Tool (V) and click on the border of the compound path. It should get emphasized. Now, open the Align panel (Window > Align), simply click on the Horizontal Align Center, and Vertical Align Center buttons. In the end, your thin rectangle should be placed as shown in the third image.



Step 42

Reselect the thin rectangle created in the previous step and focus on the top side. Grab the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add two new anchor points as shown in the first image. Move down and focus on the bottom side of this thin rectangle. Make sure that the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) is still selected and add the two new anchor points as shown in the first image.

Keep focusing on the bottom, switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the new anchor points, and move them 2px to the right. Return to the top side, select the new anchor points, and move them 2px to the left. In the end, your shape should look like the second image shown.



Step 43

Reselect the shape edited in the previous step and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3px radius, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below, click OK, and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting group of shapes and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.



Step 44

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and fill it with the complex radial gradient shown in the following image.



Step 45

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Horizontal button and click on the Copy button. Select the resulting shape, send it to back (Shift + Command + [ ), and fill it with the radial gradient shown in the following image.



Step 46

Return to "gridline every 5px". So, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 320px circle, and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it with none but add a 3pt stroke. Set its color at R=133 G=142 B=141, align it to inside, and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.



Step 47

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the compound path created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Move to the Layers panel, select the resulting group of shapes, turn it into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make), and fill it with R=210 G=213 B=212. Reselect the compound path created in the previous step and add a 1pt stroke. Set its color at R=72 G=86 B=84 and align it to inside.



Step 48

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 300px circle, and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it with none but add a 3pt stroke. Set its color at R=133 G=142 B=141, align it to inside, and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), focus on this new compound path, and repeat the techniques mentioned in the previous step.



Step 49

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 120px circle. Fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image.



Step 50

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 3px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=133 G=142 B=141.



Step 51

Reselect the shape created in step 49 and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 5px down. 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 following image.



Step 52

Select the shape created in step 49 and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a 1pt stroke and set its color at R=133 G=142 B=141. Select it and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -30px Offset, click OK, and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.

Reselect the shape created in step 49, make sure that no fill or stroke is selected (in the Appearance panel), and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.



Step 53

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 290px by 145px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with black, lower its opacity to 10%, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 15px radius and click OK.

Continue with the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 290px 120px shape, and place it as shown in the second image. Fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 20%, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 15px radius and click OK.

Create a 270px by 100px shape and place it as shown in the third image. Fill it with black, lower its Opacity to 80%, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 3px radius and click OK.



Step 54

Select the shapes created in the previous step, group them (Command + G), and send the group to back (Shift + Command + [ ).



Step 55

Finally, add a simple background. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard, fill it with white, and send it to back (Shift + Command + [ ). Add a second fill for this shape and use the radial gradient shown below.



Conclusion

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


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