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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Vector
Design

Create a Fabulous Nail Polish Text Effect in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

For starters you will learn how to create the nail polish bottle cap using basic blending and vector shape building techniques along with some complex linear gradient and the Live Corners feature. Next, you will learn how to create a pink art brush, a simple background and smooth piece of text. Taking full advantage of the Appearance panel and the Pathfinder panel you will learn how to add shading and highlights for your piece of text. Finally, you will learn how to add some nail polish drips and a bunch of subtle sparkly spots.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a New document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width box and 655 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 you click OK

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. 

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

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2. Create the Nail Polish Bottle Cap

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then create a 40 x 75px rectangle, the Snap to Grid feature will ease your work. 

Make sure that your shape stays selected, open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient. Set the Angle at 0 degrees then focus on the gradient sliders. Select the left gradient slider and set the color at R=59 G=55 B=52 then select the right gradient slider and set the color at R=72 G=58 B=56. Focus on the gradient bar and simply click on it to add a new gradient slider. Make sure that this new slider is selected, set its color at R=136 G=126 B=117, focus on the Location box (from the Gradient panel) and set it at 10%. Keep in mind that the white numbers from the Gradient images stand for Location percentage, add seven new color sliders for your gradient and use the color and Location attributes shown below. In the end your rectangle should look like in the following image.

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Step 2

Focus on the top side of your rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points, move to the control panel, focus on the Corners section and set it at 5px. In the end your shape should look like in the second image.

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Step 3

Make sure that your shape is still selected and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance

Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers), open the existing layer, double-click on your shape and simply rename it "cap".

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Step 4

For the following steps you will need a grid every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 40 x 6px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image.

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Step 5

Reselect your squeezed circle and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select it along with your "cap" shape, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Minus Front button. Move to the Layers panel, simply double-click on the resulting shape and rename it "cap".

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Step 6

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 your "cap" shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and simply move it 1px up using the up arrow button from your keyboard. 

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. 

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Select the existing fill, replace the existing linear gradient with a flat white (R=255 G=255 B=255) then simply click on the "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Open the Blending Mode drop-down menu and select Overlay. In the end your thin, new shape should look like in the third image.

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Step 7

Reselect your "cap" shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select it, move it 2px up then make a second copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this new copy and move it 1px up. 

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, set the fill color at white and change its Blending Mode to Overlay.

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Step 8

Reselect your "cap" shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select it, move it 4px up then make a second copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this new copy and move it 1px up. 

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, set the fill color at white and change its Blending Mode to Overlay.

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Step 9

Make sure that your "cap" shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. 

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black (R=0 G=0 B=0), lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 10

Make sure that your "cap" shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2px down. 

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 11

Make sure that your "cap" shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3px down. 

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 12

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 6 x 50px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 1px to the right then select the right anchor point and drag it 1px to the left. In the end your rectangle should turn into a stretched trapezoid as shown in the second image.

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Step 13

Focus on the bottom side of your stretched trapezoid and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points, move to the control panel, focus on the Corners section and set it at 1px. In the end your shape should look like in the second image.

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Step 14

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 8 x 25px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the top side of this new rectangle and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 2px to the right then select the right anchor point and drag it 2px to the left. In the end things should look like in the second image.

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Step 15

Focus on the top side of your brown trapezoid and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select both anchor points, move to the control panel, focus on the Corners section and set it at 1px. In the end your shape should look like in the second image.

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Step 16

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect your squeezed circle and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2px down. 

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 17

Reselect your squeezed circle and make another two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. 

Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ), set the fill color at black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 18

Select all the shapes made so far and simply hit Control-G to Group them. Move to the Layers panel, double-click on your newly created group and rename it "bottleCap".

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3. Create an Art Brush and Add a Simple Background

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) and return to gridline every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. 

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create an 85 x 10px shape and set the fill color at R=227 G=41 B=106. Switch to the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and simply click on the left and right anchor points (highlighted in the first image). Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left and right anchor points (highlighted in the second image), move to the control panel, focus on the Corners section and set it at 1.5px. In the end your pink shape should look like in the third image.

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Step 2

Make sure that your pink shape is still selected, open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and click the New Brush button. Check the Art Brush box and click OK to open the Art Brush Options window. Enter "Pink" in the Name box then click the OK button. Once you can see the new art brush inside your Brushes panel you can remove that pink shape from your artboard.

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Step 3

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Enter 610 in the Width box and 665 in the Height box then click OK. Fill this new shape with R=233 8 G=242 B=254

Next, you need to center this rectangle, so open the Align panel (Window > Align). Set the aligning to Artboard (open the fly out menu and go to Show Options if you can't see the Align To section as shown in the following image) then simply click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. In the end the rectangle should cover your entire artboard as shown in the following image.

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4. Create the Main Compound Path

Step 1

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Type Tool (T), simply click on your artboard, add some text and set its color at R=227 G=41 B=106. Make sure that your piece of text stays selected and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Royal Chicken font, set the size at 200px and the tracking at 100. If you choose to add more than one row of text, set the leading at approximately at 130px.

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Step 2

Once you're happy with your text select it and simply hit Shift-Control-O (or go to Type > Create Outlines). Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected and simply hit Shift-Control-G to Ungroup it.

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Step 3

Pick the Paintbrush Tool (B), select the "Pink" art brush from your Brushes panel and add two simple paths roughly as shown in the following image. Make sure that both paths are selected and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

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Step 4

Reselect all your pink shapes and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that your pink shapes are still selected and simply hit Control-8 to turn them into a simple Compound Path. Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this fresh compound path and simply rename it "text".

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5. Add Subtle Highlights for Your Main Compound Path

Step 1

Make sure that your "text" compound path is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting path, set the fill color at white and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the right. 

Reselect both compound paths made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

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Step 2

Reselect the group of thin, white shapes made in the previous step and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Make sure that your entire group is still selected, open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency) and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

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Step 3

Make sure that your "text" compound path is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting path, set the fill color at white and click the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel.

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Step 4

Reselect the group of white shapes made in the previous step and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Remember that the white number from the Gradient image stands for Location percentage while the yellow zero stands for Opacity percentage. This means that you need to select the gradient slider, focus on the Opacity box (from the Gradient panel) and set it at 0%. Make sure that the group edited in this step is still selected, focus on the Transparency panel and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 5

Make sure that your "text" compound path is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK

Select the resulting path, set the fill color at white and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the right. Reselect both compound paths made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

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Step 6

Reselect the group of thin, white shapes made in the previous step, turn it into a Compound Path (Control-8) and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 7

Make sure that your "text" compound path is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the right. 

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting group of shapes and set the fill color at white.

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Step 8

Reselect the group of thin, white shapes made in the previous step, turn it into a Compound Path (Control-8) and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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6. Add Shading and a Subtle Texture for Your Main Compound Path

Step 1

Make sure that your "text" compound path is selected, focus on the Appearance panel, select the existing fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the top, left window (in the following image), click OK then add the other four Drop Shadow effects pointed below.

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Step 2

Make sure that your "text" compound path stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button (pointed by blue circle in the following image). S

elect this new fill, drag it below the existing one, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 30%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 3px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5px Radius and click OK.

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Step 3

Make sure that your "text" compound path stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, drag it in the top of the Appearance panel, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Multiply.

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Step 4

Make sure that your "text" compound path stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a fourth fill. Select this new fill, set the color at R=227 G=41 B=106 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Feather. Enter a 3px Feather Radius and click OK.

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Step 5

Make sure that your "text" compound path stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a fifth fill. Select this new fill, set the color at black, change its Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Skecth > Plaster. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 1px Radius and click OK.

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Step 6

Make sure that your "text" compound path stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a sixth fill. Select this new fill, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK.

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Step 7

Make sure that your "text" compound path stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a seventh fill. You will need a built-in pattern for this new fill, so go to the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches), open the fly-out menu and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures. A new window with a set of built-in patterns should open. Make sure that the fill added in the beginning of the step is still selected, add the "USGS 22 Gravel Beach" and change its Blending Mode to Color Dodge.

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Step 8

Make sure that your "text" compound path stays selected and focus on the Appearance. Select the fill with the pattern and simply make two copies using the Duplicate Selected Item button (pointed by the blue circle in the following image).

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7. Create a Nail Polish Drip

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 40 x 25px shape, set the fill color at R=277 G=41 B=106 and place it roughly as shown in the following image. 

Make sure that this new shape stays selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this newly created shape and rename it "dripOne".

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Step 2

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Make sure that your "dripOne" shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK

Select the resulting path and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the right. 

Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected, replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

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Step 3

Make sure that your "dripOne" shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown in the following image and change its Blending Mode to Overlay.

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Step 4

Make sure that your "dripOne" shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK

Select the resulting path and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the right. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. 

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at white and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 5

Make sure that your "dripOne" shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down and 1px to the right. 

Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a Compound Path (Control-8), set the fill color at white and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

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Step 6

Now, you need to copy the properties used for the "text" compound path and paste them onto your "dripOne" shape. 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 your "text" compound path and drag onto the circle that stands for your "dripOne" shape. In the end things should look like in the following image.

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8. Add the Nail Polish Bottle Caps

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel, select your "bottleCap" group, bring it to front (Shift-Control- ] ) and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Rotate these two groups and place them roughly as shown in the following image.

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Step 2

Make sure that both your "bottleCap" groups are selected and simply add the five Drop Shadow effects (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) shown in the following image.

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9. Create a Second Nail Polish Drip

Step 1

Pick the Paintbrush Tool (B) and select the "3pt. Round" calligraphic brush from your Brushes panel. Add a simple path roughly as shown in the following image and set its color at R=227 G=41 B=106.

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Step 2

Make sure that the pink path is still selected, go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke then click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. 

Move to the Layers panel, double-click on this new shape and rename it "dripTwo". Keep focusing on this pink shape and repeat the techniques used for the "dripOne" shape to add shading and highlights.

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10. Add Tiny Sparkly Dots

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) and switch to gridline every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. 

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 2px circle, set the fill color at white and change its Blending Mode to Overlay. Multiply (Control-C > Control-F) this tiny shape and spread the copies roughly as shown in the following image.

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Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 1px circle, set the fill color at white and change its Blending Mode to Overlay. Multiply (Control-C > Control-F) this new shape and spread the copies roughly as shown in the following image.

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11. Add Extra Color for Your Background

Step 1

Reselect the rectangle that makes up your background, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select the new fill, change its Blending Mode to Overlay and add the radial gradient shown in the following image. Don't forget that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage and use the Gradient Tool (G) to stretch your radial gradient as shown in the following image.

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Step 2

Reselect the rectangle that makes up your background, focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 2%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and you're done.

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Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

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