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In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a Jeweled Dollar Sign. This tutorial uses some basic Illustrator features like Gradients, Offset Paths, and Divide. The image might look complicated but when you break it down, it is relatively simple, and easy to apply to other fonts and objects.
Take a look at the image we'll be creating. Below is the final illustration to see what you'll be working toward.
Download the "Acknowledgement" Font and install it on your system.
Create a new document 8.5 inches by 11 inches. With the Type Tool (T), type a $ symbol. Change the font to the "Acknowledgement" font you just downloaded and installed. Outline the text by going to Type > Create Outlines (Command+Shift+O). Next scale the dollar sign proportionately to 4 inches wide.
With the dollar sign selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Then bring up the Offset Path dialog. Change the Offset to -0.1 inches and press OK. If the paths are grouped, go to Object > Ungroup.
Select the smaller path and go to Object > Path > Offset Path to bring up the Offset Path dialog again. As with the previous Path, change the Offset to -0.1 inches and press OK. If the paths are grouped, go Object > Ungroup (Command+Shift+G).
Select the smallest path and Offset again. This time, change the Offset in the Offset dialog to -0.15 inches, and make sure the paths are ungrouped.
Change the fill color of each of the paths to a different color and take off the stroke. Changing the colors makes it easy to select certain object with the Magic Wand (Y) later in the tutorial. I chose generic red, blue, green, and yellow colors.
With the Rectangular Grid Tool (grouped under the Line Tool in the Tools Panel) click on the Artboard to open the Rectangular Grid Tool Options dialog. Change the Width and Height to 5.5 inches. Also, change the Horizontal Divider and Vertical Divider numbers to 7.
Rotate the Rectangular Grid 45 degrees. Then place it over the dollar sign paths, making sure all the dollar sign paths stay within the grid.
Select the grid and dollar sign paths and press the Divide button in the Pathfinder Panel. With all the paths still selected Ungroup (Command+Shift+G) them.
Select the remaining grid paths with the Magic Wand Tool (Y) and delete them.
With the Magic Wand (Y) select the outside color (in my case it is red) and create a Linear Blend from the Gradient Panel. Change the first swatch (swatch on the left) of the gradient in the Gradient Slider to a green color (I used these CMYK values: C=40 M=0 Y=100 K=14). Then change the second swatch to a darker green color (C=55 M=0 Y=100 K=14).
Select the second color with the Magic Wand (Y) (mine was blue) and create a Linear Gradient. Use the same color as the previous gradient, but this time swap the swatches so the darker green is on the left side and the and the lighter green is on the right side.
Select the next color down (mine is green) with the Magic Wand. Then create another Linear Gradient. Change the left swatch to a lighter green (C=22 M=0 Y=100 K=7) than your first green color. Change the right swatch to green lighter than that (C=22 M=0 Y=82 K=0).
Select your final color (mine is yellow) and once again create a Linear Gradient. Use the same color as the previous step, but invert the swatches on the Gradient Slider, making the darker green on the left side of the Gradient Slider.
Now it is starting to look pretty good, but it would look better with more highlights and shadows throughout the jewel. Pick a direction that you want the light source to come from. I picked the upper right side of the dollar sign.
Select some of the objects where you would expect some shading in relation to your light. Change the darker green in the gradient to an even darker green (C=75 Y=50 M=100 K=57).
Now you need some highlights. Select some objects where you would expect some highlight, and change the lighter green to an even lighter green (C=5 M=0 Y=20 K=0).
Draw a rectangle the size of your document. Then create a Radial Blend from the Gradient Panel. Choose a dark green for the first swatch (C=100 Y=33 M=100 K=45) and an almost black green (C=100 Y=33 M=100 K=100) for the right swatch.
Now that we have a background, we can add a stroke to the jewel. Select all the jewel objects and Copy (Command+C) them. Then Paste In Front (Command+F). With the copied object still selected, choose Add To Shape Area from the Pathfinder Panel. Then fill with white.
Send the object to back by going Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Command+Shift+[). The object is now behind the background so go to Object > Arrange > Bring Forward (Command+[) to place it in front of the background object. With the object still selected go to Object > Path > Offset Path, and change the Offset to 0.8 inches.
With the white outline offset selected create a Linear Blend. Change both the swatches to white. With this gradient you're going to add three more swatches. To add a swatch, click below the Gradient Slider where you would like a swatch. For the first swatch you add, place it in the middle of the Gradient Slider, and change the color to white.
Next, add two more swatches to the Gradient Slider in between the first and middle swatch. Also, place a swatch in between the middle and last swatch. Change the color of these two swatches to 60% black. Next, select the diamond shapes at the top of the Gradient Slider and drag them closest to the gray swatches. Look below for a visual if this sounds confusing. Now adjust the gradient with the Gradient Tool by clicking and dragging from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.
The dollar sign and background are done, but now it is time to add some sparkles. These are very similar to the sparkles in my previous Create a Super Happy Octopus Character tut , but this time I'm using a polygon instead of a circle. With the Polygon Tool, draw a polygon with a .25 inches Radius and six Sides.
Select the polygon and go to Effect > Distort and Transform > Pucker & Bloat to bring up the Pucker & Bloat dialog. Change the option to -70, press OK, and Expand The Appearance.
Change the fill of the sparkle to white with no stroke. Then change the Transparency to 50% from the Transparency Panel. Place and copy the sparkle around the jewel in varying sizes.
All done! Now you have some Bling! Try this tutorial on other objects and text!