Hostingheaderbarlogoj
Join InMotion Hosting for $3.49/mo & get a year on Tuts+ FREE (worth $180). Start today.
Advertisement

Create a Retro 3D View Master Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

by
Gift

Want a free year on Tuts+ (worth $180)? Start an InMotion Hosting plan for $3.49/mo.

Long before hand-held game systems had a 3D feature on them, the only exposure to a third dimension for Rainbow Brite or the Care Bears was through the View®-Master. While the little picture wheels and their binocular-like counterpart seem utterly archaic these days, they inspired worlds of wonder in my youth, as well as this illustration. Using the Live Paint Bucket, Shape Builder Too, and creating a 3D text effect, we'll recapture those days of yore, once filled with rainbows. So many rainbows.


1. Prepare Your Composition

Step 1

To start, I've snapped some photos of my View®-Master toy, chosen an angle I liked, and drawn some cloud monsters and sweets around it. All of this was done in Adobe Photoshop.

Step 2

In Adobe Illustrator, I decided that the photo was on the small side. While the View®-Master would be in the lower half of the composition, it's still the focal point of the piece. So I imported the original photo and after reducing the opacity on both of these images will lock the "sketch" layer in the Layers panel.


2. Start With Thin Lines

Step 1

On a new layer, and using the Pen Tool (P), begin to trace the interior lines of the toy. The Stroke Weight is less than 1pt in this image.

Step 2

Note the bevel of the front of the toy. Because of the angle of the reference photo and the curve of the toy itself (it conforms slightly to the curve of a face), the lines have to be drawn manually versus layering up various rectangle shapes.

Step 3

The two rounded squares in the front part of the toy are very faint in this model and denoted with thinner stroked likes than those drawn previously (0.25pt or 0.50pt weight).


3. Add Thick and Thin Line Work

Step 1

Choose which lines from the View®-Master you think help define its overall shape best. Not every rounded corner needs a definition, but some do (see where the front part pops out with the lens area).

Step 2

Thinner lines are closer to the middle of the piece. Thicker lines are closer to the edges. But making all of the line work stroked lines, you can manipulate their weight easily and quickly before converting them to shapes.

Step 3

The side trigger is composed of two ellipses. Line them up with the reference photo.

Step 4

Continue adding lines to create components of detail and get the full View-Master shape.


4. Where Lines Converge

Step 1

Draw convex shapes with the Pen Tool (P) where multiple lines converge. Doing so creates a more dynamic image and gives weight to the object.

Step 2

When your View®-Master line art is complete, Select and Group (Control-G) together the line art and hit Object > Expand in the top navigation bar to convert the strokes to shapes.


5. Add 3D Text

Step 1

Choose your favorite Sans-Serif font. In this case, I'm using "Liberation Sans" (a freeware font). Type out "3D", rotate and resize to line it up with the text on the reference photo, and go to Object > Expand so your text is a shape.

Step 2

Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the text, change the fill color to white, and go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel.

Step 3

Make sure you've got preview selected while playing with the Extrude & Bevel Options. Ultimately the Surface option will be None, allowing the 3D text to be the background for the flat text in white rather than being shaded and gray. Adjust the angles to mimic the text on the toy itself. Place behind the brown "3D" and add a Stroke Weight of 2pt.


6. Add the View®-Master Text

Step 1

Write out "View®-Master" in "Liberation Sans" in the same dark brown that's been used for the line art Expand the text so you've got outlines rather than type.

Step 2

Repeat the process for 3D text to get the dimensional effect from the toy itself.

Step 3

Unlike the "3D", "View®-Master" doesn't have as dramatic of angles for the white dimensional text.

Step 4

Group (Control-G) together your text effects and position them in accordance with the text on the reference photo.


7. Using Live Paint

Step 1

Select your line work and using the Live Paint Bucket (K) to fill in the design with color. This is where having closed shapes is very important.

Step 2

When you're satisfied with the look of your toy design and the colors you've chosen make sure your object is grouped and ready to go. We're moving on!


8. Make the Reel Cards

Step 1

Using the Ellipse tool (L) draw a circle in a dark cream color.

Step 2

Draw two small Rounded Rectangle Tool at the top of the circle, angled inward at each other.

Step 3

Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the little rounded squares and place them around the top half of the circle in an arc. You'll have six squares total.


9. Create a 3D Effect

Step 1

Group together the six little squares, Copy and Paste them, and change the color to a light, bright blue.

Step 2

Repeat step one, but change the color to a bright, rosy red.

Step 3

Place the red and blue square groups behind the brown ones, but slightly off to the left and right respectively. Add two small rectangles to finish off the View®-Master reel. Group the reel pieces together.


10. Insert the Card into the Toy

Step 1

Place the card, which I've added an outline to, over the View®-Master so that it looks like it has been inserted into the reel slot. I added a yellow line where the card will be cut-off in the next few steps. Reduce the opacity of the group to check its position against the toy design.

Step 2

Using the Pen Tool (P), outline the area you'll be deleting. This includes the contour from the reel slot as well as going around the reel object itself. Select the cream-colored circle (everything is blue or brown right now because those were the colors I had selected previously) and the new shape you just made. Grab the Shape Builder Tool and select the two areas that are not the top half of the reel. In the image below, you'd be selecting the blue shape and the bottom brown shape.

Step 3

Delete both of those shapes (blue and bottom brown). You should be left with the top reel object. Note where the little squares overlap the cream reel shape. Repeat the steps to delete non-intersecting shapes with the Shape Builder Tool.

Step 4

Add an outlined ellipse to the center of the reel and you should have a cute little 3D-looking (in terms of retro 3D glasses, not a true 3D effect like the text) reel inserted in your View®-Master.


11. Draw the Clouds

Step 1

Group together your toy and reel card and then Copy and Paste the whole object. Unite the new object together in Pathfinder, add a stroke with a 7pt weight to it (or a thickness of your choosing) and Align it behind the View®-Master. I've added a blue to yellow linear gradient rectangle behind the toy for the background. The rectangle is larger than the entire artboard.

Step 2

Using the Blob Brush Tool (Shift-B), draw some fluffy little clouds on either side of the image (close to the top of the composition).

Step 3

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the inner outline and delete it from the cloud shape. This will automatically fill in your cloud with whatever color (I chose a dark cream again) you used with the Blob Brush Tool.

Step 4

Now your toy is floating in the sky with some clouds. I added two on the bottom as well. Later I will add gradient shadows and outlines to the clouds. The outlines are simply the cloud shapes themselves Copied and Pasted as thinly stroked lines and the gradient shadows go from light blue to a transparent cream on the bottom halves of the clouds.


12. Create the Growing Trees

Step 1

For the twisty tree-like shapes, I've used the Blob Brush Tool again, after having adjusted the brush's diameter in the Blob Brush Tool Options panel (double click the icon in the Tools panel). I want the lines to be thin, so the brush was set to 1pt. If you aren't using a tablet, you can get lovely swooping lines with the Pen Tool instead. Once satisfied with the little tree shapes, outline them in a flat color and place it behind the flowing lines in the Layers panel.

Step 2

For the fill, apply a linear gradient going from pink to cream with the Gradient Tool (G).

Step 3

Copy and Paste the line work, and much like the reel's squares, you'll be adding a light blue and a red set behind the line art to create a 3D-like effect.

Step 4

Make sure the blue is on the left and the red is on the right, if that's what you did with the squares in the reel card.


13. Add Little Candies

Step 1

Draw three dark brown rounded rectangles using the Rounded Rectangle Tool. Add some icing on top of them with a rounder rectangle and drippy frosting either with the Pencil Tool (N) or Blob Brush Tool.

Step 2

Apply a linear gradient going from dark brown to caramel back to dark brown again to the candy's stick shape. Set these behind the icing shapes. I added outlines to the icing and the sticks themselves, grouped both shapes together, Copied and Pasted the group, set the fill to dark brown, and United the new group in Pathfinder. this outline shape had a 4pt stroke added to it and was Aligned behind the original candy objects.

Step 3

For colorful sprinkles, I drew little hearts, added circles with the Ellipse Tool (L), and added swirls with the Blob Brush Tool. For the gradients on the icing, I applied a linear gradient to each icing shape going from a darker hue to the original base color and added a rounded rectangle of that original base color.


14. Add Stars

For the stars at the top of the image, draw a couple brightly colored stars with the Star Tool, then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners and apply whatever radius you want for the roundness of the star points. Expand each star shape in Object in the top navigation bar.


15. Create Simple Monsters

Step 1

For the little cuties sitting inside the clouds, I used the Blob Brush Tool to doodle out their basic shape, deleted the inside outline, and added a quick O-shaped mouth and two ellipses with the Ellipse Tool (L) for eyes.

Step 2

for the clouds themselves, the eyes are ellipses again and the mouths are jagged shapes drawn with the Pen Tool.


16. Cut an Orange

Step 1

I really like adding little citrus fruits to my work. They're easy to make and instantly add some sunshine (and well needed Vitamin C). Draw a bright orange circle with the Ellipse Tool.

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), bisect the orange circle.

Step 3

Hit Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel, and you've got yourself half an orange. Let's move on and slice it open!


17. Slice it Open

Step 1

Draw a smaller ellipse in the center of the orange half. Delete the portion of the circle that doesn't intersect with the orange on the bottom with the Shape Builder Tool.

Step 2

Draw light cream section shapes (like long triangles) that converge in the center of the orange. Delete the portions of the sections that do not intersect with the yellow middle.

Step 3

add bright orange teardrop shapes with the Pen Tool for the orange's seeds.


18. Outline the Orange

Step 1

This is the same method used for most of the outlines that appear in this illustration. Group together your orange pieces. Copy and Paste the orange, and Unite it in Pathfinder.

Step 2

Change the fill color to dark brown and the stroke to 2pt weight (with rounded corners and edges).

Step 3

Align the outline shape behind the orange object and Group them together.

Step 4

For this gradient, I applied it to the base orange shape and added a smaller, circle (with half of it deleted, just like we did with the yellow middle) with its fill set to bright orange.


19. Create a Strawberry Base

Step 1

Start with a simple, small circle. I'm using the same rosy red from the cloud monsters drawn previously.

Step 2

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), pull the bottom anchor point down a bit to create the base strawberry shape.


20. Add a Leafy Top

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool, draw a small, horizontal ellipse above the strawberry shape. Below you can check out the scale of the ellipse.

Step 2

Zoom in and draw a rectangle that is aligned to the edges of the ellipse. Place it below the ellipse in the Layers panel.

Step 3

I drew this leaf with four anchor points. It can likely be drawn with three, but I wanted extra handles to get a deeper curve on the bottom edge.

Step 4

Draw four swoopy little leaf shapes around the stem base. Here I've only drawn two, Copied and Pasted them, and flipped them over a vertical axis.

Step 5

Using the Pen Tool follow the contour of th leaf shapes and add shadows to them in a darker green. These shapes are placed above the leaf they're rendering, but below the one next to it

Step 6

Some of the shadows are linear gradients that go from the dark green to the light green of the leaves themselves. Play with shapes, transparency, and gradient angles. Group together your leafy top's pieces.


21 Add Strawberry Details

Step 1

Copy and Paste the strawberry base, and Align it beneath the leafy top with the base shape. Apply a radial gradient to the fill color going from the base's bright, rosy red to a light cream. Play with the radial gradient's shape and angle with the Gradient Tool, and reduce its opacity in the Transparency panel.

Step 2

Draw a shape to go beneath the leaves and stem that mimics their contour (but in this case not exactly). Apply a dark brown as the fill color, reduce its opacity in the Transparency panel, and delete the non-intersecting portions of the shape (those that do not intersect with the strawberry shape) with the Shape Builder Tool.

Step 3

Draw some circles with reduced transparency for the strawberry's funky little seeds. I like to scatter them around the strawberry, Unite the circles in Pathfinder, and delete the portions of circles that do not intersect with the strawberry when drawing seed-filled fruit like this. Place the compound shape beneath the radial gradient strawberry shape in the Layers panel.


22. Arrange the Elements

Quick word about the arrangements of the candies and fruits in the composition. Since the View®-Master is the focus of the piece, you want them to help balance the work rather than taking away that focus. I like to gather them at the lower left, with the monsters hanging out near the top and the toy taking up the right side of the frame.


23. Add Circle Details

Step 1

Layer up Ellipses with various Stroke Weights (the center one being a filled object) and Group them together.

Step 2

Place the little circle groups behind the brown cloud monsters.

Step 3

Add a few of these on either side of the monsters. No need to go overboard, though.


24. Add Further Details

Step 1

Ultimately, orange was chosen for the stars' color in order to bring the colors from the bottom of the composition up to the top. That said, I also added smaller versions of the stars as gradients shapes inside themselves. Simply Copy and Paste, Scale the shapes down, and apply a linear gradient fill going from a lighter orange or yellow to the base color.

Step 2

To add more to the tree shapes, and make them more tree like, I drew leaves with a lot of veins with the Blob Brush Tool.

Step 3

the same process from the trees was followed for this leaf: draw the lines, draw a shape to go behind it, and apply a pink to cream linear gradient. Blue and red lines were also added for the 3D style effect.

Step 4

Additional gradient shapes were added to the View®-Master itself. Nothing too fancy, as most of this piece is flat, with the focus being the colors, 3D effect, and line art. A brighter blue (the one used in the reel card) is used on the top edges of the toy.

Step 5

An additional shadow was added below the "lens" piece of the toy. Place it behind the text in the Layers panel.


25. Optional Rainbow

Step 1

In the end, I found this rainbow overwhelmed the composition. I do still like the process, however, and wanted to share it with you. Using the Pen Tool, draw a ribbon-like shape going from the top of the picture plane to the right side. Copy and Paste that piece five times, arrange them like stripes in a rainbow, and change their fill colors accordingly.

Step 2

Group the rainbow shapes together, Copy and Paste the group, and Unite them together in Pathfinder.

Step 3

Apply a radial gradient going from cream to something bright (in this case I tried red, but will choose blue) to dark brown. Adjust the radius of the gradient to your liking in the Gradient panel.

Step 4

Reduce the shape's opacity in the Transparency panel. Doing so, you'll have a soft, yet vibrant rainbow that gets brighter to the center.


26. Complete the Background

Step 1

Using the Pen Tool, draw long triangular shapes that converge around the bottom of the picture plane and arc out and around to the top.

Step 2

Group these shapes together, and place them behind everything except for the gradient rectangle background. Change the group's Blending Mode in the Transparency panel to Overlay.

Step 3

Finally, apply a linear gradient to the radial shapes going from a fully opaque dark brown to a fully transparent dark brown.


Conclusion

There you have it: our long forgotten friend from childhood, the View®-Master, has new monster friends, some candies, and fruit to hang out with while floating in space and creating 3D wonders for the viewer. I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial, don't mind that I deleted the rainbow, and dig up some old toys of your own to create an homage to in Illustrator.

Advertisement