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Create a Semi-Realistic Laptop Illustration

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In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a semi-realistic laptop illustration. You will learn how to use gradients, the appearance panel and your own screen image to create this great looking image that's perfect for technology illustrations and icons. Let's begin!


Step 1

Press Command + N to create a new document. Enter 600 in the width box and height boxes 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 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), create a 575 by 110px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the bottom, left anchor point and move it 75px to the right then select the bottom, right anchor point and move it 75px to the left. In the end your vector path should look like a trapezoid.



Step 3

Next, 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, grab the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the vector path made in the previous step. Select the top anchor points (highlighted in the first image) and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 20px Radius and click OK. Continue with the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom anchor points and go again to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 5px Radius and click OK. In the end your shape should look like in the third image.



Step 4

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 vector path made in the previous step and make two copies (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy, fill it with white, move it 3px down using the down arrow from your keyboard and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK.

Keep the resulting shape and delete the original white shape. Select the remaining white shape along with the other copy made in the beginning of the step and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below. The white numbers from the gradient image stand for location percentage.



Step 5

Reselect the dark shape along with the shape made in the previous step and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select the copy of the dark vector path and move it 4px down using the down arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both copies and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=100 G=100 B=100.



Step 6

Reselect the dark shape along with the shape made in the fourth step and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select the copy of the dark vector path, bring it to front (Shift + Control + Right Square Bracket ) and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and change its blending mode to Soft Light.



Step 7

Reselect the dark vector path and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape, move it 3px down then make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and move it 1px down. Reselect both shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below and lower its opacity to 15%. The yellow zeros from the gradient image stand for opacity percentage.



Step 8

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 515 by 85px shape, fill it with white and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the bottom, left anchor point and move it 55px to the right then select the bottom, right anchor point and move it 55px to the left. In the end your vector path should look like a trapezoid. Duplicate it (Control + C > Control + F). Select the copy and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, lower its opacity to 20% then replace the flat color with the linear gradient shown below. Also, add a 1pt stroke for this shape and set its color at R=25 G=25 B=25.



Step 9

Download this Envato wallpaper (or any image) and drag it inside your Ai file. Resize it a little, drag it below the shapes made in the previous step and simply click on the Embed button from the top bar. Reselect the white trapezoid along with the image and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object. In the end your image should look like in the third image. Select all the shapes created so far and group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel and name this new group "Case".



Step 10

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 425 by 295px shape, fill it with R=202 G=203 B=207 and place it as shown in the following image. Select this new shape and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 15px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.



Step 11

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape made 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. Reelect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and change its blending mode to Soft Light.



Step 12

Reselect the rounded rectangle made in the tenth step and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reelect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=202 G=203 B=207.



Step 13

Reselect the rounded rectangle made in the tenth step and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px up. Re-select both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and change its blending mode to Soft Light.



Step 14

Reselect the rounded rectangle made in the tenth step, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. Select it, lower its opacity to 90% and add the radial gradient shown below.



Step 15

Reselect the rounded rectangle made in the tenth step, add a third fill and drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel. Select it, set its color at black, lower the opacity to 50% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -8px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 3px radius and click OK. Group this rounded rectangle along with all the shapes created in the last six step. Move to the Layers panel and name this new group "Body".



Step 16

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 335 by 15px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), select this new rectangle 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 on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black.



Step 17

Reselect the black shape made in the previous step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + 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 R=40 G=40 B=40.



Step 18

Reselect the first rectangle made in the sixteenth step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + 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 black. Reselect the first rectangle made in the sixteenth step and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the final image and click OK. Select the shape made in this step along with all the shapes created in the last two step and group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel and name this new group "Connector".



Step 19

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 335 by 135px shape, fill it with R=218 G=219 B=222 and place it as shown in the following image. Select it and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.



Step 20

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), select the shape made in the previous step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px 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 below.



Step 21

Reselect the rounded rectangle made in the nineteenth step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px 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 below.



Step 22

Reselect the rounded rectangle made in the nineteenth step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + 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 below and lower its opacity to 85%.



Step 23

Reselect the rounded rectangle made in the nineteenth step 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 on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown below and lower its opacity to 85%.



Step 24

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 125 by 90px shape, fill it with black and place it as shown in the following image. Select it and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.



Step 25

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), select the shape made in the previous step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the bottom copy and move it 1px down. Re-select both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and change its blending mode to Soft Light. Reselect the rounded rectangle made in the previous step and focus on the Appearance panel. First, select the fill, lower its opacity to 1% and change the blending mode to Multiply. Next, add a 1pt stroke, align it to inside and set the color at R=210 G=210 B=210.



Step 26

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For the rest of the steps you will need a grid every 1px. So, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Select the rounded rectangle from the "Body" group and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 59 by 5px shape, fill it with R=200 G=201 B=204 and place it as shown in the following image. Select it and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shape along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.



Step 27

Reselect the shape made in the previous step and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top 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 R=167 G=168 B=171.



Step 28

Reselect the shape made in the twenty-sixth step and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top 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 R=167 G=168 B=171.



Step 29

Reselect the shape made in the twenty-sixth step and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + 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=183 G=184 B=188. Reselect the shape made in the twenty-sixth step and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Select the vector path made in this step along with the shapes made in the last three steps and group them (Control + G).



Step 30

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create two, 1px circles, fill both shapes with R=160 G=160 B=160 and place them as shown in the following image.



Step 31

Reselect the two circles made in the previous step and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK.



Step 32

Reselect the right circle made in the thirtieth step and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown in the first image and click OK. Reselect the left circle made in the thirtieth step and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown in the second image and click OK.



Step 33

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 21 by 12px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image. Select it, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, set its color at R=75 G=75 B=75 and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the data shown below, click OK then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below and click OK.

Return to the Appearance panel and add a third fill for your rectangle. Select it, set its color at R=25 G=25 B=25 and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the data shown below, click OK then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Return to the Appearance panel, add a 1pt stroke, align it to inside and make it black. Return to the Appearance panel, make sure that no fill or stroke is selected and go to Effect > Stylized > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK.



Step 34

Reselect the rectangle made in the previous step, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and move it to the right as shown in the following image. Select both rectangle, Press Shift + Control + B then double click on the Blend Tool in your Toolbar. Select "Specified Step" from the Spacing drop down menu, enter 12 in the white box then click OK.



Step 35

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 19px square and place it as shown below. Select it, focus on the Appearance panel and add the properties shown in the following image. Basically, you need to add the same properties used for the shape made in the previous step, but you'll need to adjust the numbers used for the Rectangle and the Transform effects. Once your square looks like in the following image you can save all the properties as a Graphic Style. Make sure that your square is still selected, open the Graphic Styles panel and simply click on the New Graphic Style button.



Step 36

Reselect the square made in the previous step, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and move it to the right as shown in the following image. Select both rectangle, Press Shift + Control + B then double click on the Blend Tool in your Toolbar. Select "Specified Step" from the Spacing drop down menu, enter 11 in the white box then click OK.



Step 37

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 31 by 19px shape and place it as shown below. Select it and click on the Graphic Style saved in the thirty-fifth step. Now, your shape should look like in the second image. All you have to do is to adjust those Rectangle effect. Simply go to the Appearance panel, open the existing Rectangle effects and enter a 29px width.



Step 38

Reselect the blend made in the thirty-sixth step, make three copies, adjust them and place them as shown in the first image. Also, grab the Rectangle and add some new buttons as shown in the second image. Simply use the saved graphic style and adjust the width used for the Rectangle effects.



Step 39

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 20 by 22px shape and place it as shown below. Select it and click on the Graphic Style saved in the thirty-fifth step. Now, your shape should look like in the second image. Move to the Appearance panel and adjust the Transform and the Rectangle effects as shown in the following image. Once your shape looks like in the second image save the properties as a second graphic style.



Step 40

Grab the Rectangle and add some new buttons as shown in the second image. Use the graphic style saved in the previous step and adjust the width used for the Rectangle effects.



Step 41

Grab the Rectangle, create two, 19 by 11px vector shapes and place them as shown below. Use the second graphic style step, adjust the properties used for the Rectangle and the Transform effects then open the existing Rounded Corners effect and decrease the radius to 2.5px.



Step 42

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 20 by 22px vector path, place it as shown in the first image and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 2px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Grab the Pen Tool (P), draw a 24px, horizontal path and place it as shown in the second image. Select it along with the white rounded rectangle and click on the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting group of shapes and ungroup it (Shift + Control + G).



Step 43

Select the top shape made in the previous step and add the second graphic style. Adjust the properties used for the Rectangle and the Transform effects, remove the Rounded Corners effect then move to the bottom shape. Select it, add the second graphic style, edit the properties used for the Rectangle and the Transform effects then remove the Rounded Corners and the Drop Shadow effects.



Step 44

Finally, add the text. You can use the Myriad Pro font with the color set at R=235 G=235 B=235.



Conclusion

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


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