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Create a Sleek Vector Multimedia Device

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This tutorial will show the advanced Adobe Illustrator artist how to make a multimedia device. This tutorial will make light use of Illustrators 3D capabilities but focuses more on traditional drawing. We'll also cover how to shade and create logical reflections.


Step 1

Draw a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M.)


Step 2

Warp the rectangle by going to Object > Envelope > Make with Warp, then select Arch for the Style and enter -42 for your vertical Bend.


Step 3

In order to edit the shape you will need to expand it. Go to Object > Expand.


Step 4

Give the left edge of the shape a straight edge by first drawing a rectangle over the arch shape and then using the Pathfinder to subtract the shapes. Click the options shown below.


Step 5

Duplicate the arch shape and flip it to create an identical left half. Select both shapes and merge them by selecting the options highlighted below. Make a copy of this shape and keep it off to the side for use at a later step.


Step 6

Draw a rectangle using the Rounded Rectangle Tool.


Step 7

Shear the rectangle by going to Object > Transform > Shear... Enter -45 for the Shear Angle and select Horizontal for the Axis.


Step 8

Duplicate the shape three times. Align and group all four shapes. With your four shapes grouped select the large shape in the background and then align all five shapes vertically and horizontally so everything is nice and centered.


Step 9

Subtract the corners from the shape by selecting the options highlighted below.


Step 10

Grab the shape that you placed to the side for later use. Draw another shear shape, duplicate and reflect it. Last, subtract it from the large shape (just as you did in the previous step.)


Step 11

Copy the shape that looks like a cross (the light grey shape) and paste it behind the two shapes by pressing Command + B. You will now have three shapes on top of eachother. The light grey cross shape, the shape you created in the previous step and the grey cross again in the back. Make sure all three shapes are vertically and horizontally aligned.


Step 12

Give the face of the multimedia device some details and buttons using basic shapes. Once you have the face of the device looking good move all the details off to the side for now.


Step 13

Select all three shapes and give them some 3D qualities by going to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel... Enter the variables shown below.


Step 14

To edit the shapes you will need to Expand them by going to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 15

Now you will have three different objects with 3D qualities. You will need to reposition your three shapes in order to see each shape. Of course you will not need to reposition them apart this far, this is just so you can see what you should end up with.


Step 16

It's a good idea to put each of the three shapes on their own layer. This will make it easy to select only the shape you want to edit. Position your shapes as close together as possible. Once you do this you will notice small details that don't perfectly line up. This is because the Perspective that was applied in Step 13 affects each item separately. In reality the dotted line would touch both edges of the top and bottom shape. The fix is simple.


Step 17

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) drag over all the points that I've outlined within the dotted line below. You will have to lock the other two layers that have the middle and bottom shapes so you're not selecting points from those object simultaneously.

Once you have those points selected simply move them to the right slightly to line up where they should be. Also, notice how the red area I've highlighted below should meet at the end of the shape too.


Step 18

Observe how both edges touch the dotted line.


Step 19

Notice how the red area also meets at the edge of the middle shape.


Step 20

The left side should already be pretty squared-away, so you won't need to make any changes there.


Step 21

A small overlap on the very left edge is OK, this will go undetected once we add different gradients to each shape.


Step 22

It is critical that you group your objects before you give them perspective and rotation. Go to Object > Group. This will ensure all of the details are treated as one object and the 3D effect will apply to them as a whole, not individual pieces.


Step 23

Give the details of the face of the device the same perspective and rotation as you applied before. I did not apply any Extrude Depth, as I wanted to give the buttons more of a rounded look, for the most part.


Step 24

To edit each of the objects on the face of the device you will need to Expand it first. Go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 25

Select the oval on the left and give it a Linear Gradient, Inner Glow, and Drop Shadow. Apply the glow and shadow effects by going to Effect > Stylize and selecting the appropriate effect. Use the settings below as a guideline for your settings. Depending upon the dimensions of your artwork, your numbers may by different than what I show below, this is OK though. Just make sure it looks good to you.


Step 26

Apply similar effects to the buttons on the left as well as the buttons on the bottom.


Step 27

Create LED lights by using a bight color and giving the shape an Outter Glow. Apply an Outter Glow by going to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow.


Step 28

Give the LED a highlight by drawing a white rectangle over the light and blurring it by going to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur.


Step 29

Copy and paste the two buttons shown below to add depth.


Step 30

Select both buttons at once and give their face a subtle gradient.


Step 31

In order to color each part of the top section of the device you will need to first Ungroup it by going to Object > Ungroup. You may have to do this several times to ensure all parts of the object are Ungrouped.


Step 32

To create a dramatic reflection first draw a shape using the Pen Tool (P) that cuts across the middle of the device. You don't have to give the shape a fill or a stroke. Select the top layer of the device and the shape you just drew and click Divide in the Pathfinder. Go to Object > Ungroup then delete the unnecessary shapes around the edges that you do not need.


Step 33

Select the individual shapes and give them a gradient that is dark on the left and lighter on the right.


Step 34

Give the screen a similar gradient that is slightly lighter to give the impression that the surface has changed slightly.


Step 35

Copy and paste the text below and make it 100% black to add depth.


Step 36

Duplicate the shape that is the screen of the device. Since the screen is now cut into two halves the outline that we need to apply will create an undesired line down the middle of the screen. So, using the Pathfinder select both halves of the screen and merge the shapes together as we did in Step 5. Give the newly merged shape two outlines, one grey and one black.

Notice how each outline is slightly different in size. This creates the illusion of a beveled edge. You can give an object two outlines by using the Appearance Palette. Click the Flyout Triangle highlighted below and select Add New Stroke. You can also reorder which stroke is on top or on the bottom by selecting it and moving it above or below the other stroke.


Step 37

Select the edges of the top layer and give each section a gradient. Note how the middle of the shape has a lighter color than the edges. This helps convey the idea of light boucing off of a curved surface.


Step 38

Add more points to your Gradient for more complex areas.


Step 39

Use a little creative license when deciding how each item looks. I decided to give this shape a small grey outline.


Step 40

This is what your device should look like with all the gradients applied.


Step 41

We'll add another ring around the knob by duplicating the ring and removing all the effects from it. To remove the effects use the Appearance Palette, select each item and click the trash can icon.


Step 42

Position the oval over the knob and enlarge it a little. Then give it a grey stroke and a light grey fill.


Step 43

We'll create reflections on the top and bottom of the oval by again duplicating the oval twice. Next, change the size of the top oval to be slightly larger and wider than the other. Select both ovals and Divide them by selecting the option shown below. Ungroup the shapes by going to Object > Ungroup. Delete everything but the top part of the shapes. You can use the top part of the shape for reflections (see next step.)


Step 44

I've used the same shape for both the top and bottom reflection. Simply change the color so it looks like the amount of light hitting each side of the surface is different.


Step 45

Achieve reflections for the other buttons in the same manner as Step 43...


Step 46

...and again for the reflections over the buttons on the right.


Step 47

This is what your artwork should look like right now.


Step 48

Duplicate the face of the device, use the Pathfinder to merge both halves (since we divided it in a previous step) and blur it by going to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. In your Transparency Palette select Multiply, which will make sure the drop shadow we just created looks good when we place a background behind it.


Step 49

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, draw a rectangle, and give it a cool green gradient.


Step 50

This step will add a lot of visual interest to the device. Using the Pen Tool (P) draw along the edges of a few of the corners of the device. This gives the illusion of light hitting these corners and edges.


Step 51

Draw some on the right side too.


Step 52

And some on the top. Make sure not to go overboard though.


Step 52

Last, we'll create a haze that surrounds some of the highlights to give the indication of general light reflection. Draw a simple white shape that follows the edge of an object below it, then apply a blur by going to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur.


Final Image

Here is the final illustration! You've just learned how to create a sleek vector multimedia device.


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