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Interface Design

Create a Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon in Adobe Illustrator

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In the following steps you will learn how to create a simple icon for a Tic Tac Toe game. For starters you will learn how to create a radial mesh, how to easily mask it and how to add a subtle texture using the Appearance panel, basic blending techniques and some raster effects. Next, using the Appearance panel and a bunch of strokes along with several effects you will learn how to add a dark border for the icon. Moving on, using basic blending and vector shape building techniques, some new masking techniques and a simple blend you will make the 3D X and the frame for this group of shapes. Finally, you'll learn how to create four, tiny screws.


1. Create a New Document and Setup a Grid

Hit Control + N to create a New document. Enter 600 in the width 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 you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 1px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 1 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.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

2. Create a Radial Mesh

Step 1

Focus on your Toolbar, remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at white. Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click inside your document to open the Rectangle options. Enter 640 in the width and height boxes then click the OK button. Obviously, this will create a 640px square. Next, you need to center this white shape. Select it and open the Align panel (Window > Align). Set the aligning to Artboard then simply click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. In the end your white square should be centered as shown in the second image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 2

Make sure that your white square is still selected, replace the white with the radial gradient shown in the following image and go to Object > Expand. Check the Gradient Mesh button from the Expand window and click OK. Move to the Layers panel and you will find a group with a mesh and a simple clipping path. Delete the clipping path and Ungroup the remaining mesh (Shift + Control + G).

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 3

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Select your mesh , grab the Mesh Tool (U) and add some new mesh points as shown in the following image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 4

Keep focusing on your mesh and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the mesh points one by one and set the colors as shown in the following image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

3. Mask the Mesh and Add a Subtle Texture

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 472px rectangle, set the fill color at white and click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons from the Align panel. Make sure that this white square is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 70px radius and click OK. Reselect this white, rounded rectangle along with the mesh and go to the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency). Open the fly-out menu and simply go to Make Opacity Mask. In the end your masked mesh should look like in the third image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a new 472px rectangle, set the fill color at black and center it using the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons from the Align panel. Make sure that this black rectangle stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Add a second fill for this shape using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Select this new fill, make sure that the color is set at black, lower its Opacity to 40%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Artistic > Sponge. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 3

Make sure that your 472px square stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a 10pt stroke. Select it, set the color at black, align it to inside, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 10px radius, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Using the Add New Stroke button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image) add a second stroke for this shape. Make it 3pt wide, set the color at R=113 G=123 B=126 and align it to inside. Add a third stroke for this shape, make it 2pt wide, set the color at R=219 G=224 B=227 and align it to inside. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, add a fourth stroke, make it 1pt wide, set the color at R=113 G=123 B=126 and align it to inside. Finally, select the entire path (you can simply click on that "Path" piece of text from the top of the Appearance panel) and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 70px radius and click OK.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 4

Next, you need to get rid of those blurred edges. Make sure that the 472px square is selected and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy and focus on the Appearance panel. Keep the Rounded Corners effect, remove the existing fills and strokes then add a simple white fill. Select this white rounded rectangle along with the textured 472px square, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask. In the end things should look like in the second image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

4. Add a Dark Border

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a new 512px rectangle, set the fill color at black and center it using the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons from the Align panel.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 2

Make sure that your black rectangle is still selected and hit Shift + X to transfer the color attributes from the fill to the stroke. Move to the Appearance panel, add a second stroke and drag it below the black one. Make sure that the new stroke is selected, set the color at R=43 G=53 B=56, make it 20pt wide and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -10px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Select the black stroke, lower its Opacity to 40%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -10px Offset, click OK and get back to the Appearance panel. Make sure that the black stroke stays selected and open the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke). Check the Dashed Line box then enter 5 in the dash and gap boxes.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 3

Make sure that your 512px rectangle stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a third stroke, set the color at R=5 G=15 B=18, make it 3pt wide and align it to inside. Add a fourth stroke, set the color at R=15 G=25 B=28, make it 2pt wide and align it to inside. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, add a fifth stroke and select it. Set the color at R=5 G=15 B=18, make it 3pt wide, align it to inside and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -17px Offset, click OK, return to the Appearance panel, add a new stroke and select it. Make it 2pt wide, set the color at R=15 G=25 B=28, align it to inside and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -18px Offset and click OK.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 4

Make sure that your 512px rectangle stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a new stroke, set the color at R=113 G=123 B=126, make it 3pt wide and align it to inside. Add a second, new stroke, set the color at R=219 G=224 B=227, make it 2pt wide and align it to inside. Add a third, new stroke, set the color at R=113 G=123 B=126, make it 1pt wide and align it to inside. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, select the entire path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 90px radius and click OK. In the end things should look like in the following image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

5. Create the Frame for the 3D "X"

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 330px rectangle, set the fill color at R=83 G=93 B=96 and center it using the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons from the Align panel. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, add a 1pt stroke, align it to inside and set the color at R=103 G=113 B=116.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two, 30 x 330px rectangles, fill both shapes with white and place them as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the right side of the left rectangle. Select the top anchor point and drag it 30px down then select the bottom anchor point and drag it 30px up. Move to the right white rectangle and focus on the left side. Select the top anchor point and drag it 30px down then select the bottom anchor point and drag it 30px up. In the end you should have two white trapezoids as shown in the second image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 3

Keep focusing on the trapezoids and replace the white used for the fill with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Focus on the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient), click on the gradient thumbnail and simply drag it inside the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) to save the gradient. Double-click on this newly saved gradient and simply name it "Gradient01". You'll need it later.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two, 330 x 30px rectangles, fill both shapes with white and place them as shown in the first image. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the bottom side of the top rectangle. Select the left anchor point and drag it 30px to the right then select the right anchor point and drag it 30px to the left. Move to the bottom, white rectangle and focus on its top side. Select the left anchor point and drag it 30px to the right then select the right anchor point and drag it 30px to the left. In the end you will have two new trapezoids as shown in the second image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 5

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. Focus on the top trapezoid, replace the white with "Gradient01" then make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the left using the left arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both copies, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Minus Front button. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 6

Reselect the top trapezoid and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the right using the right arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 7

Move to the bottom trapezoid, fill it with "Gradient01" then 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 the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 8

Reselect the bottom trapezoid 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 the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white, lower its Opacity to 40% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 9

Select the top trapezoid and add a second fill. Select it, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and use the radial gradient shown in the following image. Focus on the Swatches panel, save this radial gradient and name it "Gradient02".

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

The yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage while the white number stands for Location percentage.

Step 10

Focus on the other three trapezoids, add a new fill and use that same "Gradient02" as shown in the following images. Add an extra fill fill for the left trapezoid and place it as shown in the final image. Don't forget to set the Blending Mode at Soft Light for these new fills.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 11

Reselect the 330px square, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Make sure that this copy stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the color from the stroke and select the fill. Lower its Opacity to 50%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and replace the existing color with the radial gradient shown in the following image. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second fill for this shape. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 3%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 12

Select all the shapes that make up the frame and Group them (Control + G). Select this new group and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the left window (in the following image), click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the right window and click OK.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

6. Create the 3D "X"

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 54 x 250px rectangle, set the fill color at R=192 G=108 B=13 and center it using the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons from the Align panel. Make sure that this brown rectangle is selected and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 90 degrees angle and click the Copy button. Select both rectangles made in this step and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 27px radius, click OK and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a 45 degrees angle and click OK. Move to the Layers panel, double click on this brown shape and simply name it "back".

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 2

Hit Control + K (or go to Edit > Preferences > General) and make sure that the Scale Strokes & Effects box is checked. Duplicate your "back" shape (Control + C > Control + F), select this copy, replace the existing fill color with R=249 G=174 B=53 and open the Transform panel (Window > Transform). Make sure that the Constrain Width and Height Proportions button is checked and simply enter 300 in the width (or height) box. In the end things should look like in the second image. Move to the Layers panel, double click on this orange "x" shape and name it "front".

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 3

Reselect your "back" shape and go to Object > Transform > Move. Simply enter 25 in the Vertical box and click the OK button. Select both "back" and "front" shapes and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 4

Reselect your "back" shape and make a copy in back (Control + C > Control + B). Move to the Layers panel, select this fresh copy and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove the color from the fill an add a 4pt stroke. Select it, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, add a second stroke for this shape and select it. Set the color at black, make it 8pt wide, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower its Opacity to 5%.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 5

Take a look inside the Layers panel and duplicate that masked mesh (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Release Opacity Mask. Focus on the resulting shapes, simply remove the white, rounded rectangle then select the mesh and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ).

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 6

Reselect the "front" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F), bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ) and replace the orange used for the fill with a simple white. Select this fresh, white shape along with the mesh in the back, open the fly-out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 7

Reselect your "front" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Make sure that this copy stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, lower its Opacity to 75%, change the Blending Mode to Color and replace the existing color with R=255 G=209 B=5. Add a second fill for this new shape and select it. Lower the Opacity to 50%, use the radial gradient shown in the first image and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, add a third fill for this shape and select it. Use the linear gradient shown in the second image, lower its Opacity to 20%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset, click OK and return the Appearance panel. Add a 1pt stroke, set the color at R=192 G=108 B=13, align it to inside and lower the Opacity to 15%.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 8

Reselect your "front" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Make sure that this copy stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Add a second fill and select it. Set the color at black, lower its Opacity to 40%, change the Blending Mode to Overlay and go to Effect > Artistic > Sponge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK, return to the Appearance panel, add a black stroke and select it. Set the weight at 10pt, align it to inside, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 10px radius and click OK.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 9

Next, you need to mask the shape made in the precious step. Reselect your "front" shape, make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Fill this copy with white, select it along with the shape made in the previous step, open the fly out menu of the Transparency panel and go to Make Opacity Mask.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 10

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect your "front" shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy and move it 1px down using the down arrow from your keyboard. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group into a Compound Path (Control + 8 or Object > Compound Path > Make), bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ) and set the fill color at R=255 G=222 B=23.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 11

Focus on your Toolbar and double-click on the Blend Tool (or go to Object > Blend > Blend Options). Select Specified Steps from the Spacing drop-down menu and enter "50" in that white box. Move to the Layers panel, select the original "front" and "back" shapes and hit Alt > Control + B (or go to Object > Blend > Make) to create a simple blend. Make sure that this new blend is selected and simply add the three Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

7. Add Four Tiny Screws

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10px circle, set the fill color at R=133 G=143 B=146 and place it as shown in the following image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 2

Make sure that your 10px circle is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill. Select it, set the color at R=93 G=103 B=106 and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK and return to the Appearance panel. Add a 2pt stroke, align it to inside and set the color at R=93 G=103 B=106.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 3

Make sure that your 10px circle is still selected, add a third fill and drag it in the top of the Appearance panel. Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 40%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and add the radial gradient shown in the following image. Return to the Appearance panel, select the entire path and add the two Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

Step 4

Finally, multiply your 10px circle and spread the copies as shown in the following image.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon

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.

Tic Tac Toe Mobile App Icon
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