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Illustration

Create a Vector Cassette Tape Illustration

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In the following tutorial you will learn to create a cassette tape illustration. We'll use vector shape building techniques, as well as advanced lighting, vector masks, gradients and more.


Step 1

Create a 340 by 310px, RGB document. First, turn on the Grid (View > Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Next, you'll 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 275 by 175px shape and fill it with any color. I filled it with red and lowered its Opacity to 30% so that you can distinguish the gird easier. Select this shape and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter an 8px radius, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shape and make a copy in back (Command + C > Command + B).

Select this copy and make it invisible by clicking on the eye icon from the Layers panel. You'll need this shape for a further step. Reselect the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 245 by 110px shape and place it as shown below. Select it and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK, then go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 3

Continue with the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 235 by 100px shape and place it as shown in the following image. The Snap to Grip will ease your work. Select this new shape and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 4px radius, click OK, then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Reselect the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 165 by 50px shape and place it as shown below. Again, select this fresh shape and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 25px radius, click OK, then go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 4

Keep working with the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a 65 by 30px and a 195 by 45px shapes and place them as shown in the following image.


Step 5

Now, switch to the Ellipse Tool (L). Create two perfect circles (30 by 30px) and place them as shown in the first image. Select these two new shapes and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 35px Offset and click OK. The resulting shapes should look like the second image. Select them and send them to back (Shift + Command + Left Bracket key).


Step 6

Now, let's focus on the bottom rectangle created in the fourth step. First you will need a grid every 2.5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 2.5 in the Gridline Every box. Next, pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the top anchor points. Select the top, left anchor point and move it 10px to the right. Now select the top, right anchor point and move it 10px to the left.

Now, your shape should llok like a trapezoid. Select it and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2.5px Offset and click OK. Reselect the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom anchor points of this new shape (highlighted in the third image) and drag them as shown in the fourth image.


Step 7

Move to the top rectangle created in the fourth step. Select it and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 2.5px Offset and click OK.


Step 8

Now, let's create the smaller components. First, using the Ellipse Tool (L), create four new shapes (7.5 by 7.5px) and place them in the corners. Also, using the Ellipse Tool (L), create three perfect circles (10 by 10px) and place them as shown in the following image.

Once again, the Snap to Grid should ease your work. Finally, using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two small squares (10 by 10px) and place them as shown below. Select both shapes and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 2px radius, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 9

Select the large trapezoid shape and the rounded rectangle selected in the first image, then duplicate them (Command + C > Command + F). Select these copies along with the largest rounded rectangle and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like the fourth image shown below. Fill it with a simple white so that you can distinguish it easier from the rest of the shapes.


Step 10

Duplicate the rounded rectangle selected in the first image (Command + C > Command + F). Select this copy along with the largest rounded rectangle and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=147, G=149, and B=152.


Step 11

Select the shape selected in the first image and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 5px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape along with the largest rounded rectangle and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white.


Step 12

Duplicate the small, top rectangle and the two circles. Select these copies along with the remaining rounded rectangle and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white.


Step 13

Select the two top rectangles and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like the second image below. Fill it with R=147, G=149, B=152.


Step 14

Now, you need to divide the shape created in the previous step. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create the four horizontal paths shown in the following image. Once again, the Snap to Grid will ease your work. Select these four paths along with the shape made in the previous step and click on the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel. You will get a group of four new shapes. Fill them with the colors shown in the third image.


Step 15

Select the smaller trapezoid shape and duplicate it (Command + C > Command + F). Select this copy along with the largest trapezoid shape and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. The resulting shape should look like the third image shown.


Step 16

Again, you need to divide the shape created in the previous step. Disable the Snap to Grid, enable the Smart Guides (Command + U), then create the two horizontal paths shown in the first image. Select these small paths along with the shape made in the previous step and click on the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel. You will get a group with three shapes. Fill them with the colors shown in the third image.


Step 17

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 0.5px in the Keyboard Increment box. Now, let's focus on the small circles and rounded rectangles from the bottom of your illustration. First, select one of these shapes and make two copies (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F).

Select the top copy and hit the up arrow three times. 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. Repeat the same techniques for the remaining four shapes. In the end it should look like the third image shown.


Step 18

Select the small circle and the rounded rectangles, along with the remaining trapezoid shape, then click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=147, G=149, B=152. Now your illustration should look like the third image.


Step 19

Now let's create the rolled tape inside the cassette. Focus on the two circles shown below. First, duplicate them. Select these copies and click on Minus front from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=38, G=17, B=10 and Bring it to Front (Shift + Command + Right Bracket key).


Step 20

Select the two copies created in the previous step and Bring them to Front (Shift + Command + Right Bracket key). Fill them both with none and add a 0.2pt stroke (R=87, G=56, B=43). Select these two paths and go to Object > Blend > Make.

Next, go to Object > Blend > Blend Options, select Specified Steps from the drop down menu, enter 50 in the box and click OK. Now it should look like the second image. Select this blend along with the shape create in the previous step and Send it Back (Shift + Command + Left Bracket key).


Step 21

Enable the Snap to Grid then, use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a new perfect circle as shown in the first image. Duplicate it (Command + C > Command + F) then disable the Snap to Grid. Select the copy and hit the up arrow three times. Reselect both circles and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=25, G=25, B=25.


Step 22

Enable the Snap to Grid and create a new shape like the one from the previous step. Send it to Back (Shift + Command + Left Bracket key), fill it with none and add a 6pt stroke. Set its color at R=46, G=47, B=43. Now open the Stroke panel. Make sure that the stroke is aligned to center, then check the Dashed Line box. Enter 4pt in the dash box and 9.5pt in the gap box.

Now your stroke should look like in the first image. Reselect it and go to Object > Expand. Select the resulting path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 0.5px radius, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 23

Repeat the same techniques for the left rolled tape. Or, simply duplicate the shapes created in the last four steps and move the copies to the left.


Step 24

Disable the Snap to Grid and the Smart Guides, then turn on the visibility for the shape created in the second step. Fill it with white, Bring it to Front (Shift + Command + Right Bracket key), then make two copies (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and hit the down arrow three times. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=188, G=190, B=192.

Make two new copies of this large, white shape (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the copy and hit the down arrow twice. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=59, G=59, B=59 and Bring it to Front (Shift + Command + Right Bracket key).


Step 25

Reselect the large white shape, remove the fill color and add a 0.8pt, aligned to outside stroke (R=46, G=47, B=43).


Step 26

Select the white shape made in the ninth step. First replace the white with the linear gradient shown below. The white number from the gradient image stands for location percentage. Reselect this path, open the fly-out menu of the Appearance panel and click on Add New Fill.

This will add a second fill for your shape. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 27

Move to the trapezoid shape. First replace the exiting fill color with the linear gradient shown below, then add a second fill. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 3%, change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 28

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a 190 by 2px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with R=59, G=59, B=59 and add a 0.25, aligned to inside stroke. Now go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter 10 in the copies box, drag the Move-Vertical slider to 4px and click OK. Now your work should look like the first image below.

Duplicate the trapezoid shape edited in the previous step. Bring this copy to Front (Shift + Command + Right Bracket key) and fill it only with white. Select this white shape along with the thin, multiplied rectangle and go to the Transparency panel. Open the fly-out menu and click on Make Opacity Mask. Now it should look like the third image shown.


Step 29

Reselect the trapezoid shape and make two new copies (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and hit the down arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting group of shapes with R=167, G=169, B=172 and Bring it to Front (Shift + Command + Right Bracket key).


Step 30

Select the gray shape made in the tenth step. First, replace the existing fill color with R=59, G=59, B=59, then add a second fill. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below and click OK.

Next, add a first stroke. Make it 1.3pt wide, align it to outside and set its color at R=46, G=47, B=43. Open the fly-out menu of the Appearance panel and click on Add New Stroke. This will add a second stroke for your shape. Make it 0.3pt wide, align it to outside and set its color at R=147, G=149, B=152.


Step 31

Select the white shape made in the eleventh step. First, replace the existing fill color with a linear gradient shown below, then add a second fill. Now you need a nice pattern for this new fill. Go to the Swathes panel, open the fly-out menu and go to Open Swatch Library > Pattern > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures.

This will open a new window with some nice patterns. Reselect the second fill from your shape. Lower its Opacity to 20%, then use the Diamond pattern. Next, add a first stroke. Make it 0.75pt wide, align it to inside and set its color at R=167, G=169, B=172. Add a second stroke for your shape. Make it 0.25pt wide, align it to inside and set its color at R=255, G=255, B=255.


Step 32

Select the gray shape made in the twelfth step. First, replace the existing fill color with R=85, G=85, B=85. Now add a second fill. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the blending mode to Multiply, then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain.

Enter the data shown below and then click OK. Next, add a first stroke. Make it 1pt wide, align it to outside and set its color at R=46, G=47, B=43. Open the fly-out menu of the Appearance panel and add a second stroke for your shape. Make it 0.5pt wide, align it to outside and set its color at R=128, G=130, B=133.


Step 33

For this step you will need a grid every 5px. First, enable the Snap to Grid, then go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grids and enter 5 in the Gridline Every box. Duplicate the shape created in ninth step, then pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 365 by 110px shape and place it as shown in the first image.

Select this new shape along with the fresh copy and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the third image and lower its Opacity to 10%. The yellow number from the gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.


Step 34

Duplicate the shape created in twelfth step, then pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a squeezed shape like the one from the previous step. Select this new shape, along with the fresh copy, and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the third image and lower its Opacity to 10%.


Step 35

Now let's focus on the small circles placed in the corners. Select one of these shapes and fill it with R=70, G=70, B=70. Add a second fill for this shape, set its color at R=30, G=30, B=30. Now go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below, click OK, then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat.

Drag the slider at -50%, click OK and then add a simple stroke for these shapes. Make it 1pt wide, align it to outside and set its color at R=45, G=45, B=45. Repeat the same techniques for the other three circles or, hold Alt, click on the target icon (the little dark dot at the right) and drag it onto the target icons that stand for the other three shapes.


Step 36

Select all the shapes created so far (except the masked shape) and duplicate them (Command + C > Command + F). Select all these copies and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=117, G=117, B=117. Send it to Back (Shift + Command + Left Bracket key) and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 37

Pick the Ellipse Tool and create a 265 by 10px shape. Fill it with R=46, G=47, B=43 and place it as shown in the following image, then Send it to Back (Shift + Command + Left Bracket key) and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 6px radius and click OK.


Step 38

Finally, let's add some tape outside the cassette. First, open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and disable the Snap to Grid. Next, select the 5pt. Flat brush and draw a random path. Set its color at R=94, G=56, B=35 and then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shapes and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.


Step 39

Next, you need to divide the shape made in the previous step so that you can add a more realistic effect for this tape. Enable the Smart Guides and then use the Pen Tool to add some simple paths as shown in the first image. Add them in the area where the tape bends. Select all these paths along with the overall tape shape and click on the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel.


Step 40

Now, we'll add some shading for the resulting shapes. Create the linear gradient shown in the first image and save it into your Swatches panel. Now, add one or more fills for most of the paths created in the previous step and use this new gradient. You must use it in the bend area (inside the bend) to add a nice shadow effect for the bend. Save the gradient shown in the second image and then use it as shown in the following image. This gradient should also be used in the bend area but outside.


Step 41

Save the gradient shown in the first image and use it as shown in the first image. This third gradient must be used somewhere in the middle of your shapes to add a nice luminosity effect for the tape. Finally, save the gradient shown in the second image and use it as shown.


Step 42

Select all tape components and group them (Command + G). Select this fresh group, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow, enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 43

For the background use a simple rectangle and fill it with the linear gradient shown below.


Conclusion

The final image is below.

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