Advertisement

How to Create a Detailed Keyboard Button Illustration in Adobe Illustrator

by
Student iconAre you a student? Get a yearly Tuts+ subscription for $45 →

In the following steps you will learn how to create a detailed keyboard buttons illustration. You'll see how powerful the Appearance panel can really be! For the main part of the button you will use a simple rectangle with fourteen fills, linear and radial gradient, three strokes, some basic blending techniques and over fifty effects. In the end, taking full advantage of the Appearance panel, you will only need four rectangle, the background shape plus the little pieces of text.


Step 1

Hit Command + N to create a new document. Enter 600 in the width box and 450 in the 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'll need a grid every 1px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 1 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. Al these options will significantly increase your work speed.


Step 2

We'll start with the background. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard, fill it with R=225, G=225, B=225 and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a second fill for this shape using the Add New Fill button from the bottom of the Appearance panel. Select this new fill and add the radial gradient shown below. The yellow zero from the gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.


Step 3

Make sure that the rectangle made in the previous step is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill. Select this new fill, make it black, lower its Opacity to 3%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. This will be your simple background. Move to the Layers panel and lock this shape to make sure that you won't accidentally select/move it.


Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 58 by 57px shape and fill it with the linear gradient shown in the following image. The white number from the gradient image stands for location percentage. Move to the Layers panel, double click on this new shape and simply name it "ButtonMain".


Step 5

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.


Step 6

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill and simply click on the Duplicate Selected Item button (pointed by the little, blue arrow). Obviously, this will add a copy of the selected fill. Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 80% and replace the linear gradient with the radial gradient shown in the following image. Remember that the yellow zero from the gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.


Step 7

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and simply click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill, lower its Opacity to 70% and replace the radial gradient with the linear gradient shown in the following image.


Step 8

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and simply click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill, lower its Opacity to 5%, replace the linear gradient with a simple black then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK.


Step 9

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a fifth fill using the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow). Select this new fill, drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel, set the color at R=145, G=145, B=145 and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 7.5px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image (make sure that you check the middle, top reference point) and click OK.


Step 10

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill and replace the flat color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.


Step 11

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill and replace the existing linear gradient with the one shown in the following image.


Step 12

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select this newly added fill and edit the angle used for the linear gradient as shown in the following image.


Step 13

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill and replace the existing linear gradient with the one shown in the following image.


Step 14

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select this newly added fill and edit the angle used for the linear gradient as shown in the following image.


Step 15

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the Add New Fill button. Select this newly added fill, set the color at white, lower its Opacity to 20% and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown below and click OK.


Step 16

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select this newly added fill, lower its Opacity to 10% and open the existing Transform effect. Enter "2" in the Move-Vertical box, click OK then open the existing Offset Path effect and raise the Offset to 2px.


Step 17

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add another fill using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel, add the linear gradient shown in the following image and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 7px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown below, click OK and go to Effect Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image (make sure that you check the middle, top reference point), click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the properties shown below and click OK.


Step 18

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add another fill using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel, add the linear gradient shown in the following image, lower its Opacity to 75% and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 6px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5px radius and click OK.


Step 19

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the first added fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the top window, click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the bottom window and click OK.


Step 20

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the ninth step and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the top window, click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown in the bottom window and click OK.


Step 21

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the seventeenth step and add the four Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.


Step 22

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a 1pt, white stroke. Select it, align it to inside, lower its Opacity to 10% and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Finally, make sure that this stroke is placed in the top of the Appearance panel.


Step 23

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second stroke using the Add New Stroke button (pointed by the little, blue arrow). Select this new stroke, make it 2pt wide, set the color at black, drag it below the fill added in the thirteenth step, lower its Opacity to 30% and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 7.5px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image (make sure that you check the middle, top reference point) and click OK.


Step 24

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the stroke added in the previous step and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select this newly added stroke and decrease the size at 1pt.


Step 25

Select "ButtonMain" and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy and focus on the Appearance panel. Remove all those fills and strokes, but save the third fill (start the count from the bottom of the Appearance panel). Focus on the remaining fill, make it red and remove the two Drop Shadow effects. Move to the Layers panel, double click on this new shape and name it "ButtonNoise".


Step 26

Make sure that "ButtonNoise" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill, make it black, lower its Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.


Step 27

Make sure that "ButtonNoise" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select the newly added fill, make it white, raise the Opacity to 100%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and remove the Film Grain effect. If you prefer the darker version of the button you can easily hide this white fill by clicking on the little eye icon from the Appearance panel. Now, select "ButtonMain" and "ButtonNoise" and Group them (Control + G).


Step 28

Select "ButtonMain" and make a Copy in front (Control + C > Control + F). Select this copy, drag it above the group (in the Layers panel) and drag it 85px down. Focus on the Appearance panel, remove all those fills and strokes, but save the second fill (start the count from the bottom of the Appearance panel). Focus on the remaining fill and remove the Inner Glow and the four Drop Shadow effects. Move to the Layers panel, double click on this new shape and name it "ButtonSupport".


Step 29

Make sure that "ButtonSupport" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select this newly added fill, remove the Offset Path effect then replace the existing linear gradient with the one shown in the following image.


Step 30

Make sure that "ButtonSupport" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the Duplicate Selected Item button. Select this newly added fill, replace the linear gradient with the radial gradient shown below and go to Effect > Path Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset and click OK. Drag this effect below the Rounded Corners effect then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties shown below and click OK.


Step 31

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a 3pt, black stroke. Select it, align it to inside, lower its Opacity to 10% and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 7px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image (make sure that you check the middle, top reference point) and click OK.


Step 32

Make sure that "ButtonMain" is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the bottom fill and add the four Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.


Step 33

Select "ButtonSupport", make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F), select it and focus on the Appearance panel. Save the second fill and remove the stroke and the other two fills. Select the remaining fill, make it black, lower its Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Multiply and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK. Select this copy along with the "ButtonSupport" shape and Group them (Control + G).


Step 34

Duplicate the two groups created so far (Control + C > Control + F). Select these copies, drag them 80px to the right and focus on the top bar. Check the middle, left reference point and simply enter 88 in the Width box. In the end your group copies should look like in the second image.


Step 35

Using the Type Tool (T) add some simple pieces of text as shown in the following image and use the properties shown below. Move to the Layers panel and drag these pieces of text inside the groups, between the "ButtonMain" and "ButtonNoise" shapes.


Step 36

Select the text added in the previous step, focus on the Appearance panel and simply add two fills using the Add New Fill button. Select the top fill and set its color at R=30, G=30, B=30. Move to the bottom fill, select it, add the linear gradient shown below and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset and click OK.


Step 37

Finally, multiply the groups created so far and play a little with the arrangement.


Conclusion

Now your work is done. Here is how it should look. You can easily recolor your button using that second fill from the "ButtonNoise" shape. Simply replace the white with the color that you prefer. You can also try a different Blending Mode or a higher/lower Opacity percentage for that fill. There are countless possibilities.

Advertisement