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Make a Handy 3D Vector Calendar Icon

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Learn to make a handy calendar icon to use on your blog, website, or print projects. We'll use Illustrators Path and 3D tools to create this design. Also, a simple page curl effect will be demonstrated as well. Let's jump into this tutorial.

Final Image Preview

Here is the final look we'll be achieving. To successfully complete this tutorial you should have a fundamental grasp of Illustrators tools.

Step 1

Start by drawing a square using the Rectangle Tool (M).

Step 2

Rotate the square by going to Effect > 3D > Rotate. You do not have to enter these exact values, but be sure to make note of the values you do enter because you'll need to refer to them again when we add text. After you click OK, expand your shape by going to Object > Expand Appearance.

Step 3

To simulate the depth of the calendar we'll use Illustrator's 3D Extrude & Bevel Options. Go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Enter 1 degree for the X axis rotation (first box). In the Extrude Depth box enter a high number, as shown below. The larger the X axis number the smaller your value for Extrude Depth will be.

I prefer this method because it distorts the face of the calendar much less than entering a large X axis number and small Extrude Depth number. Click OK, then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Last, go to Object > Ungroup. Note, you may have to ungroup the object several times in order for each shape to be individually handled.

Step 4

Repeat Step 3 to make the base of the calendar. Enlarge the shape so that it is slightly wider than the top. Remember to expand and ungroup the shape so that you can color each side of the object later.

Step 5

Create a small border around each of the edges of the top part of the calendar by going to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter the values shown below. This small border will allow us to give the edge of each side calendar side a little bit of highlight or alternative gradient, which is a small detail, but adds to the overall quality of the piece.

Step 6

Give the inner shapes you just made a slight gradient. Observe how the left side of the calendar has a slightly lighter gradient than the right.

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw lines inside the inner shapes you just made to simulate the edge of some of the calendar pages. There is no math involved with this step. Just use your eye and make it look good. Notice how the lines taper down to a point.

Step 7

Once you have all the lines drawn, use the Distribute Palette to make the space between each of the lines perfect.

Step 8

Additionally, you can select all the lines at once and give them a gradient to help them blend into the shapes behind them a little more.

Give the base of the calendar some color making sure to apply a slightly lighter color on the left and a darker color on the right.

Using the same line shape you drew to create the edge of the pages, add it as highlights below to give the impression of a shadow and a highlight.

Step 9

Select a font that you like (I've used Din) and type the words you'd like to appear on the front of the calendar. Rotate the type to match the angle of the surface of the calendar by going to Effect > 3D > Rotate. Enter the values that you used in Step 2, then click OK.

Step 10

Add the type to the face of the calendar and change the color to white.

Step 11

Draw a rectangle over the face of the calendar that matches the blue rectangle shown below. Give it a slight gradient.

Step 12

Make the number on the face of the calendar by using the same technique we did for the name VECTORTUTS. Give the number a thin white outline.

Step 13

Achieve a curled page look by drawing a flowing shape similar to the one below. The smoother the shape the more realistic the page curl will look.

Step 14

In order to ensure the curl is as believable as possible, we'll need to modify the part of the paper that's directly to the left of the curl. Start by selecting the face of the calendar and the page curl. In the Pathfinder Palette, click Divide. Now go to Object > Ungroup. Note, you may need to adjust the arrangement of shapes after using the Divide filter, as some shapes may now be covered up.

Step 15

Select both halves of the page curl and use the Add to Shape Area option in the Pathfinder Palette. Click Expand in the Pathfinder Palette. Now, both halves of the page curl are combined again and the face of the calendar is broken into two parts (one to the left of the page curl and one to the right.)

Step 16

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) click the point shown below and move it slightly to the right and upwards.

Step 17

Eliminate the straight edge of the page by drawing a curved shape over it and using the Pathfinder Palette to trim the artwork. Trim the shape by selecting both shapes and using the Subtract From Shape Area option, highlighted below. Then finish this up by clicking Expand.

Step 18

Duplicate the page curl and reposition it slightly to achieve an additional page curl.

Step 19

Give the right edge of the calendar a gradient that creates the illusion of it being in shadow.

Step 20

Give the page curls gradients. Make sure to give the page curl on the left a somewhat darker gradient since it has an object that is very close to it. Add a little more interest to the edge of the page curls by offsetting their paths as we did in Step 5 by going to Object > Path > Offset Path.

Step 21

You can now give the new shape a subtle change in its gradient, which helps highlight the edge of the paper.

Step 22

Easily create a drop shadow by using the shape from the top surface of the calendar and squaring off the bottom corner of it. Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and enter a value that produces a soft enough blur to imply a shadow.

Final Image

Place the drop shadow behind the calendar and give the top surface of the calendar a subtle gradient and your handy calendar icon is complete!

This icon is versatile and can be used for a variety of applications. Get creative, you can change the face of the calendar to suit many needs.

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