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Master Gradients and Guides to Create your own Realistic Retro Scale

by
Gift

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Learn how to use gradients, guides and several basic Illustrator techniques to create a realistic retro scale illustration. You will learn many skills that will help you to create realistic icons and illustrations.


Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.

  • Limelight font
  • Photo of the scale (in the assets directory of the download)
  • Scale Vector File (in the assets directory of the download)

Step 1 Prepare the Document

Create a new document with the dimensions 1600 x 1200px in a landscape orientation.



Step 2 Keep Document Structure

Then create the layer structure for the elements. I used one layer for scale, one for the table beneath and one for guides.



Step 3 The Background

Select the Rectangle tool (M) and create background with dimensions of the document (1600 x 1200px), then align it to the artboard center. Now fill it with linear gradient. The start point has a value of #dcd5c5 and the end point has a value of #b7b6a4



Step 4 Composition Guides

Activate the guides layer by clicking on it. Divide the Artboard vertically in half and horizontally into quarters. This step is not absolutely necessary but it makes it easier to position, measure and divide parts of the artwork.



Step 5 Basic Shape of the Scale

Now you can start creating the scale. Activate the scale layer by clicking on it. Create the base shape of the scale pan and apply #cbcaae color to it. The base shape of the pan is symmetrical as most of objects in this illustration. Pay attention to the corners where #2 and #3 are round ones while #1 is not.



Step 6 Round Sides of the Pan

Now duplicate the pan (Option and Mouse drag). Take Scissor tool (C) and divide it into two same pieces. Don't forget to close the shape, select two endpoints and Join (Command+J) them. Apply a gradient to both objects. For the left one set the angle to 20% (1) and following colors: #aea995 (2), #cacab2 (3,4). For the right set the angle to 158% and same colors. These two gradients make the sides of the pan look rounded.



Step 7 Edge of the Pan

Create a new shape for inside the pan. Also Pay attention to the corners. Their shapes are shown in details 1 and 2



Step 8 The Inside of the Pan

Create a rectangle (M) a bit smaller than previous one. Select anchor points with Direct selection tool (A) and adjust its shape. As you can see on details 1 and 2 the corners are not rounded this time



Step 9 Create Reflections of the Inside

Duplicate the quadrangle (Option and Mouse drag). Take the Scissor tool (C) and divide it into two same pieces. Apply linear gradient to these two shapes. For the left one set the angle to 25% (1) and following colors: #b1a784 (2), #c0baa0 (3), #b5a78d (4), #c9caab (5) and #bdb99e (6). For the right one set the angle to 155% and same colors.


Create an ellipse and fill it with #ada080. Then take the Scissors tool (C) and divide it horizontally in two pieces. Delete the upper one and close the bottom one by selecting and joining the end points (Command+J). Apply the gaussian blur effect (Effect > Blur > Gaussian blur) with 20,8px radius. Set the transparency of the shape to 65%.


Create a new shape with the same shape as the edge of inside of the pan. Select this new shape and the ellipse from previous step. Create Clipping mask (Command+7)



Step 10 The Highlights

Now create some final highlights of the pan. Take Line segment tool (backslash) and create several highlights for the pan edge (1) and for the inner edges (2,3,4). Group these lines (Command+G). Apply Gaussian blur (Effect > Blur > Gaussian blur) with 3,3px radius and set opacity to 40%.



Step 11 Start the Scales Body

At this part of the scale illustration I recommend to Group (Command+G) all parts of the pan to be able to hide/unhide them during the process of making the scale body but it's optional.



Step 12 Background for the Dial

Create new rectangle. Add two more anchor points (+) and adjust the shape of the background of small scale.



Step 13 Top Deck

Create another rectangle above the previous one and fill it with linear gradient at angle of 90 degrees. Apply six colors to the gradient: #cbc9ad (1), #161214 (2), #4c4a48 (3), #9396a0 (4), #2c2e28 (5) and #2c2e28 (6).


Apply subtle Drop Shadow effect to this rectangle (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) with 100% opacity, X offset value set to 0px, Y offset value set to 2px and Blur value set to 2px.



Step 14 Scales Bottom

Create a rectangle at the bottom of the scale body and fill it with gradient. Apply the following colors to it: #A9ABBC (1, 2) and #3D3B39 (3).



Step 15 Guides for the Dials and Holes in Bottom.

Create guides from the left of the shape with spaces of the same size. In my illustration the spaces between guides were set to 50px. Take Rectangle Tool (M) and create small black square. The color doesn't matter as long as you will use this for cutting not as a part of illustration. Take Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add two more anchor points to this rectangle. Adjust the shape to create a wedge.



Step 16 Finished Scales Bottom

Align its center horizontally to the guide and cut the hole to the shape beneath (Object > Path > Divide Objects Below) delete the scrap. Repeat this procedure twelve times to get thirteen holes.



Step 17 Add an Edge to the Bottom

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create the edge. Fill it with gradient with the following values: #A9ABBC (1), #A9ABBC (2), #CDCFDF (3), #CDCFDF (4), #A9ABBC (5), #A9ABBC (6) and #888B97 (7).



Step 18 Side Casing

Select Rectangle Tool (M) and create rectangle from the top of the scale body to a bit below its bottom. Select Add Anchor Points (+) and add one anchor point on to the left side and two anchor points to the right side of the rectangle. Select Direct Selection Tool (A) and adjust position of anchor points to create specific shape of the side casing.



Step 19 "Extrude" the Shape

Duplicate the shape (Option+ Mouse drag). Select the Selection Tool (V) and adjust the position of duplicated shape to horizontally same position and a bit lower vertically than the original one. Select Direct selection tool and adjust position of two bottom anchor points a bit higher than the original one. Apply #b3a98e color to it.


Send the shape backward (Command + Left Square Bracket). With shape still selected apply the Drop Shadow Effect (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) the with following settings to it: Set Opacity to 60%, X and Y offset to 2px and Blur to 2px.



Step 20 Finished Side Casing

Now you can see the result of the finished side casing of the scale.



Step 21 Big Numbers

Let's proceed to numbers. If you haven't done it yet download the Limelight font mentioned in the assets section of this tutorial. There are two ways now. Select Type Tool (T), set the font size to 36px. The first way is to type all numbers at once. So type numbers from 0 to 12 with space between them. The second way is to type each number separately. Type 0 and press Esc key to exit typing mode. Then type 1 and press Esc key. Then type 2 and so on.

In the first case Right click on the typed set of numbers and Create Outlines (Shift + Command + O). Then Ungroup the numbers (Shift + Command + G). The second case doesn't need the ungroup phase so select each number and Create Outlines (Shift + Command + O).


Step 22 Creating and Positioning Numbers

This step is not absolutely necessary but is better for positioning numbers because outlined type is centered in absolute center of it.


Position the numbers horizontally to the guides we set for cutting holes to the bottom of scale.



Step 23 Base Line for Small Numbers

Focus on the black strip of the C shape now. Divide it vertically to thirds by guides. Create 3pt line from the first cut hole guide to the last one as you see on the image.



Step 24 Adjust the Dashes and Gaps

Check the Dashed line option and set Dash value to 2pt and Gap value to 4pt. This works for my dimensions of the scale so you would have to play with these two numbers because the principal is that you have to get 100 dashes on this line.



Step 25 Create Small Number Dashes

Now create the dash with weight same as the dashes you set for the line and length as one third of the black stripe. Position the first one over the first dash of the line. This represents zero. And now duplicate (Alt+ Mouse drag) this for every tenth dash.



Step 26 Small Dial Reflection

Now double click on the black stripe to enter isolation mode. Select Rectangle Tool (M) and create rectangle for a reflection. Select Direct Selection Tool (A) and adjust position of anchor points.


Apply Gradient with following values to it: #000000 (1,2), #2c2e28 (3), #2c2e28 (4) and #2c2e28 (5)



Step 27 Create Reflection Mask

Duplicate the black C shape stripe (Alt+ Mouse drag) and Bring it to front (Command+]). Select both the copy of black stripe and reflection rectangle.



Step 28 Finished Reflection

Make Clipping Mask (Right Click > Make Clipping Mask).



Step 29 Create Small Numbers

And now is time for numbers again. Repeat the procedure with big numbers. Select the Type Tool (T). Set font size to 10px and type numbers from 0 to 1000 by hundreds: 0, 100, 200, 300... 800, 900, 1000. Create Outlines (Shift + Command + O).



Step 30 Position the Numbers

Then Ungroup the numbers (Shift + Command + G). Position each number over every tenth dash you created before.



Step 31 The Gram Sign

When all numbers from 0 to 1000 are positioned select Type Tool (T), set font size to 12px and font family to Arial.Type small g letter and position it at the beginning of small scale. Do the same for the "kg" sign but with font size 18px.



Step 31 Scales Top Deck Brackets

Select the Rectangle Tool (M). Create small rectangle and apply #8f93a2 color to it. Duplicate the shape (Alt + Mouse drag) and move it to the same distance from vertical axis.



Step 32 Brackets Shadow

Apply the same Shadow Effect (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) with following values to both: Set opacity to 100%, X Offset to 5px, Y Offset to -4px and Blur to 4px.



Step 33 Scales Platform

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle with width over the whole scale and a height of about half of it. Select Add Anchor Point (+) and add two points on the bottom edge. Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and adjust the positions of the anchor points.



Step 34 Pay Attention to Corners

Select the Convert Anchor Points Tool (Shift + C) and adjust the lower corners anchor points to create the rounded corners. The two top corners are not rounded.



Step 35 Platform Shadow

Apply the Shadow Effect (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) with the following values to it: Set Opacity to 70%, X Offset to 0px, Y Offset to 10px and Blur to 5px.



Step 36 Scales Pan Shadow on Platform

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create the rectangle a bit smaller than the previous shape. Apply #2a2726 color to it. Select Direct Selection Tool (A) and adjust the anchor points to create a trapezoid.


Apply Gaussian Blur (Effects > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with radius 4.2px to it. Select all shapes of the scale's pan and adjust its position to correspond with the scale body.



Step 37 Add Highlight Reflection

Select the Ellipse Tool (L). Create an almost flat shape to create the reflection.


Apply the Gaussian Blur (Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 4.2px to it.



Step 38 Base Shape of the Slider

Select the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a rectangle over the small number scale. The color doesn't matter for now. Select Add Anchor Point Tool (+) add four anchor points to top edge. Select Direct Selection Tool (A) and adjust position of these four anchor points to create small stump.



Step 39 Shape the Hole in the Slider

Isolate the slider shape (Right click + Isolate Selected Path). Select Rectangle Tool (M). Create rectangle inside the slider shape. Apply any different color to it. Select Add Anchor Point Tool (+). Add three anchor points to the center of bottom edge. Select Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the middle anchor point and drag it little bit up to create small beak.



Step 40 Cut the Hole

Select the rectangle with small beak and cut hole to the slider shape with it (Object > Path > Divide objects below). Apply a Gradient with following values to it: #cdcfdf (1), #a9abbc (2), #4a4540 (3), #928a6e (4), #2a2726 (5), #060506 (6).



Step 41 Create Shadow for the Slider

Apply the Shadow Effect to it (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) with following values: Set Opacity to 100%, X Offset to 0px, Y Offset to 1px and Blur to 2px.



Step 42 Back of the Slider

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a thin rectangle over the slider shape. Apply #cdcfdf color to it. Send it behind (Alt + Left Square Bracket)



Step 43 Reflections on the Back of the Slider

With the rectangle still selected Isolate it (Right click + Isolate Selected Path). Select the Pen Tool (P) and create the approximate shapes of the number reflections.


Duplicate the thin rectangle shape (Alt + Drag). Bring it to front (Shift + Command + Right Square Bracket). Select all shapes two thin rectangles and two reflection shapes. Create a Clipping Mask (Right click > Make Clipping Mask). Open the created clipping mask (Double Click). Select the reflection shapes. Apply the Gaussian Blur Effect to them (Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with radius 4.2px.



Step 44 Reflection of the Slider

Exit the isolation mode. Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool and create a rectangle with a corner radius of 0.5px. Apply #FFFFFF color to it.


Set Opacity to 23%.


The transparent rectangle will create a reflection of the slider over the big number scale.



Step 45 Top Reflection on the Slider

Isolate the slider shape (Right click > Isolate selected Path). Select Rectangle Tool (M). Create a rectangle over the right top corner of the slider. Apply #3d3b39 color to it.


Apply Gaussian Blur (Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with radius 16.7px to it.



Step 46 Mask the Reflection

Select the Pen Tool (P) to create the shape copying the top shape of the slider. Obtain the Right angle by holding shift during the line creation. Select both, blurred and new shape. Create Clipping Mask (Right click > Make Clipping Mask)



Step 47 Reflection of the Big Numbers

Select the Pen Tool (P). Create a triangle and the rounded shape for the number reflections.


Select Both. Apply the Gaussian Blur Effect (Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 4.2px to them. Select the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a rectangle around them. Create the Clipping mask (Right click > Make Clipping Mask).



Step 48 Reflections of the Brackets

Focus on the two small rectangles you have created over the small numbers scale, especially the right one. Select the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a Rectangle below the grey shape.


Apply a Gaussian Blur Effect (Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 4.2px. Select the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a rectangle with the same width and height from the upper shape to the light line in the bottom. Select the Blurred shape and the new rectangle and create a Clipping Mask (Right click > Make Clipping Mask).



Step 49 Red Button Hole Edge

Focus on the right side of the black c shape. Select the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a rectangle in the right half. Apply the Inner Glow Effect (Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow) with the following values to it: Set Mode to Normal, Color to #000000, Opacity to 32px and Blur to 3.03px.



Step 50 Red Button Hole

Select the Pen Tool (P) Create a shape for button hole. Hold shift for right angles again. Apply #000000 color to it.



Step 51 Red Button

Select the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a rectangle inside the black shape to make a button. Apply a Gradient with the following values to it: #b23b3d, #802b2a (2), #812c2a (3), #852f2c (4), #612628 (5), #612628 (6), #852b26 (7) and #812c2a (8).



Step 52 Logo Blueprint and Shape

Last but not least is the logo shape. The logo is made of two intersected circles. Select the Ellipse Tool (L). Create two ellipse shapes one intersecting each other by one third. Select the Line Segment Tool (Backslash) to create a help line for cutting. Select the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add anchor points in places where ellipses intersect and also where line intersects the ellipses. Delete the unnecessary parts of shapes and join the endpoints (Command + J) to create one shape.



Step 53 Logo Color

Now you have an S shape ready for coloring. Apply a Gradient with following values to it: #3f211f, #612325 and #67322f.



Step 54 Logo Type

Select the Type Tool (T). Set the Font Family to Myriad, Font Size to 10px and Font Weight to Bold.Type the letters K and Z. Create Outlines (Right click > Create Outlines). Ungroup the outlined letters (Right click > Ungroup). Position each letter. Select the Free Transform Tool (E) and spread the letters. Apply gradient with following values to K letter: #6d6a64 (1), #6d6a64 (2), #a09a89 (3) and #a09a89 (4). Apply #605c55 color to Z letter.



Step 55 Scales Shadow Shape

Select the Rectangle Tool (M), create a rectangle at the bottom of the scale. Select the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add two anchor points to the bottom edge of the rectangle. Adjust the positions of the anchor points to create the shape of scale shadow. Select the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) and create the rounded bottom corners of the shadow shape.



Step 56 Scales Shadow Settings

Apply a Gaussian Blur Effect (Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 25.0px to it. Send it to the back (Shift + Command + Left Square Bracket).


Set the Opacity to 70%.



Step 57 Finished Scales

And the scale is finished.



Step 58 The Shelf

Select the rectangle and create a base shape for the shelf by adjusting its anchor points. Apply a gradient to it with following values: #ffffff (1) and #e9eaea (2).



Step 59 Extrude the Shape

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle just below the previous one. Apply #e9eaea color to it.



Step 60 Shelf Shadow Shape

With the Rectangle Tool (M) still selected create another rectangle. Apply #605551. color to it. Select two upper anchor points with Direct selection tool (A) and adjust their position to create base shape for shelf shadow.



Step 61 Shelf Shadow Settings

Apply the Gaussian Blur Effect (Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with radius 200.0px to it. Send it back (Shift + Command + Left Square Bracket).




Conclusion

Now you have completed the illustration of the retro scale. It is also possible to add more details like the manufacturer logo and a reflection on the shelf. Thanks for your attention, I hope you've enjoyed this tut!


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