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Quick Tip: How to Create a Set of Bubble Gum Buttons in Illustrator

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In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a set of bubble gum inspired blog buttons by using Drop Shadows and the Appearance panel in Adobe Illustrator. We'll go through each step and show you variations in the symbols and how to add text.


Step 1

Open Illustrator and hit Command + N to create a new document. Enter 600 in the width box and 300 in the height box 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. Simply 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 set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Unit > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.


Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 120 by 36px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 10px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Enter the data shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Move to the Layers panel, double click on this shape and name it "main".


Step 3

Select the shape made in the previous step and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Add a second fill for this shape using the Add New Fill button from the bottom of the Appearance panel. Select this new fill, drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel and replace the existing linear gradient with the complex one shown in the following image.

Make sure that this new fill is still selected and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the first window, click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the second window, click OK and go once again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the third window, click OK and go one last time to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the fourth window and click OK.


Step 4

Reselect "main", focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill. Select this new fill, add the linear gradient shown below and drag it between the two existing fills. Make sure that this new fill is selected and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a 1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the left window, click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the right window and click OK.


Step 5

Reselect "main", focus on the Appearance panel, add a new fill and drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel. Select it, set the color at R=255 G=89 B=82, lower its Opacity to 25% and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, add a new fill and drag it in the top of the Appearance panel. Select it, set the color at R=255 G=207 B=207, change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK.


Step 6

Reselect "main", focus on the Appearance panel, add a new fill and drag it in the top of the Appearance panel. Select it, add the linear gradient shown in the first image and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK. Make sure that this new fill is still selected and click on the "Duplicate Selected Item" button from the bottom of the Appearance panel. Select this new fill, add the radial gradient shown in the second image, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Hard Light.


Step 7

Pick the Ellipse Tool(L), create a 19 by 14px shape and fill it with R=255 G=89 B=82. Continue with the Ellipse Tool(L), create a 13 by 10px shape, fill it with R=255 G=134 B=129, place it as shown in the second image and make a copy in front (Control + C > Control + F).

Select this copy and move it 1px down and 5px to the left using the arrow keys from your keyboard. Reselect the two smaller ellipses, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click on the Minus Front button. Select the resulting shape and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting shape along with the squeezed circle made in the beginning of the step and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Next, you'll need the Round Any Corner script. You can find it in the Vectortuts+ article 20 Free and Useful Adobe Illustrator Scripts. Save it to your hard drive, return to Illustrator and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the two anchor points highlighted in the sixth image and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script, enter a 1px Radius and click OK. In the end your shapes should look like in the seventh image. We'll use this shape for the comment button.


Step 8

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create an 8 by 5px shape and fill it with R=255 G=134 B=129. Focus on the right side of this small rectangle, switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the two anchor points and drag them 5px up. In the end your shape should look like in the second image. Select it and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical button and click on the Copy button. Select the resulting shape and drag it 5px down as shown in the fourth image. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical button and click on the Copy button.

Select the resulting shape and drag it 11px to the right. Reselect both shape made in this step, tun them into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make) and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance. We'll use the resulting shape for the permalink button.


Step 9

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw a simple shape as shown in the first image. Select it, remove the color from the fill, add a 3pt stroke, set the color at R=255 G=134 B=129 and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Switch to the Ellipse Tool(L), create three, 8px circles, fill them with R=255 G=134 B=129 and place them as shown in the second image. Reselect all the shapes made in this step and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. We'll use the resulting shape for the share button.


Step 10

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. Reselect that speech bubble shape and place it as shown in the first image. Select this shape and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down and to the right. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting group of shapes, turn it into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make) and fill it with R=255 G=89 B=82. Reselect that speech bubble shape and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px down and to the right. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting group of shapes, turn it into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make) and fill it with R=255 G=115 B=109. Reselect that speech bubble shape and make two new 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 on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=255 G=127 B=122.


Step 11

Select the speech bubble shape and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Reselect the speech bubble shape along with the three compound paths made in the previous step and Group them (Control + G). Select this new group and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK.


Step 12

Moving to the "permalink" and the "share" shapes all you need to do is repeat the techniques mentioned in the last two steps.


Step 13

Using the Type Tool (T) and add your "Comment" as shown in the following image. Use the "Vanilla" font with the size set at 12pt and the color set at R=255 G=134 B=129. Select this piece of text and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting group of shapes and turn it into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make). Select this new compound path and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down and to the right. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting group of shapes, turn it into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make) and fill it with R=255 G=115 B=109.


Step 14

Reselect the first compound path made in the previous step and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK.


Step 15

For the "permalink" or the "share" text pieces all you need to do is repeat the techniques mentioned in the last two steps.


Step 16

Finally, let's add a simple highlight. Pick the Ellipse Tool(L) and simply click on your artboard. Enter 12 in the width box and 3 in the height box then click OK. Fill this squeezed circle with R=255 G=144 B=140 and rotate it 45 degrees. Switch to the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C) and click on the bottom anchor point (highlighted in the second image). Select the resulting shape and go to Effect > Warp > Arc. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK. Place this tiny shape as shown in the fourth image and you're done.


Conclusion

Now your work is done. Here is how it should look. By modifying the colors within the Appearance panel you should be able to alter the overall color of your gum buttons. Enjoy!

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