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Create a Set of Detailed, Vector Rating Stars

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In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a set of detailed rating stars. We'll use Illustrator’s pathfinder tools to build the basic star shapes. Then color the each facet of the star with simple gradients. You can use these professional techniques to create your own high quality five star graphics.


Step 1

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.


Step 2

Pick the Star Tool, then hold Shift and Alt to create your star shape. Make it roughly 50px wide, fill it with R=180 G=180 B=180 and make sure that there's no color set for the stroke.


Step 3

Go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px. Reselect the star shape and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and hit the down arrow once (to move it 1px down).

Reselect both copies, open the Pathfinder panel and click on the Minus Front button. Select the resulting group of shapes, turn it into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make) and fill it with R=235 G=235 B=235.


Step 4

Reselect the star shape and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + 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=235 G=235 B=235.


Step 5

Reselect the star shape and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a 3pt stroke, set its color at R=165 G=165 B=165 and align it to inside. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that your star shape is still selected and add a new stroke using the Add New Stroke button. It's the little, black square icon located at the bottom, left corner of the Appearance panel.

Select this new stroke, make it 1pt wide, set its color at R=120 G=120 B=120 and align it to outside. Make sure that this stroke is still selected and open the Stroke panel. Focus on the Corner section and simply click on the Round Join button. This should add a bit of roundness for the corners of the stroke.


Step 6

Reselect the star shape and focus on the Appearance panel. Make sure that no fill or stroke is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below (in the top left window), click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below (in the top right window), click OK and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below (in the bottom window) and click OK.


Step 7

Select all the shapes created so far and group them (Command + G). Select this new group and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.


Step 8

Move to the Layers panel and open the group created in the previous step. Reselect the star shape and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select it, fill it with R=255 G=222 B=23 and drag it outside the group, in the top of the Layers panel. Finally, lock the group created in the previous step.


Step 9

Focus on the yellow star created in the previous step and enable the Smart Guides (View > Smart Guides or Command + U). Pick the Pen Tool (P) and draw a path that goes from an outer corner to the inner corner of the star. Make sure that it starts and ends above a star anchor point. The Smart Guides will give you visual cues.

Add a black stroke for this path to make it easier for you to notice it. Continue with the Pen Tool (P) and add four more paths as shown in the second image. When you're done you can disable the Smart Guides (Command + U)


Step 10

Reselect the yellow star and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select this copy, along with the paths created in the previous step, and click on the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel.

Move to the Layers panel and open the resulting group of shapes. You might find some tiny shapes. If you do then delete them. In the end you will only need the ten, large shapes highlighted in the third image below.


Step 11

Keep focusing on the group of shapes created in the previous step. Select the five shapes highlighted in the following image and fill them with the linear gradient shown below.


Step 12

Keep focusing on the group of shapes created in the tenth step. Select the five shapes highlighted in the following image and fill them with the linear gradient shown below.


Step 13

Select the shape highlighted in the first image and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px up. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Fill the resulting shape with R=255 G=255 B=0 and focus on its right side. Grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply click on the top anchor point. In the end, your sharp shape should look like the fourth image shown.


Step 14

Select the shape highlighted in the first image and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + 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=255 B=0 and focus on its top side. Grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply click on the left anchor point. In the end, your sharp shape should look like the fourth image shown.


Step 15

Select the shape highlighted in the first image and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Fill the resulting shape with R=255 G=255 B=0 and focus on its left side. Grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply click on the bottom anchor point. In the end, your sharp shape should look like the fourth image shown.


Step 16

Select the shape highlighted in the first image and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Fill the resulting shape with R=255 G=255 B=0 and focus on its bottom side. Grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply click on the right anchor point. In the end, your sharp shape should look like the fourth image shown.


Step 17

Select the shape highlighted in the first image and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 1px to the right. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Fill the resulting shape with R=255 G=255 B=0 and focus on its bottom side. Grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply click on the top anchor point. In the end, your sharp shape should look the fourth image shown.


Step 18

Reselect the yellow star, make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F) and bring it to front (Shift + Command + ] ). Select this copy, remove the color from the fill and add a 3pt stroke. Set its color at R=237 G=28 B=36, align it to inside, lower its Opacity to 70% and change the blending mode to Overlay.


Step 19

Reselect the yellow star, make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F), bring it to front (Shift + Command + ] ) then make a second copy (Command + C > Command + F). Select this new copy and move it 1px up and to the left. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path and fill it with R=254 G=171 B=7.


Step 20

Reselect the yellow star, make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F), bring it to front (Shift + Command + ] ) then make a second copy (Command + C > Command + F). Select this new copy and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path and fill it with R=255 G=255 B=0.


Step 21

Reselect the yellow star, make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F), bring it to front (Shift + Command + ] ) then make a second copy (Command + C > Command + F). Select this new copy and move it 1px down and to the right. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path and fill it with R=255 G=255 B=0.


Step 22

Reselect the yellow star and focus on the Appearance panel. Add a 1pt stroke, set its color at R=254 G=192 B=20 and align it to outside. Select it and check the Round Join button from the Stroke panel.


Step 23

Select all the shapes created from the eighth step and group them (Command + G). Select this new group and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Pick a number from 1 to 4 for the Copies box, drag the Move-Horizontal slider to 75px, click OK and you're done.


Conclusion

Now your work is done. Here is how your rating star graphics should look.

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