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  1. Design & Illustration
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Design

Create a Simple Set of Vector Shelves

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to create a wooden shelf and a glassy shelf illustration. We'll use pixel perfect vector build techniques, built in Illustrator patterns, controlled gradients, Pathfinder tools, and more to create these shelves.


Step 1

Hit Command + N to create a new document. Enter 600 in the width and 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 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 5 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. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.


Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 300 by 15px shape. Fill it with a random color and remove the color from the stroke. Make sure that this shape is selected and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top, left anchor point and move it 25px to the right. Now select the top, right anchor point and move it 25px to the left. In the end, your shape should look like a trapezoid (image 2). Reselect it, replace the existing fill color with R=5 G=211 B=248, and lower its Opacity to 5%.


Step 3

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 the shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and hit the right arrow twice to move it 2px to the right. Reselect both copies, open the Pathfinder panel, and click on the Minus Front button. Fill the resulting shape with R=0 G=157 B=221 and lower its Opacity to 10%.


Step 4

Reselect the shape created in the second step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px to the left. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Again, fill the resulting shape with R=0 G=157 B=221 and lower its Opacity to 10%.


Step 5

Re-enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 25 by 10px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with a random color and remove the color from the stroke. Make sure that this shape is selected and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the right anchor points and move them 15px down. In the end your shape should look like the second image shown. Reselect it, replace the existing fill color with R=5 G=211 B=248, and lower its Opacity to 5%.


Step 6

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a new 25 by 10px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with a random color and remove the color from the stroke. Make sure that this shape is selected and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor points and move them 15px down. In the end, your shape should look like the second image shown. Reselect it, replace the existing fill color with R=5 G=211 B=248, and lower its Opacity to 5%.


Step 7

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 250 by 10px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape is selected and focus on the Appearance panel. First, select the fill, set the color at R=5 G=211 B=248, and lower its Opacity to 5%.

Next, add a 1pt stroke for this shape. Select it from the Appearance panel, set the color at R=0 G=157 B=221, align it to inside, and lower its Opacity to 10%. Reselect this rectangle, make sure that no fill or stroke is selected (in the Appearance panel), and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the second image and click OK.


Step 8

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 300 by 10px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Select this rectangle and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK.

Select the resulting shape and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select this copy and move it 1px down. Reselect this moved copy, along with the original shape, and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and lower its Opacity to 60%.


Step 9

Reselect the rectangle created in the beginning of the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the bottom copy and move it 3px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black and lower its Opacity to 5%.


Step 10

Reselect the rectangle created in the beginning of the eighth step and fill it with the linear gradient shown below. The yellow numbers from the gradient image stand for Opacity percentage. Make sure that this shape is still selected, add a 1pt stroke, and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the stroke, align it to inside, set the color at R=0 G=157 B=221, and lower its Opacity to 15%.


Step 11

Re-enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 300 by 15px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Fill it with a random color and remove the color from the stroke. Make sure that this shape is selected and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Select the top, left anchor point, and move it 25px to the right. Now select the top, right anchor point and move it 25px to the left. In the end, your shape should look like a trapezoid (image 2). Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the trapezoid shape and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F).

Select the top copy and move it 2px to the right. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=0 G=157 B=221 and lower its Opacity to 10%.


Step 12

Reselect the trapezoid shape created in the previous step and make two copies in front (Command + C > Command + F > Command + F). Select the top copy and move it 2px to the left. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=0 G=157 B=221 and lower its Opacity to 10%.


Step 13

Reselect the trapezoid shape created in the previous step and replace the flat color used for the fill with the complex linear gradient shown in the following image. Remember that the yellow numbers from the gradient image stand for Opacity percentage, while the white numbers stand for location percentage.


Step 14

Re-enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool and create a 10 by 35px shape. Fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), select this new rectangle, 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=122 G=122 B=122.


Step 15

Re-enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Pick the Rectangle Tool and create a 10 by 15px shape. Fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this shape is selected and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the bottom anchor points and move them 25px to the left.


Step 16

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shape created in the previous step 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=122 G=122 B=122.


Step 17

Reselect the shape created in the fifteenth step 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=205 G=205 B=205.


Step 18

Re-enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For the following step you will need a grid every 1px. So, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create two 2 by 2px circles, and place them as shown in the first image.

Select the top circle, fill it with R=45 G=45 B=45, and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the left window and click OK. Select the bottom circle, fill it with R=150 G=150 B=150, and apply Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the right window and click OK.


Step 19

Return to "gridline every 5px". So, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box. Select all the shapes created in the last five steps and group them (Command + G). Select this new group and send it to back (Shift + Command + [ ).


Step 20

Reselect the group created in the previous step and make a copy in front (Command + C > Command + F). Select this new group, drag it to the right, and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this group copy is still selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Horizontal button and click OK. The resulting group should look like the second image.

Move to the Layers panel and open the group created in the previous step. Select the 10 by 35px rectangle and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below (in the left window) and click OK. Keep focusing on the Layers panel and open the group copy created in the beginning of this step. Again, select the 10 by 35px rectangle and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below (in the right window) and click OK.


Step 21

Pick the Rectangle Tool and create a 10 by 5px shape. Fill it with the linear gradient shown in the following image and place it as indicated.


Step 22

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the rectangle created in the previous step 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=160 G=160 B=160.


Step 23

Reselect the rectangle created in step 21 and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below (in the left window), click OK, and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below (in the right window) and click OK.


Step 24

Re-enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the shapes created in the last three steps and duplicate them (Command + C > Command + F). Select these copies, drag them to the right, and place them as shown below. Select the 10 by 5px rectangle and focus on the Appearance panel. Open the second Drop Shadow effect and edit it as shown in the following image.


Step 25

Select all the shapes created so far and duplicate them (Command + C > Command + F). Select these copies and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.


Step 26

Again, for the following step you will need a grid every 1px. So, go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Reselect the shape created in the previous step and rotate it 180 degrees. Drag it down, place it as shown in the first image, and send it to back (Shift + Command + [ ). Next, fill it with the linear gradient shown in the second image. Lower its Opacity to 15% and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 5px radius and click OK.


Step 27

Return to "gridline every 5px". Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 250 by 10px shape, and fill it with the linear gradient shown below. Place it as shown in the first image, lower its Opacity to 5%, and go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 3px radius and click OK.


Step 28

Select all the shapes created so far and group them (Command + G). This will be your your glassy shelf. Make a copy of this group and drag it several pixels down. Move to the Layers panel, open this new group, and delete the shapes selected in the second and the third images. In the end, you should only have the blue trapezoid and the 300 by 10px rectangle, along with the two, thinner rectangles. Select the trapezoid, increase its Opacity to 100%, and fill it with R=185 G=143 B=92.


Step 29

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Reselect the trapezoid 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=139 G=94 B=60.


Step 30

Reselect the trapezoid and make two new 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=238 G=208 B=157.


Step 31

Reselect the trapezoid, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. It's the little, white square icon located at the bottom of the Appearance panel. Select this new fill from the Appearance panel, lower its Opacity to 50%, and add the linear gradient shown in the first image. Remember that the yellow zero from the gradient image stands for Opacity percentage. Make sure that your trapezoid is still selected and add a third fill. Again, select it from the Appearance panel, lower its Opacity to 50%, and add the linear gradient shown in the second image.


Step 32

Select the trapezoid and add a fourth fill. Select it from the Appearance panel, make it black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the blending mode to Multiply, and go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Enter the data shown below and click OK. Reselect the trapezoid, make sure that no fill or stroke is selected (in the Appearance panel), and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK.


Step 33

Move down to the 300 by 10px rectangle. Increase its Opacity to 100% and fill it with R=185 G=143 B=92. Next, select the thin, white rectangle. Increase its Opacity to 100% and replace the white with R=238 G=208 B=157.


Step 34

Reselect the 300 by 10px rectangle, add a second fill, and use the linear gradient shown below. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a 1pt stroke. Set its color at R=139 G=94 B=60 and align it to inside.


Step 35

Reselect the 300 by 10px rectangle and add a third fill. Select it from the Appearance panel, make it black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the blending mode to Multiply, and go to Effect > Sketch > Graphic Pen. Enter the data shown below and click OK. This is your wooden shelf.


Step 36

Here's is how you can easily increase the length of your shelf. Pick the Direct Select Tool (A), then click & drag to select the anchor points circled in the first image. Now, hold Shift and simply drag them to the left. Obviously, you can use the same technique to decrease the length.


Step 37

Finally, let's create a simple background for our shelves. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a shape the size of your artboard. Fill it with the radial gradient shown below and send it to back (Shift + Command + [ ).


Step 38

Reselect the rectangle created in the previous step and add a second fill. Select it from the Appearance panel, make it black, lower its Opacity to 15%, change the blending mode to Multiply, and go to Effect > Sketch > Note Paper. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 39

Reselect the rectangle edited in the previous step, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a third fill. You will need a built in pattern for this new fill. Move to the Swatches panel, open the fly-out menu, and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Basic Graphics > Basic Graphics_Textures. This will open a new window with a set of built-in patterns. You will need the “Diamond” pattern.

Return to the Appearance panel, select the third fill, add the “Diamond” pattern, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the blending mode to Multiply, and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below, click OK, and you’re done.


Conclusion

Now your work is done. Here is how it should look.

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