Let's learn how to make a unique RSS feed icon. This tutorial requires a familiarity with Adobe Illustrator's basic tools as we'll use the gradient mesh tool and make light use of Illustrators mapping feature.
Final Image Preview
Here is what the RSS icon looks like when complete. Also, subscribe to the VECTORTUTS RSS Feed to stay up to date with the latest vector goodness.
Start by drawing a circle using the Ellipse Tool (L.)
Find the center of your circle by selecting it. Draw a guide from the left edge of the screen onto the center of the circle.
Draw a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) that meets the center of the circle.
Use the Pathfinder Palette to cut the circle in half by selecting the options highlighted below. After that, rotate it 180 degrees.
Type RSS in the font of your choice. Drag the type into the Symbols Palette to turn it into a symbol. Note: You can make the type white if you'd like, I'm using black so that it's easy to follow along.
Select the half circle and go to Effect > 3D > Revolve, then check the Preview box to see the effects as you're applying its settings. Next click More Options and change your Blend Steps (near the bottom) to 1. We do this because it eliminates the automatic lighting effects. However, if you'd like to render the lighting effects in this panel you certainly could. The method we'll use to create shadows on the circle will be using a gradient in a later step. Next, click Map Art.
In the Map Art dialogue, select your RSS type from the Symbol drop down list. Reposition the type so that it falls where you'd like it to be. Since you have Preview selected you'll be able to see what it looks like as you're adjusting it. Click OK, and then click OK in the next dialog box as well.
This is what your artwork should look like right now.
Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the circle and give it a Radial gradient with three colors. Notice how the gradient goes from light orange to dark orange and back to light orange. This gives the impression of light reflecting off of the ground back onto the sphere. This small detail goes a long way in the overall look of the icon.
Apply the same technique to the letters using a grey to white gradient.
Next, we'll create the small divots on the surface of the orange. Draw several small circle of varying sizes.
Use the Pathfinder Palette to first merge the black circles with one another. After that, use the Pathfinder Palette and select the Intersect Shape Areas option followed by clicking the Expand button as highlighted below.
You're now left with circles that make the exact shape of the orange.
Place the circles over the orange and adjust their opacity so that they a barely visible.
To achieve a realistic looking leaf we use simple shapes to start. Draw an ellipse and click both the top and bottom points using the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C.)
Add four gradient mesh points using the Gradient Mesh Tool (U.) Two points in very close proximity near the top of the leaf and two with the same proximity near the bottom. Making the points in close proximity allows us to color half the leaf in one color (see step 19.)
Give the leaf a slight arc by going to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp, then select Arc and enter the values below.
In order to edit the leaf we need to expand it since we've used a warp filter on it. Go to Object > Expand, and select OK.
Now you're able to select each mesh point using the Direct Selection Tool and change their color to indicate highlights. Notice how there are two mesh points very close to each other at the top of the leaf. This allows us to give the illusion of the leaf folding in half slightly as we're changing the color of one mesh point, while the other mesh point remains unchanged.
You can select multiple mesh points at once to change them simultaneously.
Draw an ellipse and give it a brown to dark brown gradient, and set the Type to Radial.
Duplicate the leaf, then position the leaves over the brown circle, as shown below.
Making the straw is easier than you think. Start by drawing a line using the Pen Tool (P.) Give it a substantial Weight and change both its Cap and Join to Round (highlighted below in the Stroke Palette.)
Go to the top and select Object > Expand, then click OK on the resulting dialog box. Next, give the straw some mesh points so that you can change the color in select spots to replicate highlights on the straw.
This is what your straw should look like.
Use a simple oval with a gradient to simulate the inside of the straw. Duplicate the brown oval and place it at the base of the straw to create the illusion of the straw poking into the orange.
Easily create the shadow under the leaves by first drawing a shape and giving it an opacity of about 50 percent.
Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur, enter in a value that looks good, and click OK. Duplicate the shadow and place it under the second leaf. Use this technique to create the shadow under the straw too. The only difference when creating the straw shadow would be to taper the end of the shape so the shadow doesn't stop abruptly. Basically, you can just draw a sharply pointed triangle!
Give the circle that makes the main body of the orange a slight drop shadow. Select the circle and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow, then enter in values that look good to you and select OK. Last, add another slight shadow under the orange by using a radial gradient that goes from grey to white.
Create the burst pattern in the background by first drawing a circle and giving it a substantial stroke weight.
Select Dashed Line and enter a value in the first Dash box. Depending upon how big your circle is your values may be different than what's shown below. Typically, smaller values produce a more intricate design. Note: Give your circle a larger weight (notice now that my stroke weight is 70) if your lines are not meeting at the center.
Go to the top and choose Object > Expand, then select OK in the resulting dialog box. Now, give the shape a green to white radial gradient. Place the shape behind the orange to complete the design.
There you have it! A juicy RSS feed icon that'll have your readers thirsting for more!
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