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Design

How to Create a Semi-Realistic Apple Watch Illustration in Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a semi-realistic Apple Watch illustration in Adobe Illustrator.

For starters you will learn how to create the metallic frame and the screen using simple rectangles, basic vector shape building techniques and some effects. Using several linear gradients, a Warp and a Transform effect and some basic blending techniques, you will learn how to create the buttons. Finally, you will learn how to create the strap and how to easily recolor it.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width and height boxes and then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72 ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 1 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, and enter 1 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

You should 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 > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

setup grid

2. Create the Main Shape

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke, and then select the fill and set its color at R=39 G=170 B=225. Move to your artboard and simply create a 129 x 152 px shape—the grid and the Snap to Grid feature should make this easier. Make sure that this rectangle stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 25 px Radius, click the OK button and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

blue rounded rectangle

Step 2

Disable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-'), and then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set to 1 px.

Make sure that your blue shape is still selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset and then click the OK button. Select the newly made shape, focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and simply replace the existing fill color with white (R=255 G=255 B=255).

white rounded rectangle

Step 3

Make sure that your white shape is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select it and move it 3 px down using the down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both white shapes, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Minus Front button. In the end things should look like in the second image.

highlight

Step 4

Reselect your blue shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset and click the OK button. Make sure that the newly made shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Remove the color from the fill and then select the stroke. Set the color to white and then click that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Make sure that the Weight is set to 1 px and then check the Align Stroke to Inside button. Once you're done, go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. Select the resulting shape along with the other white shape and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

white stroke

Step 5

Make sure that your white shape is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, replace the existing color with R=70 G=70 B=70 and then add a second fill for your shape using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, change its Blending Mode to Overlay, set the color to black (R=0 G=0 B=0) and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset and then click the OK button.

add fill

Step 6

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, replace the existing color with R=245 G=245 B=245 and then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

inner glow

3. Create the Screen

Step 1

Enable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 119 x 140 px shape, place it as shown in the following image, set the fill color to R=251 G=176 B=64, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 20 px Radius, click the OK button and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

orange rounded rectangle

Step 2

Disable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Make sure that your orange shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 15 px to the right using the right arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, lower its Opacity to 80% and then replace the existing color with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage while the blue number stands for Location percentage.

linear gradient

Step 3

Make sure that your orange shape is selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, replace the existing color with black and then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

black

Step 4

Make sure that your black rounded rectangle is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the stroke, make it black, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Make sure that the Weight is set to 1 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel, make sure that the entire path is selected (simply click that "Path" piece of text from the top of the panel) and go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

outer glow

Step 5

Enable the Grid (Control-') and the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 99 x 12 px yellow shape and place it as shown in the first image. Pick the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), focus on the left and right sides of your yellow rectangle, and simply add two anchor points as shown in the second image.

add anchor points

Step 6

Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the left side of your yellow rectangle. Select the top anchor point and drag it 7 px to the right and then select the bottom anchor point and drag it 5 px to the right.

Move to the right side of your yellow shape and make sure that the Direct Selection Tool (A) is still active. First, select the top anchor point and drag it 7 px to the left and then select the bottom anchor point and drag it 5 px to the left.

move anchor points

Step 7

Keep focusing on your yellow shape and make sure that the Direct Selection Tool (A) is still active. First, select the two anchor points highlighted by the red circles in the following image, move to the top bar and simply enter 12 px in that Corners box. Get back to your yellow shape, select the two anchor points highlighted by the green circles and enter 10 px in that Corners box. Finally, select the two anchor points highlighted by the blue circles and enter 3 px in the Corners box. In the end your yellow shape should look like in the following image.

Keep in mind that this feature is only available for CC users. The best solution to replace this effect would be the Round Any Corner script that can found in this 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 three pairs of anchor points highlighted in the following image (one by one) and go to File > Scripts > Other Script. Open the Round Any Corner Script and enter the values mentioned in those Corner boxes. The end result might look a bit different, so feel free to try a different value for the radius.

live corners

Step 8

Make sure that your yellow shape is still selected, lower its Opacity to 80%, and then select the fill and simply replace the yellow with the linear gradient shown in the following image. Don't forget that the yellow numbers from the Gradient image stand for Opacity percentage while the blue ones stand for Location percentage.

highlight

4. Create the Quick Access Button

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 3 x 39 px shape, make it yellow and place it as shown in the following image.

tiny yellow rectangle

Step 2

Focus on the left side of your yellow rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top anchor point and drag it 2 px down, and then drag the bottom anchor point and drag it 2 px up.

move anchor points

Step 3

Keep focusing on your yellow shape and make sure that the Direct Selection Tool (A) is still active. Select the two anchor points highlighted by the red circles, move to the top bar and enter 1 px in that Corners box. Next, select the two anchor points highlighted by the blue circles, return to that Corners box and enter 3 px.

live corners

Step 4

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Select your yellow shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

linear gradient

Step 5

Select your yellow shape and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

linear gradient

Step 6

Make sure that your yellow shape is selected and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

linear gradient

5. Create the Digital Crown Button

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 7 x 26 px shape, make it yellow and place it as shown in the following image.

yellow rectangle

Step 2

Make sure that your yellow rectangle is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 3 px Radius, click the OK button and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click the OK button and then go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the properties shown below, click the OK button and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

warp effect

Step 3

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Make sure that your yellow shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px to the right. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=72 G=72 B=72.

shading

Step 4

Make sure that your yellow shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3 px to the right. Reselect both copies and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with black, lower its Opacity to 80% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

Step 5

Reselect your yellow shape, make a copy in front and move it 1 px down. Duplicate this fresh shape, select the copy and move it 3 px down. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. 

Select the resulting shape and replace the existing fill color with a random blue. Reselect your yellow shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this new copy along with the blue shape made in this step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.

blue shape

Step 6

Reselect your yellow shape, make a copy in front and move it 1 px up. Duplicate this fresh shape, selected the copy and move it 3 px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. 

Select the resulting shape and replace the existing fill color with a random blue. Reselect your yellow shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this new copy along with the blue shape made in this step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.

blue shape

Step 7

Reselect both blue shapes and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with black, lower the Opacity to 70% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

shading

Step 8

Enable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 4 x 1 px shape, make it black and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this tiny rectangle stays selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

transform effect

Step 9

Make sure that your tiny black rectangle is selected and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Ungroup the resulting group (Shift-Control-G), and then turn that column of tiny rectangles into a simple compound path using the Control-8 keyboard shortcut.

Reselect your yellow shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy along with the compound path made in this step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. 

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Make sure that the fill color is set to black and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

compound path

Step 10

Make sure that your yellow shape is still selected and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

linear gradient

Step 11

Make sure that your main button shape is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

inner glow

6. Create the Strap

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 109 x 47 px shape, fill it with a random blue and place it as shown in the first image. Focus on the bottom side of this new rectangle, pick the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and simply add two anchor points as shown in the second image.

blue rectangle

Step 2

Make sure that your blue rectangle is still selected, focus on the top side and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the left anchor point and drag it 18 px to the right, and then select the right anchor point and drag it 18 px to the left.

Move to the bottom side of your blue shape and focus on the two anchor points added in the previous step. Select the left one and drag it 13 px to the right, and then select the right one and drag it 13 px to the left. In the end your blue shape should look like in the second image.

adjust blue rectangle

Step 3

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 73 x 10 px shape, make it blue and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape stays selected, switch to the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and simply click on the left and right anchor points.

anchor point tool

Step 4

Select both blue shapes and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Keep focusing on the resulting shape and switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the two anchor points highlighted by the blue circles in the second image, move to that Corners box and enter 20 px. Using the same tool, select the two anchor points highlighted by the red circles and enter 5 px in that Corners box. In the end your blue shape should look like in the third image.

strap shape

Step 5

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-').

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -3 px Offset and click the OK button. Select the resulting shape, make a copy in front and move it 1 px down. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with white, lower the Opacity to 70%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 3 px Radius and then click the OK button.

offset path

Step 6

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2 px to the left. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Lower the Opacity to 20%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

minus front

Step 7

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 2 px to the right. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Lower the Opacity to 20%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image.

minus front

Step 8

Select your blue shape, replace the existing fill color with the linear gradient shown in the following image, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown below and click the OK button.

linear gradient

Step 9

Select all the shapes highlighted in the first image, Group them (Control-G) and then send this new group to back using the Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut.

group

Step 10

Make sure that your group is still selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Horizontal box and then click the Copy button. Select the newly made group, drag it down and place it as shown in the second image.

duplicate group

7. Recolor the Strap

Simply select the two main shapes that make up the strap and replace the existing linear gradient with the ones shown in the following images.

recolor
recolor

8. Add the Circles UI

Step 1

Enable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-'). Check out Yulia's tutorial if you wish to learn how to create the Apple Watch UI. 

Once you've created all those shapes, simply drag them inside your Apple Watch Ai file. Make sure that those shapes are still selected and then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke and Object > Expand Appearance. Resize the resulting shapes as shown in the first image and then Group them (Control-G).

ui

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 101 x 122 px shape, make it white and place it as shown in the following image. Make sure that this new rectangle is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter an 11 px Radius and click the OK button.

ui

Step 3

Reselect your white rounded rectangle along with the group of shapes that make up that UI, move to the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency) and simply click the Make Mask button. In the end things should look like in the second image.

ui

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

final product
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