Learn professional interface creation steps, from design to detailed description of the creation of each element. All the techniques described herein are not difficult to understand; however, they show you how to add a professional appearance to your interface design projects.
Step 1: Interface Design
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), make the rectangle with the size 1024 x 768 px. The above size will fit an iPad screen.
When working with interfaces, all created elements are recommended to be of the natural scale they will be used at. The above scale shall enable us to create extremely sharp graphics avoiding the need for making additional elements.
Now we'll create the background of your interface. The background created in the initial step of our project shall enable the correct selection of the other element colors. Fill the background with a gray to dark gray gradient having located the gradient center below the background.
Open the Appearance panel, then add a new fill applying a gray to dark gray gradient to it. The dark gray slider of such a gradient shall have the Opacity of 0%. Locate its center above the background.
Add the new fill as a dark gray color in the Appearance panel
Select it and go to Effect > Artistic > Sponge… Now set the parameters of the effect shown in the figure below.
Set the Overlay Blending mode to 80% Opacity for such a fill.
Now, let's think about the arrangement of the interface elements. Prior to doing this, you need to examine the similar existing interfaces and understand its functional features. Moreover, the said elements need to be located in a way convenient for the users.
The main elements of a DJ app are the Vinyl Record turntables. Using the Ellipse Tool (L) create two circumferences having the same size. In order to locate the interface elements in a symmetrical way, it shall be necessary to create several guidelines.
Some variants of keys were applied by me before I made my choice as shown in figure below.
As we try to create the interface at a natural scale you'll be provided with an option to put your hand on the monitor screen in order to check if the elements being created are conveniently located. Apart from the convenient location, your interface should have a nice appearance.
The symmetry is considered to be your reliable partner in order to achieve the set objectives. Select the keys in the left part of the interface and go to Object > Transform > Reflect…, then choose the Vertical option and press the Copy key in the dialogue box.
Now move the circumference to the right part of the interface.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to mark the indicators' sliders and other keys' positions.
Now, you can proceed with the creation of interface elements.
Step 6: Turntable Creation
Fill the circumference created in the above steps with a black color.
Copy such a circumference and paste it in front (Command + C; Command + F), fill the copy with a gray color, and decrease its diameter by 3 px.
Create the new circumference and fill it with a vertical linear gradient consisting of two gray color tints. And The basic turntable form is created.
Now, let's create the indents on the lateral surface of the turntable. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw an ellipse.
Drag this ellipse into the Brushes panel and save the new brush as a Pattern Brush.
Create the unfilled circumference with the stroke set at a random color.
Apply the brush created in the previous step to the circumference.
Modify the parameters of the pattern brush; for this purpose, click on its image in the Brushes panel twice. Set the new parameters in the dialogue box following the progress of the changes.
Leaving the circumference as selected, go to Object > Expand Appearance. Now, the indents on the turntable have a look separate elements.
Fill each object with a radial gradient consisting of black and white colors.
The centers of the gradients need to be moved below, out of the objects as shown.
Let's create the worn spots around the indents on the turntable. Copy all such indents and paste in back (Command + C; Command + B). Fill them with a gray color (the visibility of the upper objects need to be disabled).
With the objects selected, go to Object > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius value in the dialogue box.
The position of the gradients within such indents stand for the light direction. In my case, the light is directed down and toward the right. Let's create the light-and-shade on the turntable. Create the new circumference, provided it completely covers the turntable. Fill this circumference with the radial white to gray gradient.
Set the Multiply Blending mode for the circumference in the Transparency panel.
Step 12: Vinyl Record Creation
Create the new circumference filled with a black color.
Now, we are going to create the circumference, which shall be filled with a conical gradient. For the purpose of this project, most objects should have a similar fill and therefore, it is recommended to learn this process in detail. Create the rectangle that is to be filled with a linear gradient.
The rectangle size and the gradient colors can be set to anything for the moment. The single condition to be met: the initial and ultimate sliders of the gradient should be the same color. Create the circumference and fill it wit a radial white to gray gradient.
Leaving the circumference as selected, go to Object > Expand… and select the Gradient Mesh option in the dialogue box.
Now, go to Object > Clipping Mask > Release
Then go to Object > Path > Clean Up…
…and Ungroup the gradient mesh object.
Select the rectangle filled with the linear gradient and the gradient mesh object. Now apply Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object.
Thus, the conical gradient is created; let's see how to control it. In order to select the editing mode, press the Edit Contents key on the Control Bar.
Now, you are able to adjust the conical gradient, likewise the linear one. Create the linear gradient similar with the same one shown in the figure below.
Create the circumference, select the object with the conical gradient together with the said circumference and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make, or use the shortcut Command + 7
Applying the above technique, create one more object filled with a conical gradient.
You can duplicate the existing object filled with the conical gradient, making the new settings for it by changing the linear gradient sliders' position and color. In my case, I have added two dark blue and two dark yellow sliders.
Let's create the audio tracks of the record surface. Create two unfilled circumferences with the stroke a dark gray color.
Leaving the circumferences selected, go to Object > Blend > Make, and then to Object > Blend > Blend Options… and finally set the number of the Specified steps.
Now, go to Object > Blend > Expand. Select and delete some tracks.
Select the group consisting of audio tracks and set for it the Overlay Blending mode in the Transparency panel.
Let's create the glares of the record surface. Create two circumferences filled with the radial black to white gradient, then set for it the Screen Blending mode in the Transparency panel.
Limit the glare illumination with the help of a Clipping Mask.
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create the circumference filled with a dark gray color. Set the Overlay Blending mode for the circumference.
Step 18: Tone Arm Creation
The tone arm shall have the radial structure. Let's initially learn the process of its attachment creation.
The attachment top part shall accommodate the circumference filled with the conical gradient.
Now, let's create the glares and shadows on the attachment surface.
The glares and shadows shall be restrained with the help of a Clipping Mask.
Let's create the tone arm. Draw an ellipse and duplicate it 4 times by holding the Alt and Shift keys while applying the horizontal offset.
Use the Scissors Tool (C) to cut the ellipses numbered as 1, 3 and 5 in their upper and lower points.
Delete the left part of the ellipses.
Use the Pen Tool (P) to continue with drawing the other ellipse halves, thus creating the tone arm cylindrical surfaces.
In the course of its creation, hold the Shift key.
By applying the above technique, create the tone arm core.
In order to arrange it in the proper way, fill the surfaces with different colors.
Fill the cylindrical surfaces with a linear gradient consisting of gray color contrast tints.
By applying this gradient, we have to achieve the metallic luster of the surface. The end surfaces shall be filled with a dark gray color.
Fill the core surface with linear gradients. The left part of the core shall be illuminated and therefore, the linear gradient should have one slider of a dark red color.
Draw the horizontal line with the outline a red color.
Leaving the line as selected, go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur… and set the radius value in the dialogue box.
Use the Appearance panel to create two more strokes: red and pink ones. The thickness of the final stroke should be less than the previous ones.
By applying the above technique, create the line on the core right part. Set this line as a gray color.
Let's create the indicators on the tone arm central part. Create the circumference, which should be filled with a radial gradient consisting of a white color and two green color tints.
The backlight of the indicator should be created with the help of two intercrossed ellipses filled with radial, ellipsoid green to black gradients.
Set the Screen Blending mode for the ellipses in the Transparency panel.
Group all elements of the indicator and duplicate them.
Place the tone arm below the attachment elements and rotate it with the help of the Rotate Tool ®.
Let's create the drop shadow from the tone arm. Copy and paste it backward (Command + C; Command + B), and then use the Rotate Tool (R) to rotate it, as shown in figure below:
Leave the group selected and press the Unite button in the Pathfinder panel.
Fill the shadow shape with a black to gray gradient.
Now set the Overly Blending mode for the object.
Go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur… and set the radius value in the dialogue box.
Now all elements of the turntable are ready; proceed with its grouping. Duplicate the turntable and paste its copy within the right part of the interface.
Step 24: Metallic Buttons Creations
The metallic buttons consist of two circumferences.
The form filled with the conical gradient is located on the top.
Place the buttons in areas shown in the first part of this tutorial.
Let's create the indents under some buttons. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw the line between the centers of the adjacent buttons. Select the stroke width and set the Round Cap. Place this line below the buttons.
Leave the object as selected, then apply Object > Expand. Copy the form and paste in back (Command + C; Command + B). Now, let's move the copy a little bit to the left and down.
Copy the upper form and paste it in front (Command + C; Command + F). Select the upper and lower forms, and then press the Minus Front button in the Pathfinder panel.
Fill the indent form with a linear white to gray gradient and apply the Multiply Blending mode.
The light glare within the form boundary should be filled with a gray color.
Create similar indents in areas shown in the figure below:
Step 27: Sliders Creation
Using the Pen Tool (P), draw the upright line with the Round Cap.
Go to Object > Expand. Fill the object with the horizontal linear black to dark gray gradient.
Create one more fill in the Appearance panel and fill it with the vertical linear gradient as shown:
Apply the Multiply Blending mode to the fill.
Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create the shape of the slider handle. Fill this form with a vertical linear gradient standing for simulation of the light play on the handle surfaces.
Create the rectangle filled with the linear white to black gradient. Place it below the slider handle and apply the Multiply Blending mode.
Now we have the shadow form of the handle created.
Let's create the luminescent part of the slider. The form shown in the figure below should be filled with a linear gradient consisting of two black and one blue slider. Apply the Screen Blending mode to the said form.
Create the other sliders of the interface by applying the above technique.
Let's create the scale to be located below the horizontal sliders. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to create two forms as shown in figure below:
Select both forms and go to Object > Blend > Make, then to Object > Blend > Blend Options… and finally set the number of the Specified steps.
Leaving the blend object as selected, then go to Object > Blend > Expand.
Create the similar object from another side of the slider by applying the technique above.
Select both elements of the scale and go to Object > Blend > Make, then to Object > Blend > Blend Options…, and finally set the number of the Specified Steps.
In order to create the glare on the scale elements edge, create a rounded rectangles filled with a light-gray color, which should be placed below the first and the last elements of the scale. Select the above objects and apply a Blend Tool to it.
A similar scale should be created below the second horizontal slider.
Step 32: Laser Indicator Creation
The laser indicator head design should be the same as the button.
Place the reduced copy of the head at the point of ray output.
Create the shadow from the indicator with the help of the ellipse filled with the ellipsoid gray to white gradient. Now apply the Multiply Blending mode to the object.
Create the circumference filled with the radial red to black gradient at the point of ray output. Apply the Screen Blending mode to the circumference.
Use the Pen Tool (P) to create the rectangular form above the lateral surface of the turntable. Fill this form with the linear gradient consisting of two black and one red slider. Apply the Screen Blending mode to the created object.
Restrain the laser ray with the help of the Clipping Mask with the circumferential form and the size of the turntable.
The laser ray on the record should be created with the help of the blend object. The outer form of the object should be the distorted circumference and have Opacity 0%.
The inner form should be the circumference filled with a red color to which the Screen Blending mode and 50% Opacity are applied.
The laser ray should be directed to the turntable center.
Step 35: Sonic Wave Indicator Creation
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create two rectangles. The first one should have a black color fill, while the second one should be filled with a radial gradient consisting of two blue color tints.
Draw a horizontal line with the help of the Pen Tool (P). The line should have the thickness of 1px and be outlined with a blue color.
Leave the line as selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Scribble… and set the effect parameters shown in the figure below.
Now go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag… and set the parameters shown below.
Let's create one more sonic wave, which is to be located above the first one. Apply the Screen Blending mode to it.
Restrain the visibility of the sonic wave with the help of a Clipping Mask.
Create a similar indicator over the right turntable. It's preferable that the parameters of the effects applied to the second indicator are slightly different.
The sonic wave has a unique appearance, especially if the different tracks are played back.
Step 37: Plastic Buttons Creation
Create the rectangle filled with a black color. Go to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners… and set the value of the radius rounding in the dialogue box.
Now go to Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow… and set the parameters of the effect.
Let's add the new fill to the Appearance panel, and fill it with a vertical linear gradient.
Select this fill in the Appearance panel and go to Effect > Path > Offset path, and finally, set the offset value in the dialogue box.
Add the new gradient fill to the Appearance panel, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset path, and set the offset value in the dialogue box.
In order to avoid continuously re-performing the procedures described in the previous step, let's create the new graphic style.
Now, we are able to apply the said style to the elements having any form.
Step 39: Inscriptions and Symbols Creation
The symbols shown on the buttons should be created with the help of simple forms using such tools as the Rectangle Tool (M) and Polygon Tool. These objects should be filled with the linear or radial gradients consisting of gray color dark tints.
In order to create the glare of the symbol's edges, copy and paste it in back. Fill the new forms with white and move them a little bit lower.
The inscriptions should be created with the help of the Type Tool (T). After entering the Type > Create Outline command you have to proceed with the same procedures as stated for the symbols.
In my case, a Liquid Crystal font was used for indication of the track playing back indication; this one can de downloaded here.
In order to create the glare on the display, create the form shown below with the help of the Pen Tool. Fill this form with the linear gradient consisting of black and dark gray colors, and apply the Screen Blending mode to it.
Step 43: Active Interface Elements Backlight
In order to provide the active interface elements backlight, create the circumference filled with a radial blue to black gradient. Apply the Screen Blending mode to the circumference.
So, the rather complicated project is done. It might be assumed that some details are omitted and that in such case this could make your project execution more complicated. I'll be very glad to assist you in solving any problems. Feel free to leave a comment or question.