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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
So as you may recall, in the previous movie I showed you how to draw a simple house symbol here in Illustrator. In this movie I'll show you how to draw a gear, shorthand for Preference Settings, as well as a play button. And even if you don't necessarily find yourself drawing these specific symbols, it should give you a sense for how to draw your own easily recognizable and often symmetrical symbols here inside Illustrator. I am going to go ahead and turn off this predrawn layer here, and I am going to turn on the symbols layer, which features the house outline that I've drawn so far.
I'll go ahead and click on this layer to select it. Now, notice when I hover over the center of my house I can see a center point, but it's not visible when I move my cursor away. But I can see the center at all times if I press Ctrl+Y, or Command+Y on the Mac, in order to switch to the Outline mode. Now, I need that center point in order to properly align my gear, because I want all of these symbols not only to be aligned with each other, which is something I could do after the fact if I wanted to, but I also want to make sure that I'm drawing all three of them at roughly the same size. So I am going to go ahead and click and hold on the Rectangle tool to bring up this flyout menu of Shape tools, and I'll select the Ellipse tool, which I can also get by pressing the L key.
Because I want to create this shape from the center out, I'll press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and click on that center point. That brings up the Ellipse dialog box. And I am going to dial in a Width value of 120 points. And to lift that same value for height, I'll just click on the word Height. Then I'll click OK in order to create that shape. Notice that Illustrator goes ahead and draws the shape from the center outward. Now I am going to create another shape, the inside edge of the gear, by Alt+Clicking, or Option+Clicking, on that point again. And this time I'll dial in a Width value of 60 points, click on the word Height to lift that same value, and click OK.
Now I need to draw the actual gears themselves. I really just need to draw one representative gear and then repeat it. I'll create that gear using the Rectangle tool once again. I'll click somewhere around here-- it doesn't matter exactly where you click at this point, just click--in order to bring up the Rectangle dialog box, and let's dial in a Width of 30 points this time and a Height of 40 points-- that's exactly what we're looking for--and I'll click OK. Now, notice the rectangle isn't really aligned properly. So let's go ahead and grab that Black Arrow tool like so, and I'll drag that shape by its center point so that it intersects with the other shapes.
And hopefully we should have alignment down here at the bottom of the Rectangle tool. You want to ensure that's the case if you want all these symbols to match each other in size. It's a little bit confusing that we have all these shapes sitting on top of each other, so Shift+Click on the outer circle and Shift+Click on the inner circle as well. So you should have three paths selected in all. Then go ahead and drag the paths, while pressing the Shift key, to about there. You want to drag to more or less the center of the artboard. And you know what? Why don't we just center the darn thing exactly, by going up to the Align icon here in the Control panel, click the down-pointing arrowhead and then choose Align to Artboard? And then click Horizontal Align Center in order to precisely center those path outlines with respect to the larger artboard itself.
Click off the shapes to deselect them. Click on the rectangle to select it by itself. Now, if you were working with me in the previous movie then you'll see the Reflect tool below the Eraser tool. Go ahead and click and hold on it and choose Rotate tool, which you can also get by pressing the R key. And I want you to press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and click at the center of those circles like so, and that brings up the Rotate dialog box. Dial in a value of 45 degrees and then click on the Copy button. In order to create a copy of the shape, let's rotate it with respect to the center of the circles.
Then press Ctrl+D, or Command+D on the Mac, as many times as it takes-- it should be six times in all--in order to create the remaining gears. Now we need to select all but the innermost circle, and I'll do so by switching to the Black Arrow tool. And then I'll marquee, at least partially, around all these paths, like so, and then Shift+ click on the innermost circle in order to deselect it, go to the Window menu, and choose the Pathfinder command to bring up the Pathfinder panel. In your case it may be floating free someplace on screen. It doesn't really matter. Just make sure that you click on that first of the shape modes, the one that says Unite when you hover over it, and that will go ahead and fuse those shapes together.
Then Shift+Click on the innermost circle to select it. And my guess--it's hard to tell when we are working in the Outline mode--but my guess is that shape is in the back, because we created it before we created the actual rectangular gears. So drop down to the very last icon, Minus Back, and give it a click. Now, the problem at this point is I've gone and lost my center point, so I am going to hide my Pathfinder panel for now. Then I'll go up to the Window menu and choose the Attributes command to bring up the Attributes panel. If necessary, you'll have to go ahead and expand the panel by clicking the double-arrow icon next to the word Attributes, and then I want you to click on the Show Center icon so that you have a center point, like so.
The reason we need a center point is because now we need to draw the final symbol, which is the play button. And I'll do that by once again selecting the Ellipse tool. I'll press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and click on that center point in order to bring up the Ellipse dialog box. And I am going to dial in a Width value of 150 points, click on Height in order to lift that same value, click OK. And now let's do it again, Alt+Click, or Option+Click, on that center point. This time dial in a Width value of 130 points, click on Height to lift that same value, click OK. Now let's go ahead and move these guys over by switching to the Black Arrow tool, and then I'll Shift+Click on the outermost circle and drag them both to the right while pressing the Shift key.
Now, the next path I need to draw is a triangle, and the easiest way to draw an equilateral triangle is to go back to the Shape tool flyout menu and this time select the Polygon tool. And I want you to click right there. You don't have to Alt+Click, or Option+Click; just click at the center of those circles. That will bring up the Polygon dialog box. The Radius value should be 50 points, and you want to set the number of sides to 3. Then click OK and you will draw that shape right there. Go ahead and switch back to the Rotate tool and Alt+Click or Option+Click at that center point in order to bring up the Rotate dialog box, and let's dial in a value of -90 degrees.
Turn on the Preview check box to just make sure you've got things right. Don't click Copy this time. Click OK in order to rotate that shape. Press Ctrl+Y, or Command+Y on the Mac, so we can see what we are doing. And everything is in good shape, except the play button that I'm working on right now; things are a little bit messed up. So I'll go back to the Black Arrow tool and I'll marquee these two shapes like so, just the two circles--that's it. And then you want to bring up the Pathfinder panel again by going to the Window menu and choosing the Pathfinder command. And let's go ahead this time and click on Minus Front, is the button we are looking for, and that will go ahead and carve the inner circle out of the outer one.
Hide the Pathfinder panel. We don't need it anymore. Click on the triangle to select it. And we need to round off those corners, and we'll do that that by going to the Effect menu, choosing Stylize, and choosing Round Corners. I want you to set the Radius value to 12 points and click OK. Now, that's a dynamic effect. We don't want a dynamic effect when we are creating symbols, so we need to resolve it by going to the Object menu and choosing Expand Appearance. Now, what I want you to do is marquee all three of these paths, like so. Then go up to the Object menu, choose Compound Path, and choose Make, and the reason we are doing that is we need to fuse all three of these paths into a single compound path.
So go ahead and choose that command. It won't look any different, but the deed is done. Go ahead and click on that house shape if you are working inside my same file and press Shift+X to swap the fill and stroke attributes, so the shape turns black. Just for fun, I decided I wanted to project these symbols into 3D space. So I am going to go ahead and turn on this lowest layer, the one that's called command, and marquee the shape somehow. Since it's a dynamic shape, it's a little hard to get to, so marqueeing is the easiest way. With that shape selected, go up to the Window menu and choose the Graphic Styles command in order to bring up the Graphic Styles panel, and let's create a new style by pressing the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and clicking on that little page icon.
The fact that you have Alt or Option down allows you to name the style as you create it. And we'll call it 3D blue, let's say, and then click OK. Now you can go ahead and turn off that command layer. Let's go ahead and select all of the shapes on the symbols layer by Alt+Clicking, or Option+Clicking, on that layer, and then I'll go ahead and drag the symbols down, once again with the Black Arrow tool. Then I'll press the Shift+Alt keys, or the Shift+Option keys in the Mac, during my drag, keep those keys down, release the mouse button, and then you can release the keys, and that will go ahead and create a clone of all three shapes.
Now let's go ahead and apply the graphic style by clicking on 3D blue here inside the Graphic Styles panel. Now I am done with the panel, so I'll hide it. Now, these shapes aren't looking exactly the way I'd like them to look, so I'll press Ctrl+H, or Command+H on the Mac, to hide the selection edges. The shapes are still selected, by the way. I can view them more easily without seeing the anchor points and segments and so forth. Let's tweak that 3D style by going to the Window menu and choosing Appearance. That brings up the Appearance panel. Click on this item right there, 3D Extrude & Bevel, and that will bring up the 3D Extrude & Bevel Options dialog box.
Reduce the Perspective value from 160 degrees to just plain 60 degrees, turn on the Preview check box so you can see what you are doing, and let's go ahead and drag the bottom of this cube here in order to move the shapes downward and release. That looks pretty good to me. All right! I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification. And there you have it, three very common symbols-- home, gear, and play--created from scratch using some very old-school tools here inside Illustrator.
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