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Create a Semi-Realistic Cutter Illustration

Create a Semi-Realistic Cutter Illustration

In this super-detailed tutorial I’ll show you how to create a semi-realistic cutter in Illustrator. We will use the photo of a cutter to draw the basic shapes, then we will play with gradients, shape modes and other useful tools to realize all the detailes of the illustration.

Preview:

This is what we will create together:
preview

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Step 1

Create a 1280 by 1024px document in Illustrator. Open this photo of Agata Urbaniak. Resize it so it fits your Artboard. You will only need the bottom cutter. To make your job easier you can mask the top cutter. First, open the Transparency panel. Select the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a black rectangle above the top cutter. Select this new shape along with the image and open the flyout menu of the Transparency panel. Click on Make Opacity Mask then uncheck the Clip box. Lock this image to make sure that you don’t move/select it accidentally.

Step 2

Let’s start tracing. Select the Pen Tool(P) and trace the top red, plastic part. Try to to pay extra attention in the zoomed areas. Name this first shape “1″. Continue with the Pen Tool(P) and trace the bottom red, plastic part. Select this second shape and name it “2″.

Step 3

Continue the tracing with the top made of steel part. Name it “3″. Reselect the Pen Tool(P) and trace the bottom made of steel part. Again, try to to pay extra attention in the zoomed areas. Name it “4″.

Step 4

Using the Pen Tool(P) trace the blade and the button of this cutter. Name these shapes “5″ and “6″. Duplicate shapes “1″ and “2″. One more time, use the Pen Tool(P) to create the shape shown in image #3. Move it below the two copies (in the Layer panel) then select all three shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Name the resulting shape “7″.

Step 5

Let’s take another look at all the shapes created so far. Make sure that you named them as shown.

Step 6

Create a new layer (by clicking on the Create New Layer button from the Layers panel) an name it “RED TOP”. Select shape “1″, move it inside this layer and duplicate it. Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create the blue shape shown in the image below. Select it along with the copy of “1″ and click on the Intersect button fron the Pathfinder panel. Create a copy of the resulting blue shape. Select this copy and the original “1″ shape and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Name the resulting shape “1b”.

Step 7

In this step we’ll focus on the blue shapes made in the previous step. First, select the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a 10 by 35px shape. Select this rectangle, add the Transform effect (Effect > Distort&Transform > Transform) then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Now, you should have a group of seven rectangles. Rotate them and place them above the blue shape (like in image #2). Select all these shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Your new shape should look like in image #3. Add a 1px Rounded Corners effect (Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners) then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Next, you need to unite this shape with “1b”. First, select the Pen Tool(P) and create the shape shown in image #4 then select all three shapes and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Name the resulting shape “1″.

Step 8

Create a copy of “1″ then select the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the blue one shown in image #1. Select this new shape along with the copy of “1″ and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. You should get a group of seven small shapes. Select them all, go to Object > Compound Path > Make then fill the resulting shape with R=234 G=53 B=42. Open the Appearance panel. Reselect this compound path, open the flyout menu of the Appearance panel and click on Add New Fill. This should add a second fill for your shape. Use the linear gradient shown in image #3 and lower its opacity to 40%. Add two new fills and use the other two linear gradients shown in the following image.

Step 9

Go to Edit > Preferences > General (Ctrl + K). Enter “0,5″ in “Keyboard Increment” box and click OK. Create two copies of the compound path made in the previous step. Select the top one and hit the up arrow and the left arrow (to move it 0,5px up and 0,5px to the left). Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. You should get seven thin shapes. Zoom in on one of these shapes. Select the Delete Anchor Point Tool(-) and click on the highlighted anchor point. Do the same for all these thin shapes then fill them with R=185 G=34 B=38 and lower their opacity to 40%. Select all these shapes and the ones made in the previous step and group them. Name this group “Grid” and lock it.

Step 10

Return to shape “1″. First, fill it with R=234 G=53 B=42 then add a new fill and use the first linear gradient. Select this second fill (from the Appearance panel) and lower its opacity to 70%. Add three new fills for this shape and use the other linear gradient shown below. Select the third fill and lower its opacity to 70% then select the fourth fill and lower its opacity to 40%.

Step 11

Create two copies of “1″. Select the top one and hit the up arrow twice (to move it 1px up). Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfidner panel. You should get a thin shape. Fill it with R=179 G=32 B=37 (delete the other four fills) and lower its opacity to 40%.

Step 12

Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the one shown in the image below. Fill it with the linear gradient, add a 8px Gaussian Blur and lower its opacity to 40%. This will be the shadow of the button. Now, you need to mask it. Create a copy of “1″, fill it white and move it above this grey shape. Select both shapes, open the flyout menu of the Transparency panel and click on Make Opacity Mask.

Step 13

Once again, let’s create a discrete detail. Select the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the one shown in the first image. Fill it with white, add a 3px Gaussian Blur and lower its opacity to 20%. Mask this shape like you did in the previous step.

Here’s a closer look at your illustration so far.

Step 14

Let’s move to shape “2″. Create a new layer, name it “RED BOTTOM” and move shape “2″ inside. Pick the Pen Tool(P) and make a shape like the blue one shown in the first image. Select it along with shape “1″ and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and rename it “1″ and fill it with R=234 G=53 B=42. Add three new fills for this shape and use the linear gradient shown below. Select the last fill (from the Appearance panel) and lower its opacity to 30%. Take a closer look at the gradients. The yellow text stands for Opacity and the white text stands for Location.

Step 15

Create two copies of “2″. Select the top one and move it 1px down. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. You should get two thin shapes. Select the longest shape, fill it with R=179 G=32 B=37 and lower its opacity to 50%. Select the other shape and lower its opacity to 70%. Fill it with R=209 G=42 B=40 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient.

Step 16

Create a copy of “2″. Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the blue one shown below. Select it along with the copy of “2″ and cick on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape the left linear gradient and lower its opacity to 70%. Make a copy of this shape, name it “vvv”, raise the opacity to 100%, fill it with the right linear gradient and add a 3px Gaussian Blur effect. Create a copy of “2″, fill it with white and move it above “vvv”. Now, seelct these stwo shapes and click on Make Opacity Mask from the flyout menu of the Transparency panel.

Step 17

Create a copy of “2″ then pick the Pen Tool and create a shape like the blue one shown in the first image. Reselect both shapes and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=209 G=42 B=40. Add three new fills for this shape then use the gradients shown below. Select the last fill and lower its opacity to 40%.

Step 18

Grab the Ellipse Tool(L), hold down Shift and create a perfect circle as shown below. Fill it with the radial gradient, add the Inner Glow effect (Effect > Stylize> Inner Glow) then lower its opacity to 40%.

Here’s a closer look at your illustration so far.

Step 19

Create a new layer, name it “STEEL TOP” and move it at the bottom of the Layers panel (above the layer with the image). Select shape “3″ and move it inside this layer. Fill it with R=138 G=137 B=132 then add a second fill and use the first linear gradient. Create a copy of “3″. Select this copy, rename it “3b”, remove the second fill and use the second gradient. Now, you need to mask the right side of this shape. Create a copy of “3b” and fill it with the black to white gradient. Seelct this copy along with the original “3b” shape and click on Make Opacity Mask from the flyout menu of the Transparency panel. Select this masked shape and lower its opacity to 60%. Create a new copy of “3″, move it in the top of “STEEL TOP” layer then fill it with the last linear gradient and lower its opacity to 80%.

Step 20

Create two copies of shape “3″. Select the top one and hit the up arrow and the right arrow. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=128 G=130 B=133 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient shown below. Move this shape at the top of “STEEL TOP” layer.

Step 21

Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the one shown in image #1. Fill it with R=234 G=53 B=42, add a 7px Gaussian Blur effect then lower its opacity to 70%. Once again, create a copy of “3″ and bring it in the top of “STEEL TOP” layer. Fill this copy with R=231 G=234 B=230 and change its blending mode to Multiply.

Step 22

Create a new layer, name it “STEEL BOTTOM” and move it at the bottom of the Layers panel (above the layer with the image). Select shape “4″ and move it inside this layer. First, fill it with R=57 G=57 B=56 then add four new fills and use the gradients shown below.

Step 23

Create a copy of “4″ then pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the red one shown in the first image. Select these two shapes and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient and lower its opacity to 80%.

Step 24

Create a copy of “4″. Fill it with none and add a 0,60pt, aligned to inside stroke then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the blue one shown below. Select this shape along with the expanded stroke and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=163 G=163 B=156 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient.

Step 25

Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the one shown in image #1. Fill it with R=43 G=44 B=48, lower its opacity to 10% then add a 5px Gaussian Blur effect. Mask this shape. Create a final copy of “4″. Move it in the top of “STEEL BOTTOM” layer, fill it with R=231 G=234 B=230 then change its blending mode to Multiply.

Here’s a closer look at your illustration so far.

Step 26

Create a new layer, name it “BLADE” and move it at the bottom of the Layers panel (above the layer with the image). Select shape “5″ and move it inside this layer. First, fill it with R=179 G=185 B=190 then add four new fills and use the gradients shown below. Select the third fill (from the Appearance panel) and lower its opacity to 50%, select the fourth fill and lower its opacity to 30% then select the fifth fill and lower its opacity to 60%. Create two copies of “5″. Select the top one and hit the left arrow twice. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfidner panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=122 G=124 B=107.

Step 27

Pick the Pen Tool and create a 120px vertical path. Fill it with none, add a 0,75px stroke then go to Object > Expand. Ungroup the resulting shape (Shift+ctrl+G) then go to Object > Transform > Move. Enter “0,75″ in the Horizontal box and click OK. You should get a second rectangle. Fill these two shapes with the colors shown below then group them (Ctrl + G). Select this group and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a “-25″ degrees angle and click OK.

Step 28

Select the shapes made in the previous step, add the Transform effect (Effect > Distort&Transform > Transform) and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Step 29

Create a copy of “5″. Select the grey shapes made in the previous step and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Select the resulting shape along with the copy of “5″ and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go again to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill this new path with R=70 G=83 B=80 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient.

Step 30

Create another copy of “5″. Select the white shapes made in the step #28 and go to Object > Compound Path > Make. Select the resulting shape along with the copy of “5″ and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shapes and go again to Object > Compound Path > Make. Fill this new path with white then add a second fill and use the linear gradient.

Step 31

Create a new copy of “5″ then select the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the red one shown in image #1. Select these two shapes and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfidner panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=231 G=234 B=230 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient. Make two copies of this new shapes. Select the top one and hit the up arrow and the right arrow. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white then remove the highlighted anchor point (with the Delete Anchor Point Tool). Select the shapes made in this step and move them in the top of the “BLADE” layer.

Step 32

Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the one shown in image #1. Fill it with R=65 G=68 B=70, lower its opacity to 30% and add a 20px Gaussian Blur effect. Create a final copy of “5″ and move it in the top of “BLADE” layer. Fill it with R=231 G=234 B=230 then change its blending mode to Multiply.

Step 33

Grab the Ellipse Tool(L), create a 25 by 25px shape, fill it with R=19 G=20 B=20 then add the Inner Glow and the Outer Glow effects. Continue with the Ellipse Tool(L). Create a 15 by 15px shape and fill it with R=19 G=20 B=20. Add two new fill for this shape and use the radial gradient shown below. Select the second fill and lower its opacity to 10%. Create two copies of the large circle. Select the top copy and hit the left arrow twice and the down arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front butto from the Pathfinder panel. Fil the resulting shape with R=167 G=169 B=172,lower its opacity to 30% then change the blending mode to Multiply.

Step 34

Create a new layer, name it “BUTTON” and move it in the top of the Layers panel. Select shape “6″ and move it inside this layer. First, fill it with R=17 G=19 B=19 then add four new fills and use the gradients shown below. Select the second fill (from the Appearance panel) and lower its opacity to 10%, select the third fill and lower its opacity to 90% then select the fifth fill and lower its opacity to 60%.

Step 35

Create a copy of “6″ then pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the red one shown in the image below. Select these two shapes and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=17 G=19 B=19 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient shown below.

Step 36

Duplicate the shape made in the previous step then pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the red one shown in the first image. Select these two shapes and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfidender panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=36 G=41 B=40 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient shown below. Create a copy of “6″ then pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the yellow one shown in the fourth image. Select these two shapes and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfidender panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=35 G=31 B=32 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient shown in the final image. Select this second fill and lower its opacity to 50%.

Here’s a closer look at your illustration so far.

Step 37

Create a new layer and name it “BLACK RIGHT”. Select shape “7″ and move it inside this layer. Pick the Pen Tool and create a simple path as shown in the first image. Select this path along with shape “7″ and click on the Divide button from the Pathfinder panel. You should get two new shapes. Let’s focus on the right one. First, fill it with R=36 G=41 B=40 then add two new fills and use the gradients shown below. Now, let’s add some details. Grab the Pen Tool(P) and create the shape shown in image #5. Fill it with white, lower its opacity to 50% then add a 5px Gaussian Blur effect. Reselect the Pen Tool(P) and create the shape shown in the final image. Fill it with white, lower its opacity to 25% then add a 5px Gaussian Blur effect.

Step 38

Move to the left shape. Fill it with R=36 G=41 B=40 then add two new fills and use the linear gradient shown in the following image.

Step 39

Select the Rectangle Tool(M) and create a 15 by 40px shape. Add a 8px Rounded Corners effect then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Fill the resulting shape with R=34 G=38 B=37 then go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a “-1,5″ Offset and click OK. Fill this new shape with R=36 G=41 B=40 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient shown below (lower its opacity to 10%). Select these two shapes, add the Transform effect then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Finally, rotate the resulting group of shapes and place them as shown in the final image.

Step 40

Create a new layer, name it “BLACK” and move it in the bottom of the Layers panel (above the layer with the image). Now, focus on the area between the button and the black, right shape. Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape that covers that area. Fill it with R=34 G=43 B=46. Reselect ther Pen Tool(P) and create some random shapes as shown in the second image. Fill them with R=188 G=190 B=192 and add the effects shown below. Duplicate the rectangle made in the start of this step. Select this copy and bring in the top of the “BLACK” layer. Add four new fill for this copy then use the linear gradients shown below.

Step 41

Move to the small area between the button and the blade. Pick the Pen Tool(P) and create a shape like the one shown in the image below. Fill it with R=34 G=43 B=46 then add two new fills and use the linear gradients shown below.

Here’s a closer look at your illustration so far.

Step 42

Finally, you can add a discrete shadow effect. Make the original photo invisible (or remove it), you won’t need it anymore. Create a new layer, name it “SHADOW” and move it at the bottom of the Layers panel. Grab the Ellipse Tool(L) and create a squeezed shape below the cutter illustration. Fill it with R=35 G=31 B=32, lower its opacity to 5% then add a 8px Gaussian Blur effect. Duplicate this shape. Select this copy, raise its opacity to 15% and fill it with the radial gradient. Add a second fill for this shape. Use the same gradient but move it to the left, as shown in the final image.

Step 43

Now the background. Create a new layer, name it “BACKGROUND” and move it at the bottom of the Layers panel. Try to set the horizon line then select the rectangle Toll(M) and creat two rectangle. One above the horizon line and the other one below it. Fill both rectangles with white. Add two new fill for the top rectangle and use the linear gradient shown below. Select the second fill and lower its opacity to 40%.

Step 44

Select the bottom rectangle, add two new fills and use the linear gradients shown below. Select the last fill, lower its opacity to 40% and you’re done.

Final result

preview

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Andrei Marius

Andrei Marius is a a relatively newcomer illustrator who loves to share his knowledge with the design community through detailed Illustrator tutorials. You can see more of his work on vforvectors.

12 Comments

(+add yours)
  1. Very nice ‘real to illustration’ tutorial. ! Thanks!

  2. Very very detailed and useful, Marius. You did a great job ;-)

    • Thanks a lot!

  3. nice work!!

  4. Great tutorial, dear Marius. Welcome aboard!

  5. Awesome tut! :)

  6. Almost like a photo. I love this kind of work.

  7. I don’t see a retweet button. Missing?

    • Ah, it’s up there. Sorry, I didn’t see that.

  8. I had gone through your tutorials. It was fantastic a have no words to describe it.Thanks very much for the this tutorials page :-) . I think people who cannot afford to to join classes can do so in this tutorial.

  9. graphicalsandeep

    u dosent do anything new. it is just a trasing…

  10. Here is my version of the box cutter knife. The button sure had a lot of gradients in it.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v645/duceduc/themes/box-cutter-knife-vector.png

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