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How to Create an Admin Icon in Adobe Illustrator with VectorScribe plugin

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Illustrator Tutorials / Icon Design/ Comments: 7
Final Image Preview
administrator icon

You can download the source vector file for this tutorial


In this illustrator tutorial we will learn about the VectorScribe plugin - a perfect complement to Adobe Illustrator, and we will create an administrator icon. VectorScribe plugin is a powerful tool for contour editing, creating dynamic shapes and corner rounding. Try it, you will like it!


Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS3-5 + VectorScribe plugin;
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Estimated Completion Time: 30 - 60 minutes

Step 1

Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create an ellipse, now shift its upper point with the Direction Tool (A) horizontally up to get a figure shown in the figure below.

administrator icon

Create another ellipse smaller in size than the first one.

administrator icon

Step 2

Take the Scissors Tool (C) and cut the ellipse at the extreme points, then select and delete its upper part.

administrator icon

Take the Pen Tool (P) and close the contour as it is shown in the figure below.

administrator icon

For convenience, activate the Smart Guides mode (Cmd / Ctrl + U). In order to see the correct wrench head shape, fill the created objects with different colors, it is better to fill the top object with white color.

administrator icon

The lower gray shape needs some correction.


Step 3

At this step, we will begin to get acquainted with some of the VectorScribe plugin tools and its properties. After installing the plug-in, its tools will appear in the sidebar and the palette will be available in the Windows menu.

administrator icon

Take the PathScribe Tool and select both handles of the lower node of the gray shape. Now pull one of the handles to the side, the second handle will change its length simultaneously with the first one.

administrator icon

Yes, you’ve heard right, the PathScribe Tool allows you to select handles and operate them simultaneously. If while editing you hold down the Opt / Alt key, then the angle of node handles is fixed and it is only its length that changes. I remind that in the case with the Direction Tool (A) you can only fix horizontal and vertical movement of the handles, holding down Shift key.


Step 4

Select the upper shape, I repainted it in blue, and go to Object> Path> Offset Path and set 13 px value in the dialog box.

administrator icon

While, I always fill objects with different colors, so it is more convenient to operate them. Select the upper points of the blue shape with the help of the Direction Tool (A), move them vertically up so that they go beyond the edges of the bottom purple figure.

administrator icon

Step 5

Select the purple and blue shapes then click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder palette.

administrator icon

As a result we get a horseshoe-shaped object.

administrator icon

Take the Eraser Tool and holding down Opt / Alt, remove the upper shape of the horseshoe shape.

administrator icon

Shift a little bit the points A and B to the vertical center line of the spanner.

administrator icon

Step 6

Select the created objects, and go to Object> Transform> Rotate ..., set the rotation angle -20 degrees in the dialog box.

administrator icon

Create a vertical guide passing through point A, then take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle and place it so that its center was lying on the vertical guide.

administrator icon

Copy the orange head of the wrench and paste it in front (Cmd / Ctrl + C; Cmd / Ctrl + F), select the rectangle and the upper orange shape, click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder palette.

administrator icon

Move the created shape below all the objects (Cmd / Ctrl + [).

administrator icon

Step 7

We need to get a smooth transition of the head key into its handle in the section A and B. For display purposes the visibility of the upper objects is turned off in the Layers palette.

administrator icon

Coupling objects are very difficult to perform with traditional tools of the Adobe Illustrator. Let's see how VectorScribe plugin can help us with it. The Dynamic Corners Tool is designed for such-like purposes. Take this tool and bring it to the place of coupling, the object can stay unselected.

administrator icon

We can see immediately how the place of coupling will look like after applying the Dynamic Corners Tool. The radius of the rounding can be set in the Dynamic Corners palette. Click on the corner and the figure obtains the desired shape.

administrator icon

And after the tool is applied, we can operate the radius of rounding, to do this you need to move the marker of the center of the coupling circle.

administrator icon

In this simple way we got the perfect coupling.

administrator icon

Step 8

Select all the created objects and go to Object> Transform> Rotate ... and set the rotation angle of 180 degrees in the dialog box, click on the Copy button.

administrator icon

Combine the two parts of the wrench as it is shown below.

administrator icon

Step 9

Select both parts of the wrench handle and connect them by pressing the Unite button from the Pathfinder palette.

administrator icon

Now create a notch on the handle of the wrench, take the Pen Tool (P) and create a vertical line so that it passes through the center of the handle. Set line thickness and its type in the Stroke palette.

administrator icon

Keep this line selected, go to Object> Expand. Basic elements of the first wrench of administrator icon are ready.


Step 10

Proceed to creation of the second spanner for our admin icon. The lower part of the second spanner will represent a box wrench. Create a circle using the Ellipse Tool (L) at the bottom part of the wrench, connect it to the handle using the Pathfinder palette. To couple the handle and the head of the wrench, use the Dynamic Corners Tool.

administrator icon

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create two more circles, as shown in the figure below.

administrator icon

Step 11

Now create teeth of the box wrench which will be holding the nut. Creating all sorts of stars, it's really strong point of the VectorScribe plugin. To create teeth, use the Dynamic Shapes Tool, the settings of the tool are shown in the figure below, in the Dynamic Shapes palette.

administrator icon

Star can have sharp, rounded ends or cut along the straight line. You can also control the size of the star itself and the height of its teeth, operating the markers that appear when you select this tool. You can also operate radii of rounding of the created star using the Dynamic Corners Tool. If you select a few radii holding down the Shift key, then their value will change simultaneously while editing.

administrator icon

Step 12

Box wrench should have a cut in a shape of a yellow star, make it. Select all the elements which should have a hole (a handle and two circles) and the shape of a star, take the Shape Builder Tool and holding down the Opt / Alt, click on a star shape.

administrator icon
administrator icon

Basic elements of the second wrench for administrator icon are ready.


Step 13

Rotate both wrenches at 30 degrees clockwise and counterclockwise, and create a simple composition.

administrator icon

Step 14

I think you can easily fill wrenches elements using linear and radial gradients containing shades of gray color. I got it like that.

administrator icon

I’m not a possessor of ultimate truth, so you can do it your way.


Step 15

In order to bring metal objects to life, you need to add glares of light on their edges. And here the VectorScribe plugin will help us again. Let's take a look at the technique of creating glare. With the help of Pen Tool (P), create a shape filled with light gray or white at the place of the supposed glare, as it is shown below.

administrator icon

Select the surface on the edge of which the glare will be located and the created shape, take the Shape Builder Tool and holding down the Opt / Alt, delete the part of the figure that goes beyond the outline of the lower object.

administrator icon

Now we take PathScribe Tool, seize and bend the straight part of the outline of the glare.

administrator icon

If necessary, adjust the shape of the bend, operating the handles of the extreme points of the glare. Also create anti-glare on the edges of metal surfaces. These are black or dark gray objects located on the edges opposite to the light. Technique of their creation is the same as glare creating one.

administrator icon

And this is how the wrenches look like after creating glare and anti-glare on some of their edges.

administrator icon

Step 16

Our wrenches will be on the shield. I made a short movie about how to apply VectorScribe plugin for creating of these shapes.


Conclusion

In this small tutorial we created the administrator icon, and I did not cover all the wonderful opportunities of the VectorScribe plugin. You know, you quickly get used to good things, I do not know how I’ve done without this excellent complement to Adobe Illustrator before. Try it and you'll understand what I’m talking about.

Having downloaded the original file, you can closely learn about the technology of creation of the administrator icon.

Final Image
administrator icon


You can download the source vector file for this tutorial


You can also read my article "Icon Design – Basic Concepts and Rules" and download "Free Vector RSS Icons for Your Web Sites"

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Total comments: 6
0   Spam
1 csabi   (2011 Jun 04 10:05)
Hi!
I love your tutorials! Keep up the good work!
I`m writing to you to ask you to send your tutorials to my tutorial indexing website: http://www.tutorialswindow.com
It will send you quality traffic.

Thanks, please give it a try, I`m waiting your feedback!

0   Spam
2 jaroslav   (2011 Jun 04 11:30)
Thanks, Ok. smile

0   Spam
3 Steve   (2011 Jun 11 06:33)
I'm a great admirer of your work and tuts.

Cant wait for next lesson smile

Steve

0   Spam
4 jaroslav   (2011 Jun 11 06:40)
Thanks. I think it will be on Tuesday smile

0   Spam
5 j0hnb0y   (2013 Mar 17 04:39)
Stuck on step 5....I did the minus front on the two blue shapes but still have a complete grey shape so I cant get the wrench shape ??

0   Spam
6 jaroslav   (2013 Mar 17 04:48)
Yes, there is a mistake in the step 5. 
1. You should duplicate the blue shape.
2. Select blue and dark blue shapes and press on Minus Front.
3. Now select second blue shape and grey shape and press on Minus Front again.

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