This tutorial is the next in the exclusive series covering the topic of user interface design in vector.
In this tutorial we will learn how to create a modern interface using only vector objects. Yes, you can create a shadow and inner glow of the objects without using raster effects. Learn how to do it at the jump.
Start with creation of a background. To ensure that all the interface elements look clear in raster file format, choose the Pixel Preview mode. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a square of 6 x 6px filled with gray color.
Now create 10 more squares 1 x 1px with a darker gray color fill and place them as shown in the picture below.
Select all the created objects and go to.
Thus, we have created a seamless pattern.
Create a rectangle the size of which corresponds with the size of the background, and apply the created seamless pattern to it.
Open the Appearance panel, select the background and create a new fill for it by clicking on the Add New Fill button.
Apply the vertical linear gradient from gray to black and the Overlay Blending mode to a new fill.
Create the shape of the media player’s frame; it is a rectangle with rounded corners. I use the Dynamic Shapes Tool (VectorScribe Studio plugin) for these purposes. When you use this tool, you have complete control over the shape parameters and rounding radii of the corners. Apply the same seamless pattern, as with the background, to the object. I decided to make the player’s frame transparent.
It looks like the body as well as the background has a gradient fill.
This is the result of our visual perception, so we need to make some corrections. Using the Appearance panel, add a new shape with a linear gradient to the fill to which also apply the Overlay Blending mode.
Create glow on the edges of the player. Copy the rounded rectangle and paste it in front. Remove the top fill in the Appearance panel and fill the bottom one with gray color.
Create a new rounded rectangle and fill it with a vertical linear gradient.
Select both rectangles, go to, and set the number of specified steps. Now go to .
Set the Overlay Blending mode for the blend object.
Now to create a shadow under the player. Create a rounded rectangle with a white fill and place it below all the objects of the player.
The second rounded rectangle has the same shape as the player body and is filled with vertical linear gradient which is composed of two shades of gray color (the visibility of the player is turned off for display purposes).
Create a blend object of these shapes.
Now apply the Multiply Blending mode for this object.
To create glare on the top of the player, duplicate its shape twice and place the copies above all the objects. Move the upper rounded rectangle 1 px down (shapes are filled with different colors for clarity).
Select the red and blue rounded rectangles and click on the Minus Front button in the Pathfinder panel.
Fill the resultant shape with white.
With the help of the Ellipse Tool (L) create a circle with a radial gradient fill from gray to black.
Transform the circle into an ellipse and apply the Screen Blending mode to it.
Thus, we have created a reflection of light below the player’s frame.
Proceed to the creation of recesses for the buttons and a slider in the frame. Create a circle and rounded rectangle, and then combine these shapes by clicking on the Unite in the Pathfinder panel.
Apply the seamless pattern that we applied to the background to the achieved shape.
Copy the shape of the recess and paste it in front. Fill the copy with vertical linear gradient which consists of two shades of gray.
Keeping the object selected, go toand set the offset value.
Fill the resultant shape with a lighter linear gradient.
Select two objects that were created in the previous step and transform them into a blend object.
Apply the Multiply Blending mode to the blend object.
Copy the shape of the recess and paste it back. Fill the shape with a light-gray color and move it 1 pixel down.
Thus, we have created a glare of light at the edge of the recess. Using this technique, create another deepening in the frame.
Using the Rectangle Tool (M) create a shape of the screen, and fill it with the horizontal linear gradient from dark gray to black color.
Copy the rectangle and paste it back. Fill the copy with light gray color and shift it 1 pixel down.
With the help of the Ellipse Tool (L) create a shape of a button and fill it with a linear gradient from white to gray color.
Create another circle and place it below the button. Fill the circle with a radial gradient from black to white and apply the Multiply Blending mode.
Thus, we have created a shadow of the button. Using the described technique, create the rest of the player’s buttons.
Proceed to the creation of a slider. Create a rounded rectangle, and fill it with a linear gradient from dark gray to black color.
Copy the shape of the slider and paste it back. Fill this shape with white color.
Keeping the white shape selected, go toand set the offset value in the dialog window.
Fill the new shape with gray color.
Select both shapes and go to, and then set the Multiply Blending node for the object.
Thus, we have created a shadow of the slider inside the glass frame.
Copy the shape of the slider and paste it back. Fill the shape with a light gray color and move it 1 pixel down.
Create an active part of the slider. Select the shape of the slider and go toand set the offset value of -1px.
Select the three right points of a new shape with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move them to the left.
Apply a new seamless pattern to this shape; the technique of creation of similar patterns is described in step 1.
Add a new gradient fill in the Appearance panel, and apply the Overlay Blending mode to it.
Duplicate one of the previously created buttons with the shadow. Reduce its sizes and place it at the end of the active slider.
Create another circle, and apply the seamless pattern and gradient fills to it.
Proceed to the creation of a volume control slider. Create a rounded rectangle with a gray fill. Set 50% opacity for this shape in the Transparency panel.
Copy the shape and paste it back, move it to the left and up at 1px. Fill out this shape with a linear gradient from gray to black color and apply the Screen Blending mode and 100% opacity.
The technique used to create a vertical slider is nothing different from the technique of creation of a horizontal one.
Now, using simple geometric shapes, create symbols on the buttons.
Now your work is done. Here is how your final illustration should look.
Download the media player UI original artwork
Click here for the Illustrator CS3/CS4 version…
Click here for the Illustrator CS5 version…
About the author
My name is Iaroslav Lazunov, I am a graphic designer from Zhytomyr, Ukraine. I am glad that I finally found the job in my life that I can share my knowledge and experiments with you in my tutorials.