Intuitive Tools for Digital Artists

How to Create Vector Denim Texture Using Adobe Illustrator

Vector Jeans Texture

In this tutorial we will learn how to create a realistic vector denim texture. It’s easier than it might seem at first sight, and I think it can be done by those who are taking their first steps into the world of vector graphics. Creation of other elements of this tutorial is more advanced, although I tried to describe each step clearly. Let’s continue, as it’s an interesting and useful tutorial…

How to Create Denim Texture

Step 1

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle filled with blue.

How to Create Denim Texture

Take the Gradient Mesh Tool (U) and create a node at the point A, then replace the color of the nodes A and B with light blue.

How to Create Jeans Texture

Step 2

In the lower part of the background with the Rectangle Tool (M) create a black rectangle. The height of this rectangle is 1.5 px, and the width equals the width of the background.

How to Create Denim Texture

Now keep the rectangle selected, go to Object > Transform > Move …, set the vertical displacement equal to -3 px in the dialog window and click on Copy.

How to Create Jeans Texture

Click on the shortcut Cmd / Crtl + D (Transform Again) the number of times needed to distribute the rectangles across the entire background.

How to Create Denim Texture

Step 3

Lock the background in the Layers panel, select all the rectangles and group them up (Cmd / Ctrl + G). Keep the group selected, go to Effect > Distort and Transform > Roughen… and set the parameters detailed in the picture below:

How to Create Jeans Texture

Open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency) and set the Soft Light Blending Mode for our group.

How to Create Denim Texture

How to Create Jeans Texture

Step 4

Let’s create another texture, the technique of its creation is no different than the first one. The width of this texture should be bigger then background diagonal. Set Overlay Blending Mode in the Transparency panel. The color and parameters of the Roughen effect are the same as those of the first texture. Turn the created texture by an angle of 45° (Object > Transform > Rotate …).

How to Create Denim Texture

How to Create Jeans Texture

Hide the parts of the second texture that go beyond the background. With the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle that has the same size as the background. Select all the created objects (Cmd / Ctrl + A) and click on the shortcut Cmd / Ctrl + 7, creating a Clipping Mask.

How to Create Denim Texture

How to Create Seam on Jeans

Step 5

With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle of gray in the place of the seam.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Set the Blending Mode to “Overlay” for this rectangle in the Transparency panel and adjust the color in Color panel so that the rectangle becomes invisible.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Step 6

Keep the rectangle selected, go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh … and set the number of columns and rows in the dialog box.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A) select every other central nodes of the mesh, and replace their color with light gray.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Make the remaining central nodes dark gray.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Step 7

Select the gradient mesh with the Selection Tool (V), and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Warp…, choose the Flag style and set Bend to 1%.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Step 8

Below the first rectangle create a new rectangle with a linear gradient fill, consisting of white and various shades of gray color. Set the Blending Mode to overlay once more for this rectangle via the Transparency panel.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Step 9

Now create a shadow from the seam. Create a new rectangle and fill it with a linear gradient from dark gray to white. Set the Blending Mode to “Multiply” for this rectangle in the Transparency panel.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

White becomes transparent with this Blending Mode.

Step 10

This way you can create curved seams, such as on a pocket. Let’s see how it’s done. Take the Pen Tool (P) and create an arc shown in the figure below.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Set the width of this arc in the Stroke Panel in accordance with the thickness of your seam. This arc will be used as a template, so lock it in the layers panel. Now, using the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle filled with gray color.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Keep the rectangle selected, go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh … and set the number of columns and rows in the dialog box.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Step 11

Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and move the gradient mesh nodes so that they match with the points A, B, C and D of the template.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

For an exact match with the template it is advisable to change the transparency of the gradient mesh. Set 50% opacity for it in the Transparency panel.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Now, controlling node handles of the gradient mesh, make its lines closer to the lines of the template.

If you have VectorScribe installed, this process can be simplified by using the PathScribe tool and simply dragging the curved segments, moulding them to shape. See the video Dragging a Segment.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Delete the template as we don’t need it any more.

Step 12

Restore transparency to 100% in the Transparency panel. Take the Mesh Tool (U) and create a center line of the grid by clicking on the center of one of the sides of the gradient mesh.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Now create a row of transverse grid lines along the entire length of the seam.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

Further technique of creating this seam is not different from the one described above.

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

How to Create Vector Seam on Jeans

How to create thread stitching

Step 13

Either use VectorScribe Studio’s Dynamic Shapes tool to create a 3px high rectangle with maximum rounded corners (refer to product videos).

Or, take the Pen Tool (P) and create a horizontal line 3 px in width.

How to create vector thread stitching

Keeping the line selected, go to Object > Expand.

How to create vector thread stitching

Step 14

Copy the newly created object and paste it back (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + B) and fill it with black, slightly reducing its size (the visibility of the top object is disabled in the layers palette for illustration purposes).

How to create vector thread stitching

Copy this object and paste it back (Cmd / Ctrl + C, Cmd / Ctrl + B). Increase the sizes of the new object, fill it with white, and with the help of VectorScribe’s PathScribe tool or the Pen Tool (P), add the points A and B to its path. Convert these points from corner to smooth ones and move them slightly off center.

How to create vector thread stitching

Step 15

Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and set the number of steps in the dialog box. Now select the black and white shapes, and go to Object > Blend > Make.

How to create vector thread stitching

Set the Multiply Blending Mode for the entire blend object.

How to create vector thread stitching

Turn on the visibility of the upper shape in the layers panel.

How to create vector thread stitching

Group up all the elements of the stitch. One thread stitch is ready.

Step 16

Move the stitch to the Brushes panel and save a new brush as Scatter Brush, without changing the settings in the dialog box.

How to create vector thread stitching

Take the Pen Tool (P) and create a straight line where the thread stitch will be.

How to create vector thread stitching

Apply the created brush to this line. Now we can adjust its parameters…

How to create vector thread stitching

Step 17

Keeping the stitch selected, go to Object > Expand Appearance. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select each stitch, and fill with radial gradient from yellow to dark yellow. It will be nice if the gradients of stitches will be slightly different in its position, it will add variety to the thread stitching.

How to create vector thread stitching

Using this technique, create the second line on the pocket.

How to create vector thread stitching

Step 18

Hide parts of the stitches that go beyond with the help of the Clipping Mask (see Step 4).

How to Create Denim Texture

You should now be the proud owner of a vector denim texture! Variations of this technique are shown below:

How to Create Denim Texture

How to Create Jeans Texture

Conclusion

With a realistic denim texture achieved, you can now create vector jeans products or backgrounds, such as desktop wallpaper. We have created a texture of the classic blue color, although denim is available in a variety of colors. To recolor the texture, you can use the Phantasm CS. Select the background of our texture and go to Effect > Phantasm CS > Hue / Saturation …, check Colorize and Preview in the dialog window.

Recolor the texture

Now you can color your texture in all the colors of the rainbow moving the Hue, Saturation and Lightness sliders.

The use of Phantasm CS’ recolouring tools can also be applied easily and dynamically to the thread. This process would otherwise be manual and very time-consuming.

Recolor the texture

For more detailed information on working with color using Phantasm CS, please look at the product videos page.

Download the denim vector texture artwork

Click here for the Illustrator CS3 version…

Click here for the Illustrator CS4 version…

Click here for the Illustrator CS5 version…

Click here for a PDF version…

Written by Iaroslav

Iaroslav

Iaroslav Lazunov is a graphic designer from Zhytomyr, Ukraine who has found the job that allows him to share his extensive knowledge and experiments with Adobe Illustrator and plug-ins from Astute Graphics. Iaroslav was also a key author over at Vector Tuts+ as well as his own website Vectorboom

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