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How to Create a Lighter Illustration from Scratch in Photoshop

How to Create a Lighter Illustration from Scratch in Photoshop

Hey PSDFANs, we’ve got another great tutorial for you today!

In the following tutorial your will learn how to create a lighter illustration from scratch in Photoshop.

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Open Photoshop and hit Control + N to create a new document. Enter all the data shown in the following image and click OK. Enable the Grid (View > Show > Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap To > Grid). For the moment you need a grid every 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grid & Slices and focus on the Grid section. Enter 5 in the Gridline Every box and 1 in the Subdivision box. Also, set the color of the grid at #696969. Once you set all these properties click OK. Don’t get discouraged by all that grid. It will ease your work later. You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes.

Step 2

Pick a random grey for the foreground color, grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool, set the radius at 5px and create a 55 by 60px shape. Make sure that this shape stays selected and switch to the Rectangle Tool. Check the "Intersect shape areas" button from the top bar then draw a 50 by 55px shape as shown in the second image.

Step 3

Move to the Layers panel and double click on the vector shape created in the previous step to open the Layers Style window. Activate the Inner Shadow and the Gradient Overlay then enter the properties shown in the following images.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 5%
Angle: -90 degrees
Distance: 2px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 0 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 4

Reselect the vector shape edited in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Move to the Layers panel, right click on this copy and click on Clear Layer Style. Make sure that this copy is still selected, lower its Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window. Activate the Inner Shadow and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 35%
Angle: 90 degrees
Distance: 2px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Step 5

Pick a random green for the foreground color, grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool. Create a 45 by 15px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Make sure that this shape stays selected and switch to the Rectangle Tool. Check the "Subtract from shape area" button from the top bar and draw a 5 by 15px shape as shown in the second image.

Step 6

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape created in the previous step and add the properties shown in the following images.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 25%
Angle: -165 degrees
Distance: 2px
Choke: 0%
Size: 3px

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 0 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 7

Reselect the vector shape edited in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Move to the Layers panel and focus on this copy. Clear its Layer Style, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window. Activate the Inner Shadow and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 55%
Angle: 90 degrees
Distance: 2px
Choke: 0%
Size: 1px

Step 8

Hit Control + N to create a new document. Enter 2 in the width and height boxes and click OK. Move to the Layers panel and remove the default "Background" layer. Set the foreground color at black, grab the Rectangle Tool, create a 1 by 2px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Next, you need to turn this tiny document into a pattern. Simply go to Edit > Define Pattern, pick a name for your pattern and click OK. Close this document (you don’t need to save it) and return to your first document.

Step 9

Set the foreground color at #80d248, grab the Rectangle Tool, create a 40px square and place it as shown in the following image.

Step 10

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape created in the previous step and add the properties shown in the following images. For the Pattern Overlay section you will need the pattern created in the eighth step. You can find it in the "Pattern" drop down menu.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 50%
Angle: 180 degrees
Distance: 2px
Choke: 0%
Size: 3px

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Multiply
Opacity: 70%
Style: Linear
Angle: 180 degrees
Scale: 100%

Pattern Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Color Burn
Opacity: 25%
Scale: 100%

Step 11

Grab the Rectangle Tool, create a 95 by 15px vector shape and place it as shown in the following image.

Step 12

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape created in the previous step and add the properties shown in the following images.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 35%
Angle: 90 degrees
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 0 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 13

Reselect the vector shape edited in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Move to the Layers panel and focus on this copy. Clear its Layer Style, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window. Activate the Inner Shadow and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Step 14

Pick a light grey for the foreground color, grab the Rectangle Tool, create a 95 by 220 vector shape and place it as shown in the following image.

Step 15

Pick a random green for the foreground color, grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create a 95 by 20px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape stays selected and switch to the Rectangle Tool. Check the "Subtract from shape area" button and draw a 95 by 5px shape as shown in the second image.

Step 16

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape created in the previous step and enter the properties shown in the following images.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 35%
Angle: 90 degrees
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 0 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 17

Reselect the vector shape edited in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Move to the Layers panel and focus on this copy. Clear its Layer Style, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window. Activate the Inner Shadow and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Luminosity
Opacity: 55%
Angle: -90 degrees
Distance: 2px
Choke: 0%
Size: 1px

Step 18

Set the foreground color at black, create a 45 by 20px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Select this new shape and go to Edit > Transform Path > Warp. Select Arc Upper from the Warp drop-down menu, enter -10 in the Bend box and hit Enter.

Step 19

Reselect the vector shape edited in the previous step, lower its opacity to 50% then open the Layer Style window. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 50%
Angle: 90 degrees
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Bevel and Emboss Options Settings

Style: Inner Bevel
Technique: Smooth
Depth: 100%
Direction: Up
Size: 5px
Soften: 0px

Angle: 90 degrees
Altitude: 32 degrees
Highlight Blending Mode: Normal
Highlight Opacity: 50%
Shadow Blending Mode: Normal
Shadow Opacity: 0%

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 20

Set the foreground color at black, create a 5 by 190px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Select this new shape and go to Edit > Transform Path > Warp. Select Shell Lower from the Warp drop-down menu, enter 1.0 in the Bend box and hit Enter.

Step 21

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape created in the previous step and enter the properties shown in the following images.

Drop Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 20%
Angle: -180 degrees
Distance: 1px
Spread: 0px
Size: 0px

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Soft Light
Opacity: 100%
Angle: 180 degrees
Distance: 2px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 22

For the following step you need a grid every 1px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides, Grid & Slices and enter 1 in the Gridline Every box. Set the foreground color at white, grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create a 21 by 11px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape stays selected and switch to the Rectangle Tool. Check the "Subtract from shape area" button and draw a 21 by 5px shape as shown in the second image.

Step 23

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape created in the previous step and enter the properties shown in the following images.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Angle: -90 degrees
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 0 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 24

Grab the Rectangle Tool, create a 7 by 14px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Open the Layer Style window for this new shape and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 0 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 25

Set the foreground color at #c8c8c8, create a 3 by 175px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new shape is selected and go to Edit > Transform Path > Warp. Select Flag from the Warp drop-down menu, enter 30 in the Bend box and hit Enter.

Step 26

Open the Layer Style window for the vector shape created in the previous step and enter the properties shown in the following images. Focus on the vector shape created in step #22, make a copy and drag it to the right as shown in the second image.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 50%
Angle: -135 degrees
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px


Step 27

Reselect the grey vector shape created in fourteenth step, make a copy (Control + J) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Focus on this new shape, lower its Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 30%
Style: Linear
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 28

Duplicate the vector shape created in the previous step (Control + J). Select this copy, clear its Layer Style, lower the Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and move to the Layers panel. Find your copy, right click on it and click on Convert to Smart Object.

Stroke Blending Options Settings

Size: 1px
Position: Inside
Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Fill Type: Color

Step 29

Focus on the smart object created in the previous step. Lower its Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 25%
Style: Linear
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 30

Reselect the smart object edited in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Open the Layer Style window for this copy and replace the existing properties with the ones shown in the following image.

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 35%
Style: Linear
Angle: -15 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 31

Reselect the grey vector shape created in fourteenth step, make a copy (Control + J) and bring it to front (Shift + Control + ] ). Focus on this new shape, lower its Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 50%
Style: Linear
Angle: 0 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 32

Grab the Rectangle Tool, create three, 1 by 15px vector shapes and place them as shown in the following image.

Step 33

Focus on the vector shapes created in the previous step. Lower their Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 30%
Style: Linear
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 34

Grab the Rectangle Tool, create two, 1 by 220px vector shapes and place them as shown in the following image. Select both shapes and lower their Fill to 0% then select the right vector shape and lower its Opacity to 60%. Open the Layer Style window for these two shapes and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 60%
Style: Linear
Angle: 90 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 35

Focus on the Layers panel and select the grey vector shape created in the fourteenth step. Lower its Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image. Return to the Layers panel, select all the shapes created so far and group them (Control + G).

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 15%
Style: Linear
Angle: 180 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 36

Move to the Layers panel, right click on the group created in the previous step and click on Duplicate Group. Focus on this new group, convert it to a smart object, send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ) and move it 3px to the right.

Step 37

Focus on the top, left side of your lighter. Set the foreground color at #a2a4a9, grab the Rectangle Tool, create a 3 by 52px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Pick the Direct Selection Tool, select the top, left anchor point and move it 3px down. Open the Layer Style window for this vector shape and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Angle: 0 degrees
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Step 38

Move below the vector shape edited in the previous step. Set the foreground color at #6cbd42, grab the Rectangle Tool, create a 3 by 15px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Pick the Direct Selection Tool, select the bottom, left anchor point and move it 1px up. Open the Layer Style window for this vector shape and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 50%
Angle: 0 degrees
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Step 39

Set the foreground color at #e5f3dc, grab the Rectangle Tool, create a 3 by 220px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Pick the Direct Selection Tool, select the top, left and the bottom, left anchor points and move them 1px up. Open the Layer Style window for this vector shape and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 50%
Angle: 0 degrees
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Step 40

Move below the vector shape edited in the previous step. Set the foreground color at #6cbd42, grab the Rectangle Tool, create a 3 by 20px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Pick the Direct Selection Tool, select the top, left anchor point and move them 1px up then select the bottom, left anchor point and move it 4px up. Open the Layer Style window for this vector shape and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Inner Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 30%
Angle: 0 degrees
Distance: 1px
Choke: 0%
Size: 0px

Step 41

Disable the Grid (View > Show > Grid). Reselect the thin vector shapes created in the last four steps along with the smart object created in step #36 and group them (Control + G). Move to the Layers panel, select this new group and send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ).

Step 42

Focus on the Layers panel and duplicate the top group (the one created in step #35). Open it, select one of the grey vector shapes, open the Layers Style window and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Color Overlay Options Settings

Blending Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%

Step 43

Reselect the group copy created in the previous step and convert it to a smart object. Open the Layer Style window for this new smart object and enter the properties shown in the following image.

Color Overlay Options Settings

Blending Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%

Step 44

Reselect the smart object created in the previous step and go again to Convert to Smart Object. Send this new smart object to back (Shift + Control + [ ), lower its Fill to 5% then open the Layer Style window. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Drop Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 15%
Angle: 165 degrees
Distance: 4px
Spread: 0px
Size: 0px

Step 45

Reselect the smart object created in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this copy, lower its Fill to 0% then open the Layer Style window. Enter the data shown in the following image and click OK.

Drop Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 10%
Angle: 165 degrees
Distance: 6px
Spread: 0px
Size: 0px

Step 46

Reselect the smart object created in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this copy, open the Layer Style window and enter the data shown in the following image.

Drop Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 30%
Angle: 165 degrees
Distance: 9px
Spread: 0px
Size: 15px

Step 47

Reselect the smart object created in the previous step and duplicate it (Control + J). Select this copy, open the Layer Style window and enter the data shown in the following image.

Drop Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 10%
Angle: 0 degrees
Distance: 4px
Spread: 0px
Size: 3px

Step 48

Enable the Grid (View > Show > Grid). Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool, create 4 by 21px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Open the Layer Style window for this new shape and enter the properties shown in the following images.

Drop Shadow Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 30%
Angle: 180 degrees
Distance: 1px
Spread: 0px
Size: 0px

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 180 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 49

Grab the Rectangle Tool, create 4 by 3px vector shape and place it as shown in the first image. Open the Layer Style window for this new shape and enter the properties shown in the following images.

Gradient Overlay Blending Options Settings

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Style: Linear
Angle: 0 degrees
Scale: 100%

Step 50

Finally, let’s addd a simple background. Set the foreground color at #fffde8, grab the Rectangle Tool, create a shape the size of your document and send it to back (Shift + Control + [ ). Open the Layer Style window for this new vector shape, enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Inner Glow Blending Options Settings

Blending Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Size: 250

And We’re Done!

Here is how your final result should look.

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About the Author:

I spend most of my time working in Adobe Illustrator and I have my own website that focuses on this program. So far, I published over 150 tutorials on my websites and on other vector-related websites. You can see them all on VForVectors

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2 Comments:

  1. Carin says:

    What a great tutorial. Even with my limited knowledge i could finish it. Thanks!

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