- Nov 24, 2012
1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid
Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width box and 630 in the height box then click on the Advancedbutton. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.
Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid, it will ease your work and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut. You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.
2. Create the Pole
Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 15 x 480px shape and place it roughly as shown in the following image. Make sure that this shape stays selected, open theGradient panel (Window > Gradient) and simply click on the gradient thumbnail to add the default black to white linear gradient.
Keep focusing on the Gradient panel, set the Angle at 0 degrees then move to the gradient colors. Select the left gradient slider and set the color at R=15 G=20 B=25then select the right gradient slider and set the color at R=55 G=60 B=65. Focus on the gradient bar and simply click on it to add a new gradient slider. Make sure that this new slider is selected, set its color at R=100 G=105 B=110, focus on the Location box (from the Gradient panel) and set it at 35%. Keep in mind that the white numbers from the Gradient images stand for Location percentage. Add another two sliders for your gradient then use the color and Location attributes shown in the following image.
Make sure that your rectangle is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 1px Radius, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.
For the following steps you will need a grid every 1px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create an 11px circle, fill it with the radial gradient shown below and place it as shown in the following image. Focus on your artboard and use the Gradient Tool (G) to stretch your radial gradient as shown below.
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 19 x 8px shape, set the fill color at R=39 G=170 B=225 and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 19 x 5px shape and place it as shown in the second image. Reselect both shapes made in this step, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Unite button.
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 19 x 8px shape, fill it with the linear gradient shown below and place it as shown in the first image. Select this squeezed circle along with your blue shape and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group is selected and simply hit Shift-Control-G toUngroup it. Select the bottom, blue shapes (highlighted in the third image) and remove them using the Delete button from the your keyboard. Select the remaining blue shape and replace the existing fill color with R=225 G=225 B=225.
Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px. Reselect your squeezed circle and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1px down using the down arrow button from your keyboard.
Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from thePathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on theAppearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with white (R=255 G=255 B=255) then simply click on that "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Lower the Opacity to 80% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.
Select all the shapes highlighted in the first image and simply hit Control-G to Groupthem. Make sure that your new group is selected and hit Shift-Control-[ to send it to back.
3. Create the Support Pieces for the Signs
Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 17 x 52px shape, set the fill color at R=26 G=29 B=31 and place it as shown in the following image.
Make sure that your dark rectangle is still selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OKand go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting group of shapes and hitShift-Control-G twice.
Reselect the five, dark rectangles made in the previous step and simply hit Control-8to turn them into a Compound Path. Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select your entire compound path, focus on the control panel and enter "1px" in that Corners box.
Make sure that your compound path is still selected and go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK then simply hit Shift-Control-[ to send it to back.