Creative Juices Bo. Co.

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Creating Realistic Objects Using Illustrator and Photoshop

The Evolution of a Bottle Cap

When I began converting the website to the current format, I needed to update some of the graphics along with it. And one of the things that bothered me from day one, was my ugly bottle cap. It's the one located in my website header that has my logo in it. If you don't remember what the old one looked liked, trust me, it was ugly. I decided to make the new one and I thought I would give you a quick run down of the steps I went through. First thing to know, it's not a photo. The entire bottle cap is made from scratch using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Evolution of a bottle cap

If you notice I provided a nice Andy Warhol-esque graphic above. Below is a list of what was involved in some nice easy-to-follow steps. the only drawing tool I used was a mouse.

Step 1

Bottle Cap Creation: Step 1A Bottle Cap Creation: Step 1B Bottle Cap Creation: Step 1C

First thing I needed to do was to create my bottle cap shape in Illustrator. So I created a big circle, then I created a small circle and moved it to the top, clipping the large circle enough until I thought it looked like the indent on the cap. Next, I used the Rotate tool, made my axis point the center of the big circle and rotate/copy the small circle a bunch of times. When I was all done, I just used the pathfinder palette to remove the small circles from the big one.

Step 2

Bottle Cap Creation: Step 2A Bottle Cap Creation: Step 2B

Now that I had my shape, I picked some colors and then I tried doing a 3D extrude. I wasn't happy with the outcome, so I decided to duplicate the shape and create a color blend between the two shapes. I offset the smaller shape slightly. This gives the impression that the shape is at somewhat of a perspective.

Step 3

Bottle Cap Creation: Step 3A Bottle Cap Creation: Step 3B Bottle Cap Creation: Step 3C Bottle Cap Creation: Step 3D

After I created my color blend, I created a crescent shaped sliver that I could use to add a highlight and shadow effect. I split this into three parts. Making the two crescent ends into the highlights makes it looks as if there are two light sources on the object. This is a simple trick that adds more realism to an object.

Step 4

From this point, I took the Illustrator object into Photoshop. I performed a gausian blur to soften the shadow and highlights. Nothing to complicated here.

Step 5

Bottle Cap Creation: Step 5A

At this point, I duplicated the object layer and removed all the color from the new layer. I added a simple white to black blend over the object using the "overlay" setting and transparency set failry low. The goal was to darken the lower portion of the cap to give it more depth. I also used the Inner Shadow setting to darken the edges somewhat.

Using the Curves and Levels Adjustment tools I began tryng to put some emphasis on the bottle cap "ridges". This is really a trial and error phase, until you get to something you like.

The Smudge tool was also used to bring some more of the cap top into the ridge areas.

Step 6

Bottle Cap Creation: Step 6A

I moved the first object layer (the original colored-blurred layer) on top of the grey layer and changed it's layer setting to "Color" instead of "Normal". To get the color a little richer I created an Color Setting Adjustment Layer and tweaked the color to bring out a little more red and get rid of some of the greens that were showing up.

Step 7

Bottle Cap Creation: Step 7A Bottle Cap Creation: Step 7B

I added a very subtle "sheen" on the top of the cap. I did this by creating a Free-Hand Lasso shape and used the Blend Tool with a white to transparent setting.

I needed to recreate the highlights and shadow elements that we had originally, but were lost on the gausian blur. These were created using the free-hand lasso as well and then blurred slightly.

Step 8

I knew that I was going to place this graphic on my header, and if you notice, the background has a green bar in it. I used my Color Picker to grab this color, then created a reverse shape (A square larger than the cap with the cap-shape cut out of it) and then filled it with this color. I performed a guasian blur and moved the object up and over about 10 pixels or so. I then created a layer mask to hide any of the green color outside of the bottle cap shape. (This can be done with Inner Shadow layer style now!)

I wasn't happy with the top, so I decided to add a few more highlights.

Step 9

All that was left was to add my logo and then add some shadows.

That's about it, the entire process took me about 10 minutes to complete and I think it turned out failry nice. If you have any questions, let me know.