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  A Rainbow of Illustrator® 9 Gel Buttons
Part 1A
Demo Page 1 Demo Page 2 Demo Page 3

This tutorial shows how to make a rainbow of colored gel buttons based on a single master button. Anyone with intermediate level skills should be able to follow this tutorial. There are similar tutorials on making gel buttons but all of them I have seen are pixel-based and use image editing programs to create the effect. This tutorial uses a drawing program. The advantage is that merely by changing the color values of the individual objects in the master button you can create a button of any color. With a pixel-based program you virtually have to make the button from scratch each time you want to change the color. You can only use programs that support vector objects, live (editable) bitmap effects and transparency for this kind of button. Adobe® Illustrator 9 fits the bill. I can't think of an easier way to create these buttons because, as you will experience for yourself, changing the color of the button is nothing more than a couple of clicks away.

The following description, "Deconstructing The Gel Button Master", describes how to put the button together. You can either download the master button in Illustrator 9 format or build it from scratch by using the instructions and screen shots below.

1. Shown below is a screen shot of the master button. You can download the master button (below right) and skip the section on "Deconstructing The Gel Button Master" then continue with the sections on making rollover images and changing colors if you want.


Click to download


Deconstructing The Gel Button Master

2. Shown below is a representation of the gel button's object stack. There are only four objects (other than a clipping path). You build the button from the bottom up. You start by making "Object 1" then add Objects 2 through 4 as you build it.

3. Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool and click once on the artboard.

4. You will see a dialog where you enter the specifications for the rounded rectangle. We want the button to be 129 points wide by 44 points high. In order for the ends to be semicircular in shape the corner radius is half the value of the height (22 points). Click "OK" when done.

5. You will see the rounded rectangle on the artboard. This will be "Object 1" and will lie at the bottom of the stack. We need to make three more of them. With the Rounded Rectangle Tool still selected, click once again near the first object.

6. We want this object to be 120 points wide by 35 points high with a corner radius of 17.5 points. Click "OK" when done entering the specs.

7. The second object will appear on the artboard.

8. Drag this object into position over the first one approximately like the example shown below right. Position is not critical. We will use the Transform palette later on to adjust its position precisely.

Click Here To Continue...


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