3D Blue LCD Alarm Clock - Illustrator Tutorial

A 3D neon blue digital lcd clock created in Illustrator with a final step in Photoshop.

This tutorial covers the Illustrator portion. Some skills to learn here are how to create perspective, blending, and adding gloss.


  1. Start out by drawing a rounded rectangle (which I'll be calling the clock base):
  2. Duplicate the clock base and paste the duplicated object on top of the original (press 'ctrl+c' to copy then 'ctrl+f' to "paste in front") and reduce the size. Add a medium blue to light blue 90 degree linear gradient using the colors shown. This new object will be called the clock face.
  3. Add some text. Whatever floats your boat. I chose RationalInteger, 48pt. You can download this font for free here: 1001 Fonts.
  4. Now draw an ellipse with the ellipse tool like the one below. The idea is to get the ellipse to intersect the lower left and upper right corners of the clock face.
  5. Duplicate the clock face and move the duplicated clock face to the top of all objects (this is done by dragging it in the Layers window). Now select both the duplicated object and the ellipse. To select multiple objects, either shift click both objects, or shift click the circles next to each object in the Layers window.
  6. With both objects selected, open the pathfinder window (under 'windows > pathfinder') and 'ctrl+click' on the 'Minus Back' pathfinder. Holding control will create a new object that is a combination of the two previous objects.

    This resulting object will be used to make gloss. Fill it with a black to white linear gradient, using the gradient tool as shown:
  7. Change the transparency mode to 'screen.' Screen is very useful for glossy effects. Experiment with it a little if you never have before. See how changing the direction and size of the gradient affects the object. Or don't.
  8. Now select your text and go to 'Type > Create Outlines.' This will turn your text in to paths which makes it easier to modify.
  9. Select all objects with the 'selection tool' (just drag it around all objects), then use the 'free transform tool' to add some perspective. Grab the lower left corner, hold 'ctrl+shift', and drag the corner point down a little bit. Control lets you skew the object, while shift constrains so you can't move it all over the place (in this case, you just want to move it straight down). See the image for how far I dragged it down:
  10. Duplicate the original clock base, send it below all other objects, and move it to the left. The quickest way to do this is to select it, copy it, then press 'ctrl+b' to "paste in back." Then use the arrow keys to move it left. Fill the duplicated clock base with #5C5D5E.
  11. Make the duplicated clock base a little smaller.
  12. Select the old clock base and the duplicated clock base. Now you will blend the 2 objects together, giving the 3D look. First, go to 'Object > Blend > Blend Options' Make sure 'Smooth Color' is selected.
  13. With the objects still selected, go to 'Object > Blend > Make' (or hit 'alt+ctrl+b').
  14. Just a couple of finishing touches left. First, click the arrow next to the 'blend' object in the Layers window. This should show the 2 objects that make up the blend: the orginal clock base and the duplicated clock base. Select the original clock base, and "copy" ('ctrl+c') then "paste in front" ('ctrl+f'). Give the new object a black to white gradient. Use the gradient tool if you need to make adjustments. In mine, it's just the default gradient.
  15. As a final touch, to give the front of the clock a little bevel, select the gloss object and move it just one pixel right and one pixel down.
  16. And you have yourself a clock. Just for an idea of what to do with it, here is a little scene I threw together in Photoshop:


Comments

Step 9

If you group all the objects first (ctl + g) and then follow step 9 this will work

Step 9

Step 9 is not working. I do everything whats said but nothing skews. Only resizes (just like with Scale Tool).

Cool

Very nice tuto, and the time you chose to put on your clock seems appropriate.
You forgot to mirror the reflection in Photoshop though. ;)

Any idea why step 9 doesn't work in CS2.

Any idea why step 9 doesn't work in CS2. For some reason it won't let me skew.

Hey, what's up? You're

Hey, what's up? You're asking about why it doesn't work in CS2? cause it's a tutorial for illustrator.

Skew tool

Before start pressing ctrl+sift, start druging with the free transform tool the corner of the object that you want to skew. While keeping pressed the mouse button press the ctrl+sift key to have the result of this tutorial.
I hope that this solve your problem.
Sorry for my bad English.

Thnxs for the posts

good basic tutorial ... and thanxs to all others who posted here .. i myself dint get the step 9 , then i read thru this and figured out ! thnxs

9th Step

hi,
this is a very good tutorial. But i don't getting the 9th Step in Practice.

You need to click on the

You need to click on the bottom left corner FIRST then hold CTRL and SHIFT then drag the corner to skew the clock.

Reflection

Great tutorial. One thing you might want to think about is how a reflection works versus a shadow. A shadow will fall like you have placed it, although with your light source means it would not fall to the front, as the light is hitting the clock on the upper left, so the shadow will fall to the rear of the clock. Now a reflection will act differently, it will fall in a direct line as the object you are viewing it. So instead of it looking like it would come out to the front, it would be a complete reversal going downward from the reflected image. Just something to consider.

Can someone please show me

Can someone please show me this: "Add a medium blue to light blue 90 degree linear gradient using the colors shown." in clear steps? Thanks a lot.

Never mind, I already found

Never mind, I already found out by myself :)

I give up

I give up

Screen

why in step seven is is just turing white when i hit >screen in the transparency mode? I used overlay to get the similar effect though but I'd like to know what I'm missing there.

I have this problem too, Mac

I have this problem too, Mac X 10.4 Illustrator CS3, maybe it's a Mac issue? I can't find any info on google either :(

Screen

You need to have the file in RGB, not CMYK.

screen

In Step 7 when I clicked >screen in the transparency mode it just turned the shape white and not clear. I used overlay and it turned clear. What is going on? I'm using Illustrator CS3 on a G5 Mac for info.

The shaddow is placed upside

The shaddow is placed upside down! I cannot believe nobody noticed!

lol, 4:20

lol, 4:20

haha, I wonder why he chose

haha, I wonder why he chose that specific time :D

step 12

Step 12 is wrong... go to object

Very Clear Tutorial

I really appreciate how clear this tutorial was. Straight forward and to the point. Keep up the good work.

just comment

Very Good ! I would like to see more tutorials by you like this...
thanks

I like the tutorial but step 9 is not working in Illustrator CS2

I like the tutorial but step 9 is not working in Illustrator CS2. May i know the reason? Thanks.

It was made in CS2, so that

It was made in CS2, so that shouldn't be a problem. Make sure you are selecting the original clock base (the shape made in step 1) using one of the selection tools, then "copy" it, then "paste in back." Try going to 'Edit > Copy' then 'Edit > Paste in Back' instead of using the shortcut keys. Feel free to email me if that doesn't work.

Reflection

You forgot to flip the reflection in the last shot. But it's still a good tutorial for beginners.

Yeah, that's just to test

Yeah, that's just to test how carefully you're following the tutorials. You get an A+, my friend. Actually, I didn't save the psd and probably won't bother redoing it.

NICE

NICE

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