Today we will be making a 2010 Olympic Gold Medal similar in style to those used in the current Vancouver Winter Games. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create an interesting warped metal effect using the Gradient Mesh Tool. You’ll also learn some interesting ways to create and use masks while we construct this gold medal.
Final Image Preview
Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.
- Program: Adobe Illustrator CS4
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour
Start by drawing a circle using the Ellipse Tool (L) approximately 135 px by 135 px and make it a gold color (#D5BB77). Go to Effects > Stylize > Drop Shadow and enter the following: Opacity 30%, X Offset 0 pt, Y Offset 2 pt, and Blur 2 pt.
Copy the circle (Command + C) and Paste in Front (Command + F). Now go to the Appearance Palette with the duplicated circle selected, and delete its Drop Shadow by dragging the effect into the trash. Then with the Gradient Mesh Tool (U) place a new point directly in the middle of the new circle. Make the new point a lighter gold (#ECE0C2).
Now for the tricky part. Keep making new points on the circle with the Gradient Mesh Tool, while changing the shade of gold (darker and lighter). Now move and bend the paths of the mesh making the colors form a swirling pattern. Be sure to keep like colors next to each other or else the final outcome will look blotchy. Then set the opacity of the mesh to 75%. This will even out the gold colors you have chosen and show through some of the original circle. It should look something like this.
Draw the Orca Whale Art pattern on the medal using the Pen Tool (P). Make sure to overlap the edge of the medal. When done, select all of the pieces that make up the whale art and go to Object > Group. Then Copy (Command + C) and Paste in Front (Command + F) the original gold circle.
With the new circle selected, go to Object > Arrange > Send to Front. With both the Whale Art Group and duplicated circle selected, go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make. This helps make sure the art goes right to the edge of the medal. Now make the Orca Whale Art is a darker gold or brown (#966D32) and set its Opacity to 80%.
Duplicated the mesh layer and placed it above the whale art in the Layers Palette. With the duplicated mesh selected, go to Edit > Edit Colors > Convert to Grayscale. Set it’s Transparency Mode to Color Burn and Opacity to 50%. It should look like this.
Now it’s time to add the logo. Instead of using the Olympic Rings, let’s make this an homage to the design community by using the command icon. Place the icon at the lower right of the medal. Give the icon a Linear Gradient at 45° using two dark gold swatches on the ends (#C5A350) and a lighter gold swatch in the middle (#F2D897). Then go to Effects > Stylize > Outer Glow. Set the Mode to Normal, Color to #724F00, Opacity to 50%, and Blur to 1 pt.
Now that the medallion portion is done. Let’s make the lanyard. Start by drawing a rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) approximately 310 px tall by 45 px wide. Then grab the lower edge and move it to the right about 50 px. Give the new shape a Linear Gradient at 10°. Set the left swatch to #131D35 and the right swatch to #056DBA. Move the shape to the back by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back.
Instead of using the Vancouver 2010 logo, let’s continue with our designer homage by using the Pen Tool icon. After making it, shrink it down and place it on an angle parallel to the strap. Give it a Linear Gradient at 10°. Set the left swatch to #96D8E8 and the right swatch to #90D0D6. This Gradient may be subtle, but it helps give some life to the piece.
Copy (Command + C) the blue strap and Paste in Front (Command + F). With the copy selected, go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Set the Axis to Vertical and click OK. Nudge the shape to the right so that the bottom lines up. Then center the straps with the center of the medallion.
Copy (Command + C) the right blue strap and Paste in Back (Command + B). Set it’s color to #003253, nudge it to the left 2 px and give it a Gaussian Blur (Effects > Blur > Gaussian Blur) of 3 px. Next, Copy and Paste in Front the left strap. Go to Object > Arrange > Send to Front.
Select both the new front-most shape and the blurred shape and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make. Be sure that the new shape is positioned behind the right strap. This should make it look as if the right strap is casting a shadow onto the left strap.
Now add some text to the right strap. Make sure to angle the text so that it is parallel to it’s strap. With the text selected, go to Type > Create Outlines. Give it the same gradient you gave the icon on the left, but reverse the colors and set it’s angle to 170°.
Now make some artistic lines at the top ends of the straps. Set the stroke to 1 pt with a color of #8ED69A. After the lines have all been drawn, select them all and go to Object > Group. Now make copies of both straps using the Copy and Paste in Front method from earlier.
With both new shapes selected, go to the Pathfinder Palette and merge the shapes with the Unite option. Move the shape to the front (Object > Arrange > Send to Front). Select both the new shape and the artistic lines and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make. Finally, set the blending mode of the lines to Overlay.
Last, but not least, Copy and Paste in Back the gold circle from Step 1, set it’s color to #003253, nudge it up 2 px and give it a Gaussian Blur (Effects > Blur > Gaussian Blur) of 3 px. Make a mask for the blurry circle just like we did before in Step 10.
Copy and Paste in Front the right strap. Go to Object > Arrange > Send to Front. Select both the new front-most shape and the blurred circle and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make.
There you have it. A gold medal for all you design champions out there. Hope you enjoyed and thank you for reading.
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