How To Make a Shiny Rounded Button in Adobe Illustrator

Using Adobe Illustrator CS4 (this procedure may also apply to CS3 and earlier versions, please let me know if it does) you can make a neat little object that looks like it is curved, rounded, and shiny, with a light shine highlight and edge darkening effect to get the full depth.

  1. Start with an image layer, containing the image that will be the skin of the object (which is in our case a round convex button).
  2. Put a new layer under it.
  3. On the new layer create a circle (Ellipse (L) tool and hold Shift to force circular, hold Alt to anchor center point of ellipse while manipulating the size) that encompasses the part of the image that whall be visible on the final “button” to be created.
  4. Create a radial gradient in the circle. Make it lighter in the center.
  5. Create a new layer between the image layer and the circle layer.
  6. Create another circle on this layer, a bit smaller than the last one, and shifted down a bit so it almost touches on the lower boundary of the circles.
  7. On the same layer create an ellipse that is larger than the circle, but leaves a crescent at the top of the button, for the shine.
  8. Using the layers box, and holding Shift, select both these layers. Then click Pathfinder > Subtract From Shape. This trims out all but the crescent.  (If it does the opposite, Undo (Ctrl-Z) back and reverse the order stacking order of the circle and ellipse on this layer, and try this step again.)
  9. Create a new layer between the image layer and the original circle layer.
  10. On this layer create a rectangle that covers the entire crescent.
  11. In the rectangle, create a white-down-to-black gradient (at -90 deg.) using the standard black and white color pair.
  12. Using the layers box again, select both the rectangle and crescent layers.
  13. On the Transparency panel dropdown (located in the right-corner of the panel) menu selet Make Opacity Mask.
  14. Select the original circle and copy it.
  15. Select the image layer, and paste the circle using Ctrl-F.
  16. Select the pasted circle. Remove the fill and stroke from it.
  17. Select the entire image layer (which selects all sublayers too) and do Ctrl-7 to create a clipping mask. Now your button looks round.
  18. Create a new layer above the image layer, but under the shine layer.
  19. Paste the circle again into this new layer.
  20. Convert the fill to a B&W gradient.
  21. On the gradient, move the center nugget toward the black as far as it will go. This creates a domed shadow effect.
  22. In the Transparency panel, select Mode of Multiply, then select Opacity of 20%.

Viola! Now you have a round  button that looks roundy and shiny.  Rotate the crescent layer to change the direction of light in the shine.

Great Adobe Illustrator tutorial I got this metod… thank you Veerle!

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