Illustrator Tutorial: Water Slide

Riding on a water slide is one of the most enjoyable things to do in the summer. Today, you will learn how to create a water slide text effect using Adobe Illustrator. Firstly, you will learn how to create the letter shapes using the Pen Tool. Secondly, you will create a stream of water using an artistic brush along with blend technique. As we go along, you will use the basic tools, blend technique and vector shape building techniques to create the ladder. Finally, you will create a beautiful background with sky, sea surface and sand bank. So let’s get started.

Create a New Document

1. Launch Illustrator and press (Ctrl + N) to create a New document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu. Enter 900 in the width box and 500 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

2. Show the Rulers (View > View Rulers > Show Ruler) or (Ctrl +R). Next, drag a horizontal guide from the Rulers (if the guide is locked, go to the View > Guides > Lock Guides) or (Ctrl +Alt + ;). Make a duplicate of this guide (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F) and move it 86px down. Now pick the Pen Tool (P) and create a path by following the direction of the yellow arrows. After you are done creating the path, add a 25px stroke (R=0, G=0, B=0). Finally, move to the Layer palette (Window > Layer) and lock the current layer.

Create the Body Slides

3. The first thing to do is to create a new layer and name it “Text”. Now we’ll create the objects of the letter “S”. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and use it to create a red object as you can see in the first image. Try to use the path created in step 2 as a rough reference. Once your object is drawn, fill it with R=163, G=0, B=0. Continue working with the Pen Tool (P). Create two yellow paths, fill these paths with none and add 6px stroke (apply linear gradient along stroke). Next, select the smaller path and apply the Width Profile 1 for it, then select the remaining path and apply the Width Profile 3 for it.

4. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create a yellow object and then fill it with R=206, G=0, B=0. Next, create two yellow paths as shown in the third image, fill them with none and add a 3px stroke (apply linear gradient within stroke). Continue to create another yellow object and fill it with the radial gradient as you can see in the fifth and sixth images below. Now select all the objects created in this step and send them to back (Ctrl +Shift +Left Square Bracket).

5. Use the Pen Tool (P) to create an object as shown below. Once your object is drawn, fill it with R=206, G=0, B=0 and add a 5px stroke (apply the linear gradient within stroke).

6. Next comes the letter “u”. Use the Pen Tool (P) to create an object as shown in the first image. Next, fill the newly created object with R=67, G=141, B=255 and add a 5px stroke (apply linear gradient within stroke). Hide the “u” shape behind the letter “S”.

7. Repeat the process in the previous steps and follow the sequence of images to create the other four letters (“m”, “m”, “e” and “r”) similar to the ones from below. This process will take some time but you will not be disappointed with the final result. Let’s start by creating the letter “m”.

8. Then we have the second letter “m”.

9. Continue with the letter “e”.

10. It’s time to draw the final letter “r”.

11. You should end up with something like the image below. The last thing to do is go to the Layer palette (Window > Layer) and remove the first layer.

Add the Highlights to the Slides

12. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and use this tool to create a path as shown below. Once your path is drawn, fill it with none and add a 15px stroke (R=243, G=0, B=0), then apply the Width Profile 1 for the result. Make sure that the newly created object is still selected. Go to the Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 3px Radius and then click OK. Now we’ll hide the parts of the newly created object that lie outside the letter “S”. Reselect the red shape created in step 3. Duplicate (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F) and bring it to front (Ctrl +Shift +Right Square Bracket). Keep the duplicate selected. Hold down the Shift key, click on the object with the Gaussian Blur effect and go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Ctrl +7).

13. We’ll add the highlight for the letter “m”. Pick the Pen Tool(P) and use this tool to create a path as shown below. Once your path is drawn, fill it with none and add a 15px stroke (apply linear gradient along stroke), then apply the Width Profile 1 for the result. Make sure that the newly created object is still selected. Go to the Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 3px Radius and then click OK. Now we’ll hide the parts of the newly created object that lie outside the letter “m”. Reselect the shape as you can see in the third image. Duplicate and bring it to front. Keep the duplicate selected. Hold down the Shift key, click on the object with the Gaussian Blur effect and go to the Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Ctrl +7). Repeat the process to add the highlights on the other two positions of the letter “m”.

14. Zoom on the remaining letter “m” and use the Pen Tool (P) to create a yellow object as shown below. Next, fill this object with R=255, G=0, B=255 and apply a 3px Gaussian Blur for the result. Use the clipping mask to hide the parts of the newly created object that lie outside the letter “m”.

15. Repeat the techniques in the previous steps and follow the sequence of images to create highlights for the remaining letters.

16. You should end up with something like this:

17. To add some details for the letters, first draw some curved paths as you can see in the first and second images below. Once your paths are drawn, fill them with none. Add a 2px stroke (R=255, G=255, B=255) and apply the Width Profile 1 for the results. Keep the resulting objects selected, move to the Transparency palette (Window > Transparency), set the Blending Modeto Lightenand reduce the Opacity to 60%.

Create the Connections of the Slide Tubes

18. Pick the Pen Tool (P) and use this tool to create two paths as shown below. Once your paths are drawn, fill them with none and add a 1px stroke (R=255, G=63, B=0). Keep the two newly created paths selected. Go to the Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Follow the data as shown below and then click OK. Continue to draw more “connection” objects until you have something like the final images below.

19. Repeat the process in the previous step for the remaining letters. Once done, your artwork should look roughly like the final image below.

Create the Stream of Water

20. Begin by drawing two paths using the Pen Tool (P). Once your paths are drawn, fill the white path with none and add a 13px stroke (R=165, G=218, B=255). Make sure that the newly created object is still selected and go to the Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2px Radius and then click OK. Now open the Brushes palette (Window > Brushes). In the Brushes palette, click on the “Brushes Libraries Menu” button (at the left-bottom corner of the Brushes palette) and you will get brush sets in various categories. Open the Artisticcategory, and select the Chalk Charcoal Pencil subcategory. You will get a library of rough brushes. Select a suitable brush. I will use the one labeled as Charcoal Feather. Before you continue, close the Chalk Charcoal Pencil subcategory. Now select the green path, then move to the Brushes palette and double click on the Charcoal Feather brush. In the Art Brush Option box, follow the data as shown in the final image and then click OK. Keep the resulting object selected. Replace the existing stroke color with R=197, G=233, B=255 and change the stroke weight to 3px.

21. Use the Pen Tool (P) to create two curved paths as shown below. Once your paths are drawn, fill them with none and add a 1px stroke (R=207, G=221, B=223). Next, apply the Charcoal Feather brush for the results. Now reselect the two newly created objects and create a blend between them. While the result is selected, set the Blending Mode to Screen and reduce the Opacity to 60%.

22. Now, repeat the process in the previous steps to create streams for the bottom part of the letter “S” and the remaining letters.

23. You should end up with something like this:

Create the Ladder

24. Create a yellow object as you can see in the first image and fill this object with R=233, G=0, B=0. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and use it to create two objects (64px by 12px and 11px by 12px). Now select the top-right and bottom-right anchor points of the green object and then move them 17px up. Reselect the two newly created rectangles and fill them with R=139, G=210, B=255. Use the Pen Tool (P) to create an object as you can see in the final image and then fill this object with R=0, G=220, B=255.

25. Now we’ll create the front and back guardrails for the ladder. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 64px by 3px object and two 2px by 27px objects as shown in the images below. Once your rectangles are drawn, fill them with R=255, G=28, B=36. Now select the two 2px by 27px rectangles and go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options. Follow the data as shown below and then click OK. Next go to the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B).

26. Select all the “front_guardrail” objects. Duplicate and move them to the other position. Replace the existing color of the newly created objects with R=183, G=0, B=0. Make sure that the resulting objects are still selected and group them. Next, place this group to the position as you can see in the third image. Finally, send the newly created group to back.

27. We’ll create the side guardrail for the ladder. With the help of the Pen Tool (P), create an object and fill it with the linear gradient as shown in the images below. Continue to draw the other objects using the Pen Tool (P) as seen in the third image. Once your objects are drawn, reselect them and go to the Object > Blend > Blend Options. Follow the data as shown below and then click OK. Next, go the Object > Blend > Make (Ctrl +Alt +B). Now pick the Selection Tool (V) and double click on the blended objects. Replace the existing color of the left shape with R=255, G=28, B=36 and then replace the existing color of the right shape with R=183, G=0, B=0. Double-click anywhere outside of the blended objects. Finally, select the blended objects and the shape created in this step and then send them to back.

28. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a 20px by 44px object and fill it with the linear gradient. Next, select the two bottom anchor points of the newly created shape and move them 6px to the right. Continue working with the Rectangle Tool (M). Create two 16px by 7px objects,. Fill these objects with R=156, G=255, B=255 and then place them to the positions as shown in the third image. Next, reselect the two newly created shapes and create a blend between them.

29. Select the shapes as seen in the first image. Duplicate and move them 86px down. With the help of the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 60px by 5px object. Fill it with R=0, G=220, B=255 and place the resulting shape to the position as shown in the third image. Next, select the two bottom anchor points of the newly created shape and move them 3px to the left. Continue to draw another rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M) similar with the fifth image and then fill it with R=156, G=255, B=255.

30. Keep working with the Rectangle Tool (M). Create two shapes as seen in the first image. Reselect the two newly created shapes. Duplicate them twice (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +F, Ctrl +F) and then move the duplicates down to the positions as shown in the second image below. With the help of Pen Tool (P), draw another object. Fill it with R=0, G=193, B=255 and then hide this shape behind the “step” shapes.

31. Select the “back_guardrails” shapes. Duplicate and move them down to the positions as shown in the first image and send them to back. Next, select the “front_guardrails” shapes. Duplicate and move them down to the positions as shown in the second image and bring them to front.

32. Now we’ll work on the side guardrails. Use the Pen Tool (P) to create two shapes and fill them with the linear gradients as shown below. Continue to create two yellow shapes as seen in the third image. Once your shapes are drawn, select the higher shape and replace the existing color of it with R=183, G=0, B=0. Next, select the remaining shape and replace the existing color of it with R=241, G=22, B=39. Finally, create a blend between the two newly created shapes.

33. Select the objects as you can see in the first image and make a duplicate of them (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + F). Next, move the duplicates down to the positions as shown in the second image and then send them to back.

34. Let’s make a support column for the ladder. Start by drawing three rectangles and fill them with the linear gradient as shown below. Next, place these columns behind the floors of the ladder. Once done, your artwork should look like the third image shown. Now select and group (Ctrl + G) all the objects created from step 2 up to this time.

Create the Sky, Sea Surface and Sand Bank

35. Start by drawing a 810px by 445px using the Rectangle Tool(M). Next, fill this rectangle with the radial gradient. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) one more time. Use this tool to create a 810px by 55px object and fill it with the linear gradient. Now pick the Pen Tool (P) and use it to create an object as you can see in the third image. Once your object is drawn, fill it with R=255, G=227, B=166 and then apply a 1px Gaussian Blur for the result.

36. Using the Line Segment Tool (\), create a horizontal path as shown below. Fill this path with none, add a 1px stroke (R=207, G=255, B=255), and apply the Width Profile 1 and the Charcoal Feather brush for the result. Keep the resulting object selected. Set the Blending Mode to Screen and reduce the Opacityto 80%. Now place the “Water_Slide” group to the position as you can see in the third image below. Hide this group behind the “sea_surface” shape. Focus on the bottom of the letter “r”. Create a red path as shown in the fourth image. Reselect the newly created path. Pick the Eyedropper Tool (I) and click on the object created at the beginning of this step.

37. Now we’ll do the shadows of the “water_slide” group. Use the Pen Tool (P) to create some paths as you can see in the image below. Once your paths are drawn, fill them with none. Add a 5px stroke (R=35, G=31, B=32) and then apply the Width Profile 1 for the results. Make sure that the resulting objects are still selected. Apply a 1px Gaussian Blur and set them to Blending Mode Overlay then reduce the Opacity to 40%.

Create the Rubber Ring

38. Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool from the Tool palette and click anywhere from the document. In the Rounded Rectangle box, follow the data as shown below and then click OK. Fill the newly created object with the linear gradient. Next, add an anchor point on the top side of the rubber ring and move it 1px down. Continue to create another object. Fill it with R=255, G=0, B=0. Finally, select and group (Ctrl +G) the two newly created shapes. We are done with the rubber ring at the moment. Repeat the process to create more rubber rings. The last thing to do is to place the rubber rings to the positions as seen in the final images below.

We’re done! Here’s the complete look of the design. Hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. Have a fun summer.



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