Premium Tutorial: Vector Film Reel

Movie film reels, twisting film strips and clapper boards are the best elements you can spice up your movie ads or websites. The first part of this illustrator tutorial will cover on how to create movie film can. The next part will cover on how to create a clapper board from scratch. Lastly, you will learn how to use envelope distort and subtraction of paths to create amazing looking film strips. It’s quite easy, nothing too difficult for a beginner.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Requirements: Adobe Illustrator

What will you get?

    • Instant download of PDF e-book (22 pages)
    • Step by step tutorial to create a film reel
    • Easy to follow with screenshot for every step
    • Complete the tutorial easily in 46 steps
    • Comes with source file for easy reference

Tutorial Preview:

1. Drawing the film can is an easy task. You just need to play a little with the gradients and circles. Simply draw a circle (circle 1) and give it a gradient of gray to non-white colors. Don't use pure black and pure white values, because unlike Photoshop, AI (Adobe Illustrator) creates weird gradients when pure values are involved.

Now create another circle (circle 2) of slightly a smaller radius then the first one. Fill it with the opposite gradient that you used in the first circle. Create another circle (circle 3) and fill it with a slightly slanted gradient of the same shade. Repeat the same for the next circle (circle 4). The below images will explain everything:

2. Stack the 4 circles go on top of one another with circle 1 at the bottom layer and circle 4 at the top layer.

3. I have also added a drop shadow to the biggest circle. This creates a 3d effect.

Now, we will draw the holes inside the film can with the same technique. Draw two circles and give the inner circle a smaller radius. Fill them with alternative gradients. Stack the two circles on top of each other and you will achieve an emboss effect.

4. Now, group the two circles and create a copy of the group. Select the new group. Click on Rotate Tool and change the rotation center to the center of the bigger circles. To find the bigger circle center you can use guides.

5. Hold Alt/Option to duplicate and rotate the new circle to its new position. Continue doing until you have created 5 circles.

6. Now, simply create 5 more circles of slightly smaller radius and place them on top of the earlier circles and you will get the image below.

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About The Author: bobbysandhu

Bobby Sandhu is a freelance Traditional and Digital artist. He does vectors, vexels, digital paintings and pencil portraits. On deviantart he has received 5 Daily Deviation features and is acclaimed for his Vector car illustrations. Check his complete gallery at or visit his Deviant Art account.

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  1. Gravtar for Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
    Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer September 23rd

    Looks like a pretty interesting tutorial. I’ll have to check it out.

  2. Gravtar for mindstuck
    mindstuck September 26th

    so inspirating me!

  3. Gravtar for zaid
    zaid March 25th

    output is not like the final pic

  4. Gravtar for Tutorialshock
    Tutorialshock August 24th

    Great tut! thank you for posting. Take a look of this related tutorial:
    “How to make a realistic film projector icon”

  5. Gravtar for Kristina
    Kristina March 9th

    I love you <3