Are you keen on sci-fi movies, games, and
fancy weapons? Follow this tutorial and try your hand at weapon design by
creating a futuristic space blaster in trendy flat style.
We’ll be modifying
simple shapes, so you don’t actually need any drawing skills or special
equipment for this tutorial. You’ll learn how to apply gradients properly to make
the elements pop out and attain a completed look. Furthermore, you’ll discover
some tips and tricks while working with the Pathfinder panel, the Shape Builder
Tool and Blending Modes, creating subtle semi-shadows and gentle highlights to
add some dimension to our weapon while preserving the overall flat style.
By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have learned the ropes of creating a flat blaster and be able to apply these techniques and
design a variety of flat guns, rifles, swords and other kinds of game
assets. Check out GraphicRiver for more inspiration, and let’s get started!
1. How to Create a Nozzle With Liquid
First of all, we need to create a New Document of 600 x 600 px in RGB Color Mode.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a
600 x 600 px light-blue square for the
background and Align it to the
Artboard, using the Align panel.
Before we start creating any element of our
weapon, we should have a certain idea of its design and overall look. Is it
going to be a space rifle against aliens or an actual alien weapon? Will it be
a powerful shotgun or a small hand-cannon?
After pondering and
brainstorming ideas, I ended up with a rough sketch made right in Adobe
Illustrator with the help of the Pencil
Tool (N). It served me as a reference during the whole process of creating a
final version of the blaster.
Let’s start building our weapon from its
larger part—a glass nozzle with some green gooey liquid inside (that is
obviously lethal, so be careful with it).
Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 250 x 40
px shape. Apply a linear gradient from light green to darker green. You can
use the color bar of the Gradient
panel to move the color sliders, creating a distinct straight edge between the
To do this, select the light-green slider on the left side of
the color bar and drag it to the right. Do the same with the dark-green slider,
dragging it in the opposite direction, making both sliders meet at a certain
point of the color bar (either in the middle or closer to its right half). The
closer your place the sliders to each other, the crisper and more distinct the
border between them gets.
Set the angle of the linear fill to -90 degrees in the Gradient panel, or use the Gradient
Tool (G) and hold Shift to
adjust the direction of the fill.
Add two thin brown strips of the same
length above and below the green rectangle.
Copy the green shape and Paste in Front (Control-C > Control-F).
Hold Alt and shrink the shape,
making it much narrower. Fill the new shape with dark-green solid color and
switch the Blending Mode to Screen in the Transparency panel, creating a highlight to make the
surface of the nozzle slick and glassy.
Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and make a 5 x 60 px shape with fully rounded corners.
We can set the Corner Radius by selecting the rectangle with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and either adjusting the value in the control panel on top or by pulling the circle markers of the Live Corners that you can find next to each corner of the shape
while it is selected with the Direct
Selection Tool (A). Notice that this way we can adjust each corner separately or all the corners at once, depending on the desired result.
Fill the rounded rectangle with linear
gradient from brown to dark purple, placing both sliders of the gradient at the
same point to create a distinct border between the colors.
Finally, select the shape with the Selection Tool (V), hold Alt-Shift and drag the shape to the
side, creating a copy. Add a couple more copies and distribute them as shown
Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and make a few circles for the bubbles. Set the Fill to none and the Stroke color to dark green, and switch to Screen Blending Mode.
Stroke Weight to 1.5 pt either
in the control panel on top or in the Stroke
(Control-G) the elements of the nozzle in order to
keep the image neat and organized.
Now let’s add a muzzle to the gun. Make a 20 x 95 px rectangle, applying a linear
gradient from white to light-grey color, imitating a frosted metal or plastic
Select the shape with the Direct
Selection Tool (A) and let’s adjust the corners. Head to the control panel
on top and click the Corners
parameter to open the drop-down options window. Select Chamfer Corner and set the Radius
to 5 px, making a bevel-edged shape.
Duplicate (Control-C > Control-F)
the shape and fill the top copy with dark-green solid color. Take the Eraser Tool (Shift-E), hold down Alt, hold the left mouse button and spread the selection over the left part of the
shape, leaving only a thin strip by the right side. Release the mouse key and—voila!—we have only the thin strip left. Switch its Blending Mode to Screen,
thus creating a highlight.
(Control-C > Control-F) the highlight
and double-click the Reflect Tool (O)
to open the options window. Select the Vertical
Axis and click the Copy button
to create a mirrored copy.
Let’s snap the copy to the opposite side of
the muzzle, using the Align panel.
Select both the copy and the muzzle and click the muzzle shape once again to
make it a Key Object (it becomes
marked with a thicker selection). Click Horizontal
Align Left in the Align panel to
stick the shape to the left edge of the muzzle.
Finally, change the fill color of the copy
to light green and switch the Blending
Mode to Multiply, thus creating
a subtle flat shadow.
Let’s continue adding elements to the
muzzle. Create a 30 x 45 px rectangle for the barrel of the gun and fill it with linear gradient from dark blue to dark purple. Send the shape to Back (Shift-Control-