Feb 07, 2011
Some weeks ago, while watching the Montreal Meets I remember that Fábio and James talked about watching Top Gun. Some of you may not know, but Top Gun is a 80's classic, I was even born when it came in to the cinemas, but I watched later and I must say it is really badass. So, after watching my buddies speech, I just found myself watching the movie again and that gave me a nice idea for a tutorial.
Today we're going to learn how to create this vector badge and add some extra feature to it look more awesome, this is a pretty simple tutorial, you probably won't have bigger problems to execute it, hope you like it (and watch Top Gun, of course).
First of all open Adobe Illustrator and create a A4 canvas (29,7 x 21 cm / 11,69 x 8,27 inches). It was pretty hard to find a font similar to the original one used on the logo, but I found one called NovaMono that is quite similar, you can it download here. After installing the font, use the Type tool (T) and write TOP GUN in Uppercase.
Now add some heavy black stroke to it and adjust the kerning between the letters.
Create outlines (right click on the font and then select it) and make a grey metallic gradient using the Gradient tool (G) , make sure the gradient of all letters is on the same direction.
Now access Object > Expand set to only expand the Stroke, this will turn it to a separated path, then add the same gradient to its fill using the eyedropper tool (I).
Then, using the Rectangle tool (M) create these four rectangles and align them like these. Get the last three rectangles using the selection tool (V) and decrease their width a bit.
Here's a cheap trick: in order to get the same diagonal in all rectangles corners, create four triangle with the polygon tool or the star tool, make sure they are one exactly above another. Then access the pathfinder panel and chosse the option called Minus front.
Change the upper rectangle to a metallic gradient, than access the "N" group till you find the original "stroke path", then access the pathfinder panel and choose the option called Unite, that should get things together. Using the gradient tool (G) make a dark red gradient in the other rectangles. Finally, repeat all the steps again in the other side, that should take some time.
Create a five points star using the polygon tool or the star tool, posicionate it above the type.
Duplicate one of the red gradient rectangles using the selection tool (V) + alt then get a ruler (ctrl + R / command + R), access the transform panel and rotate it 30º degrees. That will help you to align the vector points in the same diagonal, use the direct selection tool (A) to adjust them correctly. Remember to copy the gradient from the letters using the eyedropper tool (I) on the lower rectangle.
First create a new layer ( ctrl + L / command + L ) and call it background, put it above the title layer. Create a blue circle around the title using the ellipse tool (L)..
Group ( ctrl + G / command + G ) all the elements of the title, then just duplicate it using the selection tool (V) + alt, send this layer to back, now we have a hard shadow.
Create another circle using the ellipse tool (L) but disable its fill and use a white stroke. So, here I used a 40 pt stroke, but if you are using a scale different of mine you may probably have to adjust till you get this fat stroke.
Access the stroke panel and activate the Dashed line option, set the first dash to 3 pt, you should get something like these.
Again, repeat the procedure of expanding the stroke showed on Step 1, after it choose a gold gradient and using the gradient tool (G) spread the gradient all along the circle.
Using the selection tool (V) + alt duplicate the circle and turn its fill to black, send it to back to look like a hard shadow.
Using the pen tool (P) create this semicircle with stroke only, now select the text tool called type on path tool then write "United States Navy" in uppercase, I used Helvetica but you can use wherever font you think it's better. Using the the selection tool (V) + alt duplicate the text, chage the fill to black and send it to back to create the hard shadow, don't forget to turn it all in curves after.
Using the ellipse tool (L) create a circle, then with the gradient tool (G) make this blue gradient on it, use the eyedropper tool (I) to copy the same gradient to the bigger circle on the back, but just change the gradient of it to the opposite direction to give depth.
Choose the "United States Navy" text and use a grey mettalic gradient on it.
The airplane part will be pretty easy if you are good with the pen tool (P), you will have to basically draw it, duplicate it, reflect it and use the Unite option from the pathfinder panel to make it one path.
Just repeat the same procedure you did in another steps to make the hard shadow and it's done.
If you want, you can open photoshop and add a few more details to it. First I used some drop shadow, inner shadow and bevel and emboss (right click on the selected layer) to make it pop a little bit. Then added some Gradient (G) to make a main light (use the overlay blending mode after creating it a layer above the original badge). And finally, added some Gradients (G) on the background and a metal texture.
I hope after reading and completing this tutorial you got a better notion of how to use the pathfinder tool and strokes. There are other ways to execute this image, but this seems to be the easier. The photoshop part was more like a bonus that's why I didn't went more deep in this part, but you can add some metal textures or wherever you want, get it rad.