In a previous post I gave away some free long shadow icons and I thought I would share with you a tutorial on how to create these in Illustrator using the Blend Tool. With Blend in Illustrator you can create some very awesome effects for a variety of projects.
So we are going to start a new project in Illustrator. Create a rounded square using the Rounded Rectangle Tool or the Rectangle Tool (M) and hold the Shift Key.
Next either create your own original icon or grab one online if you are looking to make some long shadow social icons. Social sites will have eps, png and other files for branding. I will create a simple person head in this tutorial. Position the icon in the center of the color block and size as needed.
Copy (Command C or Control C) the icon and Paste in Back by pressing (Command B or Control B). Then Paste in Back again. You can see in your layers that you now have 3 copies of the icon now.
Hide the front icon by using your Layers Panel and select the back icon. Move the back icon 45 degrees just off the rounded square area.
Now Select both icons and change the color to black. Select just the icon on the outside of the rounded square area and change the Opacity down to 0.
Now the fun part! Select both icons again and go into Object -> Blend -> Make and you now have a gradient effect. You can also go into your Blend Options to change it up for different results if you are using it in other projects, but the default blend works great for these shadow icons.
Select your blend and go into your Transparency Panel and bring the opacity of the blend down to about25% and Multiply. This will lighten the area up to make it not so harsh on the eyes.
Next Copy(Command C or Control C) and Paste in Place(Command, Shift V or Control, Shift V) the Rounded Square. Select the top rounded square and the blended icon layer. Right Click and select Make Clipping Mask to get rid of the outside blend effect.
The masked blend will be on the topmost layer so you can move it down below the hidden icon layer. Once you move it down unhide the hidden icon layer so that the icon will be on top. Lastly Group (Command G or Control G) everything so that you don’t lose any layers when moving it around
And there you have it a nice quick tutorial on how to create long shadows using the blend tool! You can experiment with the blend tool with changing up opacities and colors of the blend to make some interesting results.