How to Create an Animated Character with Photoshop and CrazyTalk Animator 3

What You’ll Be Creating

As a graphic designer, you may be very familiar with working in Adobe Photoshop. But Photoshop, though very powerful, isn’t good for everything—just try to animate something more advanced than a bouncing ball! Luckily, there are other programs you can use to animate a character created directly in Photoshop, so that you can design in the software meant for designing, and animate in the software meant for animating.

In this tutorial I will show you how to use such a program, CrazyTalk Animator 3, to animate a character created in Photoshop. I’ll teach you how to prepare the character for editing, how to add the bones, how to import it to CrazyTalk Animator, and then how to animate its body and facial features—with both simple and advanced techniques.

1. How to Create a Character for Animation

This part is optional. You don’t need to follow me directly; you can
create any other character or use one you’ve created before. Just make sure it’s layered like mine.

A character is the easiest to animate if it’s made of simple shapes. In Photoshop they can be created as Shapes with the Pen Tool. It’s not hard to use this tool, but if you want to learn about it, try our super short course How to Use the Pen Tool and Paths in Adobe Photoshop. We also have an older tutorial with a great exercise that will help you grasp the tool in no time:

If you have Photoshop CC, you can also use the more intuitive Curvature Pen Tool.

Make sure you use the Pen Tool in Shape mode. This will color the paths automatically, and you’ll be able to change the colors anytime by double clicking the thumbnail.

how to draw shapes in photoshop

Step 1

Start with a torso. It shouldn’t be completely oval; try to make the front slightly smaller. Use #acb6b8 to color it. You don’t need to copy my shape perfectly—just make sure it’s smooth and round.

simple oval torso

Step 2

Create the front leg and the paw separately (on different layers). Use the same color to blend the leg nicely with the torso. This will help us hide any potential inconsistencies in the movement.

simple cat paw

Step 3

Copy the leg with the paw, and place them behind the other layers. Change their color to #919a9c.

cat two front legs drawing

Step 4

Create two other legs the same way.

simple cat hind leg
simple cat legs drawing

Step 5

Create the tail with a simple oval. Color it with #919a9c.

simple cat tail

Step 6

Add the head. Color it with #c1cdcf.

simple cat head

Step 7

Add two ellipses for the patches around the eyes. Use the color of the torso for them.

simple cat eye patches

Step 8

Add the eyes: a black circle, a white oval for the shine, and a dark gray shape in the bottom for the reflection. Keep the eyes on separate layers.

simple cat eye vector
how to draw simple cat eyes in vector

Step 9

Create the mouth out of three circles: two of them colored like the torso, and one colored like the legs in the background.

simple cat mouth

Step 10

Add a simple ellipse for the nose. Color it with #ff7dd1.

simple cat nose

Step 11

Add the ears. Color them like the torso.

simple cat ears

Step 12

We’ve created all the body parts, but the face is just as important as the legs or tail. You can add some variations of the eyes and mouth to achieve various facial expressions you can use later in the animation. Keep them all in the same place, so you can change the expression just by showing/hiding the layers.

various facial experessions for cat

Step 13

These are all my layers. The basic ones are:

  • Front right leg
  • Front right paw
  • Back right leg
  • Back right paw
  • Tail
  • Torso
  • Front left leg
  • Front left paw
  • Back left leg
  • Back left paw
  • Head

If you want to animate the body only, merge the eyes and mouth with the head (you can merge the ears as well). If you’d like to animate the face as well, you’ll need more layers:

  • Left eye normal
  • Right eye normal
  • Left eye closed
  • Right eye closed
  • Left eye smile
  • Right eye smile
  • Left eye scared
  • Right eye scared
  • Mouth normal
  • Mouth open
  • Mouth surprised
  • Mouth smile
  • Mouth teeth
  • Right ear
  • Left ear
photoshop layered for animation

2. How to Add Bones to a Character in Photoshop

To animate our character, we need to assign a “bone” to each body part. All the bones will create a “skeleton” together, allowing you to create a fluid, realistic animation. You can easily add the bones directly in Photoshop by using a special template for quadruped motion.

Step 1

Download the templates pack and go to 01_Templates > Quadruped Template to open the template in Photoshop.

quadruped motion template

Step 2

We need to bring the template into the file with our character. To do this, make both windows visible, select all layers in the template, and drag them over the character window.

how to bring layers from a file to another file in photoshop

Step 3

With the layers still selected, use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to resize the skeleton to fit the character roughly.

how to resize in photoshop

Step 4

The template file contains four types of elements:

  • Images: the parts of animation that we can see.
  • Bones: the parts of animation that direct the movement of the images, though they are not visible during the animation.
  • Labels: they help us assign the bones to the correct images.
  • Pivot: it defines the ground level.

First, we need to replace the template images with our own, part by part. Open the RL_Image group, and then open a folder inside it, and delete its content.

find the folder

Replace it with a body part of your character.

replace the image inside a folder

Do this with all the folders expect the Neck (which we don’t have), and, if you want to create facial animations later, also the Head. The ears can be animated as a part of the body, but in the case of a forward-facing cat we don’t want them to move too much, so exclude them as well.

layer order ready for animation
Remember that “left” and “right” mean the directions on the body, not how you see them. So the Right Eye is the right eye of the cat.

Step 5

The images for facial expressions should be prepared the same way, except they have their own folders inside the RL_TalkingHead > HeadImage group. Place the “normal” eyes in the Iris group, and the others in the EyeWhite group.

facial expression layers eyes
facial expression layers head
facial expression layers mouth

Step 6

The images are ready, so we can add the bones now. Bones will be created automatically in CrazyTalk Animator; you just need to tell the program where the joints are. You can use the template as a reference to see where the dog has its joints and how they apply to your character.

character in photoshop how to add bones

Open the RL_Bone_Quadruped group. Each body part has its own folder containing the joints’ marks. To place the marks correctly, you can hide the other images while working on one. Start with the tail: place the marks along it, staying away from the borders of the shape. These marks will be the points of bending.

how to prepare tail for animation

Step 7

Show one of the hind paws now and find its corresponding folder with joints. Place the Foot_Nub mark almost at the tip of the foot, and the Foot mark in the middle.

how to prepare foot for animation

Step 8

Show the rest of the leg, and add the other joints: Shank for the heel, Thigh for the knee, and UpThigh for the hip.

how to prepare leg for animation

Step 9

Add joints to the other leg of the pair as well.

how to prepare cat hind legs for animation

Step 10

Come to the legs in the front now. Here, Shank is the wrist, Thigh is the elbow, and UpThigh is the shoulder (the names come from the template for a human character; that’s why they’re a little confusing when you’re creating a cat!).

cat front leg ready for animation

Step 11

Finish the other leg the same way.

how to add bones to cat front leg

Step 12

Open the Torso folder to assign the joints for the hip and the spine.

cat hip spine how to animate

Step 13

My character doesn’t really have a visible neck, but we still need to show where it is.

add neck for animation

Step 14

If you want the ears to move as a part of the body, add bones to them as well.

how to add bones to ears for animation

Step 15

If you want to animate the facial features, go to RL_TalkingHead and open the HeadBone folder. Place the marks on the corresponding facial features.

how to prepare facial features for animation

Step 16

Finally, place the ObjectPivot directly under the paws of your character (you’ll find it in the RL_Bone_Quadruped group) and take a final look at the whole skeleton. You can see it as a complete structure now, so it should be easier to see if something’s not placed right. If you spot any mistake, just go to the group and shift the mark to the correct place.

how to add bones to photoshop character

3. How to Import a Character Into CrazyTalk Animator

Step 1

Once the character is done and saved, open CrazyTalk Animator and click Create G3 Free Bone Actor.

create g3 free bone actor

Your character will be transferred into the program and shown automatically in Composer Mode. You can see how the bones have been created between the joints you’ve assigned in Photoshop. The ears don’t have real bones because I’ve made them a part of the head to stop them from moving (if you want them to move, just place them in their folder in the RL_Image group).

photoshop character imported to crazytalk

Step 2

In Composer Mode, you can play a bit with the character to see if it’s ready for animation. For example, you can click Preview to test the joints.

Click preview
test joints in crazytalk animator

Step 3

If you click Edit Pose, you’ll be able to adjust the character.

edit pose crazytalk animator

For example, you can move the whole body part along with its bones, if you’ve discovered a mistake…

how to adjust character pose crazytal kanimator

… or you can open the Bones Editor to move the bones separately.

how to move bones in crazytalk animator
move the bone crazytalk animator

Step 4

If these options are not enough for you, and you want to change something more comfortably in Photoshop, just click Launch to External PSD Editor. Or you can simply open your file again, modify it, and import one more time.

launch to external psd editor crazytalk animator

Step 5

You can notice that some of the layers have been messed up in the process of assigning the bones. We can fix it now. Just go to the Layer Manager

layer manager crazytalk animator

… and drag the layers where you want them to be. I’ve placed the ears over the face, and the front right leg and paw above the head.

how to change the layers crazytalk animator

Step 6

When you’re ready to start animating, just exit Composer Mode by clicking Back stage.

leave composer mode crazytalk animator

4. How to Add a Simple Animation to Your Character

Step 1

Once you have the character done, it’s very easy to animate it! First, open the Window > Timeline editor.

how to open timeline editor crazytalk animator

Step 2

Click Motion to see a typical timeline under your character.

where to find timeline in crazytalk animator

Step 3

CrazyTalk Animator has a set of sample animations that you can use right off the bat. Just go to Content Manager

content manager crazytalk animator

… open the Animation tab…

animation tab crazytalk animator

… go to Motion

motion templates crazytalk animator

… and go through the folders: G3 Animals

g3 animals templates crazytalk animator


cats motion templates crazytalk animator


motion templates crazytalk animator

… until you get to the list of the available motions. There are many types of motions. Here, for example, you have a starting motion (1S), a loop motion (2L), and an ending motion (3E). You can use all of them to create a fluid movement.

To add the animation, simply select your character and double click the motion. For a simple walking animation, add one Walk(1S), two Walk(2L), and one Walk(3E).

how to make character walk crazytalk animator

Step 4

To play the animation, you can use the simple controls right over the timeline. To establish the start and the end of the animation, drag the red markers.

animation controls crazytalk animator

It’s walking!

If you want more ready-made motions like this, you can find them in the G3-Animals: Cats pack.

g3 animals cat motions crazytalk animator

5. How to Create a Custom Animation

The ready-made motions are universal, designed for the bones but not for the images, so sometimes they may not fit your character completely. For example, the Sit and Lick motion wasn’t designed for a forward-facing character like mine. But it’s not a problem—we can create such an animation (and many, many more) by ourselves!

sit and lick animation crazytalk animator

Step 1

Open the 2D Motion Key Editor.

2d motion key editor crazytalk animator

Step 2

Move the marker over the frame where you want your motion to happen.

how to start animation crazytalk animator

Step 3

Apply your changes. Move and rotate the bones to position your character.

bend the spine crazytalk animator
rotate the hips crazytalk animator
bend the knees crazytalk animator
put down the tail crazytalk animator

If you play the animation now, you’ll see the character change its position gradually from the first frame.

Step 4

So our kitten sits down. Now we want it to move its paw up and lick it. As you’ve just noticed, the animation happens between the keyframes—the ones where something was changed (as indicated by a dot on the timeline). If you want your character to stay in the pose for a while before getting animated towards another change, just add a keyframe manually by pressing V.

add a keyframe manually crazytalk animator

Step 5

Move the marker to the frame where you want another motion to stop.

move the marker on timeline

Step 6

Position the bones again as you like.

bring the paw up crazytalk animator
tilt the head crazytalk animator

Step 7

Play the animation to see the results! Remember: if something happens too fast or too slow, you can always drag the keyframes to change the intervals between them.

6. How to Animate Facial Expressions

Now you know how to animate the body, but what about the face? It’s not so difficult either!

Step 1

Add a keyframe where you want your motion to start.

select the time crazytalk animator

Step 2

Open the Face Puppet editor.

face puppet editor crazytalk animator

Step 3

Select the cat as the Face Animation Profile.

cat face animation profile crazytalk animator

Step 4

Click Preview and move your cursor to the center of your character’s face. Press Space and move the cursor around to see the kitten look at it!

make the character look around crazytalk animator

Step 5

There are various default facial expressions available, and their effect will depend on the assets you’ve used. I’ve discovered that the “angry” expression is actually pretty good for licking, if I move the cursor to the left, and quickly up and down!

angry animation licking crazytalk animator

You can make the character blink by clicking the left mouse button during the preview. This is going to be useful!

make character blink crazytalk animator

Step 6

Practice for a while with the preview until you are sure you know how to move the head to achieve the effect you want. Then click Record and press Space or Enter to record the motion. Press Space again to finish.

how to record facial animation crazytalk animator

Looking good!

Step 7

After the animation of licking stops, I’d like the kitten to move its paw to the ground again. To do this, place a keyframe after the animation.

add a new keyframe

Step 8

Place the marker some distance from this keyframe…

add distance between keyframes crazytalk animator

… and position the character again.

position the bones of character crazytalk animator

Step 9

After the animation is complete, I’d like the kitten to tilt its head and smile. The first part can be done with the 2D Motion Key Editor

kitten tilt head animation crazytalk animator

… and the other with the Sprite Editor.

sprote editor crazytalk animator

Step 10

With the marker in the proper frame, select the element of the face you want to change and then select the image you want to replace it with.

sprite editor change eyes to smile crazytalk animator
smiling eyes crazytalk animator

It’s smiling!

Step 11

To finish the animation, you can add another keyframe later, with the facial features back to normal.

niormal facial features crazytalk animator

7. How to Finish the Animation

But what if you want to add some animation at the start, where there are too few frames to add anything? No problem! Let’s just add more frames.

Step 1

Make sure you have the Project on your list.

how to make project visible crazytalk animator

Step 2

Click Collect Clip.

collect clip crazytalk animator

Step 3

Click Insert Frame.

how to insert frames crazytalk animator

Step 4

Type the number of frames you want to add. Don’t be afraid to add too many; it’s easy to remove the empty ones.

how to add more frames crazytalk animator

Step 5

The frames have been added! I’ve decided to fill them with a walking animation.

add walking animation on the beginning crazytalk animator

Step 6

Make sure your two animations both have enough space on the timeline, and that they meet at the correct moment.

how to connect two animations crazytalk animator

Step 7

The kitten is walking in place for now, but it can be fixed. Just go to the first frame and move the character outside of the scene.

move the character outside of the scene crazytalk animator

The motion speed will be adjusted to the distance automatically.

Step 8

I’ve added more frames between the walking and licking animations to make it all slower. My kitten will now blink cutely and move its tail as well.

cat blinking crazytalk animator

Step 9

When your animation is finished and ready to be shown to the world, go to Render > Render Video.

render video crazytalk animator

Step 10

Adjust the options to your liking. Make sure the Range of frames is correct!

render video options crazytalk animator

Good Job!

My kitten is walking, smiling, and licking its paw! And how about your character? I’d love to see your result, so don’t be afraid to share it in the comments!

How to Create a Winter City Scene in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Winter is coming! It’s time to enjoy the wonderful holiday Christmas atmosphere, walk on snowy streets and listen to Christmas songs while looking at the lights, garlands and decorations of beautiful European cities.

In this tutorial, we will let the Christmas magic fill our imagination and create a festive city street illustration.

As always, you can skip the tutorial and grab the result as a part of my Christmas Travel Winter Backgrounds collection. And look for even more Christmas spirit on GraphicRiver.

Christmas Travel Winter Backgrounds set on Graphicriver

1. How to Create a New Document

First we need to set up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) with these settings:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 1200
  • Height: 1200
  • Units: pixels

From the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen
  • Preview Mode: Default
  • Uncheck Align New Objects to Pixel Grid
Creating a new document

2. How to Create a Winter House

Step 1

Before we start building our first house, make sure you have the Smart Guides (View > Smart Guides) turned on. This option will help us to move and place objects more easily.

Then create a 224 x 395 px light blue #579dfe rectangle with the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) for the main shape of our building.

Build one more 224 x 50 px shape (#754a3d) and put it on the bottom part of the larger one, aligning to its center.

Building two rectangles

Step 2

Create a small brown (#8a5e48) rectangle which will act as a brick. Spread the bricks over the bottom brown part of the building by copying and dragging them, imitating the texture.

Adding bricks

Step 3

Let’s start to build a window by creating a 33 x 75 px rectangle which we will fill with #bad4f7.

Select it and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Set the Offset value to -3 px, adding a smaller shape inside. Set the shape color to #4a5c5e.

Forming a rectangle with outline

Step 4

Select the light outer shape and use the Offset Path method again, setting the Offset to 5 px to create an outline. Color it with blue #447cc9. (1)

Add a narrow stripe of 3 px width dividing our window into two halves. Create one more horizontal line of the same width, placing it on the top half of the window. (2)

Keeping the horizontal line selected, choose the Reflect Tool (O). Holding the Alt key, click on the center of the vertical stripe. In the Reflect option window, set the Axis to Horizontal and press Copy, reflecting the shape to the bottom half of the window. (3)

Group (Control-G) all the parts together.

Rendering a large window

Step 5

In addition to the larger one, we need a smaller window for the house.

Build a 33 x 52 px rectangle of #bad4f7 color.

Using the Offset Path option and the same colors as in the previous step, add a dark inner shape, blue outline, and crossed vertical and horizontal stripes to the window.

Creating a small window

Step 6

Let’s move on and place windows on the house shape.

Take the larger window and drag it to the middle of the large blue rectangle. Keeping the shape selected and holding both the Shift and the Alt keys, drag the window right, creating a copy on the right side.

To get one more copy in the same direction on the left side, just select the first window and press Enter. The Move option window appears. Add the “” symbol before the Horizontal value without changing the value itself and press Copy.

Creating a row of windows

Step 7

Create three more windows on the top part of the building.

Then add two smaller windows on the bottom part, leaving an empty space in the middle for the entrance.

Spreading the windows over facade

Step 8

Time to create an entrance door.

Build a 60 x 119 px rectangle (#8a5e48) and go to Object > Path > Offset Path, setting the Offset value to 10 px. Change the outline color to #447cc9.

Add a horizontal rectangle (#4a5c5e) on the top part of the inner shape for the door window.

Building a door

Step 9

Let’s add some details to the door by creating a horizontal stripe (#6e4539) right under the bottom outline of the door window. Then place a thinner vertical line of the same color on the middle of the brown part of the door, dividing the door in two parts.

Build one more rectangle for the snowy threshold (#b3def5), aligning it to the bottom part of the door. Select the two upper anchors with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and pull the circle indicators to the center, making the corners rounded.

Finishing the door

Step 10

Group (Control-G) all the door pieces together and place the door on the house, aligning to its bottom edge.

Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and, holding Shift, drag the bottom edge of the blue door outline up, placing it on the same level as the top edge of the brown brick part.

Placing the door on the building

Step 11

Add several thin stripes going across the top and bottom edges of the windows, making the facade more detailed.

Creating decorative stripes

Step 12

Time to create a roof for our house.

Build a 234 x 140 px rectangle of #b3def5 color on the top of the building, overlapping the house’s top edge, and slightly round the corners.

Copy the roof shape and click Control-B to get a Duplicate behind the main object. Move it down by a few pixels using the Arrow key and change the color to dark blue (#4075bd), creating a shadow effect.

Duplicate the main blue wall shape. Then select both the wall copy and the roof copy using the Intersect function of the Pathfinder to cut the shape. Now the shadow looks natural.

Drawing a roof

Step 13

Many old European houses have mansard windows, and I really like this architectural detail. Let’s add two mansard windows to our building.

Just create a narrow white rectangle and rotate it by holding the Shift key. Take the Reflect Tool (O), and then Alt-click on the top anchor point of our shape. In the Rotate panel, set the Angle to 90° and click the Copy button. Make both shapes fully rounded and move them closer to each other. Merge the rounded rectangle into one shape using the Unite option of Pathfinder. This shape will act as a snow cap on the top of our window.

Create a small blue rectangle underneath.

Starting build a mansard window

Step 14

Select both shapes with the Selection Tool (V), hold the Alt key, and click on the blue shape. The selection becomes thicker, indicating you’re now aligning to the Key Object. Head to the Align panel and click the Horizontal Align Center button.

Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a triangle-like shape (#4075bd) which sits right on the top edge of the blue shape and overlaps the angled white shape.

Select the white angled shape and go to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front, placing it in front of the other parts.

Adding triangle shape and aligning snow cape

Step 15

Create a small window inside the blue rectangle in the same way as we did before, using the Offset function and the Rectangle Tool (M).

Group (Control-G) all the mansard window pieces together and create a mirror copy on the left part of the roof, by taking the Reflect Tool (O) and clicking on the center of the roof while holding the Alt button.

Add white rounded rectangles underneath each facade window for snowy window ledges. The first house is ready!

Adding a window and a second mansard Building snowy ledges

3. How to Create More Winter Houses

Step 1

Let’s move to the next grey building with the rounded roof.

Start by making a 225 x 395 px rectangle of #4a5c5e color. Create one more 145 x 90 px shape of the same color, placing it over the top edge of the larger one and aligning to its center. Select the two upper corners, make them fully rounded, and then merge the two shapes into one with the help of the Unite option on the Pathfinder panel.

Building grey rectangle and top rounded part

Step 2

Use the Offset path method to add a decorative rim around the building. Set the color to #9ec5c9. Drag the bottom edge of the rim to the top flat edge of the house shape. Align the outstanding rim edges to the main house base by dragging them with the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Adding a decorative rim on the top part

Step 3

Create a rounded door with a staircase on the bottom part. Use the Live Corners feature to round the door’s top, the Offset method to create a rim around it, and simple rectangles for the stairs. Use #8a5e48 for the main door color, #6e4539 for the darker brown, and #7c9b9e for the light grey.

Place three decorative stripes (#7c9b9e) on the house facade behind the door group. Add a horizontal ledge (#9ec5c9) over the entrance and spread two more copies of it over the building facade, leaving empty spaces for the future windows.

Place a gentle shadow under the bottom ledge, making the facade more three-dimensional. Fill the shadow shape with #4a5c5e, and switch its Blending Mode to Multiply in the Transparency panel, while lowering the Opacity to 40%.

Creating the door decorative stripes and a shadow

Step 4

Form a small window in the same way as we did for the previous house, using the Rectangle Tool (M) and the Offset path option. Use #b3def5 color for the window and #7c9b9e for the window frame.

Create small decorative rectangles around the window, filling them with #9ec5c9. Add a thin horizontal shape of the same color for the window ledge on the bottom part.

To give the ledge a more classic style, make a circle over the ledge, aligning to its center. Select the ledge and the top circle and cut off the top part of the circle by Alt-clicking on it with the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Merge both shapes into one with the Unite option of Pathfinder.

Add a white rounded rectangle overlapping the ledge, which will act as a snow cap. Group (Control-G) all the parts together.

Forming a window

Step 5

Spread the window groups over the building. Create two smaller rectangular windows and one circular window on the top part of the facade.

Form two grey columns (#7c9b9e) under the decorative rim and then add snow caps on the horizontal ledges using white rounded rectangles.

Take the Pen Tool (P) and create the angled shape for the half of the snowy roof (#b3def5) on the left side of the building. Round the roof corner and, keeping the shape selected, create a mirror reflection of it on the right side by Alt-clicking on the top building anchor with the Reflect Tool (O). Don’t forget to set the Axis to Vertical and press Copy in the end, as we did before.

The grey building is finished. Group (Control-G) all its pieces together.

Spreading windows over the building making a roof and snowy ledges

Step 6

Time to make the last building with a stepped roof.

Create a 235 x 430 px rectangle of #ffc45c color. Start forming the roof by placing a horizontal rectangle on the top edge, making it shorter at the edges. Add two more rectangles, one above the other, making each one shorter than the previous.

Place a 235 x 140 px rectangle (#822b1a) on the bottom of the building for the ground floor. Add a narrow ledge (#e66340) above its top edge.

Creating stepped shape and ground floor rectangle

Step 7

Copy the window from the first blue house, and make its outside part wider while making the window itself shorter at the top and bottom edges. Change the colors using #e66340 for the red outside part, #7c9b9e for the glass, and #4a5c5e for the window frame.

Add a white ellipse on the top part of the window, create a line which goes across the ellipse shape above its center, and use the Divide option of Pathfinder while selecting the line and the ellipse. Delete the bottom half of the shape, forming a snow cap.

Add a white rounded rectangle on the bottom part of the window for a snowy ledge. Group (Control-G) all the parts together.

Make more copies of the windows and arrange them on the facade in any symmetrical position which you find interesting.

Creating and copying the windows

Step 8

Render the large window for the ground floor.

Most of the manipulations will be the same as for the previous objects. Start by creating a 64 x 64 rectangle for the window glass (#7c9b9e). With the help of the Offset method, add two outlines to it, using #754a3d for the lighter brown and #5b1b14 for the darker. Add a vertical narrow stripe, finishing the window frame.

Click on the window glass and create simple curtains of the darker color with the Pen Tool (P), cutting off the outstanding parts with the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M).

Start to create a sunshade by building a red (#e84b4a) rectangle, making the top corners rounded. Add a few vertical stripes (#e8dddd) on the sunshade, cutting off the unwanted pieces, and place a gentle shadow under its edge.

Add a snow cap to the top of the sunshade and a snowy ledge to its bottom. Then Group (Control-G) the objects.

Building a large window with a sunshade

Step 9

Create a copy of the window on the left side, change its color to yellow (#ffb636), and build a simple fir tree to add a Christmas feeling. Set the colors of the fir tree and the curtains to the darker yellow.

Click on the main yellow shape and create a simple angled shadow (#eba04b) with the Pen Tool (P).

Finish the building by placing orange (#e66340) bricks here and there as well as ledges above the top edges of the stepped roof.

Control (Control-G) all the parts together.

Adding second window a shadow and decorative bricks

4. How to Create a Winter Cityscape Composition

Step 1

Let’s line up our houses and add a 1200 x 1200 px rectangle (#94cdeb) for the background. Use the Align panel to align the buildings at the bottom.

Aligning the houses and adding blue background

Step 2

Change the roof colors of the blue and grey houses to white, adding more contrast to the illustration. Change the color of the snow caps on the mansard windows to the darker blue.

Create a white rounded rectangle for the ground level and make a subtle shadow on the bottom by creating a copy (#b3def5) behind it and moving it down by a few pixels.

Draw simple silhouettes of other buildings (#87c0de) behind the houses with the Pen Tool (P), adding more depth to the illustration.

Rendering background buildings and ground level

Step 3

With the help of simple shapes and the Pen Tool (P), create a street lantern and color it using the following settings: 

  • #4a5c5e for the darker grey
  • #586e70 for the lighter grey
  • #ffb636 for the yellow glass
  • #d49322 for the lamp

Drag the lantern on the illustration, placing it on the left side near the blue house, and make another copy on the right side near the yellow building.

Creating a lantern

Step 4

Let’s make our lanterns shine.

Just create a white circle behind one of the lanterns and fill it with radial gradient from white to black, switching its Blending Mode to Screen. Double-click on the bottom-left gradient slider and change the white color to yellow (#feb02a).

Then move the top-left gradient slider slightly to the right. Copy the gradient, placing it behind the second lantern.

Adding lighting to the lantern

Step 5

Now we’ll create a snowflake. Draw the main form using the Pen Tool (P) and the image below as a reference (1). Use #daeffa for the coloring.

To add the rounded top part, just create a rounded rectangle and delete its top half with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A). (2)

Group (Control-G) all the parts. Take the Rotate Tool (R) and click on the bottom anchor while holding the Alt button. Enter 90 for the Angle value and press Copy. Keeping the copy selected, press Control-D twice, creating two more copies and finishing the snowflake. (3) Group (Control-G) all the parts together.

Copying and varying the sizes, spread the snowflakes over our scene to form a well-balanced composition. Add a few circles to imitate smaller snowflakes.

Forming a snowflakes

Step 6

Take a look at your winter scene and see if there’s anything else you’d like to create—maybe an extra snow cap, some more details on the houses, or light from the windows. 

I chose to add more Christmas spirit to the illustration and created classic holiday symbols, such as a wreath, garlands, bells, a pine tree, and some other decorations. Also I added a few snow caps to the stepped roof of the yellow house.

Creating finishing details

Awesome Work! Congratulations!

Great job! We’ve managed to create a trendy flat-style winter city scene. Now we are ready for the Christmas holidays!

This illustration is only a part of my Christmas Travel Winter Backgrounds collection. And look for even more Christmas illustrations on GraphicRiver.

Christmas Travel Winter Backgrounds set on Graphicriver

I hope you have enjoyed the process and learned some useful tips and tricks for your future illustrations.

Feel free to share how your project turned out or ask questions in the comments below. Happy Christmas holidays!

winter house scene

Art for All: Celebrate Diversity in Design—Volume 4

Welcome back to our Diversity in Design series on Envato Tuts+. Discover four talented artists with inspiring styles you’ll love.

4 Artists You Should Know: Diversity in Design

Celebrate the work of these extraordinary artists. Each with their own unique
background, they draw inspiration from their culture and surroundings to create phenomenal illustrations.

Ndumiso Nyoni

Ndumiso is a motion graphic designer from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Film and design are his passion, and Ndumiso’s work features Afrocentric illustrations with brilliant colors and geometry. See more in his portfolio, or follow him on Instagram @ndumiso_nyoni

X-Men: Storm

I’m a Johannesburg based Illustrator and Motion Designer and I make contemporary African art. My art is a combination of vector
illustration, bold line work with vibrant colors and a touch of light
and shadow effects.

X-Men Storm by Ndumiso Nyoni
X-Men: Storm

After Midnight

Almost all my work is inspired by Africa and its beautiful people.
It is a continent that is filled with rich textures, bold colors,
carefully crafted shapes and diverse cultures. My goal is to celebrate
Africa with each artwork and portray it as the positive, fertile and
vibrant continent we know and live in.

After Midnight by Ndumiso Nyoni
After Midnight

Nomaqhawe (Mother of Heroes)

Nomaqhawe Mother of Heroes by Ndumiso Nyoni
Nomaqhawe (Mother of Heroes)

I Am Not My Hair

I’m a huge fan of traditional Ndebele patterns, so naturally Esther
Mahlangu’s work has inspired a lot of my art. I learnt about Bauhaus at
university and that has also influenced how I conceptualize my art. Some of my favourite artists include Esther Mahlangu, Malika Farve and
Gerard Sekoto.

I Am Not My Hair by Ndumiso Nyoni
I Am Not My Hair

Joanne Nam

Joanne is a fine artist and painter living in LA.

Her paintings are dreamy and ethereal, featuring scenes that pull you in with incredible little moments. See more in her portfolio, and support her work on Pateron @joannenam.


I was born in Korea and moved to America in my teens. I’m currently based in Los Angeles, and I love to paint based on
my experiences and emotions.

Floe by Joanne Nam


My inspiration comes from my
childhood. I used to live in a forest so it was an interesting subject
to daydream from time to time.

Current life experiences and relationships
between people and myself change the mood of my art. Even a cup of tea
changes my mood and it affects my art.

Buttery by Joanne Nam


Fate by Joanne Nam

The Dream

As I grow as an artist, I’ve
learned how to control my emotions and energy. I sometimes do certain
things to change my mood when I paint.

For example, I go to the gym to put confident bold brush strokes in my paintings. Then I listen to
delicate music to dig into the details.

The Dream by Joanne Nam
The Dream

Alex Herrerías

Our next artist is Alex, a children’s book illustrator living in Mexico.

He tells inspiring stories of triumph and tradition, and his work features lovely illustrations with mythological themes and more. See more in his portfolio, or follow him on Instagram @alexherreriasilustrador

El Aprendizaje – The learning

I am a professor at the School of Arts
and Design of Unam and I have become a father for the first time this year. My work is currently published in different parts of the world.

El aprendizaje by Alex Herreras
El aprendizaje – The learning

El Hombre Que Nunca Reía

I am working on my own graphic novel and I enjoy every project I do. I try to create a very comfortable work environment, with music, coffee and lots of sunlight.

El Hombre Que Nunca Rea by Alex Herreras
El Hombre Que Nunca Reía

Tú Eliges

Tu Eliges by Alex Herreras
Tú Eliges

The Surfing Luchador

Drawing in my notebook is of the utmost importance, I try to be very dynamic and honest with each idea.

For my process, I read books, see references and listen to music concerning it. Each illustrated project brings me a lot of personal learning.
Then I
draw the first ideas in my notebook and a larger final sketch before I send it to the client. The tools I use are usually: a pencil, notebooks, a Wacom Intuos and Adobe Photoshop.

The Surfing Luchador
The Surfing Luchador

Yifan Wu

Yifan is an editorial illustrator living in Baltimore, Maryland.

Her work is unique and profound, with beautiful subjects that will make you think. See more in her portfolio, and follow her on Instagram @icyfeetpie.

Let the Moonlight Soothe Your Soul

I am a visual artist and storyteller. I enjoy nature, funk, indie rock, dancing, reading and intellectual conversations.

Let the Moonlight Soothe Your Soul by Yifan Wu
Let the Moonlight Soothe Your Soul

Watercolor – What Is Reading to Me

A lot of my work is inspired by nature, life and fantasy stories.
There are also other pieces that express my quirky sense of humor and

Conceptually, I
get inspired from Kafka’s novels, 60s Polish animations, and illustrators
who do brilliant conceptual work like Saul Steinberg and Roland Tapor.

Watercolor - What Is Reading to Me by Yifan Wu
Watercolor – What Is Reading to Me


Boating by Yifan Wu

Respect Pussy

Making art is my way to escape from nihilism and connect to the world by raising questions for my audience to think. I believe that artists
should take on the responsibility of providing a clearer and deeper
insight into the world.

Respect Pussy by Yifan Wu
Respect Pussy

Celebrate Diversity! Send Us Your Favorite Artists!

Help us find more incredible artists from different backgrounds to share with our audience! Tweet me your recommendations at MelloNieves or use the hashtags #artforall and #tutsplusdesign on Twitter and Instagram. You never know, we may just feature you in our next article!

I’d like to extend a warm thank you to all the artists who participated in
this feature. Feel free to see more of their work in the links below:

Photoshop in 60 Seconds: RGB vs. CMYK

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Learn essential design terms in under a minute! Check out the quick video below.

Photoshop in 60 Seconds: RGB vs. CMYK

Learning color modes is essential for understanding design. In this video, I’ll discuss the main differences between RGB and CMYK, what they stand for, and how to change the color mode in Adobe Photoshop.

How to Change the Color Mode in Photoshop

RGB and CMYK are both acronyms to describe color. These colors are what we see on our screens and on printed work.


CMYK, or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, comes from the days of the early printing presses where colors were applied in single, consecutive layers that were then left to dry until the print was complete. Today, it’s considered a standard design mode since it’s still used by professional printers.

CMYK RGB comparison
Comparing how RGB (1) and CMYK (2) modes affect the colors in your work.


RGB stands for red, green, and blue. RGB refers to the colored light on our computer monitors that displays everything we see. With millions of colors available, you can achieve way more artistically.

To change the Color Mode in Photoshop from RGB to CMYK:

First, Merge all the layers.

Then go to Image > Mode and select CMYK. Save your file in a high-resolution format or talk with your printer for more help.

CMYK Color Mode

Learn More With Our Tutorials!

Inspired to learn more design essentials? Start with one of our
tutorials! Continue to grow your skills over time while developing
amazing patience.

Get Amazing Design Resources

Want to create videos like this? Download the resources used in this video:

Check out these tutorials to learn more from our experts:

How to Create an Illustration With the Pantone Color of the Year 2018

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Every year, Pantone sets out on a mission to find a color worthy of carrying the title of “Color of the Year”. For 2018, the color is Ultra Violet, which is a beautiful blue-based purple that we’re going to be using ourselves to create this minimalist illustration.

As always, we’re going to be using some basic geometric shapes combined with some of Adobe Illustrator’s most basic tools.

You can always expand the project by heading over to GraphicRiver, where you’ll find a great selection of paint-themed assets.

 So assuming you’ve grabbed a fresh cup of that hot cocoa, let’s get started!

1. What Are Pantone Colors?

If you’ve been dabbling in the world of design for some time, this probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard the term, but have you ever taken a moment and wondered what it actually means? Well, according to Pantone LLC, the term is defined as a “standardized color matching system” used by graphic designers in order to ease the process of identifying and cross-matching colors within different printing systems.

The way this is done is by creating Pantone color swatches, which are individually defined by a unique naming system that uses a numeric indicator (the number of the color—Pantone Red 032), followed by a suffix indicative of the type of paper stock on which it is meant to be printed (C for coated, U for uncoated, M for matte).

This way, designers can easily identify and reproduce exactly the same color, ensuring that the design maintains its original values from start to finish.

In the case of Ultra Violet, you might notice that we have a different suffix, “TCX”, which stands for Textile Paper Edition.

2. The Queen of 2018: Pantone 18-3838 TCX

Every time the calendar grows older, the people at Pantone take the time and energy to give a new color the title of “Color of the Year”, explaining not only the reasons behind their choice but also the values and message carried by it.

2017: Greenery

In 2017, that position was filled by Pantone 15-0343 (Greenery), which was a fresh yellow-green shade evocative of the first days of spring.

greenery example

2016: Rose Quartz & Serenity

In 2016, for the first time we had not one but two shades to carry the title, Pantone 13-1520 (Rose Quartz) and Pantone 15-3919 (Serenity), meant to “psychologically fulfill our yearning of reassurance and security”.

rose quartz and serenity example

2015: Marsala

2015 was the year of Pantone 18-1438 (Marsala), which was described as a seductive red-brown shade, meant to draw us into its embracing warmth.

marsala example

2018: Ultra Violet

For 2018, the color is Pantone 18-3838 TCX, or Ultra Violet, which is a beautiful, provocative value meant to suggest “the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now”.

ultra violet example

As Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, puts it:

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level”.

And I do have to agree—the color does present itself as a symbol for experimentation and non-conformity, historically having been worn by unconventional artists such as Prince, David Bowie, and the brilliant Jimi Hendrix.

That being the case, I thought it would be a great idea to put our creativity to work by doing this minimalist project, where we’re going to play with this beautiful color.

3. How to Set Up a New Project File

Assuming you already have Illustrator up
and running in the background, bring it up and let’s set up a New Document (File > New or Control-N)
for our project using the following settings:

  • Number
    of Artboards:
  • Width:
  • Height:
  • Units:

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color
  • Raster
    Screen (72ppi)
  • Preview Mode: Default
setting up a new document

Quick tip: Now, as I pointed out a few moments ago, the Pantone Color system is mainly used for print, which of course uses a CMYK color space, so you might be wondering why we set our Color Mode to RGB. Well, usually when you attempt to use a CMYK-created color within an RGB document, you’ll notice obvious shifts between the two. Normally you would have to approximate the color using an intricate guide, but luckily for us, Pantone has put together an online color finder that gives you the RGB and Hex values for all of its colors, including Ultra Violet

4. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

Even though today’s project is not an icon-based one, we’ll still want to create the illustration using a pixel-perfect
workflow, so let’s set up a nice little grid so that we can have full control
over our shapes.

Step 1

Go to the Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid submenu, and adjust
the following settings:

  • Gridline
    1 px
  • Subdivisions: 1
setting up a custom grid

Quick tip: you can learn more
about grids by reading this in-depth piece on How Illustrator’s Grid System Works.

Step 2

Once we’ve set up our custom grid, all we
need to do in order to make sure our shapes look crisp is enable the Snap to Grid option found under the View menu (that’s if you’re using an
older version of Illustrator).

Now, if you’re new to
the whole “pixel-perfect workflow”, I strongly recommend you go through my How
to Create Pixel-Perfect Artwork
tutorial, which will help you widen your
technical skills in no time.

5. How to Create the Paint Stroke

We’re going to kick things off by creating
the paint stroke created by the roller, so assuming you’ve already set up the custom grid, let’s get started!

Step 1

Create a 96 x 240 px rectangle
which we will color using ultra violet (#5F4B8B) and then center align to the
underlying Artboard, making sure to
position it at a distance of 196 px from
its left edge.

creating the main shape for the paint stroke

Step 2

Start working on the paint drips by creating a 4 x 12 px rectangle (#5F4B8B), which we will position at a distance
of 64 px from the larger shape’s
bottom-right corner.

creating the smaller section of the first paint drip

Step 3

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created, by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 2 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

adjusting the smaller section of the first paint drip

Step 4

Add the taller drip using a 4 x
28 px
rectangle (#5F4B8B) with a 2
bottom corner Radius, which
we will position on the right side of the previously adjusted shape, at a
distance of just 4 px.

adding the taller section to the first paint drip

Step 5

Create the center section using a 4 x 8 px rectangle (#5F4B8B), which we
will position as seen in the reference image.

adding the middle section to the first paint drip

Step 6

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created, by removing a 4
x 4 px
circle (highlighted with red) from its bottom edge using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode.

adjusting the middle section of the first paint drip

Step 7

Add the side sections using two 4
x 4 px
squares (#5F4B8B), from the bottom of which we will remove a 4 x 4 px circle, positioning the
resulting shapes as seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, select and
group all five shapes together using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut.

adding the side sections to the first paint drip

Step 8

Add the second paint drip using a 4
x 16 px
rectangle (#5F4B8B) with a 2
bottom corner Radius as your
starting point. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all three shapes together before moving on to the next

adding the second paint drip

Step 9

Create the paint stroke’s darker section using a 4 x 96 px rectangle, which we will color using #332B4B and then
position on the right side of the larger shape. Once you’re done, select and
group (Control-G) all of the current
section’s composing shapes before moving on to the next one.

adding the darker section to the paint stroke

6. How to Create the Paint Roller

As soon as we’ve finished working on
the paint stroke, we can start working on the roller, which as you’ll see is
really easy to create.

Step 1

Create the sponge using a 32 x
112 px
rectangle, which we will color using a complementary orange (#F7CB7F),
and then position on the right side of the paint stroke as seen in the
reference image.

creating the main shape for the sponge

Step 2

Add the paint using a 32 x 96 px rectangle (#5F4B8B), which we will center align to the previously created shape,
selecting and grouping the two together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the paint to the sponge

Step 3

Start working on the roller’s handle by
creating its guard using an 8 x 24 px rectangle
(#F7CB7F), which we will position at a distance of 64 px from the sponge’s right edge.

creating the guard for the handle

Step 4

Add the actual handle using a 52 x 16 px rectangle (#F7CB7F), which we
will position on the right side of the previously created shape.

adding the main shape for the handle

Step 5

Create the rear end section using a smaller 8 x 8 px square, which we will color
using ultra violet (#332B4B) and then position as seen in the reference image.

adding the rear end to the handle

Step 6

Separate the guard from the handle using a hard shadow, which we will
create using an 8 x 16 px rectangle
(#332B4B), which we will adjust by selecting its top-right anchor point using
the Direct Selection Tool (A), and
then pushing it to the left side by 4 px using the Move tool
(right click > Transform > Move
> Horizontal > -4 px

adding the hard shadow to the handle

Step 7

Add the vertical grip lines using three 4 x 16 px rectangles (#332B4B), which
we will horizontally distribute 4 px from
one another, grouping (Control-G)
and then positioning them 4
from the shadow that we’ve just created.

adding the vertical grip lines to the handle

Step 8

Finish off the handle by adding the little
insertion point using a 4 x 4 px circle
(#332B4B), which we will position at a distance of 4 px from the center of its right edge. Once you’re done, select
and group (Control-G) all its
composing shapes before moving on to the next step.

adding the circular insertion to the handle

Step 9

Start working on the roller’s arm by creating
the main shape for its lower section using an 8 x 8 px square, which we will color using #5F4B8B and then
position on the left side of the guard.

creating the lower section of the arm

Step 10

Select the Pen
Tool (P)
and, using an 8 px thick
Stroke (#332B4B) with a Round Join, draw the arm’s main body, following the reference image
as your main guide. Take your time, and once you’re done, move on to the next

drawing the arm

Step 11

Finish off the arm, and with it the project
itself, by adding the left segment using an 8 x 8 px square (#332B4B), which we will position on the opposite
side of the sponge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the paint roller’s composing sections, doing the
same for the entire illustration afterwards.

finishing off the illustration

Awesome Work! You’re Done!

There you have it, fellow Pantone lovers, a nice and easy tutorial on how to
create a cute illustration using the hottest color of 2018.

As always, I hope you’ve had fun working on the project and most
importantly managed to learn something new and useful along the way.

That being said, I’m looking forward to seeing
your final results, and if you have any questions, please post them within the comments
area and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

End Result

If you’re looking for more Pantone and color resources here on Envato Tuts+, why not check out the following awesome tutorials:

How to Use Adobe Photoshop’s Curvature Pen Tool

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Vector illustration is very versatile and beautiful, but for many artists it’s too mathematical and unintuitive to create. Drawing with Bezier curves doesn’t feel like drawing at all! 

However, the newest update to Photoshop CC has solved most of the problems you could have with the Pen Tool by adding a new variation of it—the Curvature Pen Tool. It’s very intuitive to use, and it’s still as powerful as its classic counterpart. Let me show you!

1. How to Prepare the Background for a Vector Illustration

Step 1

Before you create anything in vector, it’s good to have a sketched background that will be your reference for the whole process. You can use my butterfly from the tutorial below:

Copy the image of the butterfly and open a New File (Control-N) in Photoshop, using your clipboard as a template.

photoshop new clipboard file
photoshop vector background

Step 2

Lower the Opacity to make the reference barely visible.

photoshop how to lower opacity

Step 3

Go to View > Rulers. Click and drag the vertical rule to place it along the middle of the butterfly’s body.

photoshop place a ruler

Step 4

Go to Image > Image Size to make the file bigger and easier to work in (later you will be able to make the image as big as you wish, because vector images resize losslessly).

photoshop how to resize image

2. How to Create the Vector Butterfly’s Body

Step 1

The reference is ready, so let’s start creating! Click and hold the Pen Tool to find the Curvature Pen Tool.

photoshop where is curvature pen tool

Step 2

Place a few points around the thorax of the butterfly. The shape will be estimated automatically.

photoshop how to use curvature pen tool

If you want to change the color of the shape, just double click its thumbnail.

photoshop how to change shape color

Step 3

Create the abdomen the same way.

photoshop create shapes with pen tool

Step 4

Photoshop tries to read your mind when you use this tool, but it’s not always successful. You can adjust the shape on your own by simply clicking the path and dragging it. You can do this to any other point as well.

photoshop how to move pen tool points

Step 5

Use this method to create the head. Use a different color for the eye to make it stand out, and place it under the layer of the head.

photoshop vector butterfly head

Step 6

You can also draw lines with this tool. Just draw the start and end points, and then adjust the curve.

photoshop how to draw lines with pen tool

To turn the shape into a line, remove the Fill and add the Stroke. You can also adjust the thickness.

photoshop how to remove shape fill
photoshop how to add shape stroke

Step 7

Add the tip of the antenna.

photoshop vector butterfly antenna

3. How to Create a Butterfly’s Wings in Vector

Step 1

Before you start drawing the wings, create a New Layer under the body (you can Group the layers of the body to keep order) and lower its Opacity to see the reference below. Outline the upper wing with a few points.

photoshop create vector butterfly wing

Step 2

Adjust its shape by adding more points and dragging them.

photoshop advanced vector shape
Tip: you can remove the points by clicking them and pressing Backspace.

Step 3

Create the other wing the same way.

photoshop create vector wings

Step 4

The pattern will take a lot of layers, and we don’t want to change the Opacity of all of them separately, so Create a new Group and lower its Opacity.

photoshop create a layer group

Step 5

Outline the big cell first. Use a bright, neon color for it.

photoshop vector buttefly wing pattern

Step 6

Add another cell and adjust its shape to keep a thick border between it and the other cells.

photoshop how to create butterfly wing cells
Tip: you don’t need to create a new layer for every shape. Just hold Control and click to deselect the previous path, and keep drawing. This will let you use the same color as before.

Step 7

Use this method to create all the other cells. The lower wing may need another group placed under the upper wing.

photoshop create butterfly wings

Step 8

When you’re done, change the Opacity of all the layers back to 100% and use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the half of the butterfly. Copy it as a whole with Edit > Copy Merged.

photoshop copy merged symmetry

Step 9

Paste the copy and go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal and place the half next to the other. Keep in mind that this copied part is not vector—if you want to make the image bigger, repeat this last step afterwards.

photoshop how to use symmetry


Do you want to create other beautiful butterflies with this method? Try my tutorial about butterflies to find the steps to create four different species, as well as your own wing patterns:

how to use curvature pen tool in photoshop

Master Adobe XD With These 4 Courses

Adobe XD is the perfect graphic tool for anyone who designs for the web. It allows for designing, prototyping, and collaborating with others, all from within one application. 

But as it’s still quite a new app, there’s only limited information available out there on how to get the most out of it. So you’ll want to check out these four Adobe XD courses, in which instructor Dan White takes you through the software in detail. 

If you take all four courses, you’ll end up with a comprehensive understanding of how to use the essential tools in Adobe XD, as well as a grasp of more specialised topics like icon design, prototyping, and landing page design. 

Icon design in Adobe XD
Designing a search icon in Adobe XD

Adobe XD (also known as “Experience Design”) is fast becoming the web designer’s graphic tool of choice. In this course, you’ll learn about all of the essential tools you’ll need to start designing and prototyping with Adobe XD.

This short course focuses on learning how to use the tools available in Adobe XD to design a variety of different icons. You’ll start by creating a grid to work on, before learning how to use the various tools in Adobe XD to create and customise stylish icons.

In this course, you’ll learn how to wireframe, prototype, and design an app with Adobe XD. Originally recorded as a livestream, the course takes you through the steps involved in creating several screens for a fictional social platform. It includes detailed discussion of the process from start to finish, including questions from the participants.

Learn how to wireframe and design a landing page from start to finish, all within Adobe XD. You’ll get detailed instruction on each of the steps involved, as well as looking at some useful tricks and tips that can be used to create this complete landing page design for a fictional company.

Watch Any Course Now

You can take any of our courses straight away with a subscription to Envato Elements. For a single low monthly fee, you get access not only to these courses, but also to our growing library of over 1,000 video courses and industry-leading eBooks on Envato Tuts+. 

Plus you now get unlimited downloads from the huge Envato Elements library of 400,000+ creative assets. Create with unique fonts, photos, graphics and templates, and deliver better projects faster.

How to Create a Flat Winter Scene in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial we’ll be creating a cozy
winter forest scene in a trendy flat style. We’ll be using various basic shapes
and Pathfinder operations of Adobe Illustrator, building a lovely scene that
can be used as a header for your blog or website, as a greeting card or an
illustration for print. The process is very easy and comprehensive.

Flat vector scenery has become a very popular design
element that is widespread in advertisement banners, website layouts and brochure
templates. You can find plenty of it on Envato Market and combine several
different concepts into a series. In this tutorial we will make one piece of such a set of scenes: a flat winter forest. 

If you’re interested, you can purchase the end result and the different variants of this flat style forest vector illustration, you can buy it on GraphicRiver.

Flat Style Forest Vector Illustration

1. How to Make a Flat Fir Tree

Step 1

Let’s start by making a trunk for our first
tree. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and
make a thin stripe of 7 x 90 px size. 

it with brown color. Use the Live
feature to make the corners of the stripe fully rounded by pulling
the circle markers to the center. If you’re using an earlier version of Adobe
Illustrator, feel free to use Effect
> Stylize > Round Corners.

Add another thin shape with rounded corners
of 7 x 60 px for the fir branch, and
fill it with light-blue color.

make a tree trunk with rectangle tool

Step 2

Hold Alt-Shift
and drag the created blue shape to the right to make a copy. Press Control-D a few times to make more copies. And let’s add some
diversity to the branches. Copy the
first one and Paste it in Front
(Control-C > Control-F).
Squash the shape, making it shorter, but
preserving the initial width of 7 px.

make a fir branch with rectangle tool

Step 3

Make each stripe a bit longer then the
other by selecting their bottom anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and dragging them down. Leave the width
the same for all the shapes. Add shorter copies on top of each stripe.
Recolor the stripes, gradually darkening the lower shapes, as shown in the
screenshot below.

make a fir branch with rectangle tool 2

Step 4

the pieces of each stripe to form the branches, and place our
stripes vertically. And now let’s select the upper branch and double-click the Rotate Tool (R) to open the Options menu. Set the Angle value to 30 degrees and repeat the same action for every stripe, rotating it
at the same angle.

rotate the branches

Step 5

Place the rotated branches on the left side
of the tree, Group (Control-G) them
and double-click the Reflect Tool (O)
to open the Options menu. Select the
Vertical Axis and click Copy to flip the mirrored group to the
other side of the trunk.

reflect the branches

Step 6

Finally, let’s make the trunk a bit more
detailed. Copy the trunk shape and Paste it in Front (Control-C>Control-F). Make the copy a bit lighter. Take the Scissors Tool (C) and click the top and bottom anchor points to split
the shape into two halves. Delete the left half of the copy.

Wonderful! Our first tree—the winter fir—is ready! Let’s move on to the next one!

use the scissors tool for the trunk

2. How to Render the Second Tree

Step 1

Let’s make the second tree taller. Start by
forming a two-colored trunk. You can make a new shape, changing its length and width to your liking, or
just copy the trunk from our first tree and make it taller.

Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and make two small light-blue shapes on top
of the trunk, forming a stylized crown of the tree.

Select the blue shapes together with the
trunk, and use the Align panel to
align the shapes, selecting Align to Key
and clicking Horizontal Align

make a rounded rectangle tree crown

Step 2

Duplicate both blue shapes (Control-C > Control-F) and make their color a bit darker.
Then use the Scissors Tool (C) to
split the upper copies apart by clicking their side anchor points and deleting
the unneeded halves.

Here is how the second tree should look in comparison with our first tree. We make it taller in order to make the whole composition more diverse. 

use scissors tool on the rounded rectangle shapes

Step 3

And let’s add a couple of branches to this
tree as well. First of all, duplicate one of the rounded pieces from the crown
and place it at the right side of the trunk. Then take the Pen Tool (P) or the Line Segment
Tool (\)
and make a squared shape.

Set the Stroke color to brown in the Color
panel, and head to the Stroke panel.
From here, set the Cap and Corner to the middle positions, making
the corner and the ends of the line a bit rounded. And set the Stroke Weight to 3 pt.

use strokes lines to make branches

You can make the corner even more rounded
using the Live Corners feature.

make the corners rounded with live corners feature

Step 4

Let’s add some more branches here.
Duplicate the one that we’ve made and vary the sizes and positions of the
copies. We may need to make the tree even taller to have more space for the additional branches.

copy and add more branches

Step 5

Let’s add a small, rounded bush, consisting
of two circles made with the Ellipse
Tool (L).
 Attach a dark-brown trunk. This little fellow will help us to fill in some blank spaces of our illustration.

make a circle tree

3. How to Make a Bushy Oak

Step 1

We’ll start by making the crown of our oak.
Form a 90 x 45 px rectangle of a
light-blue color and make its corners fully rounded. Make two more rounded
rectangles of a smaller size and form a pyramid, placing one on top of the

form the oak crown from rectangles

Step 2

the shapes and duplicate them (Control-C > Control-F), making the
top copy a bit darker. Keeping the top group of shapes selected, take the Eraser Tool (Shift-E), hold down Alt, and stretch the selection over the
right half of the tree-crown to delete it.

add a shadow with the eraser tool

Step 3

Add a dark-brown tree-trunk in front. Take the Polygon Tool and set the Sides value to 3 to make a tiny triangle. Copy the created triangle and spread
the copies over the left side of the crown and over the trunk, making the tree

add a trunk and triangle details

4. How to Make a Fancy Pine

Step 1

Let’s use the very first tree that we made in this tutorial—the fir—to form a tall, detailed pine. First of all, make its
trunk much taller, dragging its bottom anchor points down with the Direct Selection Tool (A). 

Then select all the branches,
except the top ones, and press Enter
to open the Move window. Set the Horizontal value to 0 px and the Vertical value to 10 px
in order to move the selected group of branches 10 px down.

Deselect the upper branches from the group
that we’ve just moved and repeat the same action, moving the rest of the branches 10 px down.

move the branches down

Step 2

Now recolor the branches, applying a brown tint to make them fit the trunk. And let’s start forming the pine
needles. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to
place a tiny vertical shape at the left side of the upper branch.

add pine needles with rounded rectangle tool

Step 3

Move the created needle beneath the branch (Shift-Control-[). Hold Alt-Shift and
drag it to the right and up a bit, making a copy. Press Control-D
several more times, filling the upper branch with stylized needles. Vary the
shades of blue, making the branch more diverse.

add pine needles with rounded rectangle tool 2

Step 4

the needles that we’ve made for the
upper branch, copy the group and paste it multiple times to fill all the empty branches. Make
the bottom needles a bit longer by selecting their bottom anchor points with the Lasso Tool (Q) and moving them down with the Down Arrow key.

You can make the left side of the pine a
bit darker to make it look more detailed. And let’s move to our last tree!

add details to the pine

5. How to Make a Stylized Fir

Step 1

Finally, let’s make another needle-leaved
tree, but this time it will be very simple and stylized. To start with, make
three triangles, using the Polygon Tool.
Vary the size and the color of the triangles, making the top one small and
light blue and the bottom one large and dark blue.

Combine the triangles, placing them one
beneath the other, forming a pyramid.

make a fir tree from triangles

Step 2

Add a trunk and Send it to Back
Finally, make a set of tiny dark-blue triangles and
speckle them above the blue shapes of the fir-tree, adding a textured touch.

add texture to the fir tree with triangles

6. How to Make a Winter Forest Scene

Step 1

Let’s place our trees in a row, duplicating
some of them and varying the sizes to form a well-balanced composition. Add a long horizontal stripe with the Rounded Rectangle Tool at the bottom of the forest, forming the ground.

You can
rearrange the trees, placing one object above the other by using the Control-[ and Control-] key combinations.

Select all the trees and head to the Align panel. From here, select Align to Key Object and click Vertical
Align Bottom

align the trees to key object

Now all the trees are aligned evenly to the ground! 

make a balanced composition

Step 2

Let’s add a light-beige rectangle for the
background beneath the trees so that we’ll be able to make some white, snowy
details. Recolor the horizontal ground to white and add a small white
circle at the left side of the ground shape. Press Alt-Shift and drag the white circle to the right, making a copy.
Press Control-D several times to
create more copies, covering all the ground shape with circles.

add white circles for the ground

Step 3

Keeping the circles selected, Unite them in Pathfinder. Take the Eraser
Tool (Shift-E)
, hold Alt and drag the selection rectangle over the bottom half
of the circled shape in order to delete it.

unite the circles in pathfinder

If you combine the circles with the ground
stripe, it should look like this.

flat forest scene composition

Step 4

And now let’s add a few finishing details
to the sky to fill the empty space of our composition. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool to form a 50 x 15 px shape. Place a smaller shape on top, moving it to the left
and thus forming a stylized cloud.

Make more clouds and distribute them at the
top part of our illustration. Now it looks complete!

add clouds with rounded rectangle tool

Congratulations! Our Winter Forest Flat
Illustration Is Finished!

Great job, everyone! Our flat-style winter
forest scene is ready! We’ve added a tiny finishing touch here: snowflakes
falling from the clouds to make the illustration look more detailed. I hope you’ve discovered some new tips and tricks that you can use in your future work.

flat forest scene composition

You can get the source file for this flat winter forest vector illustration to check out how it was made and see what other color schemes you can apply to it in order to make the image more diverse and to expand its field of use. Following this example, you can try recoloring the image, depicting various seasons of the year or different lighting, or showing day and night scenes.

Flat Style Forest

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How to Create an Illustration Inspired by International Day of Persons With Disabilities

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In the following steps, you will learn how to create a simple illustration inspired by the International Day of Persons With Disabilities

For starters, you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to easily add or remove anchor points from a path. Moving on, you will learn how to add text on a path, how to stylize it, and how to easily mask it. Using basic stroke techniques and the Rounded Corners effect, you will learn how to create most of that wheelchair logo. Finally, you will learn how to add a simple background, some subtle shading, and a smaller piece of text on a path.

For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your final text effect, you can find plenty of resources at GraphicRiver.

1. How to Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width box and 860 in the height box, and then click that More Settings button. Select RGB for the Color Mode, set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click Create Document.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 10 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, and enter 10 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-“ keyboard shortcut.

You can learn more about Illustrator’s grid system in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator’s Grid System.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Don’t forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

set up grid

2. How to Create the Wheelchair Wheel

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the fill and then select the stroke and set its color to R=37 G=170 B=227. Move to your artboard and simply create a 300 px circle—the grid and the Snap to Grid should make it easier.

Make sure that your shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), and set the stroke weight to 60 px.

ellipse tool

Step 2

With your shape still selected, go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points twice. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the seven anchor points highlighted in the first image, and remove them using the Delete button on your keyboard.

Make sure that the resulting path remains selected and return to the Appearance panel. Click that “Stroke” piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel, and then check the Round Cap and Round Join buttons.

add anchor point

3. How to Add Text on a Path and Stylize It

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 330 px circle, and place it exactly as shown in the following image. The color attributes are not very important.


Step 2

Make sure that your 330 px circle is still selected, pick the Type on a Path Tool, and simply click on the edge of your selected shape. This will allow you to add text along your path.

Add the “INCLUSION MATTERS” piece of text, make it white, and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Insaniburger font, and set the Size to 45 px and the Tracking to 75

Next, you need to adjust the position of your text. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and simply drag that middle bracket from the outside to the inside of your circle. This should move your text inside the circle. Use that same bracket to move your text along the path as shown in the following image.

text on path

Step 3

Make sure that your text is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a new fill using the Add New Fill button. Select it and set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88.

add new fill

Step 4

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a second fill, drag it below the existing one, and select it.

Set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88, lower its Opacity to 30%, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag both Scale sliders to 101% and set the Move-Vertical slider to 0.2 px, enter 1 in that Copies box, and then click OK.


Step 5

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a third fill, drag it below the existing ones, and select it.

Set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88, lower its Opacity to 30%, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click OK, and then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 3 px Radius and click OK.

gaussian blur

Step 6

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a fourth fill, drag it below the existing ones, and select it.

Set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88, lower its Opacity to 15%, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.


Step 7

Make sure that your text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a fifth fill, drag it below the existing ones, and select it.

Set the color to R=27 G=34 B=88, lower its Opacity to 20%, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.


Step 8

Select your blue path, make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F), and bring it to front (Shift-Control-]). With this copy still selected, go to the Appearance panel and set the stroke color to white.

Select this white path along your text on a path, open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency), and click the Make Mask button. In the end, things should look like in the third image.

make mask

4. How to Create the Background

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create an 870 x 880 px shape. Fill it with R=27 G=34 B=88, send it to back (Shift-Control-[), and make sure that it covers your entire artboard.


Step 2

Reselect your blue path and replace the blue with white.

white stroke

5. How to Create a Human Silhouette

Step 1

Pick the Pen Tool (P) and create a simple path about as shown in the following image. Once again, the grid and the Snap to Grid will help. Add a 60 px stroke for this new path, make it white, and don’t forget to check the Round Cap and Round Join buttons.

pen tool

Step 2

Make sure that the path created in the previous step is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 30 px Radius and then click OK.

rounded corners

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P) or the Line Segment Tool (\), create a 120 px horizontal path, and place it as shown in the following image. Add a 60 px stroke for this new path, make it white, and don’t forget to check the Round Cap button.

line tool

Step 4

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 100 px circle. Fill it with white and place it as shown below.

white circle

6. How to Add Subtle Shading and a Second Text on a Path

Step 1

Reselect your white circle along with the three white paths and Group them (Control-G).


Step 2

With your group still selected, apply the three Drop Shadow effects (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) shown in the following image.

drop shadow

Step 3

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 220 px circle, and place it exactly as shown in the following image.


Step 4

Make sure that your 220 px circle is still selected, pick the Type on a Path Tool, and add the “DECEMBER 3RD” piece of text along your selection. Make it white, use the text attributes shown below, and use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to adjust the text location as shown below.

type on path

Congratulations! You’re Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects. Don’t hesitate to share your final result in the comments section.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You can find some great sources of inspiration at GraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve your design.

final product