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Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator

In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a simple flip clock illustration in Adobe Illustrator.


Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS5
  • Estimated Completion Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Step 1

Hit Command + N to create a new document.

Enter 600 in the width box and 300 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the “Align New Objects to Pixel Grid” box is unchecked before your click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You’ll need a grid every 1px. Simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 1 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes.

Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Unit > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 1

Step 2

Pick the Type Tool(T), simply click inside your artboard and add the “1″. Set its color to black and use the Calibri font with the size set at 60pt.

Make sure that this little piece of text stays selected, open the Paragraph panel (Window > Type > Paragraph) and click on the “Align center” button.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 2

Step 3

Disable the Grid (View > Hide Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid).

Make sure that the piece of text made in the previous step is still selected.

Open the Appearance panel and click on the Add New Fill button (pointed by the little, blue arrow). Obviously, this will add a new fill for your selected piece of text. Select it from the Appearance panel, set the color to R=185 G=185 B=185 and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle.

Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown in the following image, click OK and return to the Appearance panel.

Add a second fill for your text using the same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, make it white and change its blending mode to Overlay.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 3

Step 4

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the bottom fill and click on the “Duplicate Selected Item” button (pointed by the little, blue arrow). Obviously, this will add a copy of the selected fill.

Select this new fill, set its color to R=30 G=30 B=30 then open the existing Transform effect. Enter the properties shown in the following image, make sure that you check the middle, bottom reference point and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 4

Step 5

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Select the fill added in the previous step and click again on the “Duplicate Selected Item” button.

Select this new fill, replace the flat color with the linear gradient shown in the following image then open the existing Transform effect. Enter the properties shown in the following image, make sure that you check the middle reference point then click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 5

Step 6

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Select the fill added in the previous step and simply click on the “Add New Fill” button. Select this new fill, replace the linear gradient with a simple, dark color (R=70 G=70 B=70) and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the properties shown below, click OK.

Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown in the following image, click OK.

Go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the properties show below and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 6

Step 7

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a 1pt stroke and set the color to R=60 G=60 B=60. Select it and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the data shown below, click OK.

Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 7

Step 8

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill, drag it in the bottom of the Appearance panel and set the color at R=150 G=150 B=150. Select it and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the data shown below, click OK.

Go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK.

Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 8

Step 9

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the “Duplicate Selected Item” button. Select this new fill, set the color to R=100 G=100 B=100 then open the existing Transform effect. Enter the properties shown in the following image, make sure that you check the middle, bottom reference point and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 9

Step 10

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the “Add New Stroke” button. Select this new stroke, set the color to R=60 G=60 B=60 and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the data shown below, click OK.

Go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK.

Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 10

Step 11

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill, drag it to the bottom of the Appearance panel and set the color to R=35 G=35 B=35. Select it and go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the data shown below, click OK.

Go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK.

Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 11

Step 12

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the “Duplicate Selected Item” button. Select this new fill, set the color to R=50 G=50 B=50 then open the existing Transform effect. Enter the properties shown in the following image, make sure that you check the middle, top reference point and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 12

Step 13

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the fill added in the previous step and click on the “Add New Stroke” button. Select this new stroke, set the color to R=25 G=25 B=25.

Go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the data shown below, click OK.

Go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK.

Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 13

Step 14

Make sure that your piece of text is still selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel.

Add a new fill, drag it to the top of the Appearance panel and set the color to black. Select it, lower the opacity to 5%, change the blending mode to Multiply.

Go to Effect > Convert to Shape > Rectangle. Enter the data shown below, click OK.

Go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK.

Go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset, click OK.

Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK.

Go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the data shown below and click OK.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 14

Step 15

Reselect your piece of text and focus on the Appearance panel.

Make sure that no fill or stroke is selected and add the four Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 15

Step 16

Enable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) and duplicate your little pice of text (Control + C > Control + F).

Select this copy, move it a few pixels to the right then simply replace the existing number.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator 16

Conclusion

Here is how your final result should look.

Create a Simple Flip Clock in Adobe Illustrator

Author:

I'm a self taught vector artist who is making a living doing something that he likes. I spend most of my time working in Adobe Illustrator, trying to avoid the Pen Tool. You can find all my vector experiments at this little website dedicate to Illustrator VforVectors.com.


  • http://ducsu.com/ Duc Su

    Nice using the appearance panel to create this flip clock. On steps 14: we need to set the wide of the rectangle to 55px wide and not 50px.

    Also, I am having drop with the drop shadow affect. The first drop shadow seems to be extruding out too long on both sides. Any ideas why. All the other shadows appears to look fine.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v645/duceduc/ss/flip-clip-drop-shadow_zpsd01b90b3.png

    • Andrei Marius

      You’re right, the width for the Rectangle effect should be set at 55px. My bad, sorry.

      • Herre

        Great work man, I love that you get to this amazing results by only using the appearance pannel therefore keeping file size super low and the elements to just one figure.

        very cool

  • http://ducsu.com/ Duc Su

    Ok. I figured why I was having that issue. The film grain effect was over spilling. I masked it and applied the 4 drop shadows on a different layer.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v645/duceduc/themes/flip-clock-illustration_zps2eb0225a.png

    • Andrei Marius

      Did you add the Offset Path effect for the fill with the Film Grain effect? It solved the problem for me.

      • http://ducsu.com/ Duc Su

        Yes, I have added the offset path of -1px and all the other effects in the correct order as pictured in steps 14.

        • Andrei Marius

          Oh, I also messed the numbers for the Transform effect. Enter -4 in the Move-Vertical box and it will definitely work.

        • Andrei Marius

          There was an error in the Transform effect. I made the correction.