Create a Folded Island Map Icon in Illustrator and Photoshop

December 18, 2012 by in category Illustrator, Photoshop, Tutorials with 3 and 0
In this Tutorial we will show you how to create a folded island map in Illustrator and Photoshop using simple tools and techniques.


Part 1 – Illustrator

Step 1 – THE New Document and Map Part 1

In this part of the Tutorial, we’ll create a simple island map in Illustrator before creating the folded effect in Photoshop.

Start by creating a new document, mine is 900x850px. create a background using the Rectangle Tool (M) with a blue colour, #A4DDF0.

Select the Pen Tool (P), start creating the shape of the island with a light brown colour, #E0D293.

Duplicate the shape we’ve just created, change the colour of the duplicated shape to a dark green colour, #76C043. Let’s downsize this shape a little using the Offset Path Tool, go to Object – Path – Offset Path, with -15px for the Offset, Miter Joins and 4 for the Miter Limit.

Duplicate this new shape and use the same Offset Path Tool to downsize the duplicated shape, this time with -35px for the Offset. change the colour of this new shape to a light green colour, #B2D235. to finish the main Island create a blue shape to represent a lake using the Pen Tool (P).


Step 2 – Map Part 2

Create 2 small islands using the same process than in Step 1 around the main island.

Let’s now create the Grid on the map, there’s a useful tool called Rectangular Grid Tool, you can find it in the same set of Tools with the Line Tool in the Tool Sidebar. Double click on the Tool icon this will open an option box, set it to 5 horizontal and vertical dividers. I’ve added a 5px black stroke and changed the opacity of the grid to 10%.

Create a rectangle on the whole document, create an other one a little smaller, select both rectangles and click Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel, Window – Pathfinder. Change the colour of the new shape to white.

Now we have the map, select all of the shapes and copy them and let’s jump into Photoshop.


Part 2 – Photoshop


Step 3 – 3 Part Map and Smart Objects.

Create a new document in Photoshop, mine is 1024x1024px with a transparent background. Fill the background layer with dark colour, #1E1E1E and rename the layer Background.

Create 3 similar rectangles (300x850px) using the Rectangle Tool (U), place them next to each other.

Next let’s import the map we’ve create into Photoshop, just copy into the document, Edit – Paste. we’re going to cut the map into 3 parts. duplicate the map layer twice so you have 3 similar map layers. make a selection of the left black rectangle, Ctrl+left click on the small thumbnail next to the left rectangle layer in the layer box, then inverse the selection, make sure one of the map layers is selected, then click delete.


Step 4 – Folded Effect

Repeat the same process for the 2 other parts of the map, now the map is cut in 3 parts, you can hide the 3 black rectangles. Let’s create 3 smart objects, Smart Object is a good non destructive technique. right click on one of the part map layers and select Convert to Smart Object. do the same with the other 2 parts.

Let’s use some transform tool to shape this map into a folded map, select the left part layer of the map, go to Edit – Transform – Skew or Ctrl+T and right click, select Skew. move the bottom left corner to 13,5° and the top left corner to -6,5° and press enter.

For the middle part of the map, first use the Free Transform Tool, Ctrl+T, change the width to 87,67% then use the Skew Tool, move the top right corner to 9,5° and the bottom right corner to -20°.

For the right part of the map, change the width to 112,33%, then with the Skew Tool, the top left corner to -7,4°, the bottom left corner to 15,9° and the bottom right corner to 13°.


Step 5 – Shadows and Highlights

Select the left part of the map layer, left’s add some shadows and highlights, double click on the layer and add a Gradient Overlay layer style to it going from black to white with a 5% opacity and a 0° angle.

Create a new layer, with the Brush Tool (B) and a big soft rounded brush, paint on the right side of the canvas in white. change the opacity of this new layer to 50% and create a clipping mask, place the new layer on top of the left part map layer, right click on it and select Create Clipping Mask.

Now let’s add some colour on the middle part of the map, add a Colour Overlay layer style on it with a dark colour with a 20% opacity.


Step 6 – Shadows and Highlights Part 2

Add a Gradient Overlay layer style on the third part of the map, the same than on the left part but with a -180° angle.

Create a new layer, with the same white brush paint on the top left corner of the canvas this time, create a clipping mask on the right part of the map layer, change the opacity of this new layer to 50%.

Let’s create a small rectangle on the right part of the map, using the Rectangle Tool (U) this will give more depth to the map. mine has a 7px width. Use the Perspective Tool on this shape, Edit – Transform – Perspective to pull the bottom and top right corners towards each other.


Step 7 – Shadows and Highlights Part 3

Create a new layer on top of all the other layers, select the Brush Tool (B) with the same brush but the time use black for the colour, paint on the bottom part of the canvas to give a shadow look on the bottom of the map. when you’re done, make a selection of the whole map, select the left part layer of the map, Ctrl+left left on the thumbnail to create a selection, then repeat the same process of the 3 other parts but while holding the shift key.
Create a layer mask on the shadow layer with this selection, Layer – Layer Mask – Reveal Selection. change the opacity of the layer to 50%.

Create a new layer, redo the same selection of the map than before, and fill this selection with black. This will be the shadow of the map, let’s blur it a little, go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur with a 10px radius. place this layer in front of the background layer, move it a little down on the right and change the fill of the layer to 10%.

If you want to use this image as an icon for your dock or a website, just hide the background layer and save it as a png file. I hope you enjoyed this Tutorial, feel free to share your creations or leave a comment.



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