After the April rains May flowers bloom! April is considered to be quite a rainy period when the weather suddenly changes from sunny to pouring rain. However, each weather is good in its own way, therefore, inspired by this, let us meet spring properly in this lesson! To create weather icons, we will use basic shapes and artistic brushes.
Photoshop has many useful tools and tricks for creating icons quickly and easily. The technique described below can be used not only to create weather icons, but also for other types of icons in a flat style, for example, on the theme of travel or outdoor activities, nature, etc.
1. Create a rainbow icon
We start with the creation of the outer red band of the rainbow. Take Ellipse Tool (U) (Ellipse) and draw a circle measuring 450 x 450 pixels. Go to the properties panel Window – Properties (Window – Properties), on which we can change the size of the shape, its color and other parameters.
Set the thickness Stroke (Stroke) at 3 pt, Fill (Fill) – on None (No) and change the color of the stroke. Click on the icon Stroke (Stroke) to open the color panel, and select one of the suggested colors or click on the multi-colored icon in the upper right corner of the panel to open the window Solid Color (Color) and choose some particular shade.
Add another ring. On the layers panel, select the red ring and press the key combination Ctrl + J to duplicate the layer. Then press Ctrl + T to reduce the copy of the circle and place it in the center of the previous one. On the panel Properties (Properties) change the color of the stroke to orange.
Duplicate the circles again (Ctrl + J) to add the third inner ring, change the stroke color to yellow.
We continue to add rings and paint them with colors of the rainbow. You can use all seven colors or fewer, since the icon will be small, it should not be super-realistic and detailed. Even if you add 3-4 colors, the rainbow will still be easily recognizable.
When finished, select all the rings on the layers panel and group them into a group (Ctrl + G). Duplicate the resulting group with the key combination Ctrl + J or dragging the group onto the icon Create a New Layer (Create New Layer) at the bottom of the layers panel. Thus, we will have a backup copy in case we decide to change some details of the rainbow.
Select a group and turn Layer – Merge Group (Layer – Merge group) or press the key combination Ctrl + E.
Now take Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection), select the lower half of the rainbow and delete it.
Let’s create some fluffy clouds at the base of the rainbow. Take Ellipse Tool (U) (Ellipse) and create a small blue circle in the lower left corner of the rainbow. Create a few more circles of different sizes. Group the circles (Ctrl + G) and duplicate the group (Ctrl + J). Move the duplicate to the opposite end of the rainbow.
If you want to change something, go back to the backup group and correct the details. In my case, I decided to reduce the number of lines and make them thicker.
Now create the basis for the icon. Via Ellipse Tool (U) (Ellipse) draw a circular base with a size of 545 x 545 pixels. On the panel Properties (Properties) change Fill (Fill) on light green and turn off the stroke.
Now add a trendy long shadow. Via Rectangle Tool (U) (Rectangle) create a square 350 x 350 pixels and rotate it 45 degrees. Go to the layers panel and set the square blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication) to make it darker. If the figure is too dark, try to reduce Opacity (opacity).
Adjust the size of the quad to fit the width of the rainbow and overlap it, as shown below. Place a rectangle under the rainbow by moving the layer on the layers panel below or pressing the key combination Ctrl + [several times.
Now we have to cut off the part of the rectangle that extends beyond the icon. Choose a circle and activate Pen Tool (P) (Pen), right-click around the circle and select Make Selection (Create selection). In the window that appears, leave everything by default, then go Select – Inverse (Selection – Invert).
On the layers panel, select a layer with a shadow and delete the extra part of the rectangle.
Via Eraser Tool (E) (Eraser) delete the extra details of the shadow inside the icon.
Slightly lighten the circle-base and shadow. And a flat icon with a rainbow is ready! Now we can go to the next one.
2. Create a sun icon
We start with the creation of a circular base of yellow color with a size of 260 x 260 pixels.
Next we draw the stylized rays. Activate Polygon Tool (U) (Polygon) and on the top panel of the tool parameters set the number of sides Sides (Sides) by 3. Above the circle we create an orange triangle. On the layers panel, select the circle and the triangle and on the upper toolbar of the tool parameters click on Align horizontal centers (Align to horizontal center) to perfectly center the shapes.
We can also use guides to define the center of the circle. To do this, press Ctrl + R to activate Rulers (Rulers), click on the top ruler and drag the mouse down to create a horizontal guide. In the same way create a vertical guide.
We need to create more rays around the sun. This may seem like a daunting task, but, in fact, everything is quite simple.
Select the triangle and press Alt + Ctrl + T to activate the free transformation mode. Grab the center anchor point of the triangle and move it down by placing two guides at the intersection, that is, in the center of the circle. As a result, a duplicate of the triangle will be automatically created on the layers panel (this will only work if the free transformation is activated by the Alt + Ctrl + T shortcut). Holding down the Shift key, rotate the triangle 45 degrees and press Enter to apply the transformation.
Next, press Shift + Ctrl + Alt + T several times to create 6 copies of the triangle around the sun.
Wonderful! The sun’s rays are ready.
We no longer need guides, so we remove them. View – Clear Guides (View – Remove guides).
Duplicate the basis of the previous icon and change it Fill (Fill) on sky blue. Then under the sun we create a translucent long shadow.
Let’s remove some of the shadow around the base of the sun. For this we take Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) (Oval selection) and create a selection around the yellow circle. Move on Select – Transform Selection (Selection – Transform the selected area) and edit the selection so that it captures the area between the sun and its rays.
Apply the transformation and on the layers panel select a layer with a shadow. Click the Delete key to remove the selected shadow.
Done! The sun icon is ready! Go to the next part of the lesson.
3. Draw a rain cloud
We start by creating a blue circle measuring 200 x 200 pixels. For this we use the tool Ellipse Tool (U) (Ellipse). On the sides, add new smaller circles to make the cloud look fluffy.
Select all the circles and go Layer – Merge Shapes (Layer – merge shapes). Go to the layers panel, click on the merged layer with the right mouse button and select Rasterize Layer (Rasterize the layer) to make the layer editable.
Now we take Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection), select the bottom of the cloud and press Delete to remove the selection.
Now create a drop. Via Ellipse Tool (U) (Ellipse) create a blue circle measuring 35 x 35 pixels. Take Convert Point Tool (P) (Convert Point) (this tool is in the same menu as Pen Tool (P) (Pen)) and select the top nodal point of the circle. Once we click on this point to sharpen it. And finally, move it higher, forming a drop.
Press Ctrl + J several times to duplicate a drop, and distribute copies under the cloud, creating raindrops.
Add a yellow base for the icon and draw a long shadow. Rain icon is ready! There is one more!
4. Create an umbrella icon
We start with a turquoise circle with a size of 430 x 430 pixels. Rasterize the layer and remove the bottom half of the circle using the tool. Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection).
Via Ellipse Tool (U) (Ellipse) create a series of circles in the lower part of the turquoise semicircle. Adjust the size of the circles so that they occupy the entire width of the semicircle. And finally, we select all the circles and combine them into one figure. Layer – Merge Shapes (Layer – merge shapes).
Activate Pen Tool (P) (Pen), right-click on the combined shape and select Make Selection (Create selection). On the layers panel, select a layer with a semicircle and press the Delete button to delete the selected area, thus forming the outline of an umbrella.
Orange circles are no longer needed, so we delete them.
Now create an umbrella handle with a hook at the end. Via Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) (Rounded Rectangle) create the base. Fill off and in paragraph Stroke (Stroke) set 4 pt and choose orange color as shown below.
Then right-click on the layer in the layers panel and select Rasterize Layer (Rasterize the layer) to make the handle editable.
Take Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection), select the top part of the shape created in the previous step and delete it, leaving a small “tail”. Then select and delete the left part of the shape, forming a handle.
After making sure that the handle layer is active, press Shift + Ctrl + [to move it under the base of the umbrella.
Finish the icon, creating a pink base and a long shadow.
Our set of weather icons is ready.
However, the lesson does not end there. If you like the flat and minimalistic style of icons, you can stop at this stage. Otherwise, we can continue and make them more detailed and textured. So we continue to work and see how we can improve the icons using artistic brushes Photoshop.
5. Apply Grunge Texture
Let’s start with the sun icon. Go to the layers panel and select the yellow base. Hold Alt and press the button Create a New Layer (Create a new layer). In the pop-up window, activate the function Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask (Use the previous layer to create a clipping mask).
Due to this, we tied a new layer to the layer with the sun (a small arrow will appear on the layers panel). Thus, the working area of the new layer will be limited to the base of the sun and everything that we will draw on the new layer will not go beyond the base.
Next, we select a good texture brush to create a grunge effect. You can use your own set of brushes or take the ones that Photoshop offers. In addition, the link you will find many artistic texture brushes.
Take Brush Tool (B) (Brush) and right-click to open the list of brushes (or go to the menu Window – Brush (Window – Brush)). Click on the small gear icon in the upper right corner of the pop-up menu and select from the list M Brushes (Brushes). You can add brushes to the existing set using the button Append (Add) or replace it with the button Replace (Replace).
In the list we find the Dry Brush 1 # 2 brush and select it. If your version of the program does not have this set, look at other standard brush sets, for example, Dry Media Brushes or similar ones.
On the panel Color (Color) choose a light yellow color and on a new layer that we transformed into a clipping mask, add brush strokes to create a grunge effect. Then choose orange color and draw a light shadow at the bottom of the sun.
We combine all the rays into one shape and perform the same sequence of actions for creating a clipping mask and applying a texture as for the base of the sun.
Apply the texture to the rainbow icon. For a multi-colored arc and each cloud we create separate clipping masks. When applying a texture, we use the same technique as before.
We continue to add texture on each icon.
Above the background we create a new layer and draw a soft textural shade of light yellow color under each icon.
Great job! We learned how to draw flat weather icons using basic shapes and standard Photoshop brushes.
You can use this technique to create new icons by expanding the existing set or selecting a completely different theme.