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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. Now this week we're back inside Adobe Illustrator, and I'm going to show you how to create custom starbursts. Now, in case you're thinking, "Custom starbursts? What in the world? Why would I want that?" and so forth, bear in mind I'm not talking about the candy. I'm talking about this stuff right here. Check that guy out! That's not something you just draw inside of Illustrator. That's something you make happen. You want another example? Look at this one here. Is that not the most outrageous starburst you've ever seen in your entire life? Two different techniques inside one movie, how wonderful is that? Here let me show you how it works.
All right, let's see how to create custom starbursts inside of Illustrator. Now you start things off by drawing a star, and you can draw a star by clicking and holding on the Rectangle tool inside the toolbox and choosing the Star tool from the flyout menu. And then you draw the star from the center outward, like so. If this is the first time you're using the tool then you'll create a five-pointed star. To add points to the star as you're drawing it--I still have the mouse button down-- you press the Up Arrow key. And I'm looking for a 12-pointed star, so I'll keep pressing that Up Arrow key until I get the desired result.
You can also, by the way, press and hold the spacebar in order to move that star around as you're drawing it. Once you get it into the desired location, you'll go ahead and release the mouse button and you'll draw a star, like so. Now I've already drawn a star in advance, so I'm going to press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac, in order to get rid of that star. And I'll switch to my Black Arrow tool, and I'll click on the star outline in order to select it. It's a star filled with a radial gradient, by the way, that starts with a bright red and ends with a duller red toward the outside. Now to customize the star, that is, one way to work, is to go up to the Effect menu and choose Distort & Transform, which gives you access to what I call the path wigglers.
There is a bunch of different path wiggling varieties here. I'm going to start things off with Roughen, and we're just going to roughen up the star by switching to Absolute, so that we can roughen the star according to units of measure, in my case points. I'm going to take the size of that roughening up to 9. So I can see what I'm doing, I'll turn on the Preview check box, and you can see that you're adding this roughness to the path outline. I'll leave Detail set to 10 per inch, and then I'll change the Points from Corner to Smooth, like so, and that just gives us a little variation in the star outline that we can exploit with our next effect.
So I'll go ahead and click the OK button in order to apply that modification. Notice that we're not harming the actual path outline. This is a virtual so-called dynamic adjustment that we'll update on the fly. Now we'll go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform once again, and choose Pucker & Bloat, and make sure to turn on the Preview check box inside this dialog box so you can see what you're doing. Now notice if you drag this slider triangle slightly over to the right--don't go too far with it--then you'll add these kind of flower petals to the outside of the star outline, and that's what's known as a Bloat inside of Illustrator.
If you want to convert those flower petals to spikes then you go with a Pucker instead, and you drag this slider triangle over to the left-hand side, and you'll get a negative value, which is a Pucker value. So negative is Pucker; positive is Bloat. I'm going to take this value over to about -30 actually looks pretty good. Then once I have that value dialed in, I'll go ahead and click OK in order to apply that modification. If you ask me, that looks pretty good and if you want to check out what the starburst looks like without the star path outline in the way, you can press Ctrl+H, or Command+H on the Mac, in order to hide that path outline.
Now go over to the Appearance panel, which you can get by either clicking on the word Appearance if you see it over in the right side of the window or you can go to the Window menu and choose Appearance in order to bring up that panel. You'll see that you have two dynamic effects applied to the selected path outline, which means you can modify those effects after applying them. So I'll go ahead and click on Roughen, and let's I say decide to take this Detail value up to 18 per inch-- that is, 18 little jags per inch of path outline. I'll turn on the Preview check box so I can see what kind of difference it makes, and it does add some more spikiness. I'll click OK.
If I want to increase the size of the spikes, I'll click on Pucker & Bloat in order to bring up this dialog box, along with my previously applied value, and I'll change that value to -200% and you end up with this extreme starburst effect. So you have all kinds of opportunities to edit these path outlines. I'll click OK in order to apply that effect. All right, let's see another way to go. I'm going to switch over to this illustration here, and I'll switch over to the Layers panel, scroll down to the bottom, and I'll turn on my lone star layer right there, and I'm going to lock down the shooting star layer by clicking in lock icon for it.
That way I don't mess up that shooting star that I created in a previous movie. And I'll click on this yellow path outline that represents the star in order to select it, and then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command so I can retrieve it later. Of course, you can also press Ctrl+C, Command+C on the Mac. Another way to convert this path outline into a custom starburst--this is actually in many ways an easier way to work, but it's also a static operation, meaning that you can't modify your settings later--and you do so with a tool. Go over, if you're working inside of Illustrator CS5, you go to the Width tool, which is a new tool inside the program.
Click and hold and then from the flyout menu, go ahead and select the Crystallize tool, second from the bottom. Then double-click on that Crystallize tool icon there in the toolbox, and let's change the Width value and the Height value to 700 points. Then click OK. That gives you a big cursor like this. Now I'm going to click right there in the center of the star. Click and hold in order to create that custom starburst, click and hold again in order to customize it further, and if you want to go even further, just give it another little click and see what you come up with.
Let's change the Opacity value up here in the control panel to 25%, and then I'll go out to the Edit menu and choose Paste in Front-- you can also press Ctrl+F, Command+F on the Mac--to retrieve that original star in its original position, like so. Let's go ahead and click inside it as well to create yet another custom variation of that starburst. That looks good to me. I'll change its Opacity to 50% up here in the control panel, and then I'll press Ctrl+F, or Command+F, again in order to create yet another copy of that star.
I'll double-click on the Crystallize tool here inside the toolbox, and I'm going to change the Width and Height values to 200 points this time around. Click OK and then with this smaller cursor I'll just click and hold like so in order to create kind of a mini-starburst. Now let's blend between him by switching over to the Black Arrow tool up here at the top of the toolbox. I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on the lone star layer, and that will select the entire contents of that layer, all three of those custom starburst. So that's an Alt+Click or an Option+Click on the layer itself there in the Layers panel.
Then go out to the Object menu, choose Blend, and choose Make, and that will go ahead and blend between those starships, like so. My final step is going to be to find the Opacity value up there in the control panel and reduce the Opacity of all three of these shapes together to 70% and then click off the paths in order to deselect them. So there you have it, two different ways to create a custom starbursts: one using dynamic effects available from the Effect menu, and the other as a static modification using the Crystallize tool here inside Illustrator.
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