Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started
Viewed by members. in countries. members currently watching.
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.
In the previous movie I showed you how to create an ambigram, a word that reads exactly the same direction right side up or upside down. And here are some examples, just to refresh your memory. This time around we are going to try out a two-word ambigram. The word creative when rotated upside down becomes the word artwork. So that if you hold the page right side up or upside down, it looks exactly the same. Now, we are not going to go through every single path outline. This is going to be something of a bird's eye view, just to give you a sense of how it works. In fact, we're going to start from this point here. So I've already done a lot of the work in advance.
What we are going to do is draw the gray items, the dot at the top of the i, and the final e, and both those items appear on this template layer here inside the Layers panel. If you're working along with me, you should have the creative layer selected, and here's what you need to do. Press Ctrl+R, or Command+R on the Mac, in order to bring up the rulers, and then just go ahead and drag out a vertical guideline and a horizontal guide as well. Press Ctrl+R or Command+R again to hide the rulers. Now we want to go ahead and select those two guides. My guides are locked, so I'll go up to the View menu, choose Guides, and choose Lock Guides to turn off the command.
Then I'll marquee these two Guides like so, go up to the Control panel, click on this Align option, and set it to Align to Artboard, and then click on the Horizontal Align Center icon and the Vertical Align Center icon. And that will go ahead and give you two guidelines that are exactly centered on the artboard. Go back to the View menu, choose Guides, and choose Lock Guides to lock those guides down. The next thing you want to do--and you want to do this fairly early into the process when you're designing your ambigram-- you want to select the Pen tool, which you can get by pressing the P key, and then click at the intersection of those two guides to set a point.
And this should be a blank point. In other words, it should have no fill and no stroke. So if you see either a fill or a stroke, go ahead and set them to None. And, by the way, the purpose of that point is to serve as an alignment point for the transformation that we're about to apply. With the Black Arrow tool active, go ahead and press Ctrl+A, or Command+A on the Mac, in order to select all of your artwork. That won't select anything in the template layer, because it's locked. Then go up to the Object menu and choose the Group command, or press Ctrl+G, Command+G on the Mac, in order to group those items together.
Now go to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and then choose the Transform command. As always, when you're creating an ambigram, you don't flip; instead, you rotate. So go ahead and set the Rotate value to 180 degrees, which is what you always want for these kinds of things. Then select the bottom point in that reference point matrix and set the number of copies to 1 and turn on the Preview check box so you can see what you are doing. Now, notice the bottom point at this vertical line that's coming off the bottom of the E is more or less aligned with that vertical guideline.
So too should it be the top of the vertical line at the top of the o, down here in the word artwork--at least it will be the word artwork once we add an a to the beginning of it, which of course is an e at the end of creative. So to raise those letters what you need to do is click inside the Vertical option and then press the Down Arrow key as many times as it takes to nudge those letters upward. Because a negative vertical value, as odd as it seems, actually moves things up. At a value of -9, we have what appears to be perfect alignment, so I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification.
Now let's go ahead and draw in the missing pieces. Go ahead and double-click on any of the selected path outlines in order to enter the group isolation mode, so that you're creating objects inside that group, and they will be automatically repeated down here below. Then go up to the View menu and choose the Show Grid command. And I went ahead and used the grid in order to position my anchor points. It just made life a lot easier. You can see that I've got my grid set up in red. If you are curious how I managed to do that, I press Ctrl+K, or Command+K on the Mac, to bring up the Preferences dialog box, and then I switched from General to Guides & Grid. And I changed the color of the Grid to Light Red, as you can see.
And I set Gridline every to 20 points, and the Subdivisions to 4. Then I clicked OK in order to accept that change. I am going to press Ctrl+Y, or Command+Y on the Mac, to switch to the Outline mode, and then I'll press the P key to select the Pen tool. And I am just going to trace that E, and I just want you to get a sense of how I did this. I just clicked at these grid points here, and I will automatically align these anchor points to the grid, assuming, by the way--I'll go to the View menu and show you-- you have to make sure that the Snap to Grid option is turned on.
Having done that, I'll go ahead and create the remainder of these points, like so. So it's a pretty simple process once you come to terms with it. You really have to kind of wrap your mind around the process as you're working on your ambigram. Anyway, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Y again, Command+Y, in order to switch back to the Preview mode. Now, this path isn't stroked right at all, so I'll press the V key in order to switch back to the Black Arrow tool, I'll click on that path outline in order to select the whole thing, and then I'll click inside the Stroke Option up here in the Control panel and dial in a line weight of 20 points.
And you can see, by the way, not only does that go ahead and stroke that E; it also automatically adds an A down here in the bottom-left corner of the illustration. So by virtue of that Transform effect I applied just a moment ago, Illustrator is automatically filling in that word below as I work on the text on top. That's not quite the right color. You can see here in the Color panel that the stroke is active. I am working in an RGB image. So if I click this black color swatch, it will dial the Red, Green, and Blue values down to 0, which is what I'm looking for, absolute black.
Click on the word Stroke up here in the control panel, and I'll select the Round Cap Option. Now I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to hide that panel. Now what I want to do is reduce the weight of the stroke at the end point on the interior of the E. And I am going to do that by switching to the Width tool--new to Illustrator CS5, by the way--and I'll go ahead and drag away from that anchor point just a little bit, and then I'll drag back toward it, like so, in order to create a very thin stroke at this location. That looks pretty good to me. Now, I need to add the dot to the I, and the reason I'm showing you how to do this is it's kind of a little bit of a trick.
What you do is you grab your Pen tool once again and you click right there at the center of that dot and then click someplace else; it doesn't really matter where. And I end up creating this tiny, little line. Now, it's not stroked properly at all, so I'll press the I key to get my eyedropper, and I'll go ahead and click on one of these letters in order to lift the stroke. And by the way, that's not quite right. I forgot to do one thing. I am going to switch back to my Black Arrow tool for a moment, click on that E. I want round joins as well. So I'll click on the word Stroke up here on the control panel and click on Round Join there inside the Corner options.
All right, I'll go ahead and hide that panel. I'll switch to the Direct Selection tool, which you can get by pressing the A key. Go ahead and click on that top point there and drag it down until it snaps into alignment with the bottom point, and you'll end up with a dot. So far so good. Just one more change that we need to make. Press the Escape key in order to escape out of the Isolation mode, and I'm to hide the grid by going up to the View menu and choosing the Hide Grid command, which you can also get by pressing Ctrl+Quote, or Command+Quote on the Mac. I'll also press Ctrl+Semicolon, Command+Semicolon, to hide those guides, because I don't need to see them anymore.
And I'll switch to my Black Arrow tool, and then I'll click anywhere on these letters to select all of them, because they're grouped together. And the final thing I want to do is round off the corners, and I'll do that by going up to the Effect menu, choosing Stylize, and then choosing the Round Corners command. I'll dial in a Radius value of 20 points, click OK, and I end up with my final effect. Just so we can see it absolutely by itself, switch back to the Layers panel and I'll turn off that template layer. So we lose those little bits of gray. And that is the final two-word ambigram, a bird's eye view of the experience, here inside Illustrator.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Deke's Techniques.
Here are the FAQs that matched your search "":
Sorry, there are no matches for your search ""—to search again, type in another word or phrase and click search.
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.