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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! This week we're going to take some live editable type inside Adobe Illustrator and we're going to fill it full of a photographic texture, one that you can change out any time you like. Now the great thing about this trick is we'll be taking advantage of Illustrator's Draw Inside mode, which means that you're going to have to have Illustrator CS5 or CS6 in order to make this technique work. And then we're going to add a stroke and a drop shadow, all kinds of good stuff. Here, let me show you exactly how it works.
All right! So here I am inside Illustrator, looking at the final version of the effect. We're going to start here, and what we have is two blocks of point text, so we've got the big text in one text block and the little text as another text object. I'm going to start things by selecting the big text with the Black Arrow tool here. Then what you want to do is drop down to the bottom of the toolbox, and the second-to-last icon--if you're looking in a single-column toolbox, you want to click on that second-to-last icon and choose this option called Draw Inside from the pop-up menu. I'm working in a two-column toolbox because my screen is so darn short, so I can see each one of these drawing modes represented by an icon. I'll just go ahead and click on Draw Inside in order to make that option active. And you'll notice that you're now working in the Draw Inside mode, because you'll see these dashed lines around each of the four corners of the object.
All right! Next, you go up to the File menu and choose the Place command, then locate the photographic image that you want to work with. In my case, it's this guy right here, Storm clouds.jpg, and it comes to us from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. I'll go ahead and click on the Place button and that places the image inside of that type. Pretty much 99% of the work is done. And the beauty of this is that you can move the image anywhere you like. For example, if I press Shift+Up Arrow, you can see that I'm raising the image inside the type, so the type remains in place, the image moves.
Now I'm going to switch back to the standard Draw Normal mode. You folks with your single-column toolboxes would click and hold on that second-to-last icon and go ahead and choose Draw Normal from the pop-up menu. All right! Now let's say I want to give my text a stroke. Well, here's how you have to do that. Go ahead and twirl open, in my case, the text layer here inside the Layers panel and then twirl open your clipping group which contains the text that's masking the linked image, and click on its little circle right here to the right of the text layer, better known as the meatball. And that goes ahead and selects the text independently of the image. And then you want to switch to the Appearance panel, by choosing Appearance from the Window menu, and then you want to drop down to the lower-left corner of the panel and click on the Add New Stroke icon. And that goes ahead and adds a stroke as well as a transparent fill to these letters.
Let's say I also want to add a drop shadow. Well, if I try to add a drop shadow to the selected text, we're not going to see the shadow because the letters are going to actually mask the shadow away. So what you have to do instead is switch back to the Layers panel and target the clipping group by clicking on its meatball, and then go up to the Effect menu and choose Stylize and choose the Drop Shadow command. And these are the settings I came up: with an Opacity value of 77%, both X Offset and Y Offset set to 4 points apiece, and then I set the Blur value to 5 points. If I turn on the Preview checkbox, you can see I end up achieving this effect here. Now I'll click OK.
The beauty of working this way is that you can change out the image any old time you like. So let's say even though all these clouds are very dramatic, there is so much contrast that we might end up diminishing the legibility of our text. So to switch out the image, I'll go ahead and click on the meatball for this bottom item, the image itself. Then, up here in the control panel, you can see on the left- hand side that Illustrator lists the name of the image, Storm clouds.jpg in my case. If you click on that image name, you'll bring up a pop-up menu and you want to choose the very first command, Relink. And that will take you back to the Place dialog box. This time I'm going to select these bluish clouds, which should work better, and I'll click on the Place button in order to replace one image with another. Then I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A, or Command+Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect my text. And that, friends, is how you add a photographic texture to vector-based text here inside Illustrator.
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