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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 I'm going to show you how to do the impossible. For example, you know how it's impossible to flap your arms in order to make yourself fly? Well, it's equally impossible to take a photographic image that you've imported into Adobe Illustrator and give it a border, and yet that's exactly what we'll be doing in this movie. All right! Here is my implausible document opened up inside Illustrator. I'm going to start things off by selecting the image, which I'll do by clicking on it with the Black Arrow tool.
This is an image that I prepped inside Photoshop and placed into Illustrator. And now I'm going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide those selection edges so we can better see what we're doing. Now, to assign a stroke, you need to bring up the Appearance panel. So go up to the Window menu and choose the Appearance command, and then inside the Appearance panel, you won't see any attributes. In other words, there's no fill or stroke by default so you need to create some by dropping down to the Add New Stroke icon in the bottom-left corner of the panel and clicking on it.
And notice that immediately gives us a 1-point black stroke, which we're not seeing at all. Let's go ahead and thicken things up by changing the Line Weight value to 4 points. For all the good it does us, of course we still can't see it. And the reason is that insofar as Illustrator is concerned, there's nothing here to stroke. Illustrator is the rare application that throws images inside of a document loose. There's no frame around the image, in other words. You have to create a frame manually, and you can do so using a dynamic effect. So make sure the word Stroke is selected here in the Appearance panel--that's very important-- And then go up to the Effect menu, choose Convert to Shape, and choose Rectangle.
And that seems like it might convert the shape to a rectangle, but it really goes ahead and converts the stroke to a rectangle around the image. So choose Rectangle and then turn on the Preview checkbox so you can see what you're doing. By default, the stroke has moved several points away from the image, and the idea here is this command was designed--among other things-- to draw rectangles around text, for example, in which case ostensibly you'd want a little additional margin. We don't, however, so make sure that the Size option is set to Relative and then change both the Extra Width and the Extra Height values to 0, and you'll now see the stroke tight to the image.
Click OK in order to accept that effect. Now let's colorize the image, and we'll do that by assigning a fill. So I'll click on the word Fill in order to make it active, and then I'll Shift+Click on this little color swatch icon in order to bring up my CMYK values. And I'm going to change the C value, let's say to 25%, and then I'll take the Magenta value to 35%, let's say, and then press the Tab key. If you're following along, you want to make sure that both the Y and the K values are set to 0, and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that color.
Now, once again, we haven't made any difference whatsoever, even though, notice the fill is on top of the content, so the fill is actually in front of the image. The problem is, again, Illustrator sees nothing to fill. So make sure the word Fill is active. Then, go up to the Effect menu and just choose that very first command, Apply Rectangle, which will apply that exact same effect over again. And now we see the rectangle covering up the image. Now, notice down here, a couple of items down from the word Fill is this Opacity option.
Click on it to bring up the Opacity panel. Then click on Normal in order to bring up the list of blend modes, and change the blend mode to Color. Now, because this is a dynamic attribute, you can change it any time you like. If you decide this isn't the color you're looking for, then go ahead and Shift+Click on that fill color swatch again in order to bring up the CMYK values, and you may have to Shift+Click two or three times in order to get Illustrator's attention. And then I'll click in the Magenta value and press Shift+Up Arrow a couple of times in order to take that value up to 50%, so we end up with this screaming purple, which is perhaps a little more than I'm looking for.
So I'll click on the word Opacity once again and I'll reduce the Opacity value to, let's say 66%, in order to create this kind of faded-print photo effect. So remember, if you want to stroke or fill an image, it's not the least bit intuitive, but it is very easy to pull off once you know about the dynamic rectangle effect.
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