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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.
In this movie, I'll show you how to create this nautilus shell pattern here inside Illustrator. And notice that it follows the kind of logarithmic exponential spiral that Illustrator likes to create. Also worth noting, it's all based on a single path outline, the stinky little guy right there in the center, just three anchor points, nothing more. Everything else is the result of dynamic effects. So I'm going to switch over to this illustration, contains a single triangle. I'll go ahead and click on it with the Black Arrow tool to select it. And then go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and choose the Transform command, which allows you to scale, rotate, and duplicate a selection dynamically. Now the angle between these two upright segments happens to be 30 degrees, so we want to match that same angle right there in the Rotate value. And then go ahead and turn on the Preview check box in order to see what happens. And notice we're rotating the triangle around its center, which is not what we want. So locate the reference point matrix, it's down left here in Illustrator CS6, it's over on the right-hand side of the dialog box in Illustrator CS5 and earlier. And I want you to select the top central point, like so, so that we're rotating around the top of the triangle. Now click inside the Copies button and press the Up Arrow key a few times in order to create, let's say, 10 copies of this triangle, that way we'll be able to see what's going on without creating too much chaos inside the artboard. Now I want you to click inside the Horizontal scale value at the top of the dialog box and press the Up Arrow key in order to increase that value to 105%, and notice that Illustrator is now scaling the triangles as it rotates them. Let's do the same thing for the Vertical value. Go ahead and take it up to 105% as well. And then finally, I want you to turn on this check box right here, Scale Strokes & Effects, so that we're scaling the strokes. We're making the strokes thicker as we increase the size of the triangles. Then click OK in order to accept that change. Now we want the bases of the triangles to exactly follow the contours of the spiral, so let's go ahead and draw one and set it up as a guide. I'll press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac to back all the way out there. And I'll go to my Line tool flyout menu and select the Spiral tool. Then, if you're working along with me, just go ahead and click anywhere inside the artboard, and these are the values I came up with. A Radius of 910 points, a Decay value of 86.5%, Segment should be set to 24, and you want the First Style option. Now you may wonder where in the world I came up with these values. It's all trial and there. I just had to come up with a spiral that was ultimately matching my Transform values. Then go ahead and click OK in order to create that massive spiral. Now it happens to be at the wrong angle, so double-click on the Rotate tool here inside the toolbox to bring up the Rotate dialog box, and we want to rotate this guy 180 degrees. So go ahead and enter that value into the Angle field and click OK. Now I want you to press the V key in order to switch back to the Black Arrow tool and drag that innermost endpoint right there so it snaps into alignment with the intersection of the first vertical guide and the horizontal guide, and then release. Now we need to turn the spiral into a guideline, so go up to the View menu, choose Guides, and choose Make Guides, which allows you to turn any path outline in Illustrator into a non-printing snapping guide, which is what we have now. Now press the Ctrl+Spacebar keys in order to access the Zoom tool, that would be Command+Spacebar on the Mac. Then I'll drag around my incipient nautilus to zoom in on it. And what we need to do now is modify this triangle right there; in fact, I'm going to zoom in a little more, so that its bottom edge in particular goes ahead and matches the contours of the spiral. So press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool, which allows us to make detail changes, click off the path outline to deselect it, and then just go ahead and marquee that bottom segment to select it independently of the rest of the path, and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of it. Now click off the path outline to deselect it, and we want to select one of these bottom anchor points. And you can see that you've got an anchor point under your cursor when you get that little hollow square next to it. Then go ahead and click to select the anchor point and drag it up so it snaps into alignment with the spiral. Then drag this guy down so he snaps into alignment as well. Then, let's switch over to the Pen tool, and it's going to help you a lot if you have some understanding of the pen and control handles in order to make the next few modifications. I'm going to drag from this bottom right anchor point down into the left, like so, in order to create a control handle. Then I'll drag up into the left in order to create a control handle down and to the right, and that looks like we have a pretty good match right there. And you want to keep an eye on your other paths here that are being created on the fly to make sure that everything lines up properly. Now we want to add some curvature to the other two segments as well, and I've gone ahead and created a guideline in advance for you. If you switch over to the Layers panel, twirl open the nautilus layer, you'll see at this point it should be three items down an object called curves, which is currently hidden. Go ahead and show it by clicking in the eyeball column, and you'll see these two little curved guides, those are what you need to match in order to make everything align properly. If you don't have access to this exercise file, you can just trial and error your way through it as well, you'll just have to move the points around and see what works. Go ahead and switch back to the White Arrow tool, marquee the straight segment on the left and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of it. Then grab the Pen tool and drag up from this bottom left point, like so. So I'm dragging up into the right, and then I'll drag up into the left from the top point, and everything is going to go haywire at this point, don't worry about that. I'm going to press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac in order to get the White Arrow tool on the fly, and then I'll click on this bottom left anchor point and drag it till it snaps into alignment there. And I'll go ahead and modify these control handles until I get something that resembles the proper amount of curvature. Then, I might drag these guys down again as well. I need to grab this anchor point and move it so it snaps into alignment. And then I'll marquee, while I still have the Ctrl key down or the Command key on the Mac, I'll marquee the straight segment. Now I can release the key and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to get rid of that segment. Now let's redraw it as a curve segment by dragging up into the right in order to create that control handle there, and then I'll drag up into the left from the top anchor point in order to create that final control handle. Now I'll press the A key in order to switch back to the White Arrow tool for good and I'll go ahead and drag these guys around until I get something that looks like we have a decent match. It may turn out that no matter what you do you still have some weirdness going on. For example, notice if I go ahead and zoom in on the center of this effect here, that I've got a little hole, this little white hole, and that's because the Transform effect rather than rotating around the top anchor point is rotating around the top of the stroke. So we need to tuck that stroke into the path, and you can do that by pressing the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool, click on the path in order to select the whole thing. Then go up here to the Control panel and click on the word Stroke and dropdown to the Align Strokes icons and select the middle one, Aligns Stroke to Inside, and that will move everybody down, so that we have a more accurate rotation. I'll go ahead and press the Escape key to hide that panel, zoom out a little bit as well, go ahead and modify the path outline just a hair bit more I think. I'll press the A key to switch back to the White Arrow tool, click off the shape, then click on its top anchor point there, that's where I've got a little bit of misalignment. You may have a problem elsewhere or no problem at all for all I know. Then, I might go ahead and raise this anchor point. Notice that these anchor points are out of alignment. You're going to get these weird corners right there, and you don't want that, you want a very smooth spiral. If you want to be able to nudge that point from the keyboard with a high degree of accuracy, press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box and then change the Keyboard Increment to 0.1 point, which is going to allow you to make very nuanced adjustments, click OK, and now I'll press the Up Arrow key and the Left Arrow key a couple of times in order to get rid of any misregistration. Now let's see if we've got any other problems here. I'll go ahead and zoom out a little bit. It looks like everybody is looking pretty good, but I might tuck this guy up just a little bit. This is the bottom left anchor point by the way. And actually, that is creating problems, when I start nudging that up, we have different kinds of corners, so I don't want that, I'll just go ahead and put it back where it was. This looks pretty good! Press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac in order to zoom all the way out for my illustration. Go up to the Window menu and choose the Appearance command in order to bring up the Appearance panel. And assuming that the path outline is still selected, you should see the word Transform here, that's your dynamic transform effect. Go ahead and click on it in order to bring up the Transform Effect dialog box, turn on the Preview check box, click inside the Copies value, and press the Up Arrow key to invent new copies and fill out that nautilus. You can even press and hold the Up Arrow key in order to quickly add copies. I'm going to press the Down Arrow key at this point because I want my Copies value to be 69. You can go your own way, but that ends up completing the nautilus shell effect. Then click OK in order to accept that change. Now at this point we're done with the guidelines. So press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool, click in an empty portion of the artboard to deselect your art, and then right- click and choose Hide Guides from the shortcut menu. The final thing I want to do is add a stroke around the entire thing. And we're going to do this by actually stroking the layer. So switch back to the Layers panel and notice that little circle to the right of the word nautilus, click on it in order to target the entire layer. Now I want you to switch back to the Appearance panel and dropdown to the lower left corner and click on Add New Stroke. Now that will initially make a mess of the artwork. However, I want you to make it still messier by changing the Line Weight from 1 point to 6 point, and then we'll clean things up by making sure the Stroke is selected, very important, and then you go up to the Effect menu, choose Pathfinder, and choose Add. And that's going to fuse all of those strokes together. Then you can click off the artwork to deselect it, and now I'll press the F key a couple of times in order to switch to the Full Screen mode. And that friends, is how you create a nautilus pattern here inside Illustrator.
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