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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. Well, it's a new year, January 2nd to be exact, and I just got back from a 2-day party. Yeah, that's it, which is why I am so gussied up. Now in honor of the New Year I thought I would show you how to create your own Custom 2013 Calendar inside of Adobe Illustrator. Now we're going to base our design off this one here. It's from this guy German Ariel Berra. Let's pretend that's how it's pronounced of the Fotolia Image Library. Problem is this guy hasn't updated his design since 2011. So I thought we'd lift from it and create our own 2013 design right here. Now we are going to start things off by creating a pattern of precisely-aligned hexagons, and you can see just how precisely aligned they are in this detail, and then we will add the days and the month. And in the subsequent video I'll show you how to create the dates inside of an Illustrator table. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Alright, here is the final calendar. It'll take us a total of three movies to create it. We are going to start off inside of this file, and I have gone ahead and included the original Fotolia artwork for the sake of reference. But for the sake of clarity, I am going to turn that layer off, and I'm going to click of hexagons layer to make it active. Then you want to click and hold on the Shape tool icon here inside the Toolbox and select the Polygon tool from the fly-out menu, then click over here in the upper left region of the document in order to bring up the Polygon dialog box. I went ahead and set the Radius value to 98 points, though of course, you can modify that setting to anything you like. But you do want Sides value to be 6 so that you are creating hexagons, then click OK to create that Shape. It's at the wrong angle, so double-click on the Rotate tool in order to bring up the Rotate dialog box and set the Angle value to 30 degrees. And if you have got the Preview check box on, you'll see that goes ahead and rotates the hexagons so it's upright, then click OK in order to accept that change. Now I am going to go and zoom in on the shape so that I can see it nice and close. I'll press the V key to switch back to my Black Arrow tool, and I'll also go up to the Window menu and choose the Appearance command to bring up the Appearance panel so we have access to the Fill and Stroke attributes. Click on the Fill to make it Active, then click on its Color Swatch to bring up the Swatches panel and select this shade of medium blue that I have created in advance, which is called February, and that goes ahead and changes to Fill to medium blue, like so. Then click on a Stroke to make it active, change Line Weight to 2 points, and change the color from black to white. Now with the Stroke still selected, go ahead and drop down to little page icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel and click on it, to make a copy of the Stroke. We want to scoop this new stroke inward, so go up to the Effect Menu > Distort and Transform, and choose the Transform command. And the settings I came up with are 95% apiece for both the Horizontal and Vertical scale values. If you turn on the Preview check box, you can see the result. Now click OK in order to accept that change. Now let's go ahead and zoom out a little bit here. We need to make a few copies of this hexagon. So with the Black Arrow tool active, go ahead and drag from this upper-left point over to the right until you snap into Alignment with the similar right-hand point and then press Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and release in order to create copy of that shape. Notice up here in the Swatches panel that the Stroke is active because the Active Swatch is white. So press the X key to make the Fill active and then change that fill to March in order to apply the shade of green. Now I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac to make another copy of the shape and change its Fill to April, make it another copy and change its Fill today to May. Now go ahead and marquee these three shapes right there. You only have to partially marquee them and then drag from the top-most point, down and to the right a little bit until you snap into alignment at this position here and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and release to make three more copies of the shapes. Go ahead and marquee the first one to make it active and then change its color to June. Marquee this final shape over here and change its color to this red, which is July. And then you want to marquee the central shape and change its color to the shade of purple, which is called Year spot, because that's a spot at which the year will appear. Let's go ahead and scroll things up a little bit. I'll marquee these top shapes and drag this top point down to this position. You'll see that hollow arrowhead which indicates a snap to, then press Alt key or Option key on a Mac and release to create these copies. Go ahead and marquee this guy to make him active and change its color to August, marquee this one, change its color to September, marquee this one, change its color to October, and then this guy right there wants to have a color of November. Go ahead and drag this point right there, the upper point in November until it snaps into alignment at this location, press and hold the Alt key or Option Key on a Mac to make a copy and change the color of the shape to December. And then go ahead and select November again and drag its bottom point up to this location of up here and press the Alt or Option key on the Mac, and then release in order to create the top shape and change its color to January. Now we can press Ctrl+O or Command+O on the Mac to zoom out, and you'll see that even now have all the hexagons we need, they aren't by any means positioned properly. So, what you need to do is press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac to select all the hexagons, and then go into the Object menu and choose the Group command to group all of the shapes together. Now you can center them by going up to this Align icon and changing it to Align to Artboard if it's not set that way already. And next, you want to click on Horizontal Align Center, and then click on Vertical Align Center in order to go ahead and scoot the shapes to the desired location. Now I am going to go ahead and zoom in just a little bit here, and I'll switch back to the Layers panel and turn on the Months layer so that you can see that I've gone ahead and created in advance, not only the text that indicates the year for this Calendar, but also most of the months, including January and then June through December. The reason I have done this already is because most of this text work is busy work. However, I want to give you has a sense of how I accomplished it, so we'll be creating February through May together. So I'll go ahead and zoom in on my calendar like so and then center things on the month of February. And let's start things off by switching to the Type tool, which you can get by pressing the T key. Go ahead and click on the Months Layer inside the Layers panel, if you're working along with me. And we want to set a few things up in advance. First of all, we want the text of the align center, so go ahead and click on the Align Center icon up here in the control panel, then click on the word Character to bring up the Character panel. And I am going to be setting my Text in Myriad Pro. And to get to it, assuming that you have it, it's included with most versions of the Creative Suite. All you have to do is enter the first few letters of Myriad Pro like so. And next, I want to change the Type Style to Bold, and notice I have a very long list of Styles. You probably won't see that many, but you should see bold at some point. And then we want to change the Type Size to 22 points. Notice this next option down here, that's the Kerning value. You want to change it from Auto to Optical, which is going to give you the best results and then click on the fly-out menu icon in the upper- right corner of the panel and switch to All Caps. Go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept the change and click somewhere inside the hexagon, not along the outline, because then you'll create text inside of a hexagon. Rather, you want to create an independent line of point text. So your cursor should appear as an I beam inside of a dotted square. Go ahead and click inside the hexagon at some location and then enter February and press the Escape key in order to exit the text entry mode. Now we've got one issue, which is that the text is black, so click in the first Color Swatch up here in Control panel and change it to white, like so. Now we need to position and duplicate text in order to create the other months. We are going to do that by adding some center points to the Hexagons. So go ahead and marquee this first hexagon here, and because they are group together, that selects all of them and press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on a Mac to switch to the outline mode. Then go up to the Window menu and choose the Attributes command in order to bring up the Attributes panel and make sure that the panel is expanded as far as it can go so that you can see this option right here Shows Center, then go ahead and click on it, and that will add center points to all the hexagons. Now go ahead and close the panel, select the text by clicking on it, and then drag its point in 'til it snaps into Alignment with the center of the hexagon. Now what we want to do is zoom out a little bit and make some duplicates of text. So I'll go ahead and once again drag from the center point of February over to this location here and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac in order to create a duplicate. We need a couple of more, so press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac couples more times, like so. Then press the T key in order to switch to the Type tool, double-click inside February, and change it to March, press the Escape key in order except that change, press the T key once again to switch to the Type tool, double- click inside this occurrence of February to select it, change it to April, press the Escape key in order except that change, and then press the T key to switch back to the Type tool, double-click inside the final February, and change it to May, and then press the Escape key. And notice, not only does that except the change, but it also switches you back to the Black Arrow tool. So I'll go and Shift-click on all of the Months here in order to select all four, and we need to move them up a little bit into the desired position. So double-click on the Black Arrow tool at the top of the Toolbox in order to bring up a Move dialog box, change the Horizontal value to 0 and press the Tab key and then change the Vertical value to -41 points and press Tab in order to move the text into these locations here. And then click OK to accept the change. Press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on a Mac in order to zoom out for my Artwork, and now I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac in order to switch back to the Preview Mode. And that, friends, is how you create the hexagons and month names in order to fill out a single page calendar that you can scale to any size that you like here inside Illustrator. If you're a member of the lynda.com online training library, I have two follow-up movies. In the first I show you how to create the dates inside of an Illustrator table so that you can easily modify the dates for each and every month. And in the next movie I show you how to create a field of logos inside of hexagons surrounding the calendar so that you can output your calendar to say poster size and hand it out to clients. In next week's free movie I am going to show you how to create an infinity symbol, not a sideways eight, but rather an infinity symbol that matches the font of your choice using the Width tool inside of Illustrator, and this is an amazing technique that you'll see. Deke's Techniques each and every week, keep watching!
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