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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 the days of the week as well as the dates here inside of Illustrator. And we'll do so in the most automated way possible so that once you've established a single table of dates, you can fill out the other months quite easily. I'll go ahead and switch to my document in progress in which most of the months are already filled in. I've only left February through May open, but this will give you good sense of how the process works without wasting a lot of your time on the other months. So I'll go ahead and zoom in on the month of February here and then switch to the Type tool, which you can get by pressing the T key and drag somewhere inside the month in order to create a text frame.
Right now it doesn't really matter how big it is, you just want it to be roughly the right size. And now we need to dial in a few settings here. Notice to the right of the word Paragraph up here in the Control panel are these Alignment icons. I want you to go ahead and turn on Align Center in order to make it active and then click on the word Character to bring up the Character panel and switch the font to Myriad Pro, which with any luck is available to your system, and you can get to it just by entering the first few letters of Myriad Pro up here in the Font option.
Then click on the Type Style pop-up menu and change it to Bold. You probably won't have this many styles available to you, but you should see Bold somewhere inside the list. And then dial in the Type Size by a value of just 6 points. We want this to be small text and change the Kerning to Optical for the best results. Finally, click in the fly-out menu icon in the upper-right corner of the panel and select All Caps from the list, and now you can press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept those changes. Now you want to enter the first three letters of each of the days of the week.
So SUN followed by the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac. MON then TUE then WED then THU then FRI and then SAT, and notice that each time I've separated the days using a Paragraph Return. Once you've established those days, go ahead and press the Escape key in order to not only except the change but also to switch back to the Black Arrow tool. Now go up to the Type menu and choose Area Type Options. And what this is going to let us to is two things: first of all, we'll be able to scale the text frame to the right size, and secondly, we'll be able to dial in rows and columns in order to create a table.
Go ahead and choose the command to bring up this dialog box. Change the Width value to 120 points and then change the Height value to 94 points. We want the Number of Columns obviously to be 7 because there are 7 days in a week. But it also turns out we want the Number of Rows to be 7, because that way we have an extra row in case the dates go long. And notice that when you accept those values you end up lighting up these Gutter values as well. We want the Gutter value for the columns to be 0, because we want all the columns to be right next to each other.
But we want the Gutter value for the rows to be 4 points where this specific calendar is concerned. Then if you want to see what difference these options are going to make, turn on the Preview check box. Notice that now you've created a kind of automatic table here inside Illustrator. Go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change and then press the T key in order to switch to the Type tool and click after the T in Saturday in order to set the blinking insertion marker and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to advance to the next cell, which happens to be on the next row.
As it just so happens, February of year 2013 happens to begin on a Friday. To advance to Friday, just keep pressing the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac until you see the blinking insertion marker at this location, then enter the dates, each one of the dates separated by Enter or Return. At some point you should end up seeing a total of 28 days. Remember, this is not a leap year, so just 28 days where February is concerned. And then you want to double-click under Sunday in this blank cell right here, double-click right there and hold on a second click and drag in order to select all of the dates, because we want to change them slightly.
Click on the word Character in order to bring up the Character panel, change the Type Size to 10 points like so to make them bigger, and then change the Type Style from Bold to an earlier style on list, which is Bold Condensed, in order to create this effect here. Strictly speaking, this is until you would align the dates in the calendar, in other words you should probably right-align them instead of center them so the 9 is aligned on right-hand side along with the 6 in 16. However, for purposes of this calendar, Center Type looks just great.
Now I'm going to double-click on SUN in order to select it and then drag across to Saturday. So it's a click-drag in order to select all the days of the week. We want to scoot them down, and the best way to do that is to take advantage of this thing called Baseline Shift. To get to it, click on the word Character once again to bring up the Character panel, then advance to this option right there. Notice it's the A with the little A next to it. It's says Set baseline shift, click on it to select a value and dial in -2.5, and that's going to scoot the text 2.5 points down as you see here, then press the Escape key in order to switch back to the Black Arrow tool.
Obviously, the text is the wrong color, so click on the Color Swatch and change it to White. And now we want to position the text where it needs to be. So press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to switch to the Outline Mode so that we can see the center points that we created inside of the hexagons in the previous movie. Notice there is also a center point at work inside this text blog right here in the number 13, and go ahead and drag from that center point until you snap into alignment with the center of the hexagon.
Now you won't necessarily see a Snap cursor, but you should be able to sense that a snap has occurred. Now we want to scoot the text down a little bit, so double-click on the Arrow tool at the top of the Toolbox to bring up the Move dialog box, change the Horizontal value to 0, and then change the Vertical value to 11 to scoot those dates down. Now click OK in order to accept that change. Now I'm going to be able to duplicate these dates into the other months, that is March, April, and May. So we need to create a kind of alignment point so that every table is properly aligned inside of its hexagon, and you can do that using the Pen tool.
So go ahead and click on the Pen tool, which you can also get by pressing the P key and click at the top of the hexagon like so in order to set an anchor point at that location. And because I was so close to the top of the screen, Illustrator slightly auto-scrolled my artwork. Now switch back to the Black Arrow tool, which you can get by pressing the V key. Notice that the little anchor point is selected. It should appear orange inside of your artwork because that's the color of the active layer. Shift-click inside the date table to select it as well so both the anchor point and the table are selected, go up to the Object menu and choose the Group command, or you can press Ctrl+G or Command+G on the Mac.
Now zoom out slightly so you can better see what you're doing and drag that alignment point that appears at the top of the February hexagon until it snaps into alignment with the top of the March hexagon, then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and release in order to duplicate the table. You need to now copy it twice more, so press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to do so. The beauty of March in a non-leap year is it starts on the exact same day of the week as it does in February.
So once again, we've got the first on Friday, but we have a few more days in March as we do in other months. In order to fill them out, press the T key to switch back to the Type tool. Click after the 8 in 28 and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac between each one of the numbers that we need to add, that is to say 29, 30, and 31, and notice that 31 will drop onto the seventh line of type inside of our table. So that's why we've got a total of seven columns, one for the days of the week and then a total of six for the potential dates.
When you filled out March, go ahead and press the Escape key in order to accept that change, then scroll over to April here and press the T key to switch back to the Type tool. Now here is where things seemed like they would be a total nightmare. April of 2013 starts on Monday. You might naturally conclude--especially if you were working inside of a standard tabbed table--that you would have to re-enter all of these dates. But because we're working in a table that actually contains cells, we can make quick work of things, and Illustrator will automatically rewrap the numbers.
What you do is you click in front of the 1 in order to set the blinking insertion marker, then you just press the Backspace key or the Delete key a few times until you scoot the 1 to Monday, then click after 28, press Enter or Return, and enter 29 and then 30. Press the Escape key in order to accept that change, and now we need to do May. So press the T key to switch back to the Type tool, click in front of the 1, and press the Backspace key just a couple of times. This would be the Delete key on the Mac in order to scoot the 1 under Wednesday, and then we need to enter 29, 30, and 31.
Press the Escape key in order to exit the text entry mode. You can go ahead and click off your text to deselect it and press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac in order to zoom out there, and then I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac in order to switch back to the Preview Mode. And that's how you fill out days of the week as well as dates using multi-row and multi-column tables here inside Illustrator.
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