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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 will show you how to add a field of logos behind your calendar, represented in our case by these gears with these lightning bolts inside of them. In order to follow along, we will need Illustrator CS6 or later because that version of the program includes a new pattern maker that accommodates hexagonal shapes. I will go ahead and switch to our calendar so far. I will zoom in on this region between January, February, and March. If you're working along with me, then turn on the logos layer here inside the Layers panel which contains a couple of rudimentary shapes that we're going to use to build the logo.
We'll come back to those in a moment. We also need to add a hexagon behind these shapes, so we can better see what's going on. We'll do that by duplicating one of the existing hexagons. So, go ahead and click on one of them with the Black Arrow tool. And that selects all of them because they are grouped together. The easiest way to get to just one of them is to ungroup them. So, go up to the Object Menu and choose the Ungroup command, or press Ctrl+Shift+G, or Command+Shift+G on the Mac, then click off the shapes to deselect them and click on one of them again to select it.
Now go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command or press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac. Select this red circle right there in order to make it active. And just to make sure everything is copacetic, go over to the Layers panel, click on the flyout menu icon, and confirm that Paste Remembers Layers is turned off. If it has a check mark in front of it, choose a command. If not, just press the Escape key. And now that we know that we can paste between layers, go up to the Edit menu and choose the Paste in Back command, or you can press Ctrl+B or Command+B on the Mac.
Now I will scoot this guy over a little bit so that I can see its upper right-hand anchor point, and I will drag it until it snaps into alignment with the upper left-hand point. And as soon as you see that hollow arrowhead, just go ahead and release in order to move the hexagon to the new location. Now let's take a stab at the logo here. One is this black lightning bolt that's expressed as a standard path outline, and the other is an everyday average circle. We're going to build up this circle to turn it into a kind of gear. So, go ahead and click on a circle to select it and then go up to the Window menu and choose the Appearance command to bring up the Appearance panel.
Now click on the word Fill there, and click on its color swatch and change it to white in order to produce this effect here. We need a new fill. So go ahead and click on the Add New Fill icon in the bottom-left corner of the Appearance panel. Change its color to black this time around. We want this black fill to be inset inside of the white one. So, go up to the Effect Menu, choose Distort & Transform, and choose the Transform command and dial in Scale values of 75% apiece, and then turn on the Preview check box.
You'll see that black circle grow smaller. Now click OK in order to apply that effect, then click on the new fill to select it and click on the little page icon at the bottom of the panel to create a copy of it and then click on the Fill Color and change it to white. Click on the word Transform in order to return to the Transform Effect dialog box and change both of the Scale values to 64% and turn on the Preview check box. You can see that scales the white circle inside of the black lightning bolt. Now click OK.
In order to create a gear, we need to cut half circles into the outline of this larger circle, and one way to pull that off is to add a dotted stroke, which is what I am going to do right now. So, click on the Stroke swatch here at the top of the panel and change its color to black and dial in a Line Weight value of 13.5 points. It's just a value that I found to be useful. Now click on the word Stroke in order to bring up the Stroke panel, turn on Dashed Line right there, and change the Dash value to 0 and change the Gap value to 20 points.
You'll end up with this series of these very skinny spikes around the circle. Because we have a Dash value of 0, we don't really have any perceivable dashes, but we can turn them into perfect circles if we like by changing the Cap setting from Butt Cap to Round Cap, and then we end up with this dotted outline. Now, if you end up with this effect where the dots don't align with each other properly over here on the right-hand side, then you want to switch from this first icon which preserves the exact Dash and Gap links, which is not right for our purposes, and we could figure out what the exact Gap value needs to be by calculating the perimeter of the shape and then doing the math if we wanted to, or we could just go ahead and click on this Align icon which does the work for us.
Now that we've got those circles, we need to somehow turn them into holes. This is a pretty easy thing to pull off, actually. What you want to do is Shift-click on the lightning bolt to select it as well and then go up to the Object menu and choose the Group command, or press Ctrl+G or Command+G on the Mac. Now that we've combined these two path outlines into one, we can drop out the blacks and preserve the whites by clicking on the word Opacity up here in the Control panel and then changing the Blend Mode from Normal to Screen, which ends up producing this unfortunate effect here.
Now, what should have happened is the black should have totally disappeared, as it did in the case of the lighting bolt, and then the whites should remain visible, but these black gear blobs here, we shouldn't be able to see them at all. And that's because I applied a weak black to the circle. So, what we need to do is enter the Group Isolation Mode by double-clicking on either of these path outlines. You can see now that the lightning bolt is nice and black, but the Black Fill and Stroke attributes assigned to the circle are this sort of medium gray.
Go ahead and switch to the Color panel so you can see the CMYK values. Basically, because it's set to the Screen Mode, the black ink is dropping out, but cyan, magenta, and yellow are not dropping out at all because they are set to the equivalent of white where those particular plates are concerned. So we're not digging through this bluish hexagon in the background because it doesn't contain any black. What we need to do is go ahead and crank all these values up. I am going to go ahead and click on the fill, and then I will just crank up the Cyan value, and you can see that we're adding Cyan to this color, and then I will crank up Magenta, and I'll crank up Yellow, and now we've got a real black that's going to cut a hole.
Now I will switch to the Stroke attribute to make it active. And I am just going to click on its swatch because I've already created a rich black in advance. And a rich black is one that contains Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks, and in this case it contains 100% of all four. If I go ahead and press the Esc key in order to leave the Group Isolation Mode, I end up cutting circular holes in a larger circle in order to create gears, which is the exact effect I'm looking for. Now let's get to work on a pattern. I'm going to click on this larger hexagon to select it.
You still want the Appearance panel up. Go ahead and click on the fill and its color swatch and then change the color to this guy right there, Logo spot, because this represents the spot in which the logos occur. Now I'll go ahead and click on this first stroke here, which is the one along the outside of the hexagon. As things stand, this stroke is centered along the perimeter of the hexagon. We need to scoot it inward, because otherwise it will create alignment problems when we create the final pattern. So click on the word Stroke right there, Change the Align Stroke option to the second icon Align Strokes to Inside, and that will go ahead and move that stroke inward.
Then change the Line Weight to half of what it is now, which is 1 point. Now that we have everything set up the way we need it, go ahead and marquee these three shapes like so to select them. I am going to zoom out just a little bit here, and I'll go up to the Object menu, choose Pattern, and choose Make. You will probably get this alert message that's telling you that Illustrator has added the pattern to the Swatches panel. Go ahead and click OK. Let's change the name of this pattern to Logo Tile and then drop down to this next option and change it from Grid to Hex by Row.
Notice this version of the hex looks just like our larger hex, that is it's aligned up right instead of on its side. So, go ahead and choose Hex by Row. We end up with this perfectly aligned effect here by virtue of the fact that we scooted that stroke inward. Now you can press the Esc key in order to accept the creation of that pattern and press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac to zoom out. Now I am going to switch back to the Layers panel, twirl open the Logos layer, and turn off these existing objects here, because we don't need them, but we do need the Logos layer to be active.
Switch to the Rectangle tool, which you can get from the Shape tool flyout menu. And the easiest way to create this background rectangle so it's in exactly the proper location is to press Shift+O in order to switch to the Artboard tool, and that way we can see that the Width and Height values are set to 1224 and 900 points. We need to match those values exactly. So now I will press the Escape key in order to switch back to the Rectangle tool, and I will go up to the View Menu and choose Smart Guides to turn them on.
If you already have a check mark next to your Smart Guides, you can just leave it turned on, then you want to click right there at the upper-left corner of the artboard and dial in those exact values we saw just a moment ago, a width of 1224 points and a height of 900 points, and then click OK in order to create that new rectangle. Now go up to the Control panel, click on the very first color swatch, and select Logo Tile from the Swatches list. We end up getting this repeating swatch pattern, which is great, but it's not properly aligned.
I am going to go ahead and zoom in here, and you can see that we've got some alignment problems that we need to take care of. Assuming the rectangle is still selected, what you want to do is double-click on the Black Arrow tool to bring up the Move dialog box, turn off Transform Objects, and now just Transform Patterns will be turned on. You want the Preview check box turned on so you can see what's happening. Change the Horizontal value to -7 and change the Vertical value to -7 as well, and that scoots the pattern inside of the rectangle without scooting the rectangle itself, and now we have perfect alignment. So, click OK in order to accept that change.
Now I will just go ahead and zoom out from the illustration so that we can see the entire thing. And that, friends, is how you add a repeating pattern of logos set inside hexagons that exactly represents the year 2013 on a single artboard so that you can scale it to absolutely any size you like.
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