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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. Now very possibly you've never heard of Otto and Marie Neurath, but their efforts influence the efforts of every graphic artist and designer working today. Now I know that sounds like a big claim, but here's the deal. Back in the 1930s, they pioneered this thing called Isotype which stands for the International System of Typographic Picture Education. And the idea was this, instead of representing common concepts using words, which vary from one language to another and therefore somebody is not going to understand, we represent these concepts using stylized pictograms.
And by way of example, I have these two here, man and woman, which you probably see on an almost daily basis. Now, while these modern variations aren't the work of Otto and Marie's team, it's safe to say they wouldn't exist without Isotype. Now we are going to creating these pictograms in Illustrator by stroking these two vertical paths. So everything you see here is a result of strokes, partially because it's entertaining, also however, because it allows us to get the proportions exactly right. We are going to start off with the man symbol because it's easier to make.
And then we'll move on to the woman symbol in the next movie. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right, here are the universal male and female symbols, just so you can see where we are going. We are going to start off inside of this illustration, and you can see it just contains two path outlines each relegated to an independent layer. In this movie we'll build the male symbol. So I'll go ahead and select this first path outline here, the one over on the left-hand side. Then I'll go to the Window menu and choose the Appearance command to bring up the Appearance panel, which allows me among other things to stack multiple fills and strokes on top of each other.
We are going to start by creating the right leg. I'll do that by clicking on the word Stroke right there and I am going to change the Line Weight value to 28 points and then Round Cap in order to create this effect here. Then what you want to do with your Stroke selected here inside the Appearance panel, go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort and Transform and then choose the Transform command which will allow us to move the stroke independently of the path outline. Go ahead and turn on the Preview checkbox so you can see what you are doing and change the Vertical Scale value to 70% like so.
And then go ahead and select the bottom point inside this little reference point matrix, which is located on the right side of the dialog box in CS5 and earlier, but it's over here in CS6. I'll go ahead and turn it on. And then I'll change the Horizontal Move value to 19 points. Finally, you want to make sure that Scale, Strokes & Effects is turned off. If you don't see that checkbox, don't worry about it, but if you do see it, go ahead and turn the checkbox off. So you are scaling the virtual path that Illustrator is stroking here, but you are not scaling the line weight itself.
Then go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. And notice here in the Appearance panel if you twirl open the Stroke by clicking on this little twirly triangle, then you should see a Transform effect assigned to that stroke. Now that we have created the right leg, it's easy to create the left leg. All you do is make sure the Stroke is highlighted and then click on the little Page icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel to create a duplicate of that stroke. Then click on its transform, this is a new stroke, notice that we have two of them now. Click on this guy's Transform effect in order to bring up the Transform Effect dialog box and change the Horizontal value from +19 points to -19 points and then turn on the Preview checkbox and you'll see two legs, then click OK.
Now to create the body, go ahead and click on the Stroke to make it active, that most recent stroke at the top of the stack, click on the little page icon in order to duplicate it and change its Line Weight to 66 points. You also want to click on the word Stroke in order to bring up the Stroke panel and then set the Cap back to a Butt Cap so that we get rid of those rounded edges. Now click on the word Transform in order to bring up the Transform Effect dialog box. Go ahead and tab down to the Vertical Scale value and change it to 40%, and then you want to change the Horizontal Move value to 0 and the Vertical Move value to 54 points.
Go ahead and select this top point inside this little reference point matrix, again, it's over here on the right-hand side in CS5 and earlier and turn on the Preview checkbox and you'll see this little body right there, now click OK. Now one of the things about the universal symbols is that everything about them is rounded, even the joint between the legs right here rounds upward. And so we need to add another stroke, this time a white stroke. By clicking on one of the 28-point strokes, one of the legs there and then you want to Alt-drag or Option-drag it to the top of the stack in order to create a copy of it like so.
Click on the little color swatch in order to bring up the Swatches panel and change the stroke to white, then reduce the Line Weight to 10 points, and click on the word Transform in order to once again bring up the Transform Effect dialog box. Go ahead and click the center point in this reference point matrix in order to scale the stroke with respect to its center. And then change the Vertical Scale value to 20%, change the Horizontal Move value to 0, and change the Vertical Move value to 54, and then to see the effect, go ahead and turn on the preview checkbox and you can see that we have a little bit of roundness between those two legs.
Now click OK in order to apply that affect. The next step is to create the arms. I am going to base the arms on the legs, so I am going to go ahead and select the bottommost stroke in the stack and then Alt-drag or Option-drag it to the top of the stack in order to create a copy of that stroke. I'll change its Line Weight to 24 points this time around. Go ahead and click on Transform, as always, to bring up the Transform Effect dialog box. You want to go ahead and reset that reference point matrix to the center point, that's very important. And then I came up with these values, I'll go ahead and change the Vertical Scale value to 26% and I'll dial in a Horizontal Move value 55 points and a Vertical Move value of -18.
And then if you turn on the Preview checkbox, you should see this distended arm sitting over here on the right-hand side, now click OK. As with the left leg, it's very easy to create a left arm based on this existing one, so I'll just go ahead and click on the stroke to make it active and then click on the little Page icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel to make a copy of it. Now click on Transform and just change the Horizontal Value from +55 to -55, turn on the Preview checkbox, and you've got yourself another arm. The next step is to create the shoulders, and this is actually the trickiest step of them all, because so far the math has worked in our favor and everything's aligned exactly as it should be.
Even if things appear not to be precisely aligned on screen, they actually are, as we'll see. But the shoulders, pretty darn difficult to get them into alignment without just fussing around with them, which is what I ultimately did so I'll just show you the settings I came up with. I'll go ahead and click on this top stroke to make it active, click on the little Page icon and at the bottom of the panel in order to create a copy of it, click on the word Transform in order to bring up the Transform Effect dialog box. Let's go ahead and turn on the Preview checkbox, and I will change the angle to 90 degrees, which goes ahead and rotates the stroke so that it's perpendicular to the path outline.
Now I ended up setting the Vertical Scale value to 28% and I came up with a Horizontal Move value of zero and a Vertical Move value of -56 in order to come up with the shoulders right there. Now go ahead and click the OK button and then we want to change the Line Weight value. The Line Weight that I came up with that best matched the other strokes is 59.5 points. So again, where the shoulders are concerned, this is all trial and error. Now we need to create some white negative space underneath the arms.
So go ahead and click on this 24-point stroke, which represents the right arm. Alt-drag or Option-drag it to the top of the stack like so in order to create a copy of it. And I will click on this color swatch and change it to white. And change the Line Weight to 10 points, just like the gap between the legs. And then go ahead and click on Transform and I dialed in a vertical value of 24% and then we want the Horizontal Move value to be 38 points and the Vertical Move value to be -16 points.
And then if you turn on the Preview checkbox, you'll see the stroke aligned underneath the right arm. Now I will go ahead and click OK. We need to do the same thing at the left side, so go ahead and click on the stroke to make it active. Click on the little Page icon at the bottom of the panel to make a copy of it. Click Transform to bring up the Transform dialog box, and then just change the Horizontal value from 38 points to -38 points and turn on the Preview checkbox and we end up with this affect here. Now click OK. Now the only thing missing is his head, and we are going to create the head as a fill.
So go ahead and grab the fill at the bottom of the stack and drag it up to the top of the stack, like so, so that the fill is sitting on top of the strokes. Then click on the little color swatch there, which appears as a little red slash to indicate transparency and change it to black. Now you are not actually going to see anything change because you're trying to fill an open straight path outline. However, we can make this look quite different here by clicking on the fill to make it active and then going up to the Effect menu, choosing Convert to Shape, and then you want to choose Ellipse.
And notice that we get this big huge ellipse on screen here. I don't want it to have a relative size, I want it to have an absolute size, so go ahead and switch to Absolute--your Preview checkbox should be turned on by the way--and dial in Width and Height values of 52 points apiece. You are not only going to see the circle, it's sitting right there in the center of the path, we need to move it up. So go ahead and click OK and then to move the fill upward, make sure it's selected here inside the Appearance panel and go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort and Transform, and choose the Transform effect.
And then dial in a Vertical Move value of -122 points, and where are these move values concerned by the way? Positive horizontal values move things to the right, negative values move them to the left. Positive vertical values move things down, negative vertical values move them up, which is a little counterintuitive, but that's the way it works. Then go ahead and turn on the Preview checkbox and you see that head pop upward. Then go ahead and click OK in order to accept that effect.
Now that you've drawn this guy as a series of crazy attributes, here's a thing to bear in mind. If you grab your Rotate Tool and then you go ahead and rotate the path outline, then it's going to fall apart, and that's because of all those dynamic transform effects that we assigned. So if you want something that's a little more concrete, a little more flexible, that you can also manipulate as a path outline-- then I'll first press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac to undo the rotation, and then I'll switch back to Layers panel-- take the man layer here and Alt-drag or Option- drag him upward to above the woman layer in order to make a copy of him.
And then double-click somewhere on that later in order to bring up Layer Options dialog box. I'll rename this layer paths, and I'll change the color to grass green. Of course, you can go your own way, if you like. Then I'll click OK, I am going to turn off the original man layer so I don't end up harming it, and here are the four steps required to convert all these strokes to path outlines. Step number one is to go up to the Object menu and choose Expand Appearance. And that will go ahead and give you a bunch of stroked paths as well as this fill path at the top.
The next thing you want to do is convert all of the strokes to fill path outlines, by going back to the Object menu, choosing Path, and then choosing Outline Stroke, and you will end up with this effect here. Now you want to go ahead merge all these path outlines according to their colors. And you do that using an obscure pathfinder operation, and here is how you get to it. You go to the Window menu and then you choose the Pathfinder command in order to bring up the Pathfinder panel. And then this guy right here is the one we want, Merge. Go ahead and click on the Merge icon in order to merge those paths together, and then finally what you want to do is go up to the Object menu and choose the Ungroup command in order to ungroup these path outlines.
The reason we want to ungroup them is because we've got a lot of white paths that are nested inside the black ones. So go ahead and press the V key to switch back to your Black Arrow Tool, click off the path outlines to deselect them and click on one of these white path outlines to select it and then go up to this icon on the far right side of the Control panel, and notice that it says Select Similar Objects? Go ahead and click the down pointing arrowhead next to it and choose Fill Color, and that will select all of the paths that have white fills.
Press the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac to get rid of them. Now he is not entirely perfect, if you click on this black path outline here, you'll see that most everything associated with the body and the legs and the arms works out great. The only tiny problem is around the shoulders. So if you press the Ctrl+Spacebar keys, that's Command+Spacebar on a Mac, in order to get your Zoom Tool and then just drag around this little area. You'll see that we've got this little divot right there in the shoulder. If that bothers you, press the A key to switch to the White Arrow Tool, click off the path outline to deselect it, and click on that little anchor point right there to select it and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of it.
And then go up to the Object menu, choose Path, and choose Join. And that will join those two previous end points right there with a new straight segment. And now you just want do the same thing to the other side of the shoulder, so I will just go ahead and zoom out here and then Ctrl+Spacebar-drag or Command+Spacebar-drag in a Mac around this left-hand shoulder. Then just go ahead and marquee around this point in order to select it, press the Backspace key to get rid of it, go back to the Object menu, choose Path, and choose Join once again.
I'll go ahead and zoom back out here, and now if I grab my Black Arrow Tool, once again, and I marquee these two paths in order to select them--might as well go ahead and group them together by going to the Object Menu and choosing the Group command--and now if I switch to my Rotate Tool, I can go ahead and rotate this guy any way I want and he holds up just fine. But as it so turns out, I don't want him to be rotated. And that, folks, is how you create the universal sign for the male gender, by heaping a bunch of strokes onto a path outline here inside Illustrator.
Seriously, who thought creating the plain old man symbol here could be so much fun? Now if you are a member of the lynda.com online training library, then I have a follow-up movie in which we copy the dude over onto the other vertical line and turn him into a lady, which is more than just adding a dress, it's also lifting the arms, so it looks like she's trying to fly. Now if you are waiting for next week's free movie, Valentine's Day is what like 3 weeks away and these two look to me like they have so much in common, I figure we ought to scoot them together and have them fall in love, once again, just using strokes inside of Illustrator.
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