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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. This week, we're going to take that 2D video game character from last week, aka The Curious Necrowalrus, inspired by the works of Dan Paladin, best known for the Alien Hominid, Castle Crashers, Battle Block Theater, (LAUGH), the times we've had. And we're going to take that dude, and we're going to give him this radiant cartoon aura (SOUND) in Adobe Illustrator. Here, let me show you exactly how it works...
Alright, here's the final red aura so that you can see it on screen. I'll switch over to my illustration in progress. And the first thing I'm going to do is grab this Tracing Template Layer, and I'm going to throw it in the trash, because we don't need it any longer. And then, with the back layer active, I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac, and click on the little page icon, at the bottom of the Layers panel. And I'll call this layer Aura, and I'll change its color to grass green, a subjective choice of course. And then I'll click OK.
Now, we need to base the aura on the outline of the entire character, which means, we need to combine the body paths and the head paths as well, on to this new layer. So, I'll unlock the body layer, so that I can gain access to it's path. And then, I'll click in it's upper right hand corner in order to select all the path outlines on this layer. And armed with my Black Arrow Tool, I'll go ahead and Shift, click on the outline of this signature image, in order to deselect it. Because I don't need the signature to create the aura. And then I'll press the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac. And drag this purple square down onto the aura layer, in order to create a copy of all those body paths.
Now, click on the upper right corner of the head layer in order to select all of its paths, and I'll Alt+Drag or Option+Drag the orange square, down onto the aura layer, to copy its paths as well. Now go ahead and turn off the body and head layers for a moment, so that we can focus on the aura. Click in the upper right corner of this layer in order to select all the path outlines. In a perfect world what we'll be able to do, is go up to the Window menu and choose the Pathfinder command to bring up the Pathfinder panel.
And then you just click on the Unite icon in order to fuse all these shapes together. But if you do that, check it out, I'll go ahead and turn on the body and head layers. And you can see that there's places in which this new shape sticks out beyond the outline of the character. That's a function of the various objects inside the clipping masks, so we need to get rid of them. So, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on a Mac, as many times as it takes in order to regain access to my original aura pass.
And then I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Cmd+Shift+A on a Mac, in order to deselect the path outlines. And I'll go up to the Select menu, choose Object and choose Clipping Masks. In order to select just those path outlines that are Clipping Masks inside of this layer. Now go up to the Control Panel, and notice this icon right there, Edit Contents. Go ahead and click on it, in order to select just the contents of the Clipping Masks. And now we want to get rid of them by pressing the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac. And that gets rid of all the offending stuff associated with this layer. Now, go ahead and click in the upper right corner of the Aura Layer in order to select all of its Paths.
Bring back the Pathfinder panel and click on Unite. In order to fuse those shapes together. And we also want to change a couple of attributes here. Change the Fill, up here in the Control panel to RGB red. And then change the Stroke to none, in order to produce this effect here. And now go ahead and turn the body and the head layers back on. And you shouldn't be able to see any of the red path outline, because it's accurately covered up by the pass in front of it. Now let's turn the selected path into an aura, by going up to the Window menu, and choosing the Appearance command, to bring up the Appearance Panel. Then I want you to select the red fill.
Independently of the path outline. Now go up to the Effect menu, choose Path, and choose Offset Path. Change the offset value to four points and then turn on the preview check box, and you'll see that the red aura moves outward. Now click OK, and then go back to the Effect menu, choose Distort and Transform, and choose the Roughen command. Switch from Relative to Absolute. Dial in a size value of three points. Of course, you can go your own way here but this is what I came up with. Take the detail value, up to 12 per inch.
Then turn on the preview check box, in order to see the path undulate on screen. And I decided to change the points from corner points to smooth points. In order to smooth off the effect ever so slightly. Then click OK. Now, with this fill still selected in the Appearance panel, drop down to the little page icon at the bottom of the panel and click on it. And that'll make a duplicate of that fill. Now twirl open the bottom of the two fills, click on the word Opacity, that's associated with this fill right here, so the indented version of the word opacity, and change the opacity value to 33%. Now, click on Offset Path.
In order to bring back the Offset Path dialogue box, and change the offset value to eight points and click OK. And notice that moves that lower opacity version of the fill outward. And then click on Roughen in order to bring up the last applied settings. Take the size value up to six points, take the detail value down to ten per inch, and turn on the Preview check box. And you'll end up with an effect like this here. What I want to emphasize about Roughen, is that it's a random effect, so every time you assign it, you'll get a different result.
Now go ahead and click the OK button in order to accept that change. I'll switch back to the Layers panel, press Ctrl+Shift+A or Cmd+Shift+A on a Mac to deselect the path outline, and turn on the Text layer in order to finish off this illustration. And that friends, is how you create a cartoon aura around the entirety of a 2D video game character here inside Illustrator. If you're a member of the lynda.com Online Training Library, well, bless your heart. I've got a follow up movie in which I show you how to take those uniform strokes, they're so mechanical. Don't you know.
They don't change over the course of the path outlines, whereas we want them to change. We want variable width strokes like these. It's a subtle difference, but gosh almighty, it's important. If you're waiting for next week's free movie, we're going to take this photograph of a falcon, just a still photo, don't you know? And we're going to animate it, up a storm..We're just going to make those wings flap like crazy, using Puppet Warp inside Photoshop. Deke's Techniques, each and every week. Keep watching.
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