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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 these green and red arrowheads, and notice that they're all precisely aligned, they're mirror images of each other. And there's a little bit of trickery associated with the fact that these red arrowheads are kind of biting into the rectangles, which involves a couple of strokes layered on top of each other as well as the Special Alignment option. So I'm going to switch over to my illustration in progress right here. And it's very important, by the way, if you're working along with me that you can see the grid, if you can't go to the View menu and choose the Show grid command.
Also make sure that the Snap to Grid command is turned on. I'm going to start things off by clicking on this black rectangle. And I'm going to change its line weight from three points to eight points. Because this is where the main action occurs when you're working with the Pen tool. And after all, this is the diagram of the Pen tool at work. Next, I'll go ahead and zoom in on the upper right corner of my artwork here. And I'm going to create the upper right arrow head to start with, and it involves three points, and the easiest way to create a three point path is using the Pen tool.
Notice that the top of the red rectangle is four grid increments up from the top of the black rectangle. I want to split the difference. So I'm going to move my pen tool cursor two grid increments down and click right at that point there. And then, I'll just click two grid increments over to the right, so that we have a path that's as long as the distance between the two rectangles. Just as a starting point. Now, press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool because I want to move this anchor point to a different location. And I'll press the the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac, to bring up the Move dialog box.
Now this is not the move I am looking for, so I am going to zero out both the horizontal and vertical values. What I want to do is move this anchor point six grid increments over. And really honestly, the easiest way to do that is to enter the grid increment, which is you may recall is 24 points Into that horizontal field. And that moves the anchor point in the wrong direction, so we'll change the value to negative. And then I want to move it six grid increments, not just one, so I'll click after the horizontal value and enter asterisk six, in order to multiply that value times six, which is negative 144 points.
And that's all there is to it. Now, I can click the OK button in order to apply my change. Press the P key to switch back to my Pen tool. There's an asterisk next to the Pen tool cursor, which tells me, by the way it's all document in this flowchart here, that tells me that the path outline is inactive. Which means if I click anywhere, I'll start a new path. If I want to awaken the existing path, then I need to click or drag. On an inactive endpoint and I'll get this cursor right here, as you can see. I'll go ahead and switch over to the document that I'm working on and I will click on that endpoint and sure enough I get that cursor, we saw just a moment ago.
And I have now activated the path as indicated by the fact that there are no markers next to the Pen tool. Now I'll click directly below the anchor point. Along the top of the black path in order to create exactly vertical lines. So you can see, by the way, I'm not pressing the Shift key as I work because it's not necessary. When you have the grid turned on, you don't really need to press the Shift key in order to constrain your segments to exactly perpendicular. Now, I want this arrow to appear on the Arrows layer, which I created in advance, so I'll switch to the Layers panel.
And then I'll go ahead and drag this blue square, which represents the selected path from the boxes layer up to the arrows layer. And now I'm actively working on that layer. I'll press the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool. I'll click on the path outline, so I can see the Fill and Stroke options up here in the Control Panel. And I'll change the color of the stroke to deep red. It's already the correct line weight which is eight points. And I have no fill, so that's a good thing. All I need to do now is add an arrow head. And I do that by clicking on the word stroke.
Not sure which arrow head I want to add to the start or the end, which is which. So, I'll just go ahead and click on a second guy here. And select arrowhead five. Obviously that's the wrong endpoint for the arrowhead. So I'll click on this little swap icon, in order to swap the arrowhead to the other side. Next, make sure the chain icon is turned on, so that the two scale values are linked together. And then change either of the values to 50%, and that will change both of them, and give us a more reasonably-sized arrowhead, as well. Now, we need to add another stroke in the background.
We'll do that by going up to the Window menu, and choosing the Appearance command. And now, click on the stroke attribute that's assigned to the selected path. And click on the little page icon at the bottom of the panel to duplicate it. Now select that Duplicate Stroke, the one below. And change its line weight to 16 points, so twice eight, and then just change its stroke color to something that's obvious, so we can see what's going on, such as bright green and you'll notice that I'm not getting the effect I want. I really want to push that arrowhead forward, but it's not happening it's just drifting backwards, and that's because both arrowheads are aligned to the end point which is not the effect I'm looking for at all.
So, I'll go ahead and click on the Top Stroke, and I'll select this first align option right there. Extend Arrow Tip, and that will go ahead and extend the arrowhead beyond the end point. And now we need to do the same thing for the other strokes, so click on the second occurrence of the word stroke. Click on It's extend icon, and we get what we want, which is one arrowhead wrapped around another one. It's a little too big, so change the scale value down to 40%. And then, of course, we want the stroke to be not green, but white, like so.
Now, notice this weirdness right here. I'll go ahead and zoom on in. And you can see that the beginning of the arrowhead is not properly aligned. And we could try to put this black rectangle in front of the red arrowhead. But I am trying to keep all of the rectangles behind the arrow heads, because we want to achieve this effect here. The better thing to do is just align things more properly, and we are going to approach this in two parts. First, I am going to click in the word stroke once again for the top stroke, the red one. And I am going to change its cap from Butt which ends the cap right at the anchor point to this guy Projecting Cap which wraps it around in a square. And notice that I'm only affecting the red stroke, not the white one. Now, I'll go ahead and hide that Stroke panel and I'll press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool.
I'll click out the path outline, click on that anchor point, that bottom anchor point to select it. Press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac to bring up the Remove dialog box. Zero out the values, so we can see what in the world we're doing. And with the vertical value selected, I'll press the down arrow key to nudge that point upward. And you can see at a value of negative four points, I lose the white edge. And then at a value of negative eight points, we have perfect alignment. Because after all, we've got two eight point strokes here. One of which is half wrapping down to the Projecting cap, and the other of which the black one is half wrapping around the top of it's path outline.
And so four plus four is eight, which is what we've got. Now, click OK in order to accept that change. I'll press Ctrl+zero or Cmd+zero on a Mac to zoom out. Now, we need to duplicate the arrow head, so I will press the V key to switch the Black Arrow tool. I will click on it to make it active. I'll press Ctrl+R or Cmd+R on a Mac, to bring up the rulers. And I will drag out a couple of rulers and I can't see them because my rulers are hidden. Now, I have created a couple of center guides for you in advance. To view them go up to the View menu, choose Guides, and choose Show Guides, or you can just Ctrl+semicolon or Cmd+semicolon on a Mac.
And they each represent either the horizontal center, or the vertical center of the document. Now, you want to switch from the Rotate tool, to the Reflect tool here inside the toolbox. And then press the Alt key, or the Option key on a MAC, and click somewhere on that horizontal guide in order to bring up the Reflect dialogue box, change the axis to horizontal. If you got the Preview check box turned on, you should see the arrowhead flip to the bottom side there, and then click on the Copy button in order to copy that path.
Now at this point, it becomes obvious that my arrow heads are cutting in too far because this arrow head is too close to the word close. So I'll press the A key to switch to the Wide Arrow tool, and I'll click off the path outline below, and I'll click on this anchor point and then Shift+click on this one, to select both of the right hand anchor points. And then I'll press Shift+left arrow twice in a row in order to nudge those anchor points a full grid increment outward. Now press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool. We'll marquee this guy, Shift+Marquee this guy.
Notice I'm not changing the colors yet. going to make things easier if I don't. And I'll switch back to the Reflect tool. And then I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac. And click on that vertical guideline in order to bring up the Reflect dialogue box. This time you'll want to change the axis to vertical. And click on the Copy button. With these two arrowheads selected, they need to go the other direction. Thanks to the fact that they share the same attributes, in other words I haven't changed the colors of any of the strokes yet. You can click on a word stroke here, the top one, and click on little swap icon to change the direction of the arrows and you can do the same thing with the white stroke.
Go ahead and click on its swap icon as well, and we end up with this effect here. Press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool, and click off the path outlines to deselect them, and this time we're just going to drag these anchor points in their proper location. You want to drag them up, until they snap into alignment two grid increments upward from the bottom edge. And also two grid increments downward from the top edge. And again, you don't have to press the Shift key. You can just rely on the grid. Then drag this guy over, like so, until it snaps into alignment with the edge of the green rectangle and do the same thing for this anchor point. Now, both of these anchor points need help.
So make sure this one is selected, and then scroll up and Shift+click on the top left one. Let's go ahead and zoom on in, so we can see what we're doing. Press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac, to bring up the Remove dialog box. Zero out the values and then click inside the horizontal value and press the up arrow key until the white edge goes away, which happens at about two points as you could see there. So notice that we had a white edge before, now we don't, we don't want the red edge to go into the green rectangles, so press the up arrow key again, until that horizontal value is three points. Now you might think, well, this is still obviously a problem. But bear in mind, we're going to be changing the color of the red line to green so that it matches its rectangle.
So now go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. Press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool. Click off the path outline. Click on this guy to select him. Go over to the Appearance panel. Click on red swatch and change it to bright green. And then, lets go ahead and zoom out a little bit here. And click on this bottom arrow and change its stroke to deep green, and then click on the bottom right arrow and change its stoke color to bright red, like so. And that's going to do it, friends.
We've now managed to create four precisely aligned arrows that cut into the rectangles, thereby implying the action associated with this flow chart. Press the Tab key in order to hide my panels. Press Ctrl+R, Cmd+R on a Mac to hide my rulers. Now press Ctrl+zero or Cmd+zero on a Mac, to center my view here. And you can also, if you like, press Ctrl+semicolon or Cmd+semicolon on a Mac, to get rid of the guidelines. And if you really want to take in your art, then you'd press Ctrl+Quote or Cmd+Quote on a Mac, to hide the grid.
And that's the artwork so far, thanks to our ability to precisely control the alignment of arrowheads here inside Illustrator.
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