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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 in Adobe Illustrator, and I'm going to show you how to create this repeating honeycomb pattern based on nothing more than a single hexagon. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Alright gang, I really apologize for the state of my voice here, but hopefully you'll be able to tolerate it. I've got the final honeycomb pattern on screen, just so you can see it in all of it's splendor. I'm going to switch over to this document which is a blank art board, as you can see, and it contains a few swatches that I have created in advance.
Now, if you're working along with me, but you don't have access to this file, then you want to go up to the File menu and choose the New command. And we're just looking for a print document, so go ahead and choose Print and then change the height value to six inches, so six IN, and press the Tab key. And if you're working in points, that's going to convert the image to 612 points wide by 432 points tall. And that way you're just going to get the same results that I'm showing you. And you also want to go ahead and throw in a bleed.
By changing the first bleed value to 18 points and assuming that they're all linked together, that'll change all of the bleed values and then click OK. But I'm going to cancel out because I've already made this document in advance. And now I'll click and hold on the shape tool here, and select the Polygon tool. And then you want to click inside of your document. The number of sides by default is six, which is just fine, because we do want a hexagon. But you want to take the radius value down to 30 points, and then click OK.
Now I need the size of the polygon to be vertical, and to do that, you double-click on the Rotate tool, and then change the angle value to 30 degrees. Turn on the Preview check box. And you can see that we're now getting the right results. And so, go ahead and click OK. Now press the V key to switch back to the black arrow tool. And what we need to do is take some measurements here. I'm just going to drag this guy up a little bit. And I want you to note, if I go to the View menu, I've got smart guides turned on, which you want as well, and you definitely want the bounding box turned off, because otherwise it's just going to get in your way.
Next, go ahead and drag this upper left point over to the right. So directly to the right like so. You don't need to press the Shift key, cause you're going to snap into alignment. Once you do, just press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac in order to make a copy of that guy. Now, to see how far you move the object, double-click on the black arrow tool in order to bring up move dialogue box. And you'll see this horizontal value of 51.9615 points. All you need to do is copy that value by selecting it and pressing Ctrl+C, or Cmd+C on the Mac, and then you can cancel out.
We don't need this guy anymore, so you can just delete it. We will also need to know this information. Just going to drag this point down until it snaps into alignment, right there. Press the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac, and release. And then, double click on the black arrow tool. And notice, yet another weird value, here. But if you click after it, and enter asterisk two, and then press the Tab key, you'll see that we're essentially getting the same value. So in other words, this new horizontal value is half the previous one, and then the vertical value is 45.
Just remember that. That's all you have to remember is 45. Then click Cancel and you can delete that new polygon. Now, it may seem like, where in the world am I going with this? Well, let me show you. I'm going to drag this guy up and to the left a little bit, and then I'll go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and choose the Transform command. That's my custom keyboard shortcut right there, by the way, which I created using the Keyboard Shortcuts command under the Edit menu. Ctrl+E, or Cmd+E on the Mac, the E is for effect by the way.
And that is a keyboard shortcut that goes otherwise unused inside Illustrator. So I'll go ahead and choose the command, and you want to select that horizontal value and just press Ctrl+V, or Cmd+V on the Mac. And this is the horizontal move value, incidentally. Then you can turn on the Preview check box so you can see, yes indeed, you're moving the polygon over, and now, let's add some copies by selecting the copy value and nudging it up to 12. I just happen to know that's how many polygons it takes to fill this art board. Then go ahead and click OK.
Now if you go to the Window menu, and choose the Appearance command in order to bring up the Appearance panel, you'll see that you've got a little transform effect assigned to this path which is our polygon. We want to assign another transform effect and you do that by going up to the Effect menu, choosing this second Transform command. And that'll cause Illustrator to balk at you. It's going to ask you, do you really want to apply a new effect? The answer is yes, so go ahead and click on the Apply New Effect button. And now notice it's keeping that last value we assigned.
Just click after it, like so. The horizontal move value, click at the end of it. And enter slash two. So, forward slash two, press the Tab key. That's going to divide that value by two, which is exactly what we want. And then you want to change the vertical value to 45 points. And then, let's go ahead and take the copies value down to one, because we just want one copy. Turn on the Preview check box and we get this effect here. So, we get a second row. Click OK. Now we need to replicate these two rows to create a bunch more rows, and you can do that by going back to the Effect menu and choosing that second command again.
Once again, you'll see this alert message so just go ahead and click Apply New Effect. And you want it to change the horizontal value this time to zero, not looking for any horizontalness. And you want to click after the vertical move value and enter asterisk two to multiply it times two and that's going to give you 90 points. Then, go ahead and turn on the preview check box and you can see that works out brilliantly. And now let's take the copies value up to five and click OK. Now I want to fill this polygon with a gradient.
So, I'm going to go up to the Window menu and choose the Gradient command and that'll bring up this tiny little Gradient panel by default. And now, just make sure your fill is active, and you can do so by just clicking on the fill here inside the Appearance panel, and then click on this gradient strip in order to apply it. Now obviously that's not the gradient we want. So, double-click on this first color stop, the one that's white by default. Go ahead and click on the Flyout menu icon and switch to CMYK so you can see all your sliders. They should all be zeroed out by default, in which case leave the cyan value set to zero.
Change the magenta value to 85%, change the yellow value to 100%, and change the K value, black, to 35%. Now, this gradient looks pretty bad, and that's because by default, this black color stop, doesn't contain any color, in other words it's just black ink, nothing more. What you want to do is to Alt+drag or Opt+drag, that first color stop, in order to create a copy of it. Then just go ahead and get rid of the black color stop by dragging it downward. Now, expand the gradient panel by clicking on this double arrow icon a couple of times.
Make sure that second color stop is selected, and change its location to 50%. I lucked out, it's already 50%, so I don't need to modify it. We do need to modify the color however, by double clicking on the color stop. And, let's go ahead and that K value up to 50%. And, by the way, if you're not seeing the CMYK values, that's because you've got swatches selected instead. Just go ahead and switch back to color. And now, let's make a copy of this guy by Alt or Opt dragging it. Once you see that the location is a 100%, because you want it all the over on the right hand side, then, double-click on it and change the K value to 100%, and press the Enter or the Return key on the Mac.
Now I don't want a linear gradient, I want radial gradient. So I'll go ahead and switch the type. And I want it to be a little bit elliptical and to do that, you want to change that aspect ratio value right there to 75% and then press the Tab key in order to apply that change. Now we need to assign a couple of strokes here. So go ahead and click on the stroke here inside the Appearance panel, you can also collapse the Gradient panel if you want to, cause we're done with it. And I'm going to change the color of the stroke to a swatch that I've created in advance, which is called 100% yellow black.
But, if I were to bring up its color values, by Shift clicking on this swatch, you can see that it's that same color we used just a moment ago. That is C zero M 85 Y 100 and K 100 as well. Now, just go ahead and change the line weight to 14 points. So we have a big, thick line weight like that. Now, drop down to the little page icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel and click on it. In order to make a copy of that stroke, take its line weight value down to four points, click on the color swatch and change it to honey yellow, if you're working along in the same file.
If you're not, shift click on that color swatch, and these are the values you're looking for, that is C zero, M 35, Y 85, and K zero as well. Now, notice we have a little bit of a problem. The strokes aren't interacting with each other, they're just overlapping each other like so. And that's because all of these transforms are located under the stroke and fill attributes. We want them on top. So go ahead and click on the first transform, and shift click on the third one. And that's because we applied three variations of that transform effect.
And then just go ahead and drag them and drop them on top, so, below the word path, and above the strokes. And as soon as you do, notice that's not only going to merge the strokes, but it's also going to give us a single gradient that's filling all of those polygons to the same extent. Just a couple of more changes I want to make. I'm going to select this yellow stroke right there. Might as well twirl it open as well. And with the stroke selected, go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and choose the Transform effect once again.
And this time we're going to offset the stroke by changing the horizontal value to seven, and change vertical value to -7. And just so you know, positive horizontal values move things to the right, negative values move them to the left. Positive vertical values move things down, whereas negative values move them up. And to see that that's the case, turn on the Preview check box, and you'll see that just the yellow stroke moves. Now click OK. And the reason is because we applied transform just to the stroke, not to the overall object. Now, we want to round off the corners of the strokes, and you do that by going up to the Effect menu, choosing Stylize, and choosing the Round Corners command.
And then you want to change the radius value to six points and turn on the Preview check box. Then click OK in order to apply that effect, and with any luck, you should see round corners stacked directly above the yellow stroke. If it's assigned to the yellow stroke instead, if it looks like this so that it's only affecting that top stroke, just go ahead and grab it, and drag it and drop it out, like so. Now we want to center the effect inside the art board. And to do that, go ahead and zoom out from the art board like so. And then you want to go to the Window menu and bring up the Align panel by choosing the Align command.
Then click the little double arrow icon next to the word Align in order to expand the panel so that you can see all of its options. Change Align To down here to Align to Artboard, because you've just got one thing selected here. And then you want to click on Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center They may look at that and say that's not any good. We're not centering the entire effect inside the art board, we're just centering that one polygon. That's because that's Illustrator's default behavior, is to just consider the individual path outline.
What we need to do, is click in this Flyout menu icon, in the upper right corner of the align panel. And choose Use Preview Bounds. And that way, Illustrator is going to consider the overall appearance of the object, and now if I click on horizontal align center, followed by vertical align center, we get a very different result. Now I'll go ahead and zoom in like so. That is the effect so far, of course it's not the final effect. What we need is a bunch of additional strokes, and I'll show you how to make those in the next movie.
If you're a member of the Lynda.com online training library, I have a follow-up movie in which I show you how to take our pattern so far and turn it into this three-dimensional honeycomb by building up a series of offset strokes, as indicated by this magnified detail right here. If you're waiting for next week's free movie, my goodness, it's already getting to be Halloween. Which is why I'm going to show you how to create these crazy party zombies. Deke's Techniques each and every week. Keep watching.
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