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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise I'll be explaining how to use the various settings inside the 3D revolve options dialog box. I'm still working away inside Half an apple.ai, which is found inside the 29_3D folder, and I've managed to take that selected path outline, which is the Half an Apple itself, and revolve it around a vertical axis in order to create a complete Apple form. Now it doesn't really have that much definition at this particular angle, but we can go ahead and switch that around. I notice that we've got these color- coded controls here, which allow you to spin the object in 3D space.
So currently, for example, even though we're revolving the Path outlined around a Vertical axis, we've gone ahead and rotated that Vertical axis in 3D space, so that the Apple can spin back and forth, and you do that using these various controls right here. Now, rather than calling these the XYZ controls, which is a little bit misleading, because they are not really listed in the conventional order, instead I'm going to refer to them by their airplane names. So this first control is the Pitch control, notice that it is in red, and think of when you're in an airplane, and you pitch forward or you pitch backwards, so the wings are staying in place, but you're either nosing forward or your tail is going down, you're nosing upward, that's the Pitch control.
And you can either change that value numerically if you want to, or you can grab the front edge of that cube and yank it around like so, and notice that the front edge highlights red, as do the other edges that are associated with pitch. So if you end up basically spinning this guy upside down, why then you can grab one of these other red edges in order to one day spin it back right side up like so, and the nice thing about this cube incidentally is that it gives you control over 3D object which is what this thing is, even though you're working in 2D space, that is you're working on a two-dimensional screen, you've got width, height and that's all you've got, and many programs make it very difficult to move around in 3D, whereas, Illustrator does a pretty darn good job inside of these dialog boxes.
All right, your last control, I'm going to jump ahead here, is your Roll Control, so imagine that, that dot right there is the nose of the plane, it's coming right at you, essentially. You can roll around the nose. So if you were in the plane, if one wing dipped down and the other one went up, or the other wing dipped down and the opposite went up, then you'd be rolling back and forth, and you can control the roll not only by modifying this value, and these are measured in degrees by the way. But you can also go ahead and drag these bottom edges here, the ones that appear blue and that will allow you to roll that Apple to your heart's content as you can see.
And then finally you've got the Y axis control, which is basically what happens when the plane spins back and forth, kind of on a spindle, so one of the wings goes forward and the other goes backward in other words. And you can control the Y axis by dragging one of the vertical edges, at least one of the edges that starts off vertical; because after all you can spin this cube anyway you want. Notice as I drag the Y axis, then I'm spinning the Apple around its axis, so the axis stays in place when I adjust the Y axis control.
Whereas, if I grab one of the other controls if I change the pitch for example or if I end up changing the roll, in both of those cases I'm changing the angle of that axis. So it's all stuff that you might find helpful or you may want to just grab that cube and drag it all over the place. Now the other option in this area is Perspective and currently it is set to 0 degrees, which means that we're looking at an isometric projection. If you want any amount of perspective whatsoever, you need to go ahead and increase that value, which becomes very useful in the 3D extrude dialog box here, you can take it or leave it, you might want to add a little perspective, you might not, we're going to come back to it later.
In the meantime I want you to see this revolve control right here, this is how far you're revolving the path outlined around the axis. Currently we're revolving it all the way around 360 degrees, which is why the Apple ultimately closes around itself, and we're not seeing any of the meat, in other words, we haven't cut a slice out of that Apple. However, we could cut a slice if you want to, or we could just render a slice. If I take this value down from 360 degrees to just 30 degrees, then all we will be left with is a slice of Apple and nothing more, just like this, and now you're seeing the problems that gradient fills can cause by the way.
Let's go ahead and rotate that guy around here, I'm going to change the Y axis control, so the Apple is facing a different direction, that is the Apple slice at this point in time. Notice what's happening, the Stroke is peeling away from the Fill, is basically what we're seeing here. So when that happens to Illustrator and it can't think it's way outside of this box, it ends up showing Gray, which is obviously a tragic thing, because that's for real, that's actually going to render gray, which is going to completely mess up the effect and we don't want that.
And you can get around these kinds of problems by not working with gradients in the first place, at least not gradient fills, you can add them after the effect by mapping them into your artwork as symbols and we'll see how that works later, but in just a moment, we're going to get rid of the gradient fill. Now you can turn off the cap if you want to, if you don't want to see the fill it all, then you go ahead and select this second icon right there, which gives you this effect. Now there is no reason we'd want to do that where this Apple is concern, however, you may find a use for it in your other artwork.
In my case I'm going to go ahead and turn the cap back on. And I'm also got to set the angle value; the final angle value that I'm looking for is 270 degrees, which is three quarters the way around the circle. Now so long as the Preview check box is turned on every time you make one of these modifications, you're going see a progress bar. Don't be surprised if you see that little not responding message for a moment, that's just Illustrator's way of messing with you. It should go ahead and successfully render out every one of these effects. Now notice that the exposed portion of the Apple is facing away from us, so I've got to go ahead and grab one of those Y axis controls and rotate the Apple around, so that I can see into it, and this should work right there.
The wireframe preview can be a little difficult to interpret at times, but when we've just got a quarter slice open, it's pretty easy to see what's going on. I actually wanted to look more like that I think, and then finally, notice that you've got this sort of gap in the middle of the Apple and that's a function of the offset incidentally, you can increase that offset if you want to. I could take it up to 12, and that's going to give us essentially a thicker axis, so that we're separating the slices of Apple away from each other, so that we've got this big missing core in the center.
Well, it would be nice, is if I could change this offset value to something negative, so that I can get rid of any vestige of a core whatsoever, but that is not an option. The lowest you go with this control is zero, and that's what I suggest you do. But got to tell you something, for now I suggest you actually do nothing, because we've got to take care of that gradient problem. So I am going to go ahead and cancel out there, or you can apply, if you want to, you can go ahead and click OK, might as well, let's do that, because this is a dynamic effect, we can come back and modify it anytime we like, that's our first venture into the world of 3D revolve inside of Illustrator.
In next exercise we're going to clean up this Apple and make it right.
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