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This course is the third in a four-part series devoted to mastering the premiere graphics creation application, Adobe Illustrator, version CS6. Industry pro Deke McClelland takes a project-based learning approach to the key features in Illustrator, including Recolor Artwork, transparency, masks, blend modes, strokes and fills, and dynamic effects. The course also covers techniques for creating custom gradients, designing logos, generating photorealistic neon text, and wrapping type around objects. Plus, Deke shows how to call up the most essential features by organizing your workspace and employing time-saving keyboard shortcuts, how to manage the color settings, and how to adjust a few settings to make the program work even better.
In this movie we'll add a rail along with base plates using a series of seven slightly offset strokes. My path is still selected, so I'll click on the top white stroke in the stack here inside the Appearance panel, and I'll just go ahead and add a new stroke, without anything special going on. I can do that either by clicking on the Add New Stroke icon in the lower left corner of the Appearance panel or pressing its keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+/ or Cmd+Option+/ on the Mac. Then I'll change the color of the stroke to Light Rail, which is a light shade of gray.
And notice that the stroke is coming in with the dash and gap pattern. I don't want that because there's no gaps in a rail. So I'll click on the word Stroke and turn off the Dashed Line checkbox. Then I'll reduce the line weight to 8 points in order to create this effect here. Now, I'll create a copy of the stroke by clicking on the Page icon at the bottom of the panel and I'll click on the rear Stroke to make it active. The idea is I want to create a kind of series of beveled shadows and highlights. So I'll start things off by changing the color to Dark Rail and I'll increase the line weight to 10 points.
That will make that new stroke visible on both sides of the one above it. I don't quite want that. I want to step it down a little bit. So with this stroke selected I'll go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and choose Transform, or press Ctrl+E or Cmd+E on the Mac if you loaded dekeKeys. Then I'll turn on the Preview checkbox and I'll click in the Vertical value and I'll press the Up Arrow Key a couple of times to nudge that stroke down, which is little non-intuitive that I'm pressing the Up Arrow Key in order to nudge the stroke down, but that's the way it works.
Then I'll go ahead and click OK. All right! Now click on the newest stroke right there and click on the little Page icon to make a copy of it and let's change its color to Medium Rail and a line weight value of 10 points is just fine. However, we want to nudge the stroke in the opposite direction. So click on Transform, turn on the Preview checkbox, and enter a negative sign in front of that Vertical value. That will go ahead and move that stroke in the opposite direction. Next click OK. Now I want to create a copy of this most recent stroke at the top of the stack, and the easiest way to do that is to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag that stroke upward like so.
If you do it right you'll see a little plus sign next to your fist cursor and go ahead and drop it into place in order to create a copy of that stroke. Go ahead and twirl it open. Let's change its line weight value this time around to 2 points, and the color of the stroke this time is going to be White. I'm going to move it up a little farther by clicking on the Transform icon, turn on the Preview checkbox, and this time because we want to nudge it upward, go ahead and click inside the Vertical value and press the Down Arrow key a couple of times in order to take that value down to -4 points.
Then click OK, and let's create a copy of this stroke by clicking on it and then clicking on the Page icon at the bottom of the panel. Then, now that you have a copy of the stroke, drop down to the original one, click on its color swatch, and change the color to Shadow Rail. 2 point line weight is going to work out fine. Click on the word Transform in order to bring up the Transform Effect dialog box. Turn on the Preview checkbox and get rid of the minus sign in front of the Vertical value, and then press the Tab key in order to watch that stroke move to this location inside of the document window.
Then click OK. All right! That takes care of the rail, but we need to add some base plates that will attach the rail to the ties, and just so we can see what we're doing, we'll create the plates at the top of the stack. So I'm going to click on that top white stroke and then I'll twirl these two guys closed, just so I have a little more room to work, and I'll create a new stroke just by clicking on the Add New Stroke icon in the bottom left corner of the panel. I'm going to change the color of the stroke to Shadow Rail, and I'm going to increase the line weight value--and this is just through trial and error--to 22 points, so that it's thicker than the rail, which is the way it ought to be.
Obviously the rail should only appear in front of the ties, so we need to add a dash pattern by clicking on the word Stroke, turning on Dashed Line, and in my case that ends up giving me the dash values that I assigned to the ties in the first place. The first dash value should be 0, as it is here. I want the width of these base plates to be 10 points, so I'll dial that in for the second dash value. And then you've got to subtract 10 from 64, which is 54, and divide 54 by 2, and the easiest way to do that is to just enter 54/2 for your first gap value.
That gives me 27 points. So I'll just enter 27 points for the second gap value as well in order to produce this effect here. All right! That's going to be the little shadow line around the base plate. Now let's add the plate itself. So make sure the Stroke is still selected. Then, drop down to the little Page icon: click on it. Go ahead and reduce the line weight value to 20 points, and then change the color to Light Rail to produce that effect there. And because I reduced the line weight from 22 points to 20 points, there is one point on the top and one point at the bottom. So I need to do the same thing on either side of the base plates.
So I'll click on Stroke in order bring up the dash and gap values. I'll take the first gap value up one just by nudging it up one. I'll also nudge the second gap value up one, and I'm doing that pressing the Up Arrow Key, by the way. Then I'll nudge the dash value down two in order to create this effect. Now, of course I need to move the plates below the rails, so I'll click on one, Shift+Click on the other, to select them both, and then drag them below the rail lines, like so. But that's not enough, because notice that we have these hairlines, which means I need to move these dashes below the white cover-up, which is directly below.
So I'll go ahead and select them both and drag them one down. So you can see how the Appearance panel works like a kind of Layers panel. The difference is it accommodates Fills, Strokes, and Dynamic Effects assigned to a single object. So that's how you create the first rail associated with these train tracks. In the next movie we'll duplicate this rail and shift things around to create the second one.
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