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Adding random neon brightness fluctuations

From: Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Adding random neon brightness fluctuations

In this movie, we will take a fairly flat looking neon effect so far and we'll make it sizzle by adding those super-hot random brightness fluctuations that characterize real neon. I am going to go ahead and zoom in on this version of the illustration here, so you can see these white strokes that are flowing through the P as well as the E. Notice for one thing that they're sharply defined, so that we have these crystal-clear specular highlights, which is what we want. And also they begin very hot and they end very hot, but they become a little dimmer toward the middle.

Adding random neon brightness fluctuations

In this movie, we will take a fairly flat looking neon effect so far and we'll make it sizzle by adding those super-hot random brightness fluctuations that characterize real neon. I am going to go ahead and zoom in on this version of the illustration here, so you can see these white strokes that are flowing through the P as well as the E. Notice for one thing that they're sharply defined, so that we have these crystal-clear specular highlights, which is what we want. And also they begin very hot and they end very hot, but they become a little dimmer toward the middle.

And that's something that you see in real neon, but you don't see conveyed in neon art very often. We are going to achieve this effect using a variable width stroke. Now I don't want to change the width of each and every one of these strokes independently, so I'm going to create a variable width profile in advance. So I'll go ahead and switch over to my illustration in progress. If you're working along with me, twirl open the neon layer here inside the Layers panel. Right at the top here, you will see this item called width; go ahead and turn it on, that is make it visible.

You will see this straight line in the upper left-hand corner of the artwork. Go ahead and select it with the Black Arrow tool and as you can see it's nothing more than a horizontal line, but it does have some width information and you can find out what that width info is by selecting the Width tool, which you can also get by pressing Shift+W. You can see here, all together I have got four width points: two at either end and then two toward the center. At either end, if you double-click on one of these, I have set the Total Width value to 16 points; go ahead and cancel out because the work is done in advance.

And toward the center, if you double-click on either of those, you will see that the Total Width value is half as much, that is 8 points. I will cancel out of there too. Having gone ahead and created this width profile, I will now save it off by pressing the V Key to switch back to my Black Arrow tool; and then I'll go up to this middle option here in the Control panel, click on it and then click on the little hard drive icon; and I'll go ahead and save this off as neon stroke, and then click OK. All right! We don't need this line anymore.

So I'll turn off the width item here inside the neon panel. Now I want to bring back another copy of my letters. You may still have a copy of the letters in your clipboard, in which case you can just press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac. But in the case you don't, here's what you do. Go ahead and twirl open that letters blend right there, which is the blend we created in the previous movie, and then let's make a copy of the topmost item in the blend by clicking on it here inside the Layers panel. You don't have to meatball it. And then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and drag it up and out of the letters blend, and drop it into place like so.

Now I'll go ahead and twirl close my blend and I'll rename this guy something like bright, just so that I know what its contribution is going to be; and now let's change the color of the Stroke from Yellow, which is the top stroke in the blend, to White. The Line Weight should be 4 points incidentally. And now we want to change the width profile, so go to that Item that currently reads Uniform, up here in the Control panel; click on it, scroll down the list and then select the item you just created, which in my case is neon stroke. If I press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A in a Mac, you can see that we now have those hot spectral highlights, right at the beginning and the end of each one of the neon letter tubes.

All right! Now for the random brightness variations, go ahead and scroll up the Layers panel and you'll see another hidden item called shines; go ahead and turn it on. All it is, is a series of four rectangles that I created in front of the letters. They're all different widths by the way, but they're all sufficiently tall so they extend well outside the border around the letters. The next thing you want to do is select all of these rectangles. I have already grouped them together in advance. So all you need to do is click on the outline of any one of the rectangles to select all four.

Next, go up to the Effect menu, choose Blur, and choose Gaussian Blu. And you want to enter a very high value. I went ahead and cranked my Radius up to 50 pixels. And then turn on the Preview checkbox to see what happens. And note that you create these kinds of gradient patterns really inside of the illustration. But ultimately what we're doing is blurring each and every one of the rectangle. Notice that the blurs occurred not only horizontally, but vertically as well, which is why it's so important that the rectangles are much taller than either the text or the neon border around the text.

Then go ahead and click OK in order to blur those rectangles. And finally, click on the word Opacity up here in the Control panel, and change the Blend mode, which by default is Normal. Go ahead and click on the word Normal and change that Blend mode to Overlay, in order to achieve this effect here. And it's almost as if the rectangles entirely disappear, but if you take a careful look you'll see that we have increased brightness and even heat if you will, inside of each of the blurred rectangles. All right! So now you can press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+ Shift+A on the Mac to deselect the artwork.

And that, friends, is how you use white strokes and fills to enhance the credibility of otherwise flat neon art.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

118 video lessons · 14578 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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