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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
In the Distortion effect that we have explored up until this point be at using Warp as a live effect or applying an envelope via a Warp or Mesh, we are basically working with certain shapes and we are taking that artwork and we are modifying or distorting it, but what if we have a very specific shape and we want to able to modify or distort a shape within that particular shape? For example, I have over here this particular shield and I want to take this text that's over and I want to force that text to be distorted to fill up that entire shape. We call that Envelope Distortion by using a method called Make with Top Object.
So let's take a look at exactly how that works. In fact, I find that more often than not the method we are about to learn right now is probably is one of the most often used Distortion effects when I'm working inside of Illustrator. So I'm going to start off by taking my Regular Selection tool. I see over here that this particular object here is a group. I'm actually going to go ahead now and choose to ungroup that. So I'm going to the Object menu and choose to Ungroup them and I have here this shape here which is the live text object, I can double-click on it and I can edit the particular as text or I could actually click on this object here and see it's a regular path.
So what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to take this text and force it to fit within the confines of this particular shape. So the first thing I need to do is I need to make sure that this shape is sitting on to top of my objects stacking order. So I'm going to take this shape and I'm going to go to the Object menu, choose Arrange, I'm going to choose Bring to Front. Now I notice that's in front over here, I'll select both of these pieces of artwork and what I'm about to do right now is actually similar to the way that we create a mask inside of Illustrator. The topmost object becomes the envelope or the distortion for the artwork that I have selected that appears beneath it.
So it doesn't really make any difference actually where this text lies, I don't have to actually position this inside of the shape, Illustrator will automatically do that for me. So I'm actually going to leave it over here on this side. I'm going to select both pieces of artwork. I'm going to the Object menu, I'm going to choose Envelope Distort and then I'm going to choose Make with Top Object. Notice now that the word SURF has been forced into the shape of that particular shield. As we'll soon learn, envelopes themselves are non-destructive, meaning they don't actually modify or change their art that appears within the envelope but I also have the ability to adjust the envelope itself and see the artwork update in real time.
So for example, I'm going to use my regular Direct Selection tool here to adjust one of the anchor points over here. Let's say this one and stretch it and I'll see that the artwork automatically adjust to fill that. Let me press Undo. I'm actually going to press Undo one more time to go back to the state where it was before I apply the distortion. I wanted to see that I can do this with many different types of artwork. For example, let's go ahead and choose these three shapes and the shape right over here. I can choose that same command, Envelope Distort, and then choose Make with Top Object to see that artwork now distorted inside of that shape. Now what's important to note about how the distortion is actually applied when you are working with shapes, the anchor points to the shape that you use as the envelope itself does have an effect and how the artwork inside is distorted as do the control handles for those anchor point.
For example, if I use my Direct Selection tool and I click on one of these anchor points and I adjust just here the control handle itself and I stretch it, I can see that does have an effect on the artwork itself. So it's not just a position of the anchor points but it's also the way that the actual anchor points are there. The further that you actually have an anchor point go the artwork inside of it stretched towards that direction as well. So now you know that there are three types of envelopes that you can apply inside of Illustrator. There are actually really the same envelope when you are done with it but there are three ways to apply those envelopes. One is by starting up with the Warp. Another one is starting with a Mesh and the third option is taking a specific shape and using the Make with Top Object command to define that shape as an envelope but in reality creating envelopes is only part of the process.
Now that we know how to define envelopes themselves, we can learn all about how to edit and modify those envelopes after we have already created them.
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