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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 I'll show you how to combine a pixel-based tile pattern along with a couple of strokes along a single path outline inside the Appearance panel. So here's my final train running along the train tracks, and just about everything that you're seeing here was built inside the Appearance panel using strokes. We're going to start things off by creating this top horizontal train track effect that's found on the first artboard, and we're going do so inside of this base file right there. So these are all the path outlines I'm giving you.
This thing is going to be the train. This thing is going to be the big train track around the enclosed artboard, and so forth. So you'll be doing all of the work yourself. All right! I'm going to press Shift+Page Up in order to zoom in on the first artboard and I'll go ahead and select this top horizontal line to make it active. Then go to the Window menu and choose the Appearance command in order to bring up the Appearance panel, which is where we're going to be spending about 99% of our time in this chapter. Now, notice we've got a Stroke and no Fill. I might as well just build on that existing stroke.
I'm going to change its line weight to 130 points, and these are just some values that I came up with. Then I'll click on the word Stroke in order to bring up the panel, and I'll turn on Dashed Line, because I want to create those railroad ties. Now, I want each tie to be 24 points wide and I want the distance between the ties to be 40 points. So we've got a total of 64 points in all. And once you make that determination, you've got to stick with it. But here's the problem, if I go ahead and hide the panel for a moment, you can see that we end up with half a dash at each endpoint, and I don't want that.
I want every single one of my dashes to be complete. So I'll click on Stroke again and I'll change the first dash value to 0 and then I'll change the first gap value to half of 40, which is 20, change the dash value to 24 points, and then I'll change the second gap value to the other half of the gap, which is 20, and we end up with this effect here. The unfortunate part is, even though I ordered up a 0-point dash, I end up getting this little sliver of a hairline, which will show up when you print the document.
So we'll take care of that in a moment. Now, the next thing I want to do is introduce a wood grain pattern into these ties. So I'm going to go ahead and scoot over to this empty region to the right of the first artboard and I'll go ahead and click in it to make the second artboard active. I'll switch back to the Layers panel and click on the Tiles layer to make it active. Then go up to the File menu and choose the Place command. If you have access to my Exercise Files, then go to the 29_appearance folder in which you'll find this file called Wood Grain.psd that I created inside Photoshop.
Then go ahead and click the Place button in order to place it into the illustration. Now, this image happens to look best at the 300% view size. That's when you can see each and every pixel. This is a seamlessly repeating pattern tile by the way. If you're a Photoshop user and you're interested in how I created it, I'll show you in the final movie of this chapter. But in the meantime, let's turn it into a tile pattern by going up to the Object menu, choosing Pattern, and then choosing the Make command, or if you loaded dekeKeys back in Chapter 22, you can press Ctrl+M or Cmd+M on the Mac.
Unfortunately, that doesn't work. The problem is that patterns don't support linked images. You've got to embed them first. So, fair enough. I'll go ahead and click OK and then click the Embed button up here in the Control panel, and that brings up the Photoshop Import Options dialog bo. Just make sure Flatten Layers is selected and then click OK in order to embed that image. Now I'll press Ctrl+M or Cmd+M on the Mac in order to switch to the Pattern Edit mode. If you get an alert message, just go ahead and click OK.
Notice that in addition to seeing the pattern repeat seamlessly, that Illustrator has sized the tile to the exact perimeter of the image, so all you have to do is go ahead and name your new pattern. I'll call mine Wood Grain, and press the Enter or Return key to accept that name and press the Esc key in order to exit the Pattern Edit mode and add a new pattern swatch here to the Swatches panel. Now, I'll press Shift+Page Up in order to return to my first artboard. I'll go ahead and click on this line to select it.
It's a little hard to find. So you might just want to go ahead and marquee it, like so. Then return to the Appearance panel. Go ahead and click on that color swatch right there and change it to Wood Grain, and you end up with your wooden ties, like so. Now let's go ahead and eliminate these hairlines between the ties by adding another stroke. So I'll go ahead and click on the little Page icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel in order to duplicate this stroke. For now, let's change it to black, just so we can easily keep track of it.
I'm going to make it slightly thicker than the other stroke, just so it entirely covers up everything. And then I'll click on the word Stroke, and we need to come up with some new dash and gap values. Now, these hairlines appear at the endpoints, so I don't need this second pair of dash and gap values. So I'll just go ahead and delete them like so, and then press the Tab key. And that makes a fair mess of things, as you can see here, but we'll take care of that by entering a dash value of 8. That should be more than enough to cover up that hairline.
Then I'll change the gap value to 64 minus 8, because remember we're working with 24-point thick ties that are separated by 40-point gaps. So these two numbers or however many numbers you use always have to add up to 64. So I'll go ahead and change this guy to 64 minus 8, which is 56, and we end up with this effect here. So now that I've successfully managed to cover up all those hairlines with these thick black strokes, I'm going to change the color of the stroke from black to white in order to match the background.
Then if I set it against some other background, I'd have to match its color instead. That's how you combine a seamlessly repeating pixel-based tile pattern along with a couple of strokes along a single path outline. In the next movie we'll give our wooden ties some depth by adding still more strokes.
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