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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 am going to show you how to apply and modify the settings associated with the scatter brush. I've saved my changes as Art-brushed type.ai, and just to give you a sense of what a scatter brush, is I am going to switch over to the final version of the Illustration, Garment tag.ai. Notice that the green stroke around the text is riddled with these small yellow flowers, and those flowers are applied as a scatter brush. So the idea is that a single piece of artwork which may contain a bunch of different paths but is still one piece of artwork, is repeated over and over along a stroke, and it's scattered back and forth as well--hence the name scatter brush--but it also grows and shrinks and rotates and so forth.
So it doesn't stretch along the path outline the way an art brush does; it repeats instead. All right! I am going to switch back over to my illustration at hand. My type is still selected, and I am going to make a few modifications here to my existing strokes. I am going to click on that green Chalk Stroke to make it active. I want to actually burn it into the background. So I'll go up to the Transparency panel, and I'll change the blend mode from Normal to Multiply. Good news is, I definitely cast a shadow. I created a dark interaction between that green stroke in the background, but I also created a dark interaction between that Chalk Stroke and that fill as well, and I don't want that.
Well, the fill is opaque. So all I have to do is drag it on top of that Chalk Stroke there in the Appearance panel. All right! Now, it occurs to me that I want to set that scatter brush to that peach color. So I want to darken up the hand-drawn art brush by clicking on its stroke right there and clicking the down- pointing arrowhead and choosing OW Orange instead of OW Peach. So that will darken up that Art brush ever so slightly. All right! With that stroke active, I'll drop down once again to the Add New Stroke icon and click on it in the bottom-left corner of the Appearance panel, and I am going to change its color--no surprise here--back to OW Peach.
Now, I'll bring up my Brushes panel, and I'll click on this very first scatter brush, which is Random Sized Flowers-- at least that's the first scatter brush inside of this document--in order to apply these big, huge flowers all over the place. That's fine under certain circumstances, but that's not the effect that I'm looking for for this piece of artwork at all. So I want to modify the settings. Now, of course I can modify the core brush if I want to, by double-clicking on the thumbnail that's associated with the Random Sized Flowers, and that will change the brush definition.
But instead--and this is the way I typically work--I want to change the brush as it's applied to the selected object only. And I'll do that by dropping down to the bottom of the Brushes panel and clicking on the center icon, Options of Selected Object, and it brings up a ton of these numerical values here. It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but notice that we have variations. Once again, we really just have four different settings: Size, Spacing, Scatter, and Rotation. I'll explain what's up with them in just a moment. And then we have variations depending on: Fixed which assigns no variation whatsoever of course; or Random which applies random variations; or Pressure through rotation, which are dependent upon pressure sensitive input which has no bearing whatsoever on this Editable Type.
So what I am going to do instead, I am going to leave these options set to Random. Now, instead of placing the randomness, the variation values, on the other side of random the way we saw them inside that Calligraphic Options dialog box, we see instead limitations. So the size, for example, can be as small as 30%, and I'll take the maximum value down to 100%. So I allow Illustrator to randomly scale the flowers to 30% of their natural size or up to 100% of their natural size-- that is, the size at which they were drawn in the first place.
That I think is a lot easier to understand than having to take a core value and add or subtract another value. This is a way better interface in my opinion, and it's not buggy, as we saw a couple of exercises ago. Now, the Spacing option is going to determine the amount of space between the various repeated pieces of artwork, and I want to keep them spaced very closely together. So I am going to take the minimum value down to 20%, and the maximum value I am going to squeeze down to 40%. So they are going to be nested very close to each other. That means they are going to be repeated more often as well.
The Scatter Value determines how far these repeated pieces of artwork are scattered--that is, spaced-- away from the path outline. And I want to go ahead and squeeze in these values as well, so I'm going to raise the minimum value to -30. So that's going to move the various flowers that are on the inside of the letters out to the edges, and then I'm going to decrease the maximum value to 40%. That's going to move the ones that are scattered outside the letterforms into the letterforms, and so we end up getting an effect like this one here. It is going to be random, so your results may vary.
Rotation, I couldn't care less about, between you and me, so I'll just leave the Rotation values set to the way they are, and then I am going to click OK in order to apply my changes. Now, the one continuing problem I have with this is I don't want to see any flowers on the inside of the letters. So again, the solution, very obvious solution, is to grab the fill and drag it all the way up to between those flowers, the scatter brush I just applied, and that calligraphic brushstroke that I applied a couple of exercises ago, and I end up getting this effect here.
And that, my friends, is how you apply and customize the behavior of scatter brushes inside Illustrator.
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