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Applying fills and strokes

From: Up and Running with Illustrator

Video: Applying fills and strokes

In this exercise, we'll take a look at Fills and Strokes inside of Illustrator which allow you to assign color to the interior as well as the outline of an object. And this goes for any object, by the way,; it could be an open path outline like this one, a closed continuous path, or even live editable text. You can change the way in which fills and strokes interact with each other, you can even assign multiple fills and multiple strokes to a single object. I'm working inside a file called Fills & strokes.ai, and I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on this green sign that's surrounded by these open path outlines.

Applying fills and strokes

In this exercise, we'll take a look at Fills and Strokes inside of Illustrator which allow you to assign color to the interior as well as the outline of an object. And this goes for any object, by the way,; it could be an open path outline like this one, a closed continuous path, or even live editable text. You can change the way in which fills and strokes interact with each other, you can even assign multiple fills and multiple strokes to a single object. I'm working inside a file called Fills & strokes.ai, and I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on this green sign that's surrounded by these open path outlines.

Then I'll click on a sign to make it active and go up to the Fill icon here in the Control panel and click on it. That brings up a list of swatches that are saved with the current document. I want to make my swatches bigger, so I'll click on the Flyout menu icon in the upper right corner of the panel and choose Medium Thumbnail View. And then I'll increase the size of my panel so that I can see more swatches at a time. Now, note that none of the swatches are selected, which tells me that the color I've assigned to the sign has not been saved as a swatch.

If I want to save off this color, I would drop down to the Page icon and click on it. And then I could change the ingredients of the color by reducing the amount of yellow in my case. Illustrator will go ahead and name your color, but you can override that name as well if you like, and then click OK in order to create the new swatch. Now let's say I really want my sign to be orange, I'll go ahead and click on an orange swatch that's more or less what I'm looking for, but not quite exactly right. If you want to modify the ingredients of a color, press the Escape key in order to hide that Swatches panel.

Then press the Shift key and click on that swatch again to bring up that alternate color UI that the hint is referring to, which is a Color panel. I'm going to go ahead and increase the amount of Yellow to 100%, and then I'll take the Magenta contribution down to 20% so that we have more of an amber color. Next let's switch out the color of the stroke by clicking on the second color swatch. That brings up that tiny little Swatches panel once again, I'm going to increase the size of the swatches, increase the size of the panel as well.

And this behavior, by the way, will be saved independently for the Stroke swatches and the Fill swatches. Now I'm going to going to assign a shade of violet, and I'm not sure that is it dark enough, so I'll press the Escape key, Shift+Click on the Stroke swatch to bring up the Color panel, and I'll increase the amount of Cyan to 100%, I'll take the Magenta value down, let's say to 85% and I'm going to tab my way down to the K value and raise the Black contribution to 50%. And then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that change.

Now I want the stroke to be a little thinner, so I'm going to change that line weight value right there to 4 points, and then press the Enter key or the Return key. Now let's say I want a little bit of a gap between the stroke and the yellow fill; I want to create a white gap between them. I'm going to do that by adding a second stroke to this object, and you add additional fill and stroke attributes from what's known as the Appearance panel. Go to the Window menu and choose Appearance, where you've got that keyboard shortcut of Shift+F6.

And note now that we can see all of the dynamic attributes, which includes Strokes and Fills that are applied to the current path. I'm going to drop down to this Add New Stroke icon right there and click on it in order to add a stroke. Now notice that Illustrator just goes ahead and duplicates the existing stroke. The new stroke that I want to add needs to appear below the existing one, so I'll click the second stroke down, we're seeing the attributes in the order they're applied. In other words, the fill is at the back, this stroke is next, and then this top stroke right here is actually applied as the top attribute.

I'm going to change this lower stroke to 6 points, and I'm also going to change its color from blue to white, and that creates a little bit of a border right there. So imagine it this way, each one of these strokes is centered on the path outline, so in the case of a 6-point stroke, 3 points of the stroke is on one side, 3 points of the stroke is on the other. In the case of the 4-point stroke, we have 2 points on one side, 2 points on the other, so you take 3 minus 2, and that gives you a 1-point gap before we see the yellow fill.

We're also seeing a little bit of a gap over here, between the sign and the open curlicue path in the back of it. You can also assign fill and stroke attributes to text, I'll go ahead and scroll my way up to this text and select it. And now I'm going to assign both fill and stroke by adding new fill and stroke attributes here inside the Appearance panel. And I'll do that by clicking on Add New Fill and notice that gives me both a fill and a stroke. I'll click on the Fill swatch, there is my Swatches panel once again, and I'll go ahead and assign a light blue fill.

And then I'll click on Stroke right there and I'll change it to a dark shade of blue. Now notice that the stroke is actually covering up the fill, and this becomes even more obvious if I take the stroke value up to 2 points. Then 1 point of the stroke is actually outside the letters and the other point of that stroke is inside the letters which both reduces the legibility of the type and makes it look terrible as well. The solution is to grab that stroke and move it below the fill. So you can drag Stroke and Fill attributes around here inside the Appearance panel, and now the stroke is applied first, the Fill is applied second, the letters look great, and they remain editable.

So if I were to double-click inside of this type in order to switch to the Type tool and then double-click in order to select the word CALIFORNIA, I could replace it with an entirely different word. I could even select that type and increase its type size by pressing Ctrl+Shift+> here on the PC or Command+Shift+> on the Mac. I'm also going to go ahead and increase the leading a little bit as well by pressing Alt+Down Arrow or Option+Down Arrow. And those are a few ways to apply Fills and Strokes inside Illustrator.

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Up and Running with Illustrator

26 video lessons · 20873 viewers

Deke McClelland
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