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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.
I've saved my progress as Most leaves.ai. In this exercise we're going to bundle up all the path outlines that we've created so far and we're going to flip them and then we're going to rotate them in order to build up the base snowflake. Now, before we do that, we're going to want to put everything inside of a group, because that way we can apply the dynamic effect to the container, to the group itself and then if we later decide to add other path outlines to that group, they will be incorporated into the snowflake as well. So I'll go over to the Layers panel and I'll click on that little black wedge in the upper right corner in order to select all the path outlines on that layer, and then I'll go to the Object menu and choose the Group command or press Ctrl+G, Command+G on the Mac, in order to group those shapes together and I'm going to go ahead and rename that group big flake just so that we can keep track of it more easily and click OK.
Now, I'm going to apply another dynamic effect. Now, this time around all we want to do is flip that group, so we don't want to be burdened by a bunch of values that are associated with our previous transformation. So I'm going to go up to the Effect menu and choose Distort & Transform and choose the Transform command or you know what? There's another way to work. I'll go ahead and click off for a moment and switch over to the Appearance panel. Notice down here at the bottom of the Appearance panel, you have this little fx icon. If you click on it, you bring up your entire Effect menu.
So now I'll go up to Distort & Transform and I'll choose the Transform command. Again, if you've loaded dekekeys you have a keyboard shortcut, even though it's not listed here of Ctrl+E or Command+E on the Mac. Then what I want you to do is just go ahead and turn on Reflect X in order to create a horizontal reflection. Now, we're not seeing it happen because good old Preview is turned off. So turn on the Preview check box and it does this number here. Notice how it's reflecting around the center of the path outlines. That's not what we want. We want it to reflect around the left edge.
So go ahead and click on that left little point there inside the reference point matrix and you get this effect. Now, if I were to click OK at this point, then I would just create a horizontal reflection. But I don't want that, I want to keep the original as well. So I'll go back to the word Transform, click on it, so that I can edit my existing settings, turn on Preview again, and then raise the copies value to 1, and that's going to go ahead and reinstate the original so that we have a reflected copy of that first trunk of our snowflake. Then click OK in order accept that.
Now, I'm going to go ahead and zoom out a little bit here so that we can take in more of our snowflake at a time. And the next effect that we want to apply is Rotation. Now I can't do it at the same time using the same transform effect. If I click on Transform and I turn on the Preview check box and I say, you know what, I also want to rotate this reflected thing 60 degrees because after all there are six points in the snowflake, there is 360 degrees of the circle, so 360 divided by 6 is 60. And of course, if you wanted to, oh, my gosh, you could just do the math like this.
You could say 360 divided by 6 if you prefer, press the Tab key and you'll get this horrifying effect right there in which we're both reflecting and rotating the paths at the same time. We really need to do these in two separate operations. So I'm going to cancel out and I'm going to go up to the Effect menu and choose Distort & Transform and choose Transform once again. And when I do, Illustrator is going to get mad at me. It's going to say, "Hey! This isn't what you want to do. This is not how you go about modifying the settings for the dynamic effect that you've applied." This one will actually apply a new effect.
And all you need to say is "Yeah, I know that." Go ahead and click Apply New Effect in order to bring up that dialog box again, and then, go ahead and change the Angle Value once again to 60 degrees, press the Tab key, turn on the Preview check box and you'll get this, which is wrong, and it's wrong because we're rotating around the wrong point. Go ahead and turn on that bottom point inside of the little reference matrix and you'll get this effect here, which is much closer to what we want, but we need more copies. So press the Up arrow key until we get a total of 5 copies.
Now, that may seem weird, after all there are 6 points on the snowflake, but we've already made 1 in advance. So we just need 5 more and that's why 5 copies gives us the correct result. Go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification and you'll now see that we've stacked up two transforms here inside the Appearance panel. Now the thing to remember when you're working with dynamic effects is they're listed in opposite order with respect to everything else. So layers in the Layers panel, you would see the bottom layer at the bottom of the stack, and the next layer up after that, and so forth going upward inside of the panel.
Where dynamic effects are concerned, you see I am going downwards. So this first transform if you click on it will show you your reflect effect right there. So Reflect X is turned on 1 copy. Click Cancel, because order does matter in these cases. Your second effect is listed below, like so. Click on that Transform, and you'll see there is your 60-degree rotation and there is your 5 copies. You can cancel out of that as well. I just want you to notice that, that is the way that Illustrator orders Dynamic Effects inside the Appearance panel. All right! So we've managed to create our bay snowflake, but everything is not exactly where it should be.
If I go ahead and zoom in here, we definitely have some problems in the sort of little face that I've managed to create inside of the snowflake and we're going to address those problems and you'll see how just modifying just a handful of points will fix all of these problems in the next exercise.
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