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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.
Over the course in the next few exercises we're going to transform our snowflake so far, which I'm calling Kings with crowns.ai, into this beveled effect here, in which we're building up a bunch of different stroke effects and I've gone ahead and rotated the entire snowflake about 15 degrees. Now if I set in applying the strokes to the group as it is so far, then we're going to run into problems, because basically because we have all these dynamic effects piled on top of each other they respond to everything we do and the simple act of adding a stroke actually shoves the path outline outward a little bit and messes up our alignment.
And we're going to see some other dynamic effects along the way as well. So I'll switch back to our illustration at hand. And I'm going to select that group by just kind of generally marqueeing in this area of the screen with my Black Arrow tool, and that goes ahead and selects all the paths inside the group. And we can see that the group is selected here inside the Appearance panel. Now I'm going to add a stroke to the entire group by dropping down to the Add New Stroke icon in the bottom-left corner of the Appearance panel, clicking on it, and that adds this one point black stroke by default. And you can see that everything has gone to heck. I'll go ahead and zoom in here.
Each and every single path outline is now stroked independently of the other one and what I want is a big ginormous overarching stroke. So to solve that problem you go up to the Effect menu you choose Pathfinder and you choose Add. So this is a dynamic application of an Add Pathfinder effect, and because this stroke is active over here inside the Appearance panel we will apply that effect just to the stroke, which is very important. So go ahead and choose Pathfinder, choose Add, if you're following along with me, and we end up getting this effect. So the strokes are now merged with each other much better than before, but we still have these outlines right down the center of this guy's face.
And the reason for that is once again because that one point stroke is centered on the path outline that goes a half a point out as well as a half a point in. And that little bit, that half a point out, has scooted all the path outlines away from each other just ever so slightly and completely ruined the alignment of our effect, and we don't want that. So the solution is not to apply the stroke to the group, but to apply it to the next thing up, which happens to be the layer. So I'm going to grab the stroke right here inside the Appearance panel and I'm going to drag it down to the Trash Can and release, and that will get rid of it.
And what we need to do is go to the layers panel. Inside the snowflake layer is the big flake group, which is currently selected for me. I'm going to meatball the layer instead to make it active then switch back over to the Appearance panel. Notice that the layer is active here as well. Then I'll add a stroke to it by clicking on the Add New Stroke icon, and we end up getting already a much better effect. We don't have those lines down the center of the dude's face and now in order to reconcile the fact that we do have overlapping strokes, each and every path outline is still stroked in so far as Illustrator is concerned.=, I'll going up to Effect, I'll choose Pathfinder, and I'll choose Add, and that will go ahead and reconcile some of those overlaps as we see right there.
Now one of the other problems is that the strokes are going both in and out, as I was telling you before. I want them to go exclusively out. I don't want to be covering up any of the white fill, and that means that I need to offset the strokes just ever so slightly. Now if I go up to the Stroke panel, I'll click on the word Stroke up here in the Control panel in order to bring up the Stroke panel, I'm going to switch my Corners to Round Joins. But notice the Align Stroke option here, there is only one icon that's available and that's Align Stroke to Center. The other ones, where you move the stroke inside or outside, they're dimmed, because I'm working with a special variety of stroke that's applied to an entire layer.
So what I need to do instead is go to the Effect menu, choose Path, and in order to scoot those paths out I'm going to choose Offset Path. Now by default the Offset value is set to 10 points. That's way too big. I'm going to knock it down to 1 point, like so, and turn on the Preview check box and you'll see those strokes move outward, so they're no longer covering up the white fills. All right, that looks pretty good so far. I'll go ahead and click OK. Now my other problem with this is I don't want a black stroke, so I'm going to dial-in a different color inside the Color panel. Notice my stroke is active and the values I'm going to dial-in are 100% for Cyan, and by the way you can expect a little bit of a delay as you enter these values if you're working with me, because of the dynamic effects that are heaped on top of each other here.
I'll then change Magenta value to 75%, I'll change Yellow value to 15, then finally I'll change that K value, black, to 0% in order to create these blue strokes as you see them here. And then I'm going to twirl that stroke open, just so that I can see that my Add effect and my Offset Path effect are both assigned to the Stroke itself, not to the larger layer, just to the stroke that's assigned to the layer. And with that Stroke still active I want to nudge the Stroke just a little bit using once again Transform. So I'll go out to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and then choose Distort & Transform, and then choose Transform, or if you load a dekekeys you can press Ctrl+E, Command+E on the Mac.
And I'm going to change these values ever so slightly. -0.2 for the Horizontal Move value and positive 0.2 for the Vertical Move value. Turn on the Preview check box and you'll see the strokes shift ever so slightly, just a tiny shift going on there, and then I'll click OK in order to accept that modification. The final thing I want to do is make sure that the strokes are not interrupting the fills ever. Notice right there at this location we have an interruption and you do that by grabbing that stroke and moving it under Content, so that the stroke is applied underneath the fills, which are assigned directly to the contents, to the path outlines themselves in other words, and we end up with this effect here.
All right, so that's part one of our effect. In the next exercise I'll show you how to add the additional beveled strokes.
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