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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to assign a Gradient to live editable type, which is a lot more difficult than it ought to be. Illustrator gives you some pretty poor feedback in this department, and it's even going to seem like you've got to convert the text to outlines in order to fill it with a Gradient, and that's the way a lot of folks recommend you work. That's actually not necessary. You can keep live editable type and you can fill it with a Gradient. You just have to approach things in the right order. You actually have to heap a Gradient on top of the existing Fill, and here's how it works.
I've saved my progress as All drop shadows.ai, and I'm going to switch over to the layers panel, so that I can select these lines of type independently of each other, because I need independent control. I want to fill each one of the lines of type with a Radial Gradient, that begins bright in the center and progresses toward darkness on the outside. And if I assign a Gradient to the entire group, which is possible, then the center of the Gradient is going to be down here in the cat's head, in other words, I'm going to have only one annotator to work with for both lines of type.
Anyway, so what I want to do is twirl open this black cat layer right there, and then I'm going to twirl open the text group as well. Then I'm going to meatball the top line of type, THE NEW CHAT IS, and now I'm going to assign a Gradient to it. So I'll go ahead and click on the Gradient swatch here inside the Gradient panel, and Illustrator acts like it's assigning that Gradient, it even brings up that Progress bar to show me that it's adjusting the Drop Shadow. And we see that we have assigned a Gradient here inside the Color panel, we just don't see it out here in the illustration, it's just a solid black Fill, and that's because Illustrator is lying to us.
We can't apply a Gradient in this way. What we have to do is go over to the Appearance panel and we have to add a new Fill. So I'm going to undo that last adjustment I just applied by pressing Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac, which is going to bring up this Progress bar again. And that's because each and every time we make any kind of change, Illustrator has to update that Drop Shadow. That's a big pain in the neck. So let's switch back to the Group for a moment by double-clicking on it here in the Appearance panel, and let's turn off that Drop Shadow temporarily.
So I'm going to click the eyeball to turn it off, and that way we aren't going to be bothered by those Progress bars anymore. Now I'll switch back to the Layers panel, and I'll once again meatball that top line of type. Now, I'll switch back to Appearance, and here's what you do. Make sure that the Type object is active, not the individual characters. If you double-click on Characters, then you'll actually select the Characters with the Type tool. Instead what we want to do is we want to gain control over the Fill, and so far I'm not even seeing a Fill here in the Appearance panel, so I need to add one, and I do that by clicking on Add New Fill or pressing that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Slash, Cmd+Slash on the Mac, and that adds a solid black Fill. Fine! Now we're going to switch that Fill to a Gradient by clicking in the little Gradient swatch, and this time it actually works.
This time we see a Gradient here inside of the illustration, and the reason is that this Gradient Fill is heaped on top of the type. So whether that makes any sense or not, that's the way it works here inside Illustrator. White is my starting color. That's just fine. I'm going to change this ending color by double-clicking on that color swatch to bring up my Color panel, so I'll click on the little palette to make sure I'm working inside the Color panel. Then I'll click on the flyout menu and switch over to CMYK, and the values that I'm going to dial in are 25 for Cyan, then 25 for each of the others as well, Magenta and Yellow, and then for Black, I'm going to take it down to 75%, so 25, 25, 25, and 75 are the values that I'm looking for.
That just keeps this shade of black a little darker than the color of the background, and now I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to accept that modification. Now I'm going to change the type of Gradient from Linear to Radial, and I'm going to press the G key in order to switch to my Gradient Annotator. Now, I want that beginning point to be right there at the center of the illustration. So I'm going to press Ctrl+Semicolon or Cmd+Semicolon on the Mac in order to bring up my Guides, and I'm going to drag that origin point, so it aligns to the Guide, like so.
And then I'll drag the terminus outward like that, and I'll press the Shift key, so that I'm constraining the angle of this Gradient to exactly horizontal, and then I'll release. And then finally, I want to make this an elliptical Gradient instead of absolutely circular. So I'm going to change its Aspect Ratio value to 70%, and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to apply my change. Now I'll switch back over to the Layers panel and grab the lower line of type by meatballing it, and I'll get my Eyedropper by pressing the I key, and I'll click on that top line of type in order to lift its attributes and assign them to the text.
Unfortunately, I just changed the Type size as well, so I'll undo that modification by pressing Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac. I'll double-click on the Eyedropper tool in order to bring up the Eyedropper Options dialog box. And I'll turn off Character Style and Paragraph Style inside of this Eyedropper Picks Up column. I'll click OK. And then I'll try it again and see if it works this time. I'll click on that text, and sure enough, I just lifted the Gradient, I didn't lift any of the formatting attributes. Now, having done that, having filled this type exactly the way I want it, I will go ahead and switch back to the Group, which I can do from the layers panel, by meatballing this text item.
Then I'll switch over to the Appearance panel, a lot of back-and-forthing here, and I'll turn on the Drop Shadow once again, so that we can see the Drop Shadow at work in the background. And then finally, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Semicolon or Cmd+Semicolon on the Mac in order to hide those Guides, and I'll get my Black Arrow tool and I'll click off the text in order to deselect it. And that is the many-step process required to apply a Gradient to live editable text inside Illustrator.
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