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Brush size, Detail, and Simplify


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Brush size, Detail, and Simplify

In this exercise I am going to show you how to change the settings associated with any of the Liquify tools. Specifically, however, we're interested in modifying the behavior of the Warp tool so that it doesn't deliver those overly smooth, blobby results. I have saved my progress as Ready to and if nothing else, that provides us with a safeguard. So if you make a big mess of your horse, you can revert to this file without having to recopy the tracing object and then re-expand it and so forth. Now you can see that my horse is selected. Make sure yours is as well if you're working along with me.
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  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 5m Advanced Jan 28, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Working with dynamic effects
  • Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
  • Creating and editing a Gradient Mesh
  • Distorting artwork with an Envelope Mesh
  • Using the Calligraphic, Art, and Scatter Brushes
  • Creating an intricate Pattern Brush
  • Importing and graphing data
  • Creating a complex pictograph
  • Drawing and editing a perspective shape
  • Working with the new Perspective Grid tool
  • Using the 3D Revolve effect
  • Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
  • Recording and playing automated actions
Deke McClelland

Brush size, Detail, and Simplify

In this exercise I am going to show you how to change the settings associated with any of the Liquify tools. Specifically, however, we're interested in modifying the behavior of the Warp tool so that it doesn't deliver those overly smooth, blobby results. I have saved my progress as Ready to and if nothing else, that provides us with a safeguard. So if you make a big mess of your horse, you can revert to this file without having to recopy the tracing object and then re-expand it and so forth. Now you can see that my horse is selected. Make sure yours is as well if you're working along with me.

And then I'll go up to my Warp tool up here in this little tear-off strip and I'll double-click on it, and that brings up the Warp Tool Options dialog box, which is a little bit deceptive because most of its options affect all of the Liquify tools in kind. Every one of these values inside this Global Brush Dimensions area will affect the behavior of each and every one of those seven Liquify tools. So you can change the width and height of the brush independently, and that way you can create elliptical brushes if you like and then you can rotate those brushes using the angle value. I am going to show you a shortcut for modifying the width and height of our brush on the fly by the way, And then we have this Intensity value, which controls how much of an impact the tool has as you paint.

Now, 50% works great for warp; however, it's way too much for some of the other tools, specifically for Pinch and Bloat and we'll see what's going on with them later. But for now, what I want you to do, don't worry about any of the Global Brush Dimension options; I want you to the drop down here to Warp Options. The Detail option controls how much detail you retain as you paint. 2 is actually just fine for our purposes. But you can raise that if you want more detail. My sense is if you go too high with this Detail value then it becomes very difficult later on down the line to edit that path outline.

Simplify is our problem. Simplify is the option that goes in there and rounds off all the corners. Now at 50% it's rounding like crazy. You can take this value down way low, down to like 2, or something, and it's still going to simplify the heck out of your path outlines. So what I suggest you do, at least where this specific example is concerned, is just turn off that check box so we're not simplifying at all. We do want to see the brush size, so leave that check box on. If you ever want to restore the original settings--that is, everything we saw when I first opened this dialog box with Simplify set to 50--then you click on the Reset button.

Anyway, all I want to do is turn Simplify off and click OK, and now let's go ahead and zoom in on the illustration, so that we can work a little more closely here. I'm going to drag up on the legs, as you see me doing right now. And now notice that as I drag on these areas here that I'm not overly simplifying. I'm not dropping anchor points, for one thing, and I'm not losing definition like I was before. Now, of course I am not working on a face. We will be working on a face in a moment. But I think I need a smaller brush for that. So I am just lifting up some of these details, moving the thighs out.

Notice I'm primarily interested in thickening up the horse and lengthening its legs a little bit and tucking its tummy and doing all the stuff that will make this horse look that much more powerful. Now, you're not necessarily going to be able to thicken up the legs as much as you'd like using this fairly large brush, especially over here in the hind legs. But you can get a fair amount of work done pretty quickly using this tool. It is going to take several brushstrokes; you are going to be brushing like 10, 20, 30, 40, 100 times in order to get this horse looking the way that I had it looking anyway, where my guide is concerned for example.

I am going to go ahead and drag some of the hair up--that is, the hair in the mane--drag that quite a bit upward, and I want to take it easy on the ears because I don't want to lose the ears. Horses don't have super-big ears, at least in silhouette. However, if I'm not careful, I could end up losing a lot there. I'll go ahead and drag up those wings as well, like so, and you know this is just fairly routine stuff at this point, just a lot of brushwork involved, and you can do as much or as little as you like. Now, I am going to pass along a tip in just a moment as soon as I do a little bit more work. And you know what? I think I'll pass along that tip right now.

Let's say you want a bigger brush. Well, one way to change the brush size is to go to the Warp tool and double-click on it again and then dial in a new brush size and click OK and brush a little, and then you have to change it again. If you want to change the brush size on the fly, then you press the Alt key--or the Option key on the Mac--and you drag. So if you drag to the right, you're going to make the brush wider; if you drag to left, you're going to make it skinnier; if you drag down, you're going to make the brush shorter; and if you drag up, you're going to make it taller. However, what I recommend you do--and once again I have the Alt or Option key down as I am dragging around on screen.

What I recommend you do, if you want a round brush, anyway, is you press the Shift key as well, and then if you drag up-right you are going to make your brush bigger, and if you drag down-left you are going to make it smaller. For purposes of the wing, I want a bigger brush, so I will go ahead and drag up-right as I was--that is Shift+Alt+Drag, or Shift+Option+Drag on the Mac--and then I'll drag some of these feathers into place like so. Don't expect to get exactly the same results I did in the guide; it's just a guide after all. It's just there to provide you with guidance in case you've never heard the term "guide" before.

All right, I am just making fun of myself at this point because you know I've got a lot of brushing to do and I just feel compelled to keep talking. Anyway, I am going to move this tail out, and let's get that way out there, I think. I might even need a bigger brush in order to pull that off. So I will Shift+Option+Drag up-right in order to do that and then drag some of these details down like so, and I'm actually doing some pretty good work, with the exception of the head, which so far I've totally ignored. So I'll just go ahead and lift the head, but if I do, notice I give him a very droopy face, which I don't think suits anybody, least of all our super powerful horse.

So instead I'm going to undo that modification by pressing Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, and I'm going to Shift+Alt+ Drag down-left, like so--that would be a Shift+Option+Drag on the Mac--in order to reduce the size of my cursor, and you are going to kind of make a mess of things as you drag this horse's face upward. But eventually, you'll get him to more or less match the horse outline there. And honestly, we could have started with a chipmunk face and gone ahead and liquified it into a horse face the way I am working, but you know, it's one approach.

Anyway, this does give us a fair amount of fine-tune control here. Oh! That's nice. Now he's got buck teeth. I will go ahead and lift this up some more. Eventually I think I'm going to get there. I'm feeling very optimistic, don't you know? All right, we want him to have a nice jaw line there, so I'll leave that jaw in there; in fact I might want to make it more pronounced by dragging down a little bit there. Then I am going to drag the neck up, and this portion of the neck--I guess that's his chest area--downward and in. And then finally what you need to do in order to check your work, you're going to need to go over to your Layers panel, Twirl+Open guides & eye-- this is the way I recommend you work anyway--and turn off this item that's called Liquify, because later we'll still need the guides, so that's why I am not having you turn off guides globally. Just turn off Liquify for now, and that is that Liquify guide, and then press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac in order to hide the selection edges.

So you can see really what you've managed to accomplish so far, which won't necessarily be good. I don't want you thinking that you're going to just have this glorious result because this is looking pretty dreadful in a few areas. I'm going to reduce the size of my cursor once again by pressing Shift+Alt and dragging down-left-- that would be Shift+Option+Down-left on the Mac--and then make a few modifications there. Here is I think sort of the scary area. He is now looking so powerful so much as that he wants a big kiss. So let's go ahead and get rid of those strange horse lips, tuck them in a little like so, and you know if worse comes to worst, you could always get out the White Arrow tool and make some manual modifications.

But by golly, I am bound and determined to do all of my work with the Warp tool. All right! I am going to Shift+Alt+Drag up-left, in order to increase the size of my cursor drag down there a little bit. I kind of like the bump on the ridge of his nose, but he definitely needs a deep brow. And you see that eye up here by the way as you are working. I should have mentioned that earlier. That's a path that's contained on the guides & eye layer that I created for you in advance, and that's what we're trying to match, so that he has got these wonderfully deep, sort of scary eyes going. I just don't seem to be able to get rid of those lips at all, but you know what? I'm unconcerned because we have some other Warp tools to check out, including Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat, and we'll see how to use those tools in the next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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