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Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Illustration by John Hersey

Combining a text brush with the Width tool


From:

Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Combining a text brush with the Width tool

In this exercise, we'll take those text brushes that we created in the last exercise and we'll apply them to a couple of path outlines. We'll also make a few adjustments to those outlines, including adjusting the height of the letters using, of all things, the Width tool. Now, I've saved my progress as What a mess.ai, found inside the 26_brushes folder, so-called because we do have a big mess at this point, and we need to do a little bit of cleanup. And this is very important cleanup, by the way. First of all, the unimportant stuff. You can go ahead and get rid of those two lines of path outline text.
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  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    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
      58s
    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
      33s
    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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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
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Combining a text brush with the Width tool

In this exercise, we'll take those text brushes that we created in the last exercise and we'll apply them to a couple of path outlines. We'll also make a few adjustments to those outlines, including adjusting the height of the letters using, of all things, the Width tool. Now, I've saved my progress as What a mess.ai, found inside the 26_brushes folder, so-called because we do have a big mess at this point, and we need to do a little bit of cleanup. And this is very important cleanup, by the way. First of all, the unimportant stuff. You can go ahead and get rid of those two lines of path outline text.

We don't need them anymore. They're saved out as art brushes. If we ever needed to grab them again, all we'd have to do is just drag and drop them from the Brushes panel. So just go ahead and select them and press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac. Here's a bigger problem: we've got these path outlines that are associated with these text objects here, and we need to break them apart. Thank goodness Illustrator provides no command for doing that. Notice if you right-click on this item, there is no command that lets you break that text apart from the path outline. There is nothing inside the Type menu.

There is nothing any place inside the program. What you have to do instead--this is just this black magic technique in my opinion--you have to go ahead and grab your White Arrow tool, then click off the path outline, so it's not selected, press Ctrl+Y, or Command+Y in a Mac, so you can see those outlines. I want you to Alt+Click on the top outline. Don't get anywhere near those letters. You want to just Alt+Click or Option+Click on that top outline, then Shift+Alt+Click or Shift+Option+Click on that bottom path outline, and that way you've selected the paths independently of the text objects.

Now, you want to go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command in order to copy them to the clipboard. That's Command+C on the Mac, Ctrl+C here on the PC. And then I'm just going to turn off those two layers, because we don't need them anymore. And we'll press Ctrl+F, or Command+F on the Mac, in order to paste those path outlines without the text in front. Now, I guess it's not that big of a pain in the neck, but it's a weird process to go through, and it can be problematic at times. All right, anyway, I'm going to switch back to my Black Arrow tool, press Ctrl+Y, or Command+Y on the Mac, to switch back to the Preview mode.

I'm going to click off my path, click back on it so I'm just selecting the top path. I'll go to the Brushes panel, and I'll click on text brush 1, which is this invisible text brush that's toward the bottom of the list. And that will assign that text different Strokes for different folks. So, awesome! Now, the text happens to be center aligned to the path, so I'm going to have to move the path a little bit. I am going to drag it down, just by dragging it with the Black Arrow tool, and I'm going to make a few other adjustments as well. I'm going to go ahead and click off the path outline with the White Arrow tool, then click on that first anchor point, drag it up a little bit, maybe increase the curvature a little bit.

You can go absolutely nuts on the curvature when you're working with an art brush. And I might go ahead and drag this guy out as well. Now, I want these two sides to be symmetrical, so I'm going to go ahead and delete the other side. I'll delete this point by clicking on it and pressing the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac, and that goes ahead and squishes that art brush across the entire length of what remains of the path outline. And then I'm going to click off the path again in order to deselect it, and I'll click on this first point. I am going to nudge it over to the left a little bit, and just to make sure you and I get the same results if you're trying to work along with me, I'll double-click on the White Arrow tool, and I'm going to change the Horizontal value to -8 and the Vertical value to 0.

So we're just nudging that anchor point to the left 8 points, and I'll click OK. Now then, this is something you cannot do at all if you're working with point text, the next couple of steps. I'll press Ctrl+Semicolon or Command+Semicolon on the Mac in order to display the guides. And then I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on that path outline to select the whole thing. I'll grab my Reflect tool, which you can get by selecting it from the Rotate Tool flyout menu, if you like, and then Alt+Click or Option+Click on that Vertical guideline, change the Axis to Vertical, and click on the Copy button.

And then here's the thing you can't do if you're working with point text. I'm going to Shift+Click on this anchor point, so these two nearest anchor points are selected in these two disparate paths, and I'm going to go up to the Object menu, choose Path, and choose Join in order to join those paths together. That's Ctrl+J on the PC, Command+J on the Mac. If you're working with path type, you cannot join one path outline to another, not when you have live editable path type going. Anyway, it works great when you're working with an art brush. Now, I have managed to flip the type, so I'll bring up the Brushes panel and I'll drop down to this Options of Selected Object icon, click on it, and then I'll go ahead and turn on the Flip Along check box.

That's not enough, so I also have to turn on Flip Across, and that ends up getting me the effect I am looking for. And then I'll click OK in order to accept that modification. All right, now I want to adjust the height of my letters, so I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on this path outline, like so, and I'm going to go ahead and grab my Width tool. Now, if you've been working along with me in previous chapters, then your Warp tool might be selected instead; just go ahead and click on that tool to bring up the flyout menu and choose the Width tool. You can also get to it by pressing Shift+W. And the great thing is, by adding different Width points, which normally this new tool inside Illustrator CS5 allows you to create non-uniform strokes, and you can adjust those strokes on a point-by-point basis; it also affects art brushes, which is absolutely terrific.

So I'm just going to go ahead and drag like so, away from this point here, in order to thicken up my text. And because the text is running perpendicularly to the path, that ends up making the text taller. I'll go ahead and drag from this point as well. And if you want a little more fine- tuned control, then you can click on one of these points, Shift+Click on the other, and actually, go ahead and Shift+Double-click in order to select both those points and modify their total width at the same time. And I'm going to change that Total Width value to 1.6 and click OK.

That's going to make the letters a little shorter than they were before. Now I'm going to do the same thing with this point, so the far left-hand point, and then I'll Shift+Double-click on the far right-hand point, and I'll change this Total Width value to 0.9 in order to achieve that effect. Now, that's still not quite thick enough. I'm going to press Ctrl+1, or Command+1 on the Mac, in order to zoom out a little bit. I want a little more variation to my letters, so I am going to go over here to the Brushes panel once again, click on this icon for the umpteenth time, Options of Selected Object. And notice this Size value here, this Width value, we now have two Width values--both a minimum and a maximum value--that are associated with the width points, which is awesome.

So I'll change that maximum value to 120, turn Preview on, so you can see what you're doing. It looks great. Click OK. And my text might be a little tight to the top of the illustration, so I'm going to grab my White Arrow tool, I'll marquee these two points right there, and I'll press the Down Arrow key, maybe once, maybe twice, in order to better align that text. Now, we don't really need this bottom path outline because we made such big modifications to the top one-- we'll just duplicate it-- so I'm going to press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac, to switch to the Outline mode. I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on this bottom path outline, since I'm armed with my White Arrow tool, and I'll go ahead and press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac, in order to get rid of it. Why don't we switch to the Black Arrow tool, actually.

So I'll click on that top path outline in order to select it. Then I'll press the O key to get my Reflect tool here inside the toolbox, and I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click along that horizontal guideline, change the Axis to Horizontal this time around, and click on the Copy button in order to copy that path. If I press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac, you're going to see that I've gone ahead and copied the text as well. So I'll bring up the Brushes panel, and I'll go ahead and switch from text brush 1 to text brush 2, and we'll end up getting this, once again, reverse type.

So I'll click on Options of Selected Object, turn on Flip Along, turn on Flip Across. It takes care of the problem. Click OK. And the one problem, the one bit of bad news I have for you is that that Width point information went away, so we've got to recreate it. So grab the Width tool--either by clicking on it or pressing Shift+W--and then go ahead and drag from these points here, like so, click on one, and then Shift+Double-click on the other. Change that Total Width value to 1.6. Click on the first endpoint, Shift+Double-click on the second one, change it to 0.9, and we should get this effect right there.

Then go up to the Brushes panel, click on Options for Selected Object, and then I want you to change that maximum value right there to 120%. Click OK and you end up getting this effect here. And that my friends, especially if I go ahead and press Ctrl+Semicolon, or Command+Semicolon on the Mac, to get rid of my guidelines, that is the benefit of employing text as art brushes here inside Illustrator.

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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