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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.
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.
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