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Creating a classic neon type effect

From: Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Creating a classic neon type effect

In this movie, we will take these very plain letters and we will turn them into one of the more classic type treatments that you can create inside of Illustrator, and that is neon; and we will be making these neon letters by the way, using the Blend feature that we saw in the previous chapter; and then we'll go ahead and enhance the credibility of the effect inside Photoshop to create this final version of the art. So some pretty exciting stuff coming up here. You are going to be creating just about everything from scratch. So I'll go ahead and switch over to my base art, and I want you to know that I went ahead and hand-drew these characters, and the reason is, if you start with editable text and then you convert it to path outlines, you invariably get closed paths.

Creating a classic neon type effect

In this movie, we will take these very plain letters and we will turn them into one of the more classic type treatments that you can create inside of Illustrator, and that is neon; and we will be making these neon letters by the way, using the Blend feature that we saw in the previous chapter; and then we'll go ahead and enhance the credibility of the effect inside Photoshop to create this final version of the art. So some pretty exciting stuff coming up here. You are going to be creating just about everything from scratch. So I'll go ahead and switch over to my base art, and I want you to know that I went ahead and hand-drew these characters, and the reason is, if you start with editable text and then you convert it to path outlines, you invariably get closed paths.

In order for this effect work, you need open path outlines, which is why I had to draw them. However, note that they are not particularly complicated, if I click on the P for example to select it, you can see that it's a collection of straight lines along with a half circle over here, a quarter circle top left and so forth. Now we are going to want to blend one group of letters against another group of letters, so that means we need to group the letters together. So I'll press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac to select all of the letters and then I'll go up to the Object menu and choose Group command, or you can press Ctrl+G or Command+G on the Mac.

Now we are going to start by creating a total of six different stroke variations, which means that we'll need multiple groups of these letters. So now it's a good time to go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command or press Ctrl+C or Command+c on the Mac in order to copy the letters to the Clipboard. And that way we can paste as many copies as we like. Now if I switch over to my Color panel you can see that my Stroke is active. Also notice that I am working with RGB values, and if I go to the File menu, you can see that the Document Color mode is RGB Color. And the reason of showing you this is because you're going to get a brighter neon effect if you work with RGB.

So I'll go ahead and escape out of there. With my Stroke Active I'll go ahead and switch over to my Swatches panel. I'll change the rear-most letters, which is the ones currently selected to Black. And then we'll go ahead and make the letters black against the black background, but they'll come in very handy in just a moment. You also want to change the Line Weight value, which is available on Stroke panel which I've gone up on screen. If you don't, you can just go to the Stroke value up here in the Control panel. And I'll change that Line Weight value to 32 points. All right, now we need to bring in another version of these letters.

So go up to the Edit menu and choose the Paste in Front command. In the future I'll be taking advantage of that shortcut, Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac. Now we want to change this guy to Deep red, which is one of the Swatches I've created in advance, and as you can see, it is indeed a deep shade of red. And I will change the Weight value to 28 points. And I just came up with these values and these colors through trial and error by the way. Now I'll press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to paste a third copy of these letters.

I'll once again change them to Black and I'll increase the Weight value to 22 pts and I'll press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac, to create a fourth copy of the letters. I'll change them to this very bright shade of red. called Bright red by the way. And I'll change the Weight value to 16 points. Press Ctrl+F or Command+F to create a fifth copy of the letters--by the way, we are almost done here--and change the color to Dark red, which of course is the darker shade of red that I went ahead and saved off. A Weight value 10 points is just fine, so I don't need to change that. And then I'll press Ctrl+F or Command+F to create the sixth and final copy of the letters.

I'll change the color to this Vivid Yellow, and then I'll change the Weight value to a mere 4 points. All right, so that takes care of all the base paths that we are going to use in the blend. Now what you want to do is press Ctrl+A or Command+A again, to select all six groups of letters. You're not going to see anything changed because letters are sitting right on top of each other, and with all those groups selected, go up to the Object menu, choose Blend, and then choose Make; or you can press Ctrl+Alt+B or Command+Option+B on the Mac, and you'll end up getting a blended effect.

Now whether or not it's got to be smooth as it appears for me, I don't know. So let's go ahead and make sure it does, by double-clicking on the Blend tool icon, here in the toolbox. And by default I believe you are going to see Spacing set to the Smooth Color; in which case if I turn on to Preview Checkbox, you are going to see a much less smooth effect here because Illustrator is not creating a sufficient number of blends. If that's the case, then switch from spacing the specified steps, and I found that 20 steps between each group of paths worked beautifully. And then you go ahead and click OK in order to accept a change. And I'll press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool and I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect by letters.

Now before we quit the movie, couple bits of housekeeping. I'll go ahead and twirl-open the neon layer hear inside the Layers panel, and you'll see here is our new blend that we just got done creating. Let's go ahead and rename it by double- clicking on the word Blend; and I'll change the name to Letters, and I'll also go ahead and turn on the border item above it. And I went ahead and created the border in advance because it's really the same darn thing we just got done doing, with the exception that instead of using a bunch of shades of red and yellow, I used a bunch of shades of blue.

All right, so obviously we have some work yet to do in order to come up with something that even vaguely resembles neon. But we have managed to get most of the heavy-lifting done, by blending between multiple differently stroked groups of letters.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

118 video lessons · 14371 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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