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Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials is the first installment in a series of courses designed to show experienced Illustrator users to how master core features and build art more efficiently. Adobe Illustrator has evolved dramatically over the years, and many creative professionals may be missing out on features that have been added to the latest versions. This course takes a fresh approach to core concepts, such as paths, attributes, object hierarchy, groups, and layers. Advanced techniques such as combining multiple effects and customizing textures are also included. Exercise files and a free worksheet are included with the course.
We already know how powerful it can be to add multiple effects to a single object inside of Illustrator. However, it can even be helpful to add multiple versions of the same effect to a single object inside of Illustrator to achieve some interesting results. For example, check this one out. I wan to add some kind of a nice texture to this text. So I am going to start off by first selecting the text itself, but I will tell you that I really want to have any appearance to the actual characters because I am going to be adding separate fills. So what I am going to do in this case here is I am actually going to set the fill for the characters themselves to be none.
Now, we can't see anything yet, but let's first go to the Appearance panel here and add a new fill. Now by default, Illustrator gives this is a black fill, but I am going to change it to this purple color right here. Next, I want to use an effect here called Scribble, but before I apply it to this object, I want to apply it to a regular plain object so that in your brain you have a really good understanding of exactly what this effect does. I am going to take just a regular rectangle here and kind of draw this out, and right now it has a fill, but it has no stroke at all. With the object selected, I am going to go to the Effect menu.
I will choose Stylize, and then I will choose Scribble. Now, if I click on the Preview button, we will see what this looks like. It kind of makes it look like I kind of sketched this with like a magic marker, right? However, what's really happening is that Illustrator is taking my fill and is converting it into a one long zigzagging stroke. Now, there are a whole bunch of settings here that are found inside of the Scribble Options dialog box, but perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of this effect are these sliders here called Variation. When you set values in these Variation settings, Illustrator actually creates truly random results, meaning that you will never really get the exact same effect twice.
We will actually apply that to a single object inside of Illustrator to see how it might generate some cool, interesting results. However, before we do that, let me walk you through this dialog box. Now, first we have a setting here called Angle. That's the angle at which Illustrator is kind of draws the zigzagging lines. Now, there's a setting here called Path Overlap, which is currently set to 0 pixels. That means that we have the path of the shape itself, which is the rectangle, and since it's set to 0 pixels, the actual lines itself will not overlap that path. But obviously we see over here that it does overlap the path, and that's because it's currently set now to have a Variation of 5 pixels.
That gives the Scribble command the ability to go up to 5 pixels beyond the stroke, or even inside of it. Now, when it comes to the line itself, the stroke that Illustrator is using, we can determine what the appearance of that stroke is. Right now, it's set to a stroke of 3 pixels, but I can make that thicker, or I can make it much thinner. Notice you have a very thin line. I am actually going to leave it set to about maybe 1.5 pixels for now. And the Curviness controls what the appearance of the edges over here will look like. For example, if I set my Curviness down to 0, with a Variation of 0, I get this perfect zigzag result.
As the line here comes to the top, it goes straight back down again. However, if I use a Curviness setting, then Illustrator kind of loops the stroke as it gets to the top. Finally, there's the Spacing, meaning how much space is there between each zig and each zag as a stroke is drawn? I am actually going to make the spacing pretty loose here, so that you can get a really good idea about what's happening here. Notice that Illustrator took my fill and turned into one long stroke that kind of goes across the entire object. Now that you have a better idea of exactly what Scribble does, let's cancel out of this and delete this object, and start applying the Scribble effect to this text.
I use my Regular Selection tool to select the text, and with this fill targeted right here, I am going to choose to add the Scribble effect. I will scroll down over here to where it says Stylize, and I will choose Scribble. Now, let me move the dialog here to the side a little bit. I really want to get an interesting crosshatch type of an effect. So I am going to leave the Angle set to 30m and I'll leave the Path Overlap set to 0, but I will make the Variation a little bit larger, maybe around 8 pixels. Next, I want the stroke width to be really thin, so I will change it to like a half of the pixel.
I don't want the lines to have any Curviness whatsoever, so I will set it to 0 here. I'll hit the Tab key and make sure my Variation is also set to 0. Finally, I want my spacing to be really tight, so I am going to choose a value of say 1 pixel. That looks pretty nice. And I'll leave it set to a Variation of a half a pixel. So now I will click OK to apply this, and I start to have a really nice, interesting effect. Notice, by the way, that when I move my mouse over it, it kind of lights up and highlights the text itself. This is Illustrator's Smart Guides, or specifically the object highlighting part of Smart Guides, that helps me see the text, because if you remember, we actually set the fill of the text itself to none.
So let's take a look at the fill itself that we just applied. If I click on the twirl-down here, I see that I have a scribble applied to that fill. Let's completely duplicate this fill. I am going to come down to the Appearance panel, click on the Duplicate button, and now I have two fills and each fill has their own scribble applied to it. Now, I am going to modify just one of the scribbles. It doesn't really make a difference which one because they're both identical. But I'll just choose the one on top for example, and I will just click on Scribble to bring up the Scribble Options dialog box for that specific fill. All I am going to do now is just change the Angle to be just a little bit different, and I am going to click OK.
So now if you take a look at what we've done--I am going to zoom it just a little bit here--you can now see that I had this interesting kind of crosshatch effect, because I have taken Scribble, it's the same effect, but I have basically rotated them so they appear in different directions. So here is a great example of why it's valuable, not only for me to use multiple effects, but actually use the same effect on the same object to explore new and interesting creative options.
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