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This course is the third in a four-part series devoted to mastering the premiere graphics creation application, Adobe Illustrator, version CS6. Industry pro Deke McClelland takes a project-based learning approach to the key features in Illustrator, including Recolor Artwork, transparency, masks, blend modes, strokes and fills, and dynamic effects. The course also covers techniques for creating custom gradients, designing logos, generating photorealistic neon text, and wrapping type around objects. Plus, Deke shows how to call up the most essential features by organizing your workspace and employing time-saving keyboard shortcuts, how to manage the color settings, and how to adjust a few settings to make the program work even better.
In this movie I'll show you how to create the perception of depth using Strokes. Specifically, we'll be creating these shadows and highlights around the railroad ties. I'll go ahead and switch over to my image in progress here and I'll marquee this line in order to select it, since it's difficult to see where it really is here in the Preview mode. With the Appearance panel open, I'll go ahead and select the bottom stroke, the one that represents the wooden ties, and I'll go ahead and create a copy of it by clicking on the little Page icon down here at the bottom of the Appearance panel.
This first stroke will serve as my highlight. So I'll go ahead and change its color to this one right there, Dark Wood, which might be kind of a head scratcher. Why would I use Dark Wood as a highlight? Well, because I'm going to combine it with a Blend mode. But for the present I'll just go ahead and select Dark Wood. Now, at this point we want to leave the line weight set to 130 points so that the highlight is the entire height of these tracks. However, I do need to change the Dash and Gap settings. So, I'll click on Stroke.
We want to leave the first pair of dash and gap values alone, but then I want to change the second dash value to 5. So in other words, I'm reducing it by 19 points in order to create a sliver of a highlight like that. Then I need to give back the 19 points that I just took away to the next gap value. So I'll raise it to 39 and I end up getting this effect right here. Now, it doesn't look the least bit like a highlight, so I'll go ahead and twirl open my Stroke. I'll click on the word Opacity and I'll change the Blend mode to Screen, and we end up getting this highlight effect here.
That's why I went with the dark color, by the way. If I'd gone with a bright color, such as Highlight Wood, then I would have such a bright highlight that we wouldn't even be able to recognize the wood grain anymore. So oftentimes when you're using the Blend modes, you want to combine dark colors along with the lightening modes and lighter colors along with the darkening modes, which is going to be our next step. So with this Stroke still selected, I'll click on the little Page icon at the bottom of the panel once again. And next, I'll go ahead and click on Stroke again, and we just want to reverse the gap values, so I'll change the first one to 39 and I'll change the second one to 20, and we end up with this effect here.
Now I'll change the Blend mode from Screen to Multiply in order to create a darkening effect. That's too dark. As you can see, again, we're losing the wood grain. So I'll go ahead and click on the color swatch and I'll brighten it up to Medium Wood in order to create this effect here. All right! Now, to create the dark shadow along the bottom of the tie, again I'll duplicate my most recent stroke by clicking on the Page icon. Because this is going to be a horizontal line, we're going to do the work of the perceived line weight using the actual line weight value.
So I'll go ahead and change the weight to 5 points, and you can see it right there by the way. I'll zoom in so I can make it more evident. This guy right there is our stroke, and because of these big gap values, we only see it every so often. So let's change that. I'll click on the word Stroke in order to bring up my dash and gap values. I'll leave the first dash value set to 0. I'll change the gap value to 25. Then I'll change the second dash value 14 and the second gap value to 25 as well. Again, 25 plus 25 that's 50, plus 14, that's 64. That's the increment we're going for.
So you can see these lines appearing right through the middle of the ties. The problem is, we don't want them in the middle; we want them at the far end. So remember that the size of our ties, the height in this case, is 130 points as defined by the line weight value. So we need to move this shadow, half of 130 --which is 65 points down-- or at least so it would seem. So in order to test this out, go to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and choose the Transform command. Or if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press Ctrl+E or Cmd+E on the Mac, and it's very important by the way that, that Stroke is selected before you choose the command.
Then go ahead and enter a Vertical value of 65 points. That will move it down, because positive Vertical values go down, negative values go up. Then I'll turn on the Preview checkbox, and that's wrong. The reason is because we just moved the middle of the stroke that far down. Because when you're working with multiple strokes they're always centered. So now I know that the Line Weight is 5 points. That's how thick this stroke is. So I need to move it up half that far. So what I need to do is take 65 and subtract 2.5 from it, like so.
So I'll just enter 65 minus 2.5, press the Tab key, and that's 62.5 points. And that goes ahead and nails it, as you can see there. Then click OK in order to apply that change. Next, go ahead and click on the Stroke to make it active, click on the little Page icon in order to make a duplicate of it. And the first thing I'll do is just click on the word Transform there, assuming that the Stroke is twirled open, and change the Vertical value to -62.5. Turn on the Preview checkbox and that puts the highlight--it will be a highlight in a second--where it needs to be, and then I'll click OK.
Go ahead and click on the word Opacity, change the Blend mode from Multiply to Screen. That's too bright, as you can see there, so go ahead and click on the color swatch and change it to Dark Wood in order to produce this effect here. That's how you add bright, vibrant, stylized highlights and shadows by adding Stroke set to the Screen and Multiply Blend modes, here inside the Appearance panel.
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