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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, I am going to show you how to use the Scallop and Crystallize tools to transform plain stars into absolutely amazing starbursts. Best of all, you can do it in five seconds; it doesn't take any time at all. I've saved my progress as Crystallized edges.ai. I am going to start things off here by double-clicking on the Crystallize Tool icon to bring up the Crystallize Tool Options dialog box, and I am going to increase the size of my brush, the Width and Height values, to 600 points. So we are going to be working with a very large brush.
Make sure that the Intensity is cranked down, so 10% or lower. And then I want you to notice these two options here: Complexity and Detail. Detail is going to control how many spikes are created at a time. So you can raise or lower that value. Raising the value gives you more spikes; lowering the value gives you fewer. Complexity is going to do something very similar. You can take this value, by the way, up to 15, and that's going to introduce a ton of spikes as well, except the spikes will go out to variable sizes.
So you're basically creating spikes inside of spikes, inside of spikes, whereas Detail is much more uniform. So for example, I will go ahead and crank Detail up to let's say 5, and then I will click OK. Now, I need to select that star in the background. So I am going to press the Ctrl key, or the Command key on the Mac, in order to temporarily get my Black Arrow tool. I will click on that star like so in order to select it. If you're having problems selecting it, then by all means just press the V key to get the Black Arrow tool, click on the star, and then come back to the Crystallize tool. I can't see that it's selected, because I have my edges hidden.
So I will press Ctrl+H, Command+H on the Mac, in order to see those star edges, and I am going to zoom in and center the star on screen. And now I am going to click and hold, and notice that all of those spikes are going to the outermost edge of the circle. Now I am still clicking and holding. After a certain point you're not going to get anymore action. Pretty much the tool is spent. So you would release. You can, however, click and hold again in order to introduce more spikes into that starburst. Just like that, you have this insanely complicated starburst just with two clicks of this tool.
I am going to press Ctrl+Z a couple of times in order to reinstate that original star. Double-click once again on that Crystal Tool icon. I will take my Detail value down, and I will raise the Complexity value to something like, let's try 7, and then click OK. Now I will click and hold again, and you can see, notice those spikes are going out to different levels this time. The same happens, by the way, with the scalloped edges on the inside. So you're getting a greater degree of variability with Complexity than you are with Detail.
Now I will show you something similar using the Scallop tool. So I will switch over to the Scallop tool. I am going to crank up its Complexity value. Let's try something like 5 and click OK. Then I will click and hold with it, and this is going to take the starburst inward with these edges, with these spikes going to different levels, like so. I will press Ctrl+H so you can see what I have done. That quickly I was able to create this. Now that's not really the effect I'm looking for, so here is what I am going to do. I am going to press Ctrl+Z a couple of times in a row in order to reinstate my original star, because every single one of these adjustments is a static path modification.
So I have to be careful about that. I'm going to start things off with the Crystallize tool. I like the size of my brush cursor, but I am going to take the Complexity level down to 2. So relatively low. Click OK and then I will press Ctrl+H, Command+H, just so I can see that center point in the star, and incidentally I added the center point to the star from the Attributes panel. So I just went ahead and turned on that Show Center point right there, and because this star has an even number of spikes, that does represent the absolute center of the shape. Now I will go ahead and click and hold in order to send those spikes outward, like so, and then I might click and hold again in order to send some more spikes out, and then I am going to follow it up with the Scallop tool.
I will double-click on the Scallop tool to bring up the Scallop Tool Options dialog box, change its Complexity value. Well, actually, let's give this one at like 4, and I will click OK. So fairly high. And then I will click and hold in order to bring those edges inward so that we have what I consider to be a very powerful starburst effect. I am going to switch to my Black Arrow tool and click off the shape, and that's what we get. With just three click-and- holds, we are able to transform a star into a custom starburst.
That wraps up the Liquify tools. In the next exercise, we are going to switch our attention to envelope-style distortions.
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