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Up to this point in this course, we've been performing some pretty static adjustments to our artwork. We've been doing some point and click things where we just added a color, added a stroke, et cetera. In this movie, we are going to get a little bit more exciting and actually change our artwork manually by hand, by utilizing one of the cool features called the Variable-Width tool. This is going to enable you to create some really stylistic strokes inside of Illustrator on your own. And the best part is with a little experimentation, you can create some awesome stuff with very little effort.
So what I am going to do is work on this piece of artwork here. Actually, I have several different pieces of art that comprises this little flower shape. I am going to start off with this petal right here on the left-hand side and I am just going to add a basic stroke to it. I will add a dark green color so it's easy to see, and let's also zoom in on it so we can see it a little better. Once I get that selected, I can then go over and grab the Width tool and with the Width tool selected, I can come out to the path itself and start to make adjustments. You will notice when I bring my cursor out and place it on my path, I get a little white dot that follows me all around the path.
You will also notice if you have Smart Guides turned on, that you get this small gray box popping up. The small gray box tells you two things; how much weight of the stroke is on each side of the path, in this case there is 0.5 pixels on each side of the path because it's a one-pixel stroke. And underneath, it tells you the width of the stroke overall. So at this current point on the path, I'm set to 1 pixel, with 0.5 pixels on either side. If I wanted to increase or decrease the size of the stroke, I simply click and drag either to the left or to the right to increase the stroke at that particular point.
I am going to come right down here, close to the middle of this side and I am simply going to click and drag to the left. Look what happens to the stroke; it actually grows as I drag. So I can drag this out to about, let's say, 20 points, roundabout. Once I get it to about 20 points, I'll release my mouse and there is my stroke. At this point it almost looks 3D. I could leave it like that or I could make other adjustments. You'll also notice that you can come and grab that point on there anytime you want and you can actually move it around.
As you move it, it increases the weight of the stroke wherever you move it. If I drop it back right about where it was, everything pretty much stays the same. You'll also notice that you can come in here and you can adjust the handles at any time as well, clicking and dragging towards the center point shrinks the size of the stroke, dragging it back out increases the size of the stroke. If you want to control these points individually, you can hold down the Option key on Mac, the Alt key on PC and drag one in or drag it out.
So you actually have independent controls of all of these different points. Let me undo to reset that back. Let's go over to the other side of my path and add another variable-width point, close to where the other one was. Click and I will drag out. I will try to make this as close as I can to the other, and release. Let's click away with the Selection tool. I will zoom out. See that nice little gradual fade of the stroke that I have created there? Here is the really cool part. I will select the shape again, and I am going to bring out the Stroke panel.
Inside of the Stroke panel, if you remember, you can go to the panel menu and choose Show Options. In the Show Options dialog box, you'll notice here at the bottom that you get something called a Profile, and we are going to actually go into profiles in depth in another movie, but I just wanted to make you aware that you can actually save the profile for this particular stroke that you've created and then apply that profile to every single piece of your artwork. So if you didn't want to take the time to go through and recreate what you've done on each individual piece in here, you could do it one time, save the profile, and then apply it to all pieces of your artwork.
So once you've got your variable-width stroke exactly like you like it, you are ready to then save it and apply it to any piece of your artwork in your design.
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