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Customizing a letterform to make a logo


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Customizing a letterform to make a logo

I'm looking at a document called Two-up tees and it features this T-shirt that I drew along with this text treatment as well against the background that comes from the Fotolia Image Library, specifically these various elements were created by Sunny Frog, and you can learn more about Fotolia at And ultimately what we'll do is we'll explore Color Harmonies in the context of re-coloring this background artwork in order to create a complementary color scheme that is one that complements the blues inside of the T-shirt.
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  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
14h 53m Intermediate Nov 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Tracing a pixel-based image
  • Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
  • Creating and editing gradients
  • Creating multi-colored blends
  • Creating seamlessly repeating tile patterns
  • Creating interlocking artwork with Live Paint
  • Designing advanced type effects
  • Recoloring artwork with color harmonies
  • Making the most of symbols
  • Integrating Illustrator with Photoshop
  • Using transparency, blend modes, and opacity masks
Deke McClelland

Customizing a letterform to make a logo

I'm looking at a document called Two-up tees and it features this T-shirt that I drew along with this text treatment as well against the background that comes from the Fotolia Image Library, specifically these various elements were created by Sunny Frog, and you can learn more about Fotolia at And ultimately what we'll do is we'll explore Color Harmonies in the context of re-coloring this background artwork in order to create a complementary color scheme that is one that complements the blues inside of the T-shirt.

But before I do that I figured, given that we just got done talking about Advance Type Treatments in the previous chapter, I would show you how I created this one here because it is, if nothing else, a little more tasteful and it's also a lot more manual as well. So in the spirit of transitioning from one chapter to the other let's see how it was put together. I am going to go ahead and twirl open the t-shirts layer here inside the layers panel and I am going to turn off the top object which is called Type and it's a group of these path outlines that make up that Type right there and then I am going to turn on the top layer which is called text & symbol.

And what's going on here is, I've got some text that I created in a font called Chiller that just happened to be on this machine, I don't know where the heck it comes from, but because you don't have that font most likely on your machine I went ahead converted the type to outlines. Also that allows me to manipulate those Outlines using the White Arrow tool and the Pen tool and so on. And then, this guy right here is a Symbol that actually ships along with Illustrator and so if you go up to the Symbols panel and we're going to be talking about Symbols and all kinds of detail in the very next chapter but if you bring up the Symbols panel you'll notice that I've gone and outfitted it with a bunch of these Grime Vector Pack Symbols which is a library that ships along with Illustrator.

I use this guy right there, Grime Vector Pack 05 and I dragged it out into the Illustration window, dropped it into place and then I scaled it by going to my Scale tool, double-clicking on it, and I scaled it to about 44% and then click OK. And because I need access to the path outlines that are associate with this symbol right here I also went ahead and converted it to outlines and you do that by breaking the link so you click the Break Link to Symbol icon at the bottom of the Symbols panel and away you go.

Anyway I'm going to backup so that this guy is back where he is supposed to be. I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac several times in a row in order to reinstate that path outline to its original position and I am going to hide this Symbols panel and zoom on in here. And the next thing that I want to do is switch to the Outline mode so I can see what I'm doing so I'll press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on a Mac, and there's a lot going on, a lot in little bits and pieces of grunge art work. So, what I'll do just to clean things up, I am going to twirl close t-shirts and I am going to turn off for the moment the backdrop layer so we can just focus on the contents of this layer and nothing more and then I'll zoom on in.

So what I wanted to do was I wanted to use the O in the text in order to cut a kind of circular outline just this interior circle or oval or whatever it is out of this symbol outline. So, this is manual labor. Put simply, there are no automated ways around this one, you got to go ahead and grab your White Arrow tool and then you just kind of select the junk you don't want and the easiest way to do that is to just marquee a few points and then delete them and then I'll marquee a few points or possibly just go ahead and click and Shift+Click on these guys actually I think I want to click and Shift+Click more along this area up here in order to select a few points and delete them and what that does is it cleaves what was formerly a close path into two open paths and then click off, Alt+Click or Option+Click, on the outer open path and then just press the Backspace key or the Delete key on Mac in order to get rid of it.

Then I zoomed in on my illustration a little more here and I need to do the same thing, I need to cleave a hole in this symbol so I'll go ahead and grab a few points and then delete them by pressing the Backspace key or the Delete key once again on the Mac. Then I just grabbed these guys, like so, so I am just marqueeing a bunch of points here, and I just dragged them down. Didn't do any sort of fancy work at all, I just went ahead and dragged them into a better place. It is okay if we have some strange transitions here because this is a grunge effect but if that worries you he can go in there and edit the points and control handles as much as you desire.

Now I'll go ahead and grab this guy and snap it into place and marquee these two points, which are coincident one on top of the other, and then I'll go up to the Object menu and I'll choose Path and I'll choose Join. And at this point Illustrator will get grumpy at me and say hey, you can't do that buddy because these guys are part of different objects which is really a big pain in the neck and then you have to dig in there and find out what kind of different objects they are. So if they come from different group that is going to be a problem if they come from different compound paths that's going to be a problem.

Fortunately we enjoy both problems so I'll click OK and so the first thing I need to do is grab this group here, notice it here inside the layers panel, if you have text & symbols twirled open you can go ahead and meatball that group and that's the text. And then go up to the Object menu choose Ungroup, Ctrl+Shift+G, Command+Shift+G on a Mac, in order to ungroup those guys. Okay, so far so good. And then I'll marquee those points again. This is joined for your, even though it's gotten better inside of Illustrator CS5 it's still not what anyone would call best.

This time I'll just use a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac and I am doing that because Illustrator I know is going to grump at me again. You don't want to say Don't Show Again, to this message even though it's highly irritating because otherwise the program just ignores you it doesn't bark at you anymore, it just doesn't do anything. So I'd rather be barked at so at least I know nothing happened and I am still not getting my way. And so then at this point what I am going to need to do is go back to my Black Arrow tool, click on this path outline right there and then go up to the Object menu choose Compound Paths, because I just happened to know this is a compound path.

If you wanted to figure that out well, actually you could just look up here in the Control panel, on the left hand side, you'll see it's a Compound Path so that's your problem. Go to Compound Path and choose Release. Now, if there is any holes being cut of course you are going to loose those holes, in my case there is not so there aren't any path outlines that are cutting holes in other paths so everything should work fine. I'll go ahead choose that Release command cross my fingers, hopefully there's nothing else wrong here. Press the A key in order to give back to the White Arrow tool, Marquee those two points again and then press Ctrl+J and it's still not happy with me which means I still have a compound path selected.

So I'll go ahead grab my Black Arrow tool. Isn't this fun? In as much as my sample file in the previous chapter was not the most tasteful piece of art, it was a lot more fun to work on than this thing. Anyway, I'll go ahead and click on this lower path outline, the one I haven't really fully dealt with yet. In order to select it with a Black Arrow tool, I can see here in the layers panel that I've got a compound path selected I can also see that up here in the Control panel. So, I'll go up to the Object menu, choose Compound Path and choose Release and really I'm just hoping against hope this time that I got to the bottom of the problem.

I'll press the A key in order to grab my White Arrow tool and I'll marquee those two points of a press Ctrl+J. Callooh Callay it worked. Awesome! And then I'll grab a few arbitrary points here so I am clicking on one Shift+Clicking on a few others, dragging them down like so, may be move these points down a little bit as well, could probably stand and kind of zoom out so we can see better what I'm doing. Now I don't want these guys to get too close to each other because I still want these open area of white coming into the center of the O because I like that affect. And it looks like I am going to have to draw a little bit using the Pen tool so I'll press the P key in order to switch to the Pen click, click and then click on that point it worked that's another thing that could have gone wrong but the two points in it up joining together.

And now we have more or less the effect that I created. So if I zoom out here, and we're going to have to check our work, just make sure we didn't lose any holes. I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on a Mac in order to check out the effect and it looks great, I've got this O, the original O, carved out of the big Symbol and we've got ourselves a nice bit of logotype inside of this T-shirt. So, that's how you can work manually to create Advance Type effects. In the next exercise, we'll have one more transitional one in which I'll show you the dynamic effects that are in work in back of this T-shirt.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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