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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 these first two movies, I'll show you how to customize a single character of type, so you can take a font that's available to presumably everyone, and turn it into a special text treatment that's all your own. Specifically, we want to take this text that's set in a font called Chiller, and we want to customize the O, so that it appears to be overflowing with real love. So, I am going to go ahead and zoom in on this text over here in the first Artboard. And just so we can use this final text as a kind of tracing template, I am going to lockdown the t-shirts layer and I'll turn on the top layer which is called path outlines.
And notice if I click on a character of type, you can see that I've converted my text to path outlines, not only so that I can edit the text, but also because it's very possible that you don't have the font Chiller loaded on your system. So what we want to do here--I'll press Ctrl+ Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on a Mac to deselect my text--what we want to do is use the interior of the O as the interior of the final character, but we want use the special predefined symbol that ships along with Illustrator to create the exterior of the O. And here's how that works.
Go up to the Window menu and choose the Symbols command to bring up the Symbols panel. Now I'll be devoting an entire chapter to symbols in the mastery course, but for now, just know that symbols are pre-drawing graphics that you can add to your artwork anytime you like. Now to get to the specific symbol that we are looking for, you click on this little Library icon in the bottom-left corner of the Symbols panel and you choose this guy right there Grime Vector Pack. Thing is, I've already loaded the symbols into this particular document. So, if you're working along with me, you can just escape out there and then grab this guy, Grime Vector Pack 05, and drag it and drop it into the illustration window.
That's going to come in very large as you can see. And if I zoom out to take in the entire height of this symbol, and I am going to drag it down as well. And you need to take care when you are working with symbols like this to drag them by their outlines. Now, what we have here is an instance. So symbol definition is stored inside the Symbols panel, and then you create an instance of that symbol--a kind of duplicate out here in the illustration window--which is great if you want to create a lot of instances. But if all you want to do is customize a single instance, then you need to break the link between the path inside your artwork and the original symbol in the Symbols panel. And you do that by clicking on this Break Link icon down here at the bottom of the panel. All right! So far, so good.
I'll go ahead and hide the Symbols panel and also change this path's fill by clicking on the first Swatch icon up here in the Control panel and changing it to White. All right! Now we need to zoom back in because we are a little bit too far out here, and at this point, I need to be able to see what's going on in the background art, the artwork that I am using is a template. Which means I need to be able to see through the contents of the path outline layer. So, in other words, I need path outlines to appear in the Outline mode while all the other layers to appear in Preview mode. And you do that by the way by pressing the Ctrl key or the Command key on a Mac, and clicking on the eyeball icon in front of the path outlines layer. And notice that gets rid of the pupil inside of the eyes, so we have a kind of Little Orphan Annie Eye going here.
And so any layer that has a hollow eye icon next to it, means we're seeing it in the Outline mode; any layer that has a pupil in its eyeball is appearing in the Preview mode. One other thing to note here, see how the path outlines layer went ahead and twirled itself open and then we have this Grime object below it, with its name truncated in my case, and it has a different color associated with it. And that's because if you go ahead and meatball this object, you'll see that it's a layer-- in other words it's a sub-layer inside the path outlines layer.
And that's just something that Illustrator does. When you break the link to a symbol, you end up with a sub-layer; naturally in this case, it's not what we want. So I'll twirl open that object and then I'll grab the thing inside of it, and I'll go ahead and drag it out of the Grime sub-layer. And then I'll go ahead and drag that sub-layer onto the Trash icon at the bottom of the panel and now you can see if I twirl the path outlines layer closed and twirl it back open again, we don't have any of that blue because we no longer have any sub-layers. All right! Just one more thing I want to do in this movie, I want to go ahead and position this Grime object right there at about this location here.
And I'll go ahead and zoom in to make sure I have positioned it properly, and I might want to nudge it a little bit as well. And now I need to scale the object by switching to the Scale tool--which you can get by pressing the S key--and then I'll Alt+click or Option+ click on that anchor point there and I'll change the Uniform value to 43.5%, which I arrived at just through trial and error by the way, and now I'll click OK. It appears that things aren't quite aligned, so I'll just press the Up Arrow key and that seems to reconcile things quite nicely. All right! I'll go ahead and zoom out a little bit here, so I'll go ahead and press the V key to switch to my Black Arrow tool.
Now that we've got the outline of the letter O-- which will define the interior of our custom character as well as the outline of this Grime object, which will define the outside of the custom character--we need to fuse the two together, and we'll do exactly that in the next movie.
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