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Distorting text with the Width tool


From:

Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Distorting text with the Width tool

In this movie I'll show you how to apply text expresses in art brush to a path outline with absolute precision that you are about to see; and I'll also show you how you can distort that text using the Width tool, which works great with art brushes. Now at this point we have quite the mess on our hands. You can just dispose some of it here. I am going to click on this top text that's being converted to path outlines and Shift+Click on the bottom text with my Black Arrow tool to select both lines of text. And because we've already saved these path outlines as art brushes, we can get to them anytime we want.
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  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
11h 2m Advanced Dec 13, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Installing dekeKeys, Deke's free custom keyboard shortcuts
  • Understanding the color-managed workflow
  • Creating a multicolor blend
  • Establishing a clipping mask
  • Blending different levels of opacity
  • Combining a letterform with a path outline
  • Warping logo type around a circle
  • Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
  • Mixing and matching color harmonies
  • Recoloring artwork
  • Working with the Calligraphic, Scatter, and Art Brushes
  • Creating translucency
  • Editing attributes in the Appearance panel
  • Adjusting and updating dynamic effects
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Distorting text with the Width tool

In this movie I'll show you how to apply text expresses in art brush to a path outline with absolute precision that you are about to see; and I'll also show you how you can distort that text using the Width tool, which works great with art brushes. Now at this point we have quite the mess on our hands. You can just dispose some of it here. I am going to click on this top text that's being converted to path outlines and Shift+Click on the bottom text with my Black Arrow tool to select both lines of text. And because we've already saved these path outlines as art brushes, we can get to them anytime we want.

So I'll just press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of them. Now what we need to do is separate these path outlines because we want a work from them from the text that's attached to them. And that's not an obvious thing to do in Illustrator. If you just right-click on the path, you'll see no options for separating the text, and there is no such commands available anywhere in the software. Instead here's what you do. You press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool, you click off the text to deselect it, then you press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac in order to switch to the Outline mode so that you can see those invisible path outlines.

You Alt+Click or Option+Click in the top one in our case, and then you Shift+Alt+Click or Shift+Option+Click on the bottom one, because we want to select them both. Because we use the White Arrow tool, we've selected the paths independently of the text that's attached to them. Now I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command, or press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac. All right, now I am going to twirl open my path layer, and I am going to turn off those two lines of path text. In that way we still have our editable text around if we need it.

Now I'll return to the Edit menu and choose the Paste in Front command or press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac, to paste those path outlines independently of the text formerly associated with them. All right, now I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to switch back to the Preview mode. I'll press the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool, and I'll Shift+Click on that bottom path to deselect it. And now I'll assign that Text Brush to the top path by bringing up my Brushes panel, and then I'll scroll down the list until I find those two white text brushes, and I'll click on the first one, different strokes, in order to apply it to the path. And it is that darn easy, look at that.

The transitions are great, the spacing is awesome, and Illustrator has automatically copy-fitted the text, in other words, its fit the text to the artwork. And it gets even better; let's say I decide I want to modify the path outline, I can do so with impunity. I am going to press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool. Click off the path to deselect it, and select this right-hand anchor point here, and I'll just press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of it. And once again Illustrator just automatically condenses that text to fit. Now I am going to nudge this text down by pressing Shift+Down Arrow a few times, and for what its worth I am working with a reduced keyboard increment value with just 0.2 pt.

And I am also going to press Shift+Left Arrow a few times in order to nudge this path outline to the left, just making some various alterations here. I'll click off the path to deselect it; click on it again, so I select a segment independently of the anchor points; and I'll drag this anchor point up to about here. I might move the Control Handle in just a little bit, and I'll move this Control Handle to this location here. All right, now I'll press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool, click on this path outline to select it. And I want a symmetrical path, so I am going to have to flip this existing path and then join it.

So I'll bring up my guides--I've got some center guides that I've set up in advance,-- by pressing Ctrl+; or Command+; on the Mac, and then I'll go ahead and switch to the Reflect tool, which of course you can get by pressing the O key. And then I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on the Mac on that vertical guideline. That brings up the Reflect dialog box. I'll set the Axis to Vertical and then click on the Copy button in order to flip that path outline. It ends up flipping the text as well as you can see. And now I want to join these two path outlines together so I have one continuous line of type.

That is not something you can do with path type. So once you've created text on the path you can't use the Join command in order to connect it to a different path, but you can with an art brush. I know, they are just so great. So I am going to press the A key in order to switch to my White Arrow tool and I am going to click on this anchor point and then Shift+Click on this one; then I'll go up to the Object menu, choose Path and choose Join, or you can just press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac. And we get this effect here, likkideesplit, it's awesome. So Illustrator is, in other words, keeping up with everything that I am doing.

Now the text is backwards, so I'll bring back up my Brushes panel and I'll click on the little dialog box icon. So open up the Stroke Options dialog box. And I'll turn on Flip Along of course because the text is running in wrong direction, but it's also upside down so I'll turn on Flip Across. And we get the exact effect that we are looking for. Now for the Width tool. This part is awesome. I am going to hide the Brushes panel, and then I am going to select the Width tool, which you can get by pressing Shift+W. And I'll go ahead and zoom in a little bit here, so I have a closer view of what I am doing, and I'll go ahead and drag from this anchor point, like so, and I'll drag from this one as well.

If you want better control over that--in other words you want numerical control, so you can get the same results I am getting-- then Select one of those points, Shift+Double- Click on the other so that both of them are selected. That brings up the width point at a dialog box and change the Total Width value to 1.6 and then click OK. All right, now I need to zoom out because I need access to the outside points. So I'll click on this one and Shift+Double-Click on this one--the two end points in other words-- in order to once bring up the Width Point Edit dialog box, and I'll change the Total Width value to 0.9, and I'll click OK.

Now that we've done that I'll go ahead and center my zoom by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac. Now that we've added some width points to our path, we have some new adjustment options available to us in the Brushes panel. So I'll go ahead and bring up to Brushes panel, click on the little dialog box icon; and notice, Size is now set to Width Points/Profile and we have a minimum value and a maximum value. Go ahead and change that maximum value to 120%, to slightly enhance the distortion of those letters, and then click OK.

All right, now that we've done all this work to the top path outline we don't need the bottom one anymore; we'll just create a copy of this top one. So what I need to find is this crazy path down here inside of the path type panel. I'll go ahead and meatball it. You can see it's selected, but I don't want to press the Backspace key or the Delete on the Mac yet, because my Width tool is still active, so I'll press the V key in order to switch to the Black Arrow tool and then I'll press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac. And now I'll go ahead and select this top text. I'll switch back to my Reflect tool and I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on the Horizontal guideline this time, set the Axis to Horizontal and click Copy once again. And you can see that Illustrator is so smart, then I went ahead and re-flipped my text.

Now we are going to assign the other art brush. The good news is, it's going to look great; the bad news is, as soon as we do so we're going to lose our width information. So I am going to press Ctrl+; or Command+; on the Mac to hide the guides, because we don't need them anymore. And then I'll bring back up my Brushes panel and I'll select the curiously handcrafted brush. And you can see everything is run amok again, it's upside down and there is no width information. So the first thing I am going to do is just set the width points so that I can go to that dialog box just once.

So I'll select the Width tool and I'll drag from this anchor point here, and I'll drag from this anchor point, and with this one selected I'll Shift+Double-Click on the other one, and I'll change the Total Width value to 1.6, click OK. And then I'll select the left-hand end point and Shift+Double-Click on the right end point, and change this value to 0.9, and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac. And then finally I'll go back to the Brushes panel and I'll click on the little dialog box icon; and I'll turn on Flip Along and Flip Across--we need both of them--and I'll change this value, which for some reason whose reading is 1% to 120% in order to achieve this final effect here. And I'll press the V key to switch to my Black Arrow tool, hide the Brushes panel, press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+ A on the Mac to deselect my artwork.

So obviously I am a big fan, I hope you are too. Because that is how you apply text as an art brush to any path outline regardless of whether it has corner points or smooth points, here inside Illustrator.

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