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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 this movie we'll begin assembling the train engine including its body and elements of the undercarriage, including the wheels and the cowcatcher, and along the way, we'll see some interesting uses for rotated strokes as well as arrowheads. So I'll go ahead and switch to my document in progress and I'll zoom in as well, and select that black line right there, which is going to be the line on which I build the train. Then switch over to the Appearance panel and click on that stroke there, and we're going to be applying a bunch of gradients that I've created in advance. So I'll go ahead and change the color to the first of them which is Body Grad and then I'll increase the line weight to 68 points, so it fits inside of the tracks.
And I'll bring up the Gradient panel--which you can get by choosing the Gradient command from the Window menu--and I'll change the Angle value to 90 degrees. Then I'll click in the field to make it active. I'll make a new stroke by click on the Add New Stroke icon. I'll change the line weight of this stroke to 74 points and I'll change the color to Simple Grad--which is 4 gradients in--and then I'll change the angle of this gradient to 0 degrees. Now what we are going to do is make the element that holds the cowcatcher and so we need to scale the stroke and move it up front.
And I did that using the Transform command, which we will be employing a lot. And in the future I am going to get to it by pressing my dekeKeys shortcut, Ctrl+E or Cmd+E on the Mac, but first I am going to show you that the entire Effect menu is made available by clicking the FX icon at the bottom of the Appearance panel. And then I just choose Distort and Transform and then I can choose the Transform command, and I came up with a Horizontal Scale value of 11% and a Horizontal Move value of 33.3. I went ahead and selected the right-hand point in this little reference point matrix.
Turn on the Preview checkbox and you'll see this element up front, then go ahead and click OK. Now let's make the cowcatcher by clicking on the Fill again, adding a new stroke, and this time I am going to change the color of the stroke to Medium Rail which is a flat fill color and I'll dial in a line weight value of 8 points and that's it. And I ultimately had to go back and forth in order to figure all the stuff out. I am just telling you the settings I ultimately came up with. So I'll click on Stroke and then change my ending arrowhead--so Arrow 7 right there--and I dialed in ultimately a scale value for this arrowhead of 93% and I also went ahead and selected the Extend Arrowhead Tip icon which is the first of two Align icons.
Now you can see the arrowhead emerging up front here but it needs to come out farther. So I'll go ahead and scoot things over so that I have room to work, and I'll press Ctrl+E or Cmd+E on the Mac which is my dekeKeys shortcut for the Transform command, and I ultimately came up with a Horizontal Move value of 44. Turn on the Preview checkbox and you can see that that scoots the arrowhead out from the element that holds it. All right, now I'll click OK in order to accept that effect, and we now need to create an inset arrowhead. So I'll make a copy of this one by clicking on the little Page icon at the bottom of the panel. I'll change the color of this stroke to Shadow Rail, and then I'll go ahead and dial in a line weight of value of 7, like so, and that's pretty darn good.
In fact, it's very close, but I decided to scoot the arrowhead back a little. So I'll twirl it open and click on the word Transform, and then I'll turn on the Preview checkbox and nudge the Horizontal value down to 42 points, now click OK. Now we have to create the lines that are emanating into the cowcatcher, so I'll click on the 7-point Stroke to make it active, and I'll add a new stroke, and this time it's just going to be 4 points. I'll go ahead and change it to Medium Rail again. I'll press Ctrl+E or Cmd+E on the Mac to bring up the Transform effect dialog box and I'll dial in a Horizontal Move value of 90, turn on the Preview checkbox, and that does it.
So it's really just a matter of kind of nudging this thing around until you find a value that works. Then click OK, now we need to create the radial lines that are emanating away from the central one. So with the 4-point line selected, I'll add a new stroke and the Medium Rail color is just fine, but I'll take the stroke weight down to 2 points and then I'll press Ctrl+E or Cmd+E on the Mac in order to once again bring up the Transform effect dialog box. I'll go ahead and select the left point in this little reference point matrix, and I'll change the Horizontal value to 74 points, just so we can see what we are doing. I'll turn on the Preview checkbox and now I'll nudge that Angle value up to 3 degrees like so.
That goes ahead and rotates that line upwards, starting some place over here, because Reference Point is set to the left. Now I need to nudge the line down a little bit, so I'll press the Up Arrow key in order to increase the Vertical value to 5 points which, as we've learned, moves things down. All right, now I'll click OK. Now you may wonder, "Well, what if you wanted to get that exactly right? You want to make sure it's not sticking out." Well you can go ahead and change the color of the stroke to something like black just so you can keep an eye on it until you get everybody squared away and that's what I did. But now I know where they go, so I'll just change it back to Medium Rail.
All right, with this stroke selected, I'll go ahead and click on the little Page icon to make a duplicate of it and then I'll turn it open, click Transform, change the Angle value to 5 degrees, turn on the Preview checkbox, and now we need to adjust the Move values. I'll take the Horizontal value down to 60 and I'll increase the Vertical value to 7, like so. Then click OK, and we need one more of those guys up there on the top side anyway. So I'll go ahead and select the stroke- very important because if you leave Transform selected and you click in the Page icon, you'll make a copy of the effect, which is not what we want.
So click on the stroke, then click on the little Page icon. That makes the copy, click on the word Transform, and change the Angle value now to 7 degrees. Turn on the Preview checkbox. Go ahead and take the Horizontal value down to 48 and increase the Vertical value to 10 points. All right, now our work is pretty much done. We just need to reverse some settings, so I'll go ahead and twirl this guy closed, select all three of the 2 point strokes and go ahead and Alt+Drag or Option+Drag them upward and drop them into place right there, and that makes the copy of all three of them.
Now twirl all three of them open so we can make adjustments to them and I am also going to reduce the size of the Gradient panel and I am going to double-click on Color in order to hide that panel as well and drag this bar upward. All right, now I'll click on the first Transform here and what you do is you change the Angle value to a negative version of itself and you change the Vertical value to a negative version as well and then turn on the Preview checkbox and that flips this guy over here. Then go ahead and click OK. All right, so I'll twirl that guy closed, then I'll click on this transform and I'll change its Angle and Vertical values to negative. Turn on the Preview checkbox, which works of course; click OK.
And if ever you are wondering, "Okay, which of these darn things was I working on last?" You'll see that it's highlighted here inside the panel, which means that I can go ahead and twirl this guy closed, click on this Transform and change its values to negative as well --Angle and Vertical--turn on the Preview checkbox--works out beautifully--click OK. And by the way, if you want to get a sense of what's going on under the hood, then you can go ahead and turn off the top stroke, and you'll see through to all of the strokes that work underneath. Anyway, I'll go ahead and turn it back on.
I want to add a little bit of edge to this element right here, because it would be higher than the cowcatcher, so I'll go ahead and click on it to make it active, and then I'll drop down to the FX icon, choose Stylize and choose Drop Shadow. Now throughout these Drop Shadows, the mode is set to Normal. The Color is set to Absolute Black, meaning the RGB values are all set to 0, so I'll go ahead and click OK. I came up with an Opacity value of 100%, and X Offset value of 0, a Y offset value of 1, and a Blur value of 1 as well. Turn on the Preview checkbox and you can see that it gives us just a little bit of Drop Shadow there, it drifts onto the track but that's going to be taken care of later.
So I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. I was hoping to show you the wheels as well in this movie, but I think we're better off handling that in a separate movie, at least this gives you a sense of how you can do some fairly extraordinary things by applying multiple attributes--in our case strokes--here inside the Appearance panel, especially when it comes to employing arrowheads and rotating strokes.
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