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Designs dekeConstructed, featuring best-selling author Deke McClelland, is a new series in which Deke breaks down the creation of cool designs so you can create them on your own. In this installment, Deke shows you how to make a custom gradient dot pattern with Adobe Illustrator. He begins by showing you how to load, apply, and scale the preset patterns that ship with Illustrator, and then demonstrates how to make your own gradient patterns with round and square dots. Last, he shows how to infuse your designs with energy using dynamic rotations that make your own specialized pattern wave.
Now so far we have these very jagged dots and I say dots in quote fingers because very few of them even remotely resembles circles. This guy looks like a fellow wearing a top hat who fell over sideways, and then we got these rounded rectangles and these we have these squares. Where as what we want is this final effect where we have circular dots all the way around. Well, this is'nt a hard problem to solve. It's just that it requires the use of an obscure command. I'm going to go ahead and switch over to my document of progress.
The problem is the way that we created the document in the first place. Go the file menu and choose the new command, and you may recall that we set the profile right at the beginning to basic RGB. Notice here in this advanced section. We see that the color mode is RGB, that's not surprising. But the pixel per inch, the resolution of the raster effects only, inside of this document, is 72 PPI. And, that's obviously a problem when working inside of an Illustration, especially one like this.
Thing is, that's the way it works for just about all the profiles. So, if I switch to web, we've got a resolution of 72ppi. If I switch to devices, we've got a resolution of 72ppi. And if I switch to video and film, same deal. In fact, the only profile that sets the resolution higher is print, in which case, we get a resolution of 300 pixels per inch, which is what we're looking for. Problem is, then we'd have to set the color mode to CMYK. You might say well that seems like the way to go, because after all aren't we creating a print document.
Well CMYK is really only useful when you plan on commercially reproducing a document, so printing it at a commercial print house in other words. If you're doing anything else, with the document, you're better off working in the RGB mode, and that even goes for documents that you intend to print locally, that is to your ink jet or laser printer. RGB will give you better results because the printer drivers expect RGB information. And also RGB guarantees us nice rich black dots.
So what do we do to solve the problem in our existing document? Well, go ahead and cancel that. The command that we're looking for is located under the effect menu, you don't have to have anything selected by the way because it applies to the entire document It's this command right there, Document Raster Effects Settings, very obscure strangely named command. It's actually accurate for what it does, but it might not be the kind of thing that rises to your attention. Go ahead and choose that command and notice that the color model is RGB, we want to leave that alone. And the resolution is screen, 72 pixels per inch.
You want to go ahead and bump that up to high of 300 pixels per inch. The background can be either white or transparent. But I'm going to go with transparent. You can choose to anti-alias or not. I'm going to go ahead and turn the anti-alias check box on right there, and then I'll click OK in order to apply that modification, and notice that everything changes. Not only do we get more circular dots but we get smaller dots as well, which means we end up with a lighter color there at the center of the gradient which is absolutely desirable in my opinion.
Not even so, you might say, well, gosh, you know, if we zoom back in here, to let say 1200%, we still have jagged dots, that work inside of this document. Whereas if I switch over to the final version of the illustration and zoom in at 1200% we have very smooth Vector-based dots, by the way. And I'm going to show you how to create these very dots in the very next movie.
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