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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to the Brushes panel, as well as the five different kinds of brushes you have available to you inside of Illustrator. Now, you can think of most of the brushes as being kind of like symbols. That is, they're pre-created pieces of artwork that you can modify as well--you can create your own brushes--and those brushes either stretch or repeat along the length of a stroke. In order to bring up the Brushes panel, you either click on this Brushes icon here inside your panel strip, or you can go up to the Window menu and you can choose the Brushes command.
You also have this simple keyboard shortcut of F5, and that's the same shortcut that brings up the Brushes panel inside of Photoshop. However you decide to get there, once you bring up the Brushes panel, you are going to see an extensive list of brushes that I've included along with this document. And just like swatches and symbols and graphic styles, brushes are saved along with the document inside of Illustrator. So you can add more brushes if you like just by dropping down to this folder icon in the bottom-left corner of the Brushes panel, clicking on it, and then choosing one of these many libraries from the submenus.
Now, as I say, I've gone ahead and called a bunch of different brushes from those libraries. Now, the five different kinds of brushes, if you click on the flyout menu icon here, you'll see that you can turn on and off specific kinds of brushes inside the Brushes panel, so that you're not seeing any of the Calligraphic brushes for example, or Scatter brushes; you can always bring them back later. But these are your five types: Calligraphic, Scatter, Art, Bristle, and Pattern, and that's the order in which they're listed inside the Brushes panel. So let me show you what's going on here. Right at the top, at least where this document is concerned, in the top row we have six different Calligraphic brushes, and Calligraphic brushes do not rely on an underlying piece of artwork.
What you do is you change the size of the brush, you change its roundness and its angle, and that permits you to create a Calligraphic brushstroke. They are especially useful if you're drawing with a pressure-sensitive stylus, as with a Wacom Intuos tablet for example. But you can apply them without a tablet as well, as we'll see. The next group of brushes, this next row here, are all Scatter brushes, and Scatter brushes lay down single dollops of whatever piece of artwork you have saved. So it could be flowers or stars and so on, and it just scatters a bunch of these different pieces of artwork along the brushstroke. It just repeats them, and it changes their size randomly and so forth, so that you can create a string of artwork on the fly.
Your next option right here is actually not a brush; it's called Basic, and what it does is it gets rid of any brush you might have applied to a stroke, and you return to a uniform 1-point stroke. Next we have Art brushes. Now, Art brushes, in my opinion, are the most useful and versatile of the brush types inside of Illustrator. And what they do is they take a single piece of artwork and they go ahead and stretch that artwork over the course of the entire outline of a path or letterform or what have you, and there's all kinds of Art brushes inside of this document.
So starting which Chalk at the top here, right under Basic, and then if you scroll down the list, your last Art brush--in this list anyway--is this guy right here, Text Divider 1. So these Art brushes can emulate the appearance of a brushstroke, or they can be ornaments, or they can be text--as you'll see, very, very useful indeed. Next, we have one and only one representative of the new Bristle brush inside of Illustrator CS5. It's called Filbert, for what it's worth, and it's the Bristle brush that's included by default along with a new document.
The idea behind a Bristle brush is that you're emulating a traditional brush stroke, something that you might paint with an actual conventional Brush on a piece of paper or canvas or what have you. What Illustrator is really doing is taking a bunch of brushstrokes and laying them on top of each other at varying levels of opacity. Then finally, we have a bunch of Pattern brushes, and they take tile patterns-- conventional tile patterns, like those that we saw back in the Advanced portion of the series--and repeat them and bend them around the path outline, and you can also independently control the appearance of corners and caps and so forth.
And that's a brief overview of the five kinds of brushes inside of Illustrator. In future exercises, I'll show you how each and every one of those brushes work, starting with Calligraphic brushes in the very next exercise.
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