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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.
I've saved my modifications as Shockingly complex starburst.ai. It's found inside the 25_liquify_envelope folder. In this exercise, I am going to introduce you to envelope-style distortions inside of Illustrator, but before I do I want to show you one more Liquify trick. My starburst is selected, by the way. We can't see the edges because I've hidden them. I am going to double-click of the Crystallize Tool icon, and I'm going to decrease both the Width and Height values to 400 points, and then I will click OK. Now check this out. Not only can you click and hold with these tools in order to modify a starburst, but you can also drag, if that appeals to you.
You can make an absolute mess of a perfectly good shape in milliseconds doing so. Now that's not really what I'm looking for, so I will press Ctrl+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac. I will press Ctrl+H, or Command+H, in order to see those selection handles, and then I am going to click and hold for a moment in the center of the shape, like so, just to increase the size and spikiness of that central area ever so slightly. So in other words, you can achieve different effects by varying the brush size from one click-and-hold to the next. All right, now let's check out Envelope.
I am going to switch back to my Black Arrow tool here, and I am going to scroll down inside of my illustration, and I'm going to go ahead and marquee these two objects--that is, this bottommost rectangle as well as this point text. Also, because we are going to be doing a fair amount of work inside the illustration window and I don't want to mess up my horse, I am going to lock down that horse layer by clicking in the Lock icon next to horse inside the Layers panel. Now, let's say I want to warp these objects. I have two ways of approaching warps, and one of them we've already seen. You can go up to the Effect menu, if you want to apply a dynamic effect, choose Warp, and choose let's say Arc Upper.
Then at that point you can decide how much bending you want. I am going to go with let's say 25% and then turn on the Preview check box to see what it looks like, which is all well and good because this is a dynamic effect. It's a nondestructive modification. It's entirely parametric. So you can come back and change your mind anytime you want, just by clicking on the effect there in the Appearance panel, so you can edit your core objects at will. However, imagine that you want to use Arc Upper as a jumping off point for a custom effect. And what you really want to do is go in there and modify a mesh, just like we saw with gradient mesh, except this time so that you can adjust anchor points and control handles to achieve custom effects.
Well in that case you need to apply a true envelope-style distortion. Now the great news is that envelope distortions are still nondestructive, so you can change your mind anytime you like; you can remove the envelope if you want to. So you are not painting in distortions the say you are with Liquify tool. The bad news is that you're actually placing the objects inside of an envelope. So that means you have to edit the envelope--the outside of the container--and the objects--the stuff inside the container--independently of each other, which is frankly a little bit of a pain in the neck, but you have a keyboard shortcut for switching back and forth between the two.
I will show you what's going on. I am going to cancel out of that dialog box there, and instead we are going to go to the Object menu. Those objects are still selected; notice that. And I'll drop down to Envelope Distort, and I'll choose Make with Warp, and that brings up that same dialog box we saw a moment ago. So it's even set to Arc Upper because that's the last thing I applied, and I'm going to change the Bend value to 25% again, turn on the Preview check box, and I get the exact same effect as before, but this time notice I've got a mesh going on.
Just one row, three columns; however, that gives me a terrific amount of control if what I want to do is create some rolling hills, which is exactly--not surprisingly--what I do want to do. So I am going to click OK in order to accept that modification, and I will press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool, and I will click on this point right there, and I am going to Shift+Drag it upward, like so. And then I am going to take these two points. So I will click on one and Shift+Click on the other and drag them down, like so. Now I've already got some rolling action here, and you can see that it's affecting the rectangle and the live editable text in kind, so I don't have to convert my text to outlines.
Now, I am just going to click on this point independently of the other ones, and I'm going to drag down on the right control handle in order to send the left control handle upward, and I'll drag this right-hand control handle upward in order to create this rolling effect. And I might go ahead and grab this guy and drag it upward as well. Maybe drag these two points downward a little bit by clicking on one, Shift+Clicking on the other, and dragging down. So I'm trying to introduce a feel of randomness where this rolling hill is concerned, and then maybe drag this guy back upwards and so forth.
So the exact effect you apply is entirely up to you. If you find that your text is starting to sort of curve inward, as mine is just a little bit, you can grab one of those points and you can drag it outward a little bit, like so. I might also go ahead and drag this point outward a little bit in order to flare that text ever so slightly. So that's the beginning of the effect that I am trying to apply. The big problem though is that as my hills are starting to roll, we get this nice effect here at the top of the lawn or the grass or whatever is going on there.
However, our text is getting fairly smushed. So I need to make the text smaller, and I am going to do that using a dynamic effect, and that will give us a chance to get inside the envelope in the next exercise.
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