Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Illustration by John Hersey

Making a basic pictograph


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Making a basic pictograph

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to create the most basic pictograph possible, by converting these columns into a pattern of repeating birds. I've saved my progress as Legendary, found inside the 27_graphs folder. I'll tell you something about these legendary birds here. They are driving me nuts. Fortunately, I came out with something that will prevent the legend from breaking down to quite this extent in the future. So let me show you what I mean. I'll press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac, to switch to the Outline mode. Using my Group Selection tool right here, I'm going to go ahead and marquee around this square and this hummingbird, so the very first square and hummingbird pair.
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  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 5m Advanced Jan 28, 2011

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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.

Topics include:
  • Working with dynamic effects
  • Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
  • Creating and editing a Gradient Mesh
  • Distorting artwork with an Envelope Mesh
  • Using the Calligraphic, Art, and Scatter Brushes
  • Creating an intricate Pattern Brush
  • Importing and graphing data
  • Creating a complex pictograph
  • Drawing and editing a perspective shape
  • Working with the new Perspective Grid tool
  • Using the 3D Revolve effect
  • Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
  • Recording and playing automated actions
Deke McClelland

Making a basic pictograph

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to create the most basic pictograph possible, by converting these columns into a pattern of repeating birds. I've saved my progress as Legendary, found inside the 27_graphs folder. I'll tell you something about these legendary birds here. They are driving me nuts. Fortunately, I came out with something that will prevent the legend from breaking down to quite this extent in the future. So let me show you what I mean. I'll press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac, to switch to the Outline mode. Using my Group Selection tool right here, I'm going to go ahead and marquee around this square and this hummingbird, so the very first square and hummingbird pair.

And then I'm going to drag the bottom-right anchor point until it more or less aligns with that point in the Peaceful point text. You may recall that you can drag point text by its point, and it'll snap into alignment with other things, but the other things will not snap into alignment with the point text. It's so great that we're experiencing this culmination of all the weird little things about Illustrator all at once. I'm really enjoying myself here. Now I figured out that the distance between the line PEACEFUL and JOYFUL, and in between JOYFUL and LIVING IN HARMONY is 31-and-a-third points.

So what I'm going to do is marquee the next square in hummingbird pair using my Group Selection tool. I'll grab that bottom-right anchor point again, and I'll go ahead and snap it into alignment, not with the point text, but rather with the other hummingbird. So now that I've got it locked where I need it, I'll all go ahead and double-click on that Group Selection tool in the toolbox, and I'm seeing the last move I made. That is, the one where I dragged the second bird into alignment with the first bird. Instead, I want a Horizontal movement of 0, and a Vertical movement of 31.3333, and just jam on the 3 key a few times and then press the Tab key, and Illustrator will go ahead and round it off to whatever is the most threes it can handle.

Then go ahead and click OK, and you get this beautiful alignment right here. I'll go ahead and marquee the third bird and its square. Go ahead and drag up bottom right point until it snaps into alignment. Double-click on the Group Selection tool here inside the toolbox. See the last movement you just made, which is not right at all? Enter 0 for Horizontal, 31.3333333 bunch of times. Press the Tab key, and then click OK in order to achieve this effect here. Press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac. Looks decent. Not perfect, but it looks pretty good.

Now then, hopefully it won't be fallen apart anymore. I've got to tell you something. Look at those darn blue lines. Remember how we hid them? They came back. Don't you know? You just can't do anything until you're really done. We'll get there. I'm going to go ahead and let's say with my Group Selection tool, that I think the best place to start is with the green column. So I'll go ahead and click once on the green column and twice on the green column. Don't be clicking it third time, or you'll grab the bird that's inside the legend.

We definitely don't want that at this point. Now go up to the Object menu, tediously choose the Graph command, way here at the bottom, and then go ahead and choose Column. A few things you can do-- I'm going to go ahead and grab Bird 1 green right there-- you can either vertically scale them. I'll just ask you to imagine this, because if I have to apply every one of these modifications here, it is going to take us days. But I think it's pretty easy to imagine. If you choose Vertically Scaled, you're going to stretch this bird like crazy. It's not even going to look like a bird anymore. It's going to look terrible. If you want to try it for yourself, go ahead and click the OK button.

You can also uniformly scale. That means that the first bird is going to be quite large, and the last bird is going to be gianormous. It's going to take up this huge part of the graph, and the graph is not going to make any sense anymore. So you don't want that. Then down here at the bottom, we have Sliding, and that takes a specific portion of the graph and stretches it apart, much like nine-slice scaling, and I'll show you how that one works later, because it's really cool. But in the meantime, I want you to choose Repeating. It doesn't really matter what Rotate Legend Design is set to, because we don't have the legend selected.

But I'm going to go ahead and turn it off, just to be careful. And then For Fractions, let's say at a point the bird gets cut off, because there are only so many birds that fit into this repeating pattern here. Do you want to scale that last design, have a squished bird at the top? No. Or do you want to go ahead and chop it? Yes, you want to chop it. This is a new word for crop or clip or something like that inside of Illustrator, but whoever designed this feature decided to call it the Chop. So go ahead and choose that one. Before you click OK, you've got to say Each Design Represents so many units, and in our case, it's so many percentage points.

You could say something like 2. However, it's possible that any one of these items is divisible by two. If so, then you're going to have problems. But there is a bug that basically doesn't chop things properly, and so anything that's divisible by two is just going to sail through the roof. You'll see the full height of that column. It won't be scaled within the 80 to 100 range, in other words. You could also set it to 3. But if something is divisible by three, you have the same problem. So what I'm going to suggest you do is 2.8. Nothing that I know of is divisible by 2.8 in this graph. And then click OK.

Hopefully, I got it right. Look at that. Nobody is just sailing to the top of the screen. So that's good. But we did go ahead and select the entire graph. So I'm going to go ahead and click off the graph to deselect it. That's the part that drives me nuts. And then I'll click on one of the orange rectangles, and click again to select all three of them. And then I'll repeat that process of going to the Object menu, choosing Graph, and then choosing Column. And then I'll click on Bird 2 orange, and I'll say, you know what, I want Repeating. I want that off. I want everything to represent 2.8. I'll choose Chop Design.

Click OK and we end up getting this effect. Awesome! Click off, click, click, so click twice on one of the blue rectangles. Then go up to the Object menu, choose Graph, choose Column. I think you know what to do by this point, but click on Bird 3 blue, and then we'll go ahead and say Repeating for this one. Turn that check box off, say 2.8 for the units, and change For Fractions to Chop Design, and click OK, and you end up getting this effect. You might look at and say, well, that's not necessarily ideal, because when you click off in order to deselect, it gets a little bit confusing.

However, we were able to come up with a reasonable pictograph, but just not what I would call perfect. And you know I could have somehow modified that design, so it had a little bit of a background so we still see a rectangle. You can still make modifications. You could go in there and hand-modify this graph if you wanted to, to sort of fill in the rectangular areas. However, what we're looking for is this. I'm going to switch back to that Moku Ka' file. I want to see the sort of gradients dropping down from each one of my hummingbirds, and I just want one hummingbird a piece.

That's a function of a sliding graph design. I'm going to show you how that one works, with a whole lot less exasperation, in the next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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