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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.
In this movie, we'll transform the effect so far, which includes a misregistration of the square dots that are interfering with the drop shadow, into this much more interesting happy accident right here. I'll go ahead and switch back to the infamous document in progress here, and I'll click on the letters in order to select them. Now, we're going to have to convert this text to outlines in order to make this work. Which means that we want to copy the text, just in case we want to go back and make modifications later.
So, I'll go ahead and twirl this clipping group closed right here. And I will Alt+Drag, or Option+Drag it upward, just like so, until I see the little fist with the plus sign, and drop it into place, and then I'll turn off the original. Alright, now what we want to do is go up to the Type menu, and choose Create Outlines in order to convert the editable text to static path outlines. And that's when the magic occurs, that's when all of a sudden we get this, because we've lost the fill of the letters and we're seeing through the fill.
And we're now projecting drop shadows behind each one of the rotated square dots. And at this point, I decided I did want to reinstate that purple background, but I wanted to align it with the drop shadow, as opposed to the chartreuse dots. So, here's the solution I came up with. We can't really do this with a dynamic effect, so what we're going to have to resort to this time is twirling open that top clipping group. And then go ahead and scroll down a little bit, click on this guy right there, which is the actual clipping mask, the characters that appear to be an outline.
And, go ahead and press the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac, and drag this guy down all the way to the bottom of the layer, until you see the little fist with the plus sign. And because we're dropping this item below the other layers, that will ensure that these duplicate letter forms are not part of the clipping group. And so, they now appear independently of every thing else. Alright, with these background letters selected, go up to the first swatch on the left side of the control panel, click on it. And then, let's go ahead and reinstate that shade of purple which is R102G45, and then B145. And, we end up with this effect here.
Now, you may recall in the previous movie, I entered x offset, and y offset values of four points. So, I am going to press the down arrow key four times in a row. One, two, three, four. And then, I'll press the right arrow key four times in a row as well. One, two, three, four. And, we've now managed to align that violet background with those black drop shadows to create this final effect. All right. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+A, or Cmd+Shift+A on a Mac, in order to deselect the layers.
And that, friends, is the final version of my custom gradient dot pattern effect captured inside some bold dramatic letter forms, here inside Illustrator.
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