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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, I'll show you how to take these perfectly smooth vector based dots and place them inside of the letter forms, like so. So I'll go ahead and switch over to my document in progress here. And I'll zoom out by pressing Ctrl+0, or Cmd+0 on a Mac, and I'll zoom out even farther by pressing Ctrl or Cmd minus just so we can take in more of the gray paste board. And I'll click on a dot pattern to select it. And what we want to do is convert this Image Trace object to Static Path outlines, that'll just make it easier to work with.
But if I do so now, I'll lose my Image Trace settings, which I don't want to do. So I'll go ahead and twirl open this half-tone layer right there by clicking on the triangle. And I'll grab this image tracing object and I'll alt drag or option drag upward until I see the fist with the little plus sign. And watch how fast this happens. If we avoid the old copy and paste in front metaphor, if we just go ahead and alt drag or option drag, we duplicate the object immediately. And notice that Illustrator doesn't re-render the image frames, we don't see any progress bars.
Now turn off the original so it's safe and sound. And then with this new one selected, go up to the Control Panel and click on the word Expand, and that goes ahead and runs the progress bars, for some reason Illustrator has to reevaluate the object. But in the end, we're greeted by these static path outlines. And you can tell that they're grouped together because you'll see the word Group over here on the far left side of the control panel, and every object inside the group is filled with black. In other words, there are no white path outlines in this group, so they're just black dots against the transparent background.
Now we need to place those black dots into the letters. And we'll do that by going up to the Edit menu, and choosing the Cut command, or you can press Control+x, or Command+x on the MAC. So this time we are going to rely on the clip board, just because it's the easiest solution. And now I'll click on the letters to select em. You'll see that red baseline down there at the bottom. The option I'm looking for now is located at the bottom of the tool box, which I can't see on this small screen, so I'll go ahead and click on the double arrow icon at the top of the tool box to switch to the two column display.
And I'll click on this icon right there, draw inside, after which point, you'll be greeted by these dotted corners right there. And that tells you that anything you do from here on out, will occur on the inside of the letter forms. So now go up to the Edit menu, and chose the Paste in Place command, at which point all of the dots are pasted into the letters. And I can tell that's the case if I first go ahead and switch back to Draw Normal, by clicking on this left hand icon. And then I'll press Control+Shift+a, or Command+Shift+a on the MAC, in order to deselect the artwork.
Now I'll go ahead and switch back to the single column Tool Box, because most likely that's the way your Tool Box is configured, and I'll press Ctrl+0, or Cmd+0 on the Mac, to center my zoom. Now the great thing about this approach is my letters remain editable, so I can select the Type tool, which I can get by pressing the T key, and then I can double-click inside of my letters to select all of them. And I can enter the next letters in the alphabet, def. Might as well add an e and then I'd press the Escape key in order to accept that change.
And of course you can do that as many times as you want. I can press the T key to get my Type tool once again. And then double-click inside the type to select it, and this time I'll enter capital X, Y, Z, and press the Escape key. Which, by the way, not only accepts your changes but also switches you out of the text editing mode and returns you to the black arrow tool. And that is how you take your dot pattern, expand it to static path outlines and paste it inside your letter forms which remain completely altogether editable here inside of Illustrator.
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