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Designs dekeConstructed: Gradient Dot Patterns with Illustrator
Illustration by John Hersey

Patterned text and the sharp drop shadow


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Designs dekeConstructed: Gradient Dot Patterns with Illustrator

with Deke McClelland

Video: Patterned text and the sharp drop shadow

In this movie we'll introduce our symmetrically waving dot pattern And then, I'll go ahead and turn off that blend and I'll turn on the in order to infuse the square dots with a completely different color.

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Designs dekeConstructed: Gradient Dot Patterns with Illustrator
1h 19m Intermediate Feb 11, 2014

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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.

Topics include:
  • Using Illustrator's preset gradient dot patterns
  • Creating a pattern of custom halftone dots
  • Filling editable text with a dot pattern
  • Turning circular dots into squares
  • Using dynamic rotations to create specialized patterns
Subjects:
Design Design Techniques
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Patterned text and the sharp drop shadow

In this movie we'll introduce our symmetrically waving dot pattern into our text in order to create this final effect here. And what I'll tell you up front is it ultimately involves the encounter of a happy accident that I'll document in full in the next movie. So let's get started here. I'll start by selecting my blend like so, and I'm going to switch back to the Layers panel here so that we can see what's going on. So I'll go ahead and twirl open this Square Dots layer, and I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose the Copy command.

And then, I'll go ahead and turn off that blend and I'll turn on the text so that we can edit it and I'll click on its meatball to select it. And then I'll expand my toolbox to the two-column display, and I'll click on the Draw Inside icon and I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose Paste in Place in order to paste the pattern into the text like so. And then, I'll switch back to the Draw Normal mode. And now I'm going to switch the colors around a little bit. I'm going to change the color of the blend from the Swatches panel, to the shade of chartreuse right here which is included with this basic RGB document, and its values are R140, G198 and B63, in order to infuse the square dots with a completely different color.

And now I'll twirl open this clipping group right there, and I'll meatball the text in order to select it. And I'll go ahead and change its color to this shade of purple, R102, G45, B145, in order to achieve this complementary effect. So we're going for something that's less subtle and has a higher visual impact as well. Now, let's say this time around, I want a drop shadow. I think that's going to accentuate the text nicely, so I need to meatball the entire clipping group. So I'll click on this circle here.

And then I'll go up to the Effect menu, choose Stylize, and choose Drop Shadow. And I've already come up with some settings in advance. So mode should be set to multiply, that's the default setting by the way. Go ahead increase the opacity value to 100%. I've changed both the x and y offset values to four and I've taken the blur value down to zero points so that we'll end up with a sharp edge shadow. And you can see what that looks like by turning on the Preview check box and we get this effect here. And now I'll go ahead and click OK. All right.

I'll go ahead and switch back to the one-column toolbox just so I have a little more room, and let's say, this is not the text I'm looking for. Once again, I want to edit my text. So, I'll switch to the Type tool by pressing the T key and I'll double-click in the text like so, and I'll enter the following, KIX in all caps. Problem is, because we've got an I, it's sort of blending into the other letters with this very tight tracking. So, I'll press Ctrl+A, or Cmd+A on the Mac, to select all the text. I'll click on the word character right there and I'll go ahead and click inside of the tracking value and press Shift+Up Arrow four times total in order to increase the tracking value to negative 40.

So the letters are still tracked together, but not to the same extent, and as a result, the I is now slightly separated from the K and the X, as you see here. And now go ahead and press the Escape key in order to accept those modifications. I also want to modify the placement of the blend inside the text, so, I'll go ahead and meatball the blend right there. This is just the easiest way to work. Otherwise, it's a big pain in the neck to select objects inside clipping masks. And I want to go ahead and raise the pattern inside the text, so, I'll press the Up Arrow key a total of five times this time, so one, two, three, four, five, and we end up with this effect here.

So I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A, or Cmd+Shift+A on the Mac, in order to accept that change. But you can see if I zoom in here, you can see that things are kind of more messed up than ever. Now the clipping problem is resulting in these kind of dents in the drop shadows. So not only are these rotated green squares sticking outside of what is a purple I right here, but they're informing the edges of the drop shadow as well. And I don't want that, which means that we need to go ahead and convert these letters to outlines.

And that's, friends, when we encounter the happy accident as I'll demonstrate in the next and last movie.

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