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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 resolve a problem associated with our effects so far. So, in a previous movie, I was telling you how ducky it is that we can edit our letters even though they're filled with these static dots. However, it's equally awful that our dots don't exactly line up with the letter forms. And to show you what I mean, I'll press the Ctrl+spacebar keys. That's Cmd+spacebar on a Mac in order to get my zoom tool on the fly. And then I'll marquee around this region right there. And you can see what I mean. Notice that the dots shift down and to the right outside the letters.
They shift down and to the right inside the left edges as well. That's ultimately a bug. Illustrator's misinterpreting the location of the letter forms, when assigning those letter forms as a clipping mass. The solution is to go ahead and select that text with a black arrow tool, and then go up to the type menu and choose create outlines which converts the letter forms to path outlines. The problem is, of course, you lose your right to edit this text in the future. So what you want to do before you choose that command is go ahead and zoom out by pressing Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on the Mac and make any last minute adjustments to the text that you need to.
So, I'll go ahead and press the t key to switch to the type tool. I'll double-click in the text, and I'll go ahead and reverse the order of the letters. Press the Escape key in order to accept my changes. So let's say this is really, truly, the last effect I'm looking for. Well, I'm still going to go ahead and duplicate that object here inside the halftone layer. So I'll go ahead and twirl it open, grab that clip group right there, and Alt-drag or Option-drag it upward, until I see the fist with the plus sign. Drop it in the place. Turn the original off so it's nice and safe and then, with the duplicate selected, go up to the Type menu, and choose Create Outlines, or you can press Ctrl+Shift+o or Cmd+Shift+o on a Mac.
Now, unfortunately, that gets rid of the fill associated with our new clipping mask. So what you need to do, is go ahead and twirl this new clipping group open, so that you can see this compound path down here in the background, that's what it is, and you can confirm that that's what that truncated CO means by meatballing, that is clicking on the little circular target right there that's associated with that outline item. And you'll see the words compound path over here on the far left side of the control panel.
Now what you might want to do at this point is fuse these letters together. Just so you have the cleanest effect possible. Because after all, they do overlap. And the easiest way to achieve that effect is to go to the window menu and choose path finder. To bring up the path finder panel and then click on this very first shape mode icon, Unite. Just go ahead and click on that guy. And you will unite those letters together. However, things get even worse at this point. I'll go ahead and hide the path finder panel. Because we have broken the clipping group.
Notice it no longer reads clipping group up here, it reads group. That's a real shame. So what we need to do in order to reconstitute things, is to go ahead and select the group, the entire group right there, the big group. By clicking in its so-called meatball and next, you want to go up to the object menu and choose Ungroup so we break up this group cause otherwise it gets in our way. And then you want to return to the object menu, choose Clipping Mask, and choose Make, so that the top path outline which is the letters, the letter forms that is that are fused together now, go ahead and mask those dots in the background.
And then finally, twirl that guy open again by clicking on a triangle. Meatball the outlines letters right there, go ahead and click on the circle. And then you can go up here to the first swatch in the control panel, click on it, it represents the fill by the way, and then select this swatch, which is loaded by default into this document. It's the one that reads R241, G90, B36. That's the shade of orange I used anyway. And then you can go ahead and click off the letters to deselect them, and now if I press the Ctrl+Spacebar keys or Cmd+Spacebar in the Mac and go ahead and marquee to zoom on in.
You can see that the dots align perfectly with the letter forms. All thanks to our ability to convert the letter forms to static path outlines. Which perfectly mask their contents, here inside Illustrator.
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