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

Replacing an existing art brush


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Replacing an existing art brush

I've saved my progress as Roly-poly, found inside the 26_Brushes folder, and in this exercise we're going to take this caterpillar of a path outline that I've created and we are going to define that as a proper art brush that we can use to stroke our letterforms. So notice here inside the Layers panel that I've got a group set inside of a group. We don't really actually need that larger group, even; we already got it out of another group. But we don't need the big group either. So meatball the big group, if you're working along with me, go up to the Object menu and choose Ungroup or press Ctrl+Shift+G, Command+Shift+G on the Mac.
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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

Replacing an existing art brush

I've saved my progress as Roly-poly, found inside the 26_Brushes folder, and in this exercise we're going to take this caterpillar of a path outline that I've created and we are going to define that as a proper art brush that we can use to stroke our letterforms. So notice here inside the Layers panel that I've got a group set inside of a group. We don't really actually need that larger group, even; we already got it out of another group. But we don't need the big group either. So meatball the big group, if you're working along with me, go up to the Object menu and choose Ungroup or press Ctrl+Shift+G, Command+Shift+G on the Mac.

Now, we've got a group with the path outline below. Now the path outline, this rectangular path, that determines how the brush fits the path outline, and that's a very important thing to have there. So leave it alone. However, the group is inelegant in my opinion. It's got all these little bits of junk inside of it that we're never going to want to edit independently of each other; much better to take the group and convert it into a compound path. So I am going to meatball that group item which incorporates the entire caterpillar path outline, and I am going to go up to the Object menu, choose Compound Path, and choose Make.

Normally, that goes ahead and converts all the selected paths into a compound path. In our case, it's going to take the group and convert it into a compound path. You can also press Ctrl+8, or Command+8 on the Mac. Now, notice we have, as I say, a more elegant compound path solution. Much better in my opinion, as well. All right! I am going to marquee both of these items, and I am going to drag them down a little bit, and then I'm going to drag them upward while pressing the Shift and Alt keys, or the Shift and Option keys on the Mac, to create a clone. Now we have two different versions of this path outline, which makes sense because I've called this layer "chalk alts," plural, meaning that I am going to try a few different alternatives, because I really don't know what's going to work.

Until I apply this art brush, this modified art brush to my path outline, I'm not going to know whether it looks good or not. So I am going to take this guy because I am not really sure about this edge here, I just want to cleave it away. So I am going to take this rectangular outline, and I'm going to use it to mask away those bad edges--not with a clipping mask, but rather with a pathfinder operation. So I'll bring up my Pathfinder panel, and I am going to click the third icon in the top row, Intersect, which is going to find the intersection of these two path outlines. Hide the Pathfinder panel. Notice now that I've gone ahead and cleaved away those extra edges.

So we'll see which one works better. All right! Now I am going to bring up my Brushes panel, and there are a couple of different things you can do. You can just drag this guy, and drop it into the Brushes panel. Or if you want to replace an existing brush definition, you can drag on top of it like so. This is the chalk round brush. This is the one I assigned to the letters, and you can press the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac, and notice with Alt or Option down you get this heavy rectangle which shows you that you're going to replace the old definition with the new one. If you do that--I am just sort of walking you through how it's going to work.

You don't necessarily need to do this part with me, because I disapprove with this approach. But you'll bring up the Art Brush Options dialog box, you can change the name if you want to. You can predefine a size so that it's thicker or thinner than normal when assigned to the brush. Generally, not the best way to work, but you can do so. You can also say I always want it to be pressure sensitive or something along those lines. We'll come back to that width point options in a later exercise. Notice you also have the Scale options. You can scale proportionally. Bad idea because it's going to inflate the brush in the middle as it traverses long path outlines, which always looks horrible, at least where natural, sort of conventional art brushes are concerned.

You can stretch to fit the stroke length. That's a great idea in my opinion. Or you can stretch between guides. Do you recall back in the Symbols chapter in the Advanced portion of the series, I was explaining to you how nine-slice scaling works inside of Illustrator CS5? Well, that's what's going on with Stretch Between Guides. You can set up some guides, and you can say you only want to stretch that area of the brush, and then the ends don't get stretch. Totally an option if you want to go to that much effort. We don't have any guides to work with, so I am going to select Stretch to Fit Stroke Length.

You can also change the direction if you want to. This is the best setting, Stroke From Left To Right. And what it really means, because it has nothing to do with left to right, it has everything to do with the direction of the path outline. So you want the beginning of your brush, the left-hand side, to be at the beginning of the brushstroke. So I guess, that's where left or right comes in. It's left or right side of your brush. Then the right side of the brush is mapped to the end of the path outline. You could switch it the other direction if you want to, but bear in mind, you need to know every one of these settings can be modified later on down the line.

So you don't have to get everything right when you're creating the brush in the first place. You may, for some weird reason--I can't imagine why you would do this--but you can create a brush that's perpendicular to the path outline, if you want to, and you may find use for that. But 99% of the time you're going to go with this guy, the second icon in, From Left To Right. You can also flip along and flip across. Flip Along is going to flip along the length of the path outline; Flip Across is going to flip across the width of the path outline. Again, these are not decisions you need to make in advance; those are decisions you make after you apply the brush to a path outline.

Here is a change you do need to make. Method should be set to Tints, not to None, and None maybe your default settings. Tints is the better setting when you're working with a black art brush definition like this, it will go ahead and map the black to the color that you've assigned to the stroke. So this is the way to work. Finally, you've got these Overlap options. These are new to Illustrator CS5. In the old days, you just had this one icon right here. You actually didn't have the icon. This was the old behavior though, which is to say there was no adjustment at corner points.

So you could get some awfully weird edges going at the corners if you want better edges. And what happens is Illustrator actually stretches the Art Brush definition at the corners if you select this second TP right here. When in doubt, leave that second icon selected, and then go ahead and click on the OK button. Now, you should notice, if you were working in a Preview mode--I am working in Outline mode right now--and you could see your text, the text to which this art brush has been applied, you could not see the changes on the fly. This Preview check box really isn't functional.

You are not going to see the difference between the new art brush and the old Art Brush. It's going to look exactly the same, until you click OK and then you'd have to click on Apply to Strokes in order to not only to modify the core art brush definition, but also to apply it to all effected strokes inside of your illustration. That's not the way I want to work though, because A, we can't preview our changes, so what's the point? And B, we'd be getting rid of something that we know works. At least it's the devil we know, in other words. This devil we don't know, who knows how it's going to turn out.

It could be better, or just as likely, it could be worse than the cure. So I'm going to cancel out here, and what I am going to do instead is create a new art brush, and I'll show you exactly how that works 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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