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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.
In this exercise, I am going to show you how to create, assign, and troubleshoot the remaining titles in our pattern brush, which include the start tile, the corner tiles, and the end tile. I have saved my progress as Seamless side tile.aim and I am going to go ahead and scroll down here and zoom in on these objects in the lower-left region of the illustration. And notice that in the name of expediency, because we have got a lot of work ahead of us here, I have gone ahead and created these objects in advance. Each of them is created as a group. So this guy right here will serve as the end tile, this one will serve as the start tile, and this one here will serve as the corner tile.
So you start things off just by dragging and dropping the objects into the Swatches panel, Each one of them is grouped together, so I am going to grab this guy, drag and drop into Swatches, and I'll get this guy right there, drag and drop it in as well. The order doesn't matter, by the way. Your tiles can be scattered all over the place. They don't even have to have reasonable names, although we'll see it's a very good idea if they do have reasonable names, because otherwise it makes it very difficult to apply these tiles inside the Pattern Brush Options dialog box. And next, I am going to go ahead and grab this guy, which is all grouped together as well, and drag it and drop it into the Swatches panel.
I am done, but it's very essential, before I start naming these various tile patterns, that I click off of my path outlines in order to make sure everything's deselected. Then I will double-click on the first one, and I'll go ahead and call this guys Violet start, and I will click OK. And then I will double-click on the second one, and I'll call it Violent end and click OK, and then double-click on that last one right there and call it a Violet corner and click OK. All right, now we are ready to go ahead and assign those tiles to our pattern brush. So I am going to zoom out a couple of clicks here and scroll to my Z.
Actually, I want to zoom in a little bit. Don't select the Z--not necessary. We will go up to the Brushes panel and then double-click on that Violet wedges brush in order to edit it. And I am going to click on this first corner outer corner tile, which as you may recall is going to affect the bottom- left corner inside of the shape. I only know that from experience; you can test it out yourself if you like, but that's the way it works here. In your artwork, you are going to have to do some trial-and-error testing. I am going to go ahead and set this guy to Violet corner. I will click on the second corner, the inner corner tile, also set it to Violet corner. And then I will go ahead and select the Start tiles set it to Violet start. You can see how useful the names are at this point because you only see a tiny preview after you assign that tile.
And then go ahead and click in the end tile bucket and then click on violet end, and we are done. That's all we need to do. Click OK and then click Apply to Strokes. Now before you click this button, I want you to do two things: first of all, cross your fingers and hope it works out right; and secondly, anticipate that it will not work, because it never does-- something is always going to go wrong. So click on Apply to Strokes, and let's see all the things that have gone wrong. The Z seems to be wearing a kind of Kaiser Hat or something over here, and it doesn't align to the side tiles at all. This looks terrible.
And then also our starting end tiles aren't working out either. What in the world is going on? Well, there is two problems. First of all, I made a mistake when I drew the side tile. It's too thick, and you can see that it doesn't align to the ends worth beans. And then secondly, this sparkle is throwing off the registration of the corner tiles. So we need to take a swing at both of those objects. I am going to scroll down here once again, zoom in as well, go ahead and hide that Brushes panel for now, so we can better see what we are doing. The deceptive thing is here that I've got this beige thing that it's all set up exactly right, but we're not using it, so maybe I should get rid of it and then grab my Violet side tile group and drag it into place so that it more or less aligns with that end tile. And I can see, yeah, I have got a really big problem there.
All right, so we will go ahead and move this guy over a little bit, and then I will zoom and so I can better see what I'm doing. And I am going to have to enter that group isolation mode again by double-clicking on any of the path outlines, and then I am going to ahead and select that background path right there. And actually, I need to make some modifications to it. So this is probably the best way to work. I am going to press the S key to switch to my Scale tool here, and I am going to go ahead and drag like so, because the center is already set up--that is, the transformation origin is already at the exact center of the shape. I am going to go ahead and drag from any one of the corners and drag down until I get a snap like so, and that's going to snap all four of those corners into exactly the right place, I am hoping. And I hoped wrong because the bottom edges aren't aligning right.
So I have to go ahead and do that manually I guess. So press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac. So let's try a different take on things. It would have been nice if that had worked, but we will get the White Arrow tool instead, and I will go ahead and marquee this point and grab his point as well, so the two top points. And now I am going to drag them down and snap them into places because they are in alignment with each other, and then I will grab this one and Shift+Click on this one and drag them up and into place so that they snap into alignment as well. Now we have got these guys, these fins that are sticking out. I don't want that, so I will press the V key to switch back to my Black Arrow tool, I'll click on the rectangle to select it, I will press Ctrl+X--Command+X on the Mac. Same steps we went through the previous exercise, by the way. Press Ctrl+F, or Command+F on the Mac, in order to paste that rectangle in front, then go ahead and press Ctrl+A, or Command+A on the Mac, to select everything inside of this group. And I am going to bring up the Pathfinder panel, and then I am going to click on this fourth icon in the second row, Crop, in order crop those objects. Go ahead and hide that Pathfinder panel.
I do get this group, but this time I am just going to stick with it, so we don't have to do a re-group like I did before. I'll press Ctrl+B, or Command+B on a Mac, in order to paste that original rectangle in back. And you know what? I want it to be part of the group, so I am just going to drag it and drop it into the group, and now its going to come to front. Yes, it does. So I will right-click inside of my illustration window, and I will choose Arrange, and I will choose Send it Back. Or I could press that keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+Left Bracket, Command+Shift+Left Bracket on a Mac. Now to tidy things up, I'll click off the shapes. I will click on one of these transparent objects like so. I'll go up to the Select Similar Objects icon.
I can just click on the icon because if I click on the down-pointing arrow head, it's already set to fill color. Either one is going to work for me. Now to select all transparent shapes, I can press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac, in order to get rid of them and then press the Escape key in order to leave the Group Isolation mode. All right, now I'll go ahead and click on this object to select the entire thing. It's still grouped together because I didn't ruin the group this time. Now I am going to go ahead replace that Violet side tiles there in the Swatches panel, and I'll do that by dragging these options onto that Violet side tile, pressing the Alt key--or the Option key on the Mac--and then dropping them in to place, and that replaces the tile.
Now then, what about the corner? Well, the problem, as I was saying, is this sparkle is throwing off the alignment. Because if the sparkle was inside of this more or less square area, everything would be okay. But because it goes outward like this, that causes Illustrator to go ahead and scale this corner so that it tucks inside of the side tile, which is why I have set up in back of his group an invisible square. Notice that right there. It has no fill. It has no stroke. You need it. It's not going to mask the contents of the tile the way it does when you're working with a standard tile pattern.
However it will determine alignment when you're working with a pattern brush, so it's essential for our purposes. So go ahead and make sure that that invisible square is selected if you're working along with me. Then Shift+Click on the other objects in order to select them, so that both the group and the invisible square is selected. Now drag the selection into the Swatches panel onto that Violet corner tile, press the Alt key--or the Option key on a Mac--and drop in order to replace that tile pattern with the selection. All right now let's go ahead and zoom out, so that we can see what we've accomplished here. I am going to go ahead and scroll up to my Z, zoom out a little farther. Don't select it, not necessary. But it is important, by the way, I still have a selection going on.
Notice here in the Layers panel that something is selected in the Violet brush layer. That would be that corner objects that I selected just a moment ago. I need to make sure to deselect them before I edit the brush, then click inside the illustration window. It's a good habit, by the way, to get into, just press Control+Shift+A, or Command+Shift+A every once in a while, just to make sure things aren't selected when you don't want them to be. Then go up to the Brushes panel and double-click on that Final brush, and then notice that the Side is set to Original, which means it's no longer connected to that tile pattern.
So it doesn't pay any attention to the fact you replaced those tile patterns. You now need to tell the brush to wake up and get with the program. So select the side bucket there. Go ahead and scroll down the list until you find Violet side, like so. Then go ahead and click on the outer corner tile, scroll down the list, switch it to Violet corner, click on the inner corner tiles, scroll down the list and switch it to Violet corner as well. We are done. Click OK, then click on the Apply to Strokes button, cross your fingers if necessary, but in our case everything worked out beautifully.
And that, my friends, is how you create and troubleshoot a successful pattern brush inside Illustrator.
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