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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.
I'm once again looking at the final version of the artwork, and we're now going to turn our attention to this wavy text up here at the top and at the bottom of the illustration. And that's text expressed as an art brush, which provides you with so much expressive flexibility inside the program--way more than you get with standard path type. Now, the only disadvantage is that the type is not editable at this point. You have to convert the text to a path outline before you can save it as an art brush, which means that you need to get all your copyediting out of the way in advance. So I'm going to switch over to my illustration in progress, which I'm calling Expanded crabs.ai, because I figure these floral treatments up here at the top and the bottom looks sort of like crabs.
Notice that I have a couple of lines of type, both of which are expressed as editable type on the path, which is fine in so far as it goes. But what if instead of expressing this text along what is ultimately the top of a very gently sloping oval, let's say I want more of a wavy line. And that's where text in a path really breaks down inside of Illustrator, because you start getting letter-spacing problems. So what I'm going to do is twirl open the type on path later here inside the Layers panel, and I'm going to scroll to the bottom. And notice the only two objects on this layer that are visible right now are these two lines of path type.
I want you to go ahead and turn both of them off, and then I want you to turn on each of these items that says crazy path, which if you go ahead and meatball one and Shift+Meatball the other, are these invisible path outlines right here. And notice not only do they curve, but we've got a corner point right at the center of each one of those paths, which never fails to cause problems for path type, but is actually not a problem at all for an art brush. All right, so with those guys active, I also want you to turn on these two top objects here inside the type on path layer, and these are the same lines of text, only expressed as point text.
So I am going to start by selecting the bottom one, which might be a little hard to read, but it says Curiously Handcrafted Denim Since 1994. Then go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command, or press Ctrl+C-- Command+C on the Mac--and then let's go ahead and scroll down the list once again, meatball the bottom crazy path item--that's just the easiest way to find it--and then press the T key in order to switch to the Type tool-- we're going to go ahead and bake some type on a path, by the way--and then click any old place inside of that Path Outline. And then go up to the Edit menu and choose the Paste command, which is Ctrl+ V, Command+V on the Mac, and you end up getting this horrible result right here.
This never fails to irritate me when I am creating path type inside of Illustrator; it always comes in in the wrong location. So I am going to go back here and grab my Black Arrow tool. I'm going to go ahead and drag this dude over to this location, and make sure to drag this guy all the way over, and I can see that I've got some overflow type because I've got the little Plus sign. That's fantastic! So just to make sure I have all my type selected, I'm going to press the T key to switch to the Type tool. I'll click inside of my text someplace. I'll press Ctrl+A, Command+A on the Mac, in order to select all that type.
I'll bring up my Character panel, and I'll squish things in order to make them fit--and by squish things, I mean I'm going to take the Horizontal scale value here and I'm going to change it to 90%, and then I'll change the Vertical scale value to 110%, so that it makes the letters a little taller. Now, even though that's about the best result I'm going to get, I'll go ahead and click off my text here. Notice that my F and my T meet in just a hideous way. We have other spacing problems as well that I could try to address using kerning or tracking, but no matter what I do, I'm not going to get this F and T to look right.
Well, let's go ahead just for laughs and grab this top text as well, the one that says Different Strokes For Different Folks, and then go to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command--Ctrl+C, or Command+C on the Mac--and then I want you to select that top crazy path, the only remaining crazy path left, because the other crazy path got renamed. And that goes ahead and selects this object up here. Grab the Type tool, click along the Path Outline someplace-- maybe I should have clicked over here on the left-hand side--but this text is centered, so I'd expect it to work. I'll press Ctrl+V, Command+V on the Mac. It doesn't work the way I wanted it to.
I'll go ahead and switch back to my Black Arrow tool. I'll grab this guy, hard to see because he's way up there, and make sure that this guy is all the way over to the side, which he isn't, just slightly over to the left, which is helpful. Press the T key to switch back to the Type tool, click inside of my text, press Ctrl+A, Command+A on the Mac. I'm moving quickly because this is such sheer tedium. I'll bring up the Character panel, and I'll change that Horizontal scale value to 90, and I'll change the Vertical scale value to 210. My characters aren't lining up properly at all, so I'll go up to the Type menu, choose Type on a Path, and choose Type on a Path Options. And then I'll switch Align to Path from Baseline to Ascender, and I'll turn on the Preview check box, just to make sure it looks okay. And it looks better than it did before, so all right.
Click OK, and then I just happen to know that I need to adjust the Baseline Shift to 6.5 points, and then press the Tab key, and I end up getting this result here. All right, switch back to the Black Arrow tool, deselect my text, and that's as good as it gets, with this big gaping space between the F and the O. I'm not going to be able to resolve that, because they're at weird different angles. And 'm not going to be able to get any kind of distortion, which is why I ultimately need to express my text as an art brush, and here is how that works. Here are the brief steps required to do that. This was such a pain in the neck.
This is going to be so easy. Just go ahead and grab each of those point text items right there, by clicking on one, Shift+Clicking on the other with the Black Arrow tool. And normally what I'd recommend you to do is copy them and then paste them in front and then turn off the originals. That way you have protection; you've got your original point text to come back to. But in our case, we're going to live dangerously. I'll just go ahead and select those objects, then go up to the Type menu, and choose Create Outlines, because if you try to save this text as a brush right now, Illustrator is just going to complain at you, so you might as well do this in advance. And that's Ctrl+Shift+O, Command+Shift+O on the Mac.
Now go ahead and click off the text and then click on that top text to select it, bring up the Brushes panel, go ahead and drag and drop the text into the Brushes panel, and Illustrator will ask you what kind of brush you want to create. Well, pattern brush doesn't make any darn sense, and then scatter brush would just scatter a bunch of occurrences of this long line of text all over the place, which also doesn't make any sense. Art brush is fantastic, so go ahead and select that. Click OK. Now, you're not going to see your text, because it's white against a white background. Don't worry about that. I'm just going to call this text brush 1, and otherwise I'm just going to stick with the default settings. Click OK.
All right, now go ahead and grab the second line of type, drag it and drop it into the panel, click on Art Brush. Same deal this time, click OK, and I'll go ahead and call this guy "text brush 2" this time around, and then I'll click OK once again. And that's all there is to it. And now you have two albeit invisible text brushes here inside the Brushes panel: text brush 1 and text brush 2. I'll show you how to apply them and fit them to our crazy path outlines in the next exercise.
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