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You know, I've always felt that one of the best ways to learn is to actually reverse-engineer, or see how somebody else builds something. You get to see how they created it and then you can kind of figure things out on your own and more importantly, come up with creative ideas on your own. We've just been learning about graphic styles and in reality graphic styles themselves are a great way to find out how other people have created their artwork, because remember, whenever you use a graphic style, the Appearance panel stores all the settings for that style. So if you want to see how a graphic style was created, you simply have to go to the Appearance panel and you can reveal all that wonderful information.
Now one of the great things about working with Illustrator is that Illustrator comes with a whole bunch of libraries of graphic styles. We could actually open up those libraries and learn how those styles were created to get a better feel on our own of how to actually create artwork, how to build more complex appearances, and how to use some of the effects inside of Illustrator for our graphical needs. Let me show you a few examples. I am going to start by creating a new document here inside of Illustrator. I will just create a web document here for a minute. Actually, I want to be able to show you how some of these actually work in RGB.
You can see that by default, this document already has some graphic styles. Now when I create a new web document that's using a web profile then these settings are currently available inside of that profile. But if I move my cursor down to the lower left-hand corner of the Graphic Styles panel, there is a button here which allows me to access a whole bunch of graphic style libraries. Now, these libraries all come with Illustrator. It is important to note that over here, notice where it says User Defined or Other Library, I have the ability to save my own graphic style libraries.
So, for example, I can develop some graphic style libraries for a client or for a certain project and I can distribute that to a whole bunch of team members, colleagues, or I can easily move those graphic styles between documents. For now, however, I just want to show you how you can use some of the existing graphics styles that Illustrator has to reverse-engineer them and learn from them. For example, I am going to choose this one here called Image Effects. This brings up a little window here, which shows me all different styles in that library. If I mouse over them, I actually see the names of those graphic styles.
I am actually going to click on, let's say this one right here called Floating with Shadow. Remember that whenever you click on a graphic style all the settings for that style are loaded into the Appearance panel. Even though I have no artwork right now inside of my document, I can see over here No Selection, but I'm viewing all the settings for this Floating with Shadow file. I can see right now that there are three fills, and if I click on these little triangles to reveal what's inside of the fills, I see that this fill has an Opacity of 48%, this fill has a drop shadow applied to it, and this fill has an offset path applied to it.
Now if you want to see exactly, hey, what settings did they used for that drop shadow or that offset path, all I need to do is simply click on the actual drop shadow style, and that brings up a dialog box with the settings that were used. See over here they used an Opacity of 90%, X and Y offset values of 11 pixels, and a 2-pixel blur. They have also used Darkness settings set to 80%. If I want to know exactly what setting they used for Offset Path, I can click on that setting and see that they used a 1.5-pixel offset for this graphic style. I will click Cancel here, and let's choose yet another style.
I can go back to the Library menu here and let's choose, for example, Artistic Effects. Now, if I look at this one here, for example, this one is called RGB Stained Glass, which is actually pretty cool because if you think about it, I am just going to take a regular rectangle here and apply the style, and it makes it look like this is filled with some kind of stained glass. How did they even do that as an effect? The answer? Take a look at the Appearance panel. They have added a single fill here, but that single fill has three different effects applied to it: a Diffuse glow, a Stained-Glass effect, and a Color Halftone effect.
There is another fill here which is set to an Opacity of 30%, and they also added a 4-point stroke on it as well. Just by clicking on any of these styles, I can actually view all the information in here that I would need in order to completely rebuild that style on my own. More importantly, I can learn how those effects were created, to create my own styles. So whenever you have a couple of minutes, take a look over here at this Library menu. Go to, for example, Illuminate Style or Buttons and Rollovers or 3D Effects. See how those files were built, apply those graphic styles, reverse- engineer them, and more importantly, make them your own.
Now you will notice, by the way, that there are two libraries here of Additive Styles. These are Additive Effects and these are Additive Effects specifically for use with the Blob Brush tool inside of Illustrator. Remember that additive graphic styles are those that you apply while holding down the Option or the Alt key. Those take your existing pieces of art and simply add additional settings or additional appearances on top of them. By taking the time to reverse- engineer the settings that are found in this treasure trove of graphic styles inside of Illustrator, I'm sure that you'll find that only a new appreciation for graphic styles and appearances, but you will discover new creative ways to do your work.
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