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Using the Path effects

From: Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Using the Path effects

There are often times inside of Illustrator where a regular transformation just isn't good enough. I'm just going to draw a regular ellipse. Let's say I want to actually scale a copy of this ellipse. I have a kind of a flat oval shape over here. So if I were to simply double-click on my Scale tool here and I enlarge this to about say 125% and I'll click on the Copy button. You will notice that yeah it did make the object 125% bigger but because of the way that an oval shape, when it gets scaled it's not necessarily perfectly exact as far as getting the size bigger because you an see that over here the distance between here and here is not the same as it is here and here.

Using the Path effects

There are often times inside of Illustrator where a regular transformation just isn't good enough. I'm just going to draw a regular ellipse. Let's say I want to actually scale a copy of this ellipse. I have a kind of a flat oval shape over here. So if I were to simply double-click on my Scale tool here and I enlarge this to about say 125% and I'll click on the Copy button. You will notice that yeah it did make the object 125% bigger but because of the way that an oval shape, when it gets scaled it's not necessarily perfectly exact as far as getting the size bigger because you an see that over here the distance between here and here is not the same as it is here and here.

Often whenever you are dealing with shapes that are not perfectly uniform like squares or circles, for example, there are many times when you want, let's say, to create some kind of an outline over the same basic shape but you just want it to be larger. Instead what you need to do is you need to apply a half offset effect inside of Illustrator. The way to do that is I'm just going to delete this object right here. I'm going to select this shape right here. I'm going to go to the Object menu. I'm going to choose Path then I'm going to choose an option here called Offset Path. This is a very powerful feature inside of Illustrator. Click on the Preview button so you can see what's happening. What it basically does is it takes the value that you specify. Then it creates a buffer or basically a space between the shape that you have created and the new shape here. It doesn't scale it up, because again a scale would be wrong, the scale would be like we did so before with Ellipse tool.

But what it does is it creates an offset, an exact copy of that path but offset a different value. It is possible by the way to specify negative values with your offsets as well. So that now it goes to the inside of the path. I am going to cancel that for a moment here because I want to show you that you can also apply those as a live effect inside of Illustrator. If you go to the Effect menu, you will see a Path menu and you will see something called Offset Path and Outline Stroke, which is the same that you will see here. If you go to object and you go to path, you also see the Offset Path and the Outline stroke. But there is something that's different here in the Effect menu, something that's not found elsewhere inside of Illustrator. Under Effect > Path, you have something here called Outline Object. I want to talk about that for a moment here because it's incredibly powerful and it also solves the problem that most people have in a day-to-day basis inside of Illustrator.

So let me explain, I'm going to delete this shape right here, I'm going to just return my view back to this photograph. I have actually embedded this photo here inside of Illustrator but the technique I'm about to show you actually works for linked images as well. Now we know that in order to apply fill and stroke attributes to objects, you can apply them to vector objects inside of Illustrator. But we also know that Illustrator supports the ability to place images into your document as I have done here. But an image is not a vector object. An image is an image. As such it doesn't have the fill and stroke properties that vector objects have.

So there are many times when you place a photograph inside of Illustrator and what you would like to do is you would like to actually place some kind of an outline or what's referred to as a keyline, maybe a border around the photograph itself. Now how would you do that inside of Illustrator? I can't simply go ahead and choose to select image and then apply a stroke. For example, I go to my Swatches panel here or my Color panel, I can't just simply go ahead and highlight this and fill with a color. In fact you can even see that I have a black color applied to my stroke here. But it obviously does not show up on the object itself. That happens because like I said an image doesn't have a fill or stroke attribute. An image is not a vector. It doesn't contain those. There is no path that exists in order for me to apply those attributes.

So what I really need to do is I need to create some kind of a path. What many people do is they go through the extra steps of taking the Rectangle tool, clicking and dragging to define a rectangle and then applying a stroke attribute to that shape which is fine and then maybe you can group these two together but then you are always working with two objects. If you want to scale it, you have to scale both of them together. It just becomes more problematic. On top of that it's extra work for me to do. What I would like to do is I would like to show you how to use the effect that I was just talking about, the Outline Object effect, to actually apply a keyline or an outline or border to an actual photograph here inside of Illustrator. So I'm going to delete this rectangle.

I am simply going to go ahead and click on the photograph. I'll move it to the side a little bit here because I'm going to use the Appearance panel here inside of Illustrator. You will notice that right now, it says here that I have stokes and I have fills and I have a 4 point stroke applied to this object which I have done simply by clicking on this and choosing it from the stroke panel here. But I don't necessarily have any particular path inside of this shape in order to have that particular stroke have effect to it. So let me just kind of back up and show you where we are for now. I'm actually going to hit the D key for default. So right now, my object would have a white fill and a black stroke. But again I don't have an object, so that I have an image selected. So right now you can see over here where it says Image Pixels.

That's what the Appearance panel is saying and these are my attributes that are applied. So the problem though, like I was saying before, I don't have a path to be able to apply the stroke to. I'm going to highlight the stroke right here. I have now targeted the stroke. I'm now going to go to the Effect menu. I'm going to choose Path and then I'm going to choose this here called Outline Object. What this is going to do is it's going to actually in the form of a live effect find the boundaries of the object that I currently have selected and create a path at that particular boundary. So in doing so I now will have a defined path that I can apply the stroke to.

So by choosing Outline Object now, I can see if I deselect the image here that I do now have a keyline here. Just to make it a little bit easier to see, I'll crank that stroke back up to 4.0 without having to create a separate rectangle, I was now able to go ahead and apply a stoke to the image. But again what I had to do is I had to target the stroke and apply the outline object. In doing so Illustrator created a path at the boundary or the border of this particular image here. Now this is important to know because I can apply additional effects as well, specifically the Path effect. With the strokes still targeted in my Appearance panel, let' say I wanted to create the look if there is some kind of a border or kind of a white border like the old fashioned photographs. I can actually reduce the stroke weight down to about 1 point here. Again when the stroke over here is still targeted I'll go to the Effect menu, I'll choose Path and then I'll choose Offset Path effect.

Now again here, instead of me applying it to the Object menu, like I was showing you before with the oval, that was a one-time effect. Once I have applied it the path was created and that's it. But here it's actually being generated as a live effect. Now what path is it offsetting? It's offsetting the path that I created or defined with the Outline Object. I don't see it because it's in the live effect. But if I were to go ahead actually choose to expand the appearance here I would actually see that path. I'm going to click on the Preview button here and specify an Offset of about 0.25 inch. So now what I have done here, if I click OK, is that I have actually taken that stroke and I have applied an outline object, which now defines the path at the border or the boundary of that image. I can now of course apply a stroke attribute to that particular path and then I have applied the Offset Path Here effect, which allows me to then take that particular object or that path that I created and offset it from the object itself to create this wonderful border for this photograph.

So if I close this right now, I can go ahead and move this object around. I can scale it just like any other object and doing so all these things move with it. This is a really useful way to work with, not only embedded images but linked images as well. If you want to add borders or keylines to images, this is the best way to do that here inside of Illustrator.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

137 video lessons · 29269 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 33m 20s
    1. Introducing Live Paint
      38s
    2. Drawing in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    3. Creating a Live Paint group
      2m 54s
    4. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      3m 17s
    5. Using Live Paint with open paths
      2m 29s
    6. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      4m 17s
    7. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      3m 41s
    8. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      5m 44s
    9. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 55s
    10. Understanding how Live Paint groups work
      3m 4s
  3. 49m 36s
    1. Introducing the trace options
      39s
    2. Setting expectations: Live Trace
      2m 26s
    3. Using the Live Trace feature
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding how Live Trace works
      5m 41s
    5. Making raster-based adjustments
      5m 52s
    6. Tracing with fills, strokes, or both
      2m 55s
    7. Making vector-based adjustments
      6m 12s
    8. Adjusting colors in Live Trace
      4m 39s
    9. Using Photoshop with Live Trace
      5m 22s
    10. Releasing and expanding Live Trace artwork
      2m 58s
    11. Saving and exporting Live Trace presets
      2m 36s
    12. Tracing in Batch mode with Adobe Bridge
      1m 35s
    13. Turning an image into mosaic tiles
      2m 28s
    14. Tracing an image manually
      4m 22s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introducing 3D
      33s
    2. Setting expectations: 3D in Illustrator
      2m 53s
    3. How fills and strokes affect 3D artwork
      4m 43s
    4. Applying the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect
      6m 25s
    5. Applying a bevel
      5m 40s
    6. Showing the hidden faces of a 3D object
      4m 49s
    7. Applying the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 22s
    8. Visualizing the revolve axis
      3m 5s
    9. Applying the 3D Rotate effect
      1m 35s
    10. Adjusting surface settings
      9m 33s
    11. Understanding the importance of 3D and groups
      3m 24s
    12. Preparing art for mapping
      10m 19s
    13. Mapping artwork to a 3D surface
      14m 21s
    14. Hiding geometry with 3D artwork mapping
      4m 0s
    15. Extending the use of 3D in Illustrator
      8m 7s
  5. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing transformations and effects
      32s
    2. Using the Transform panel
      12m 37s
    3. Repeating transformations
      5m 23s
    4. Using the Transform Each function
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Convert to Shape effects
      5m 49s
    6. Using the Distort & Transform effects
      5m 12s
    7. Using the Path effects
      6m 58s
    8. Using the Pathfinder effects
      4m 18s
  6. 28m 23s
    1. Introducing graphic styles
      33s
    2. Applying graphic styles
      10m 8s
    3. Defining graphic styles
      8m 46s
    4. Previewing graphic styles
      2m 10s
    5. Modifying graphic styles
      3m 30s
    6. Understanding graphic styles for text
      3m 16s
  7. 22m 49s
    1. Introducing advanced masking techniques
      32s
    2. Understanding clipping masks
      7m 15s
    3. Using layer clipping masks
      6m 30s
    4. Creating opacity masks
      8m 32s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Introducing color
      40s
    2. Considering three types of color swatches
      7m 7s
    3. Managing color groups
      2m 58s
    4. Understanding the HSB color wheel
      3m 57s
    5. Understanding color harmonies
      2m 57s
    6. Using the color guide
      3m 54s
    7. Limiting the color guide
      3m 17s
    8. Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature
      6m 25s
    9. Using the Edit tab to adjust color
      5m 44s
    10. Using the Assign tab to replace colors
      8m 37s
    11. Making global color adjustments
      2m 17s
    12. Using Recolor options
      7m 3s
    13. Converting artwork to grayscale
      3m 23s
    14. Simulating artwork on different devices
      3m 18s
    15. Accessing Kuler directly from Illustrator
      2m 7s
    16. Ensuring high contrast for color-blind people
      2m 42s
  9. 53m 19s
    1. Introducing transparency
      40s
    2. Understanding transparency flattening
      2m 31s
    3. Exercising the two rules of transparency flattening
      10m 53s
    4. Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening
      4m 50s
    5. Exploring the transparency flattener settings
      8m 37s
    6. Using transparency flattening and object stacking order
      6m 39s
    7. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      6m 31s
    8. Creating and sharing Transparency Flattener presets
      2m 25s
    9. Working within an EPS workflow
      5m 3s
    10. Understanding the Illustrator and InDesign workflow
      5m 10s
  10. 50m 1s
    1. Introducing prepress and output
      23s
    2. Understanding resolutions
      8m 27s
    3. Discovering RGB and CMYK "gotchas"
      5m 42s
    4. Using Overprints and Overprint Preview
      7m 43s
    5. Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors
      8m 1s
    6. Collecting vital information with Document Info
      2m 28s
    7. Previewing color separations onscreen
      1m 12s
    8. Making 3D artwork look good
      2m 16s
    9. Seeing white lines and knowing what to do about them
      2m 41s
    10. Creating "bulletproof" press-ready PDF files
      3m 45s
    11. Protecting content with secure PDFs
      2m 48s
    12. Using PDF presets
      2m 47s
    13. Moving forward: The Adobe PDF Print Engine
      1m 48s
  11. 35m 43s
    1. Introducing distortions
      27s
    2. Using the Warp effect
      4m 20s
    3. The Warp effect vs. envelope distortion
      3m 48s
    4. Applying the Make with Warp envelope distortion
      2m 45s
    5. Applying the Make with Mesh envelope distortion
      2m 41s
    6. Applying the Make with Top Object envelope distortion
      3m 45s
    7. Editing envelopes
      5m 0s
    8. Adjusting envelope settings
      4m 2s
    9. Releasing and expanding envelope distortions
      1m 44s
    10. Applying envelope distortions to text
      1m 27s
    11. Using the liquify distortion tools
      3m 5s
    12. Customizing the liquify tools
      2m 39s
  12. 28m 56s
    1. Introducing blends
      32s
    2. Blending two objects
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting blend options
      5m 47s
    4. Blending anchor points
      5m 36s
    5. Blending three or more objects
      2m 9s
    6. Replacing the spine of a blend
      4m 32s
    7. Reversing the direction of a blend
      2m 15s
    8. Releasing and expanding a blend
      1m 47s
  13. 46m 54s
    1. Introducing charts and graphs
      35s
    2. Setting expectations: Graphs in Illustrator
      3m 19s
    3. Creating a chart
      8m 2s
    4. Importing data
      3m 34s
    5. Formatting data
      5m 1s
    6. Customizing a chart
      10m 21s
    7. Combining chart types
      2m 40s
    8. Creating graph designs
      6m 0s
    9. Styling and updating graphs
      5m 33s
    10. Ungrouping graphs
      1m 49s
  14. 26m 36s
    1. Introducing Gradient Mesh
      23s
    2. Understanding the Gradient Mesh feature
      9m 34s
    3. Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading
      6m 14s
    4. Using Gradient Mesh to create photorealistic effects
      10m 25s
  15. 8m 18s
    1. Introducing flare effects
      25s
    2. Drawing a lens flare
      3m 28s
    3. Modifying a lens flare
      1m 27s
    4. Using a mask with lens flares
      2m 58s
  16. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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