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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
A scatter brush at a very basic level takes some piece of artwork and distributes it along the path that you create. Let's actually create a scatter brush using these little flip-flop icons and then see how that might be applied when put on to a brush. So I'll start up first by selecting the artwork as it is right here, go over to my Brushes panel, and click on the button over here to create a New Brush. Now I don't want to create a New Calligraphic Brush; I want to create a New Scatter Brush again using the artwork that I currently have selected. So I'll choose New Scatter Brush, click OK, and now I get an option here. So let's call this one Flip Flops. It's always good to name your brushes; otherwise you will have no idea what they really are.
I'm to really leave these settings here as they are, Size 100%, that just means that the brush will use the same size of the artwork that I created here, the Space will be 100%. Scatter always at the 0%, Rotation to 0 degrees, and again, these we are all fixed settings, so they will always be the same. And we will understand what this Rotation relative to Page is. We will go through those momentarily, but let's click OK, just to see what happens when we apply them. So I have here my Flip Flops brush. I'm going to go ahead and select my Paint Brush tool here, and I'm simply going to go ahead and with this selected right here, just draw a line. And you can see right away that as I have drawn that line over there, the artwork that I have created over here has been distributed along the path. However, it's kind of pretty straightforward.
Let's now explore some of the settings involved inside of that. So what I'm going to do, is I'm going to double- click on this right now to bring up the settings here. We can click on the Preview button to see what that is going to look like when we apply that to our particular paths. First of all we could change the Size. For example, I can go ahead and choose maybe 75% or 70% of the size that I created. Now again, that is very uniform, but rather than being of a Fixed size, I could have that one set to Random. So that means that they can have a size of anywhere from 70% to 100 %, and I can adjust the slider so you can even go higher, so for example, now they can be bigger or smaller.
The Spacing is set to 100%, but again I could choose that to be Random as well. When you have a Random setting, you have two sliders that you could choose. The Scatter can also be set to Random, and again, I'll go ahead and I'll adjust those as well, and the Rotation can also be Random. Let's go ahead and do something really kind of quickly there. I can now click on the OK button, and I can apply that to the Stokes that I have always created, but now whenever I create a new brush, as I do that, I can see that they no longer are just distributed along the path in a simple way, but they are kind of scattered along that particular path. Again, when I go into Outline mode, Command+Y of Ctrl+Y, I see that what I have created with the Paintbrush basically is just one path, but along that path this artwork that I created has been scattered amongst it.
I'm just going to press Undo to go back to this original one for a second, because I want to show you what it means when I click on this particular option here, to double-click on this setting right here, go back to change the brush's setting here. What this Rotation Relative To Page, means, if I set my rotation let's say fixed right now, to let's say be 45 degrees, so right now my rotation is relative to the page. So right now all the particular flip-flops right now are rotated on a 45-degree angle, but on a 45-degree angle of the page itself. Whereas, if I change it to the Path, then you could see that it changes on a 45-degree angle based on the path. So as the path turns and twists, it remains 45 degrees to the path itself. So again depending on the artwork that you create, you may want to choose relative to the Path, or to the Page.
Now it's important to note also that all the settings that I have applied for Size, Spacing and Scatter, can also be based on Pressure, depending on the kind of Wacom Tablet that you have. If you have a pen such as the 6D Art Pen for example, you could actually have the size set on Pressure, but the Spacing set on Bearing or Tilt, and the Scatter based on Rotation, so on and so forth, or of course, Rotation based on Rotation, which should mean that as you go ahead, and you move the pen, or you tilt the pan, that could adjust the settings of the Scatter Brush as well. So it's a very powerful brush to use, and the more that you experiment with it, the more uses you will find for it. But I'll point that the Illustrator comes with a whole bunch of fantastic Scatter Brushes that you can use or modify.
Again, go to the little icon on the bottom over here, choose Decorative, and maybe choose something here called Decorative Scatter, and you will have lots of options that you can use over here, and get some ideas on how you can build your own Scatter Brushes.
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