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Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials is the first installment in a series of courses designed to show experienced Illustrator users to how master core features and build art more efficiently. Adobe Illustrator has evolved dramatically over the years, and many creative professionals may be missing out on features that have been added to the latest versions. This course takes a fresh approach to core concepts, such as paths, attributes, object hierarchy, groups, and layers. Advanced techniques such as combining multiple effects and customizing textures are also included. Exercise files and a free worksheet are included with the course.
So we'vex really started to see some of the creative potential we get now by actually applying multiple attributes to single paths. Perhaps more importantly, it allows us to be far more efficient in how we actually create and edit our designs. In fact, this example here, creating like a little bit of a map for a directions card, can really show us the power for how easy it is to make changes as we're working on a document. Now in this example here, I have one path that I've created here, which is going to be a road. And then I've another path over here, which is going to represent railroad tracks.
Using the Appearance panel, we can add multiple attributes to the single paths that give us the look that we need, but yet still keep our document very easy to manage and work with. Let's start with the railroad tracks, which I have selected right now in this document called directions.ai. I'll start by changing the stroke weight of this to something around maybe 12 point. I'll leave the color of the stroke set to black, but I am going to add now a second stroke by clicking on the button here inside the Appearance panel. For this stroke, I am actually going to change the color to white, and I am going to change the stroke weight to about 8 point.
Notice now the appearance of my artwork shows what looks like a double black line, even though really it's just two paths stacked on top of each other. For this specific art that I am trying to draw right here, those two black lines can refer to the actual rails themselves of the railroad tracks. Now, I need to create the ties though, so to do that, I am going to add yet a third stroke now to this object. I'll change the stroke color to black, and I'll change the weight or the thickness of the stroke to actually about 18 point.
Now in order to get that appearance of the ties for the railroad tracks, I am going to turn on the Dash setting for the stroke. So I am going to click on the word "stroke" to bring up the Stroke panel. I'll come down here where it says Dashed Line, and I'll change my dash to be 2 points, and my Gap will be set to about 3 points. I am hitting the Tab key as I enter each of these values to advance to the next one. Now I'll simply quick off of the Stroke panel to get rid of it, and I can see now that I've created the appearance of this railroad tracks. But remember, if I toggle it to my Outline mode by pressing Command+Y or Ctrl+Y, it's just a single path that I am working with.
All I've done is I've modified the presentation of that single path. Great! So we've created the railroad tracks. Now, let's create the road. Let's create Main Street that goes right down the middle of this Directions card. I'll start by selecting the paths right over here, and you know, Main Street is a pretty busy street. It's actually going to have two lanes of traffic going in each direction. So I need to make a pretty heavy road here. So I am going to start out by actually changing the stroke weight to 36 point. I don't have that setting here. I can actually just click on this value right here inside of the Appearance panel and type in 36.
Next, I am going to add now a second stroke. This one appears directly above the stroke I just created. I am going to change the weight to 34. Again, I am just going to type in 34 right here. I am going to change the stroke color to like a dark gray. I'll choose like this 80% black. So what we can see right now is I am starting to get the appearance of what might look like a road. I have kind of like a black border around the edges of them, which could be the curb. And then I have like this dark gray, which could be the asphalt of the road itself. Next, I'll add another stroke, which I am going to just set to a color of white.
I am going to change the weight of this stroke to 20 point. Now this is actually going to be the dashed white lines that separate different lanes on each side of the road, so I want to turn on a dashed pattern for this. So I am going to click on the word "stroke" to bring up the Stroke panel, turn on the Dashed Line setting and set my dash to be 8 points, hit the Tab key, and then set my gap to also be 8 points. Now, I am going to click off of the Stroke panel to hide it. And it doesn't really look like anything right now, but in just a moment, I am going to add now a yet another stroke.
I am going to click on the Add New stroke button right here. I'll set this one to a weight of 18 point. I'll change its stroke color back to that dark gray, that 80% black right over here. And I'll click on the word "stroke" to bring up the Stroke panel, and I'll turn off the Dashed Line setting. So, take a look at what happens now. I have this thick dark gray stroke, which is covering over the inner parts of that white dash stroke. So all I am able to see is just the very ends, or the very tips on either end, of that white stroke, which gives me the appearance of these dashed white lines.
Now the middle of the roadway needs to have a double yellow line, so I'll add that by creating yet another stroke for this path. Now, we have five different strokes already that exist on this single path that I am working with. We'll change the color of this stroke to yellow, and I'll change the weight to 3. Since I want this to have the appearance of a double-yellow line, I am going to add one more stroke to this object. I am going to color it that dark gray color, that 80% black, and I'll change the stroke weight of this one to 1 point. I am going to deselect my artwork and see what we've created here.
I've taken a single path inside of Illustrator, yet by adding multiple stroke attributes--in this case six different strokes to a single object-- I've given the appearance of a two- lane highway, or a two-lane Main Street here inside of this map. Now again one of the real benefits of working with this is that I have the ability now to make adjustments to the actual structure, the actual path of my artwork, and everything else is just going to update accordingly. If, for example, this road needed to be curved for some reason, I can actually use my Reshape tool. You know a lot of people don't use the Reshape tool, but it's a great way to take a regular straight path and just click and drag on it to turn it into a curve.
Notice here that the road automatically has all the settings that are curved, and I do that with one step. Imagine if I had actually created multiple objects and I wanted to make a small adjustment. It would take me forever do that. Here, all I need to do is work with one path and I get the beautiful appearance of an entire road.
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