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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.
In this exercise, we're going to take a bunch of layers, combine them into a single overarching layer, and then apply a drop shadow to that layer. And this is all in advance to my demonstration of how we're going to make a massive conversion to this piece of artwork using the scribble filter. Now, I've made a series of modifications to this artwork and I've saved it off as Abraham Skeletron.ai. And there is the fair number of additional dynamic effects going on here. If you want to get a sense of how anything works, just go ahead and select it. For example, I'm going to zoom in on this dollar sign down here in the lower left corner and I'll click on it to make it active, like so.
And then I'll switch over to the Appearance panel and that's where you can examine how someone else's dynamic effects have been applied. Now, you will see way at the bottom here is a drop shadow and that's responsible for that thick edge right there on the lower right side. And then we've got a base stroke that's 2 points thick. So that's the larger stroke around the entire character. Up at top here, we have an inset stroke. So if you twirl it open you see that the stroke value is 0.5 points, so it's a hairline. And then I've use the Offset Path effect in order to move that stroke inward.
So if you click on Offset Path, you'll notice that I have an Offset value of -2 points. So it moves it inward, instead of outward. I'll cancel out of that. We've also got this green fill at the back, it's just above the stroke, and then in the middle is perhaps the most interesting effect. If I twirl open a fill, I've got a gradient. It's also offset inward 2 points. That's why it's contained inside of the thinner stroke, but in order to get that crosshatching effect I've assigned a filter called Graphic Pen. So if you turn off Graphic Pen you'll see a standard gradient.
It goes from black to white with a few gray steps in-between. And then with Graphic Pen turned on, it's converted exclusively to black or white. And then you can see that the blend mode here, the Opacity option, is set to Multiply. So that we're dropping out the whites and we're just keeping the blacks. Now, if you're interested how graphic pen works, all you have to do is click on it, but let me tell you where it comes from. I'm going to go up to the Effect menu and notice that the Effect menu is divided into two parts. You've got the Illustrator effects which are largely vector-based effects. Some of them are raster effects, meaning that they're ultimately converted to pixels.
And that's typically true of any of your Soft Filters, your Drop Shadow, and your Inner Glow, and Outer Glow, and so forth. They're ultimately going to be converted to pixels, but the idea is that all of these effects were designed for use inside Adobe Illustrator. Down here at the bottom are the Photoshop Effects. These were filters that were originally designed for Photoshop. They have found their way into Illustrator one way or other and they all result in raster effects. Everything they do gets converted to pixels on the fly. Now the one I used in this case is under the Sketch menu and it's this guy right there, Graphic Pen. Just so you know how to get to it.
Now, if you want to see how it works then go ahead and click on the Graphic Pen link here inside the Appearance panel that will bring up what's known as the Filter Gallery. And now you could change your settings if you like, for example, you could change the Direction of the strokes from Horizontal to Vertical like so if you want a different effect. You can also switch to an entirely different filter. There are more than 50 different filters available inside of this dialog box. So you could try out Note Paper or Halftone Pattern and see what they look like. None of them are going to produce an even similar effect what we have now, but there is still somewhat interesting. You might be able to get some traction along with some gradients.
Anyway, I'm going to click Cancel to cancel out of there. Just wanted you to have a sense of what's going on in the background. I'm going to zoom back out and I'm going to switch over to the Layers panel and I'm going to click on the white layer right there. I'm also going to press Ctrl+Shift+A by the way, Command+Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect the artwork. So click on the white layer. Shift+ Click on this head rag layer right there. So that goes ahead and selects this range of four layers that contain the skull elements. And then go up to the layers panel fly- out menu and I want you to choose this command. It is called Collect in New Layer.
It takes all of those other layers and puts them in a new layer that has a color of black unfortunately. I don't find that to be very useful. So I'm going to double-click on that layer name and I'm going to call it skull elements or something like that. And I'm going to change the color to? I think Light Blue will work out nicely and then I'll go ahead and click OK. Now, I want you to go ahead and meatball that layer to select it. I'm going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H on a Mac in order to hide the selection edges. Then go up to the Effect menu, choose Stylize, and choose one of my other favorite dynamic effects. It's very useful, very practical, Drop Shadow right here.
And notice, if you loaded Deke keys, I've given you that one left over E shortcut which is Ctrl+Alt+E or Command+Option+E on the Mac. That brings up the drop shadow dialog box and these are the settings that I went with. So my color is set to black. You can click on the color swatch just make sure that everything is zeroed out here. We shouldn't have 5% for Saturation. Everything should be 0, 0, 0 all the way down the board. Click OK in order to accept that. I've got an X Offset value of 3, Y Offset value of 3 as well, a Blur value of 5 which I believe is the default setting.
The Opacity value is down at 50% and Mode is set to Normal, because since we're working with black we're going to get the exact same effect whether the mode is set to Normal or Multiply. Anyway, to see what it looks like turn on the Preview check box. You may see a few progress bars slide by and then you'll see this effect right here which helps to set off the skull from what is becoming an increasingly busy background. Now click OK in order to accept that effect. Now, I think that looks pretty good. The problem is this piece of artwork is beginning to look like a hodgepodge from seven different artists or something like that.
It's just been scrapped together from a bunch of clip art. So how in a world can we create something that's stylistically convergent? And the answer is the Scribble filter, as I'll demonstrate in the next exercise.
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