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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
As with almost anything inside of Illustrator, there are multiple ways to achieve a similar looking effect. For example, in this document called warps_envelopes, I actually have two pieces of artwork. I have distorted them, but they appear as if the distortion is exactly the same. But we also know that when we try to apply different types of features or effects inside of Illustrator, depending on the methods or the features that we use, we have certain pros and cons or certain benefits through one over the other. Now in this example, I had actually applied the same exact type of effect using two methods. On the top here I have used the Warp effect. This is the live effect that appears in the Effect menu. When I click on this object, I can take a look over here in my Appearance panel. I see that I have the Warp:Arc effect now applied to this particular object. We close the Appearance panel here.
Let me show you now, if I click on the bottom object here, even though it looks almost identical to the one on top, I can see that it has somewhat of a different appearance here when I select it. This was actually distorted using something called an envelope. So let's take a moment to understand the benefits that I get by working with these two different elements. If I'm working with the topmost object here, which has been applied as a live effect, then I know that I can save this element as a graphic style that I can easily apply it to other objects. I also know this particular effect can be applied either to a fill, or a stroke attribute, or just one of the attributes in a particular object, and I can also apply them to an overall group or to individual objects. I also know that we can easily edit this effect by opening up the Appearance panel, clicking on the item in the Appearance panel, and seeing the settings; or I can simply delete it by removing that item from the Appearance panel.
However, one of the downsides is that though if I want to make adjustments to individual parts of the artwork; and I'll de-select this here for a moment here; let's say I wanted this part of the 'l' to come just a little bit down over here. It's very difficult for me to make adjustments into how the artwork itself is actually distorted. Yes, I can get this overall arc shape, but I can't have any of the elements in here deviate from that. Well, let's take a closer look here at how envelopes works inside of Illustrator. If I click on this object over here, notice that I have this outline over here with different segments here. What this actually is, is something which is called a Mesh inside of Illustrator. It's similar in concept to the way that Gradient Mesh works, something else we'll cover later on in this movie title.
But the mesh elements itself gives you more control over the distortion of the interior of my artwork. For example, in this case here if I wanted to somehow distort just this area here of the 'r', I could go ahead and choose my Mesh tool and add additional mesh points to this mesh. By moving this around, I can now choose to distort the inner parts of this artwork. I could add many, many more mesh points to really control exactly how that piece of artwork should get distorted. Now as we'll learn both of these methods, whether using Warps or envelopes, are both non-destructive. I still have the ability to go back and edit my original piece of art, if I want to. Let me go back to working with my regular Selection tool. As I click on this object, you will also notice that when I go ahead and I use this particular method here of an envelope, I do have the ability in the control panel to make certain adjustments. These adjustments would normally have to be made if I had applied a Warp effect through the Appearance panel.
When I'm working with envelopes, I do have some of those capabilities right here in the control panel. It's a little bit easier to get to. So overall, I broil down to this one thing. When you want to apply a quick distortion, something as very simple as maybe to logos, to text, so on and so forth, the Warp effect gives you an easy way to quickly apply that particular kind of adjustment. However, if you really want to go in and control every little aspect of your distortion, then the envelopes offer you far more control. In fact, as we'll learn, there are three types of envelopes inside of Illustrator. You have the ability to apply an envelope using another object, you have the ability to apply an envelope using a Warp effect, and you also have the ability to apply an envelope using a mesh. Now that we understand the difference between warping and enveloping, we can begin to learn how to control the very powerful envelope feature inside of Illustrator.
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