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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, I'm going to demonstrate the convergence of Liquify and Envelope, because you can actually modify the shape of an envelope distortion using specifically the Warp tool right here. And then you can turn around and edit the content using some other tool and watch the envelope update those contents in real time. I've saved my progress as Scaled contents.ai, found inside the 25 liquify envelope folder. And I'm going to go ahead and click on that envelope distortion if I can find it-- it's right about there; it's a little higher than the hill-- with my Black Arrow tool in order to select it, and let's say I wanted to further modify my shapes here because my text is awfully crooked at the bottom.
And just to get a sense for what it should be, I'm going to press Ctrl+R, or Command+R on the Mac, in order to bring up my rulers. And I'm going to Shift+Drag a horizontal guideline down to the bottom of the illustration, like so. And that is going to be my baseline for my text--at least that's what I'm going to try to hit. And then I'll go ahead and Shift+Drag out of vertical guideline, and the reason I'm pressing the Shift key is so that I snap to one of the tick marks in my ruler. And notice that at this particular zoom ratio, I went in five tick marks, and I want to do the same thing on the other side, so I'm going to move that tear off menu down a little bit. And I'm going to drag out another vertical guideline, and I'm going to press the Shift key and count in five tick marks from the right.
All right, so those are my base guidelines here. Let's see if I can match them. Now I could of course drag at these anchor points and control handles using the White Arrow tool, but after a while that gets to be a little fatiguing. Another way to work is to warp that mesh. So we're still working inside the edit envelope mode, very important. And now I'm going to double-click on my Warp tool in order to bring up the Warp Tool options dialog box, and I'm going to reduce the Width and Height values to 200 points. I'm going to increase that intensity value to 50%, and I'm going to turn Simplify back on this time and increase the value to 50, which is the default setting.
And the reason I'm doing this is I don't want to introduce the ton of anchor points into my envelope. You will introduce some new anchor points, but you might as well keep it to a minimum. Now I click OK, because by the way that'll give you smoother results, which is what we're looking for in this case. And now I'm going to drag actually on the text that I want to modify, and I'm dragging down and to the right ever so slightly. Now you don't get a preview of what you've done until after you release, so you may have to drag more than one say at a specific location. What I recommend, by the way, is that you work slowly; don't try to get too much work done at once because you may go too far and then you will have to back off your effect, and that's kind of a pain in the neck.
The Envelope Distortion function is none too fast I should say, so you're going to have to wait for your screen to update after every one of your drags. So I'm dragging down at the obvious locations here in order to straighten things up where I can. I'm never going to get it perfectly straight, by the way, because I've got this rolling action up here at the top. But I do hope to reduce the amount of rolling action down at the bottom if I can where this author's name is concerned. And I'll go ahead and drag down a little bit there as well, and I really am trying to get decent results.
Notice that you may get that old equal and opposite behavior there, because I just dragged down on the T in the last name, and the T in Knight just jumped up in response to that. So you never know when that kind of stuff is going to happen. All right if you end up with an effect like this with both the K and the N need come out a little bit, then in that case I would just switch back to the Direct Selection tool and marquee these points like so in order to select all of them, and then drag them out. And I should say, by the way, another interesting use for the Envelope Distortion function is to distort imported images, because unlike the Liquify tools which more or less duplicate their equivalents inside of Photoshop, there is no equivalent for envelope-style distortions inside Photoshop.
The feature just doesn't exist, which I've only lamented about 100,000 times, but so far Adobe is not seen to include that feature, which means, by the way, that you can import an image in the Photoshop and then apply an envelope-style distortion. The only thing to bear in mind is you're going to have to embed that image, and I'll show you that shortly. I'm going to switch back to my Warp tool, and I'm going to drag just once more down here in the lower-left corner and see if I can do some good, and I'm just not really getting it. So you know what? I'll press the A key in order to switch back to the White Arrow tool and try and drag this guy out just a little bit.
And of course, you know, I hasten to mention here that you can nudge these points; once you select them, you can nudge them from the keyboard if you so desire. My keyboard increment is set very low, so to make any progress I'm going to have to select both of these points, I think, and then press Shift+Right Arrow in order to move them out a couple of points. And now it looks pretty good to me. Now I'm going to leave you with one last note. Just imagine, if you can use the Warp tool on the mesh that's assigned to an envelope-style distortion, then you must be able to apply that Warp tool to any mesh, including a gradient mesh.
So sometime when you get a chance, set up a linear gradient, convert it to a gradient mesh, and then mush it around using the Warp tool; you can get some fantastic results that way. In the meantime, in the next exercise I'm going to show you how to use the Crystallize tool to apply some grassy edges to our rolling hills.
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