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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.
Over the course of this chapter, we're going to be creating this piece of artwork, which goes by the name Garment tag.ai. It's found inside the 26_brushes folder. And the idea is I wanted to created a large-format garment tag, so about four inches wide by three inches tall-- quite small by artwork standards of course, but quite large for a pair of, let's say, jeans. So I wanted the artwork to have a kind of fabric appearance associated with this. Now, about 90% of the effects work that you're seeing is a result of brushes, which are dynamic stroke effects, as we'll be seeing.
But before I show you how the Brushes panel works, I want to explore what's going on with this background. So we have this repeating tile pattern, just like the tile patterns that we learned about back in the Advanced portion of the series. And I also took a lot of care and effort to make sure all these tile patterns are aligned with each other. I scaled the tile patterns, I built them up and darkened them using other fill effects, and then I ended up taking the big background rectangle and duplicating it to the foreground in order to darken up the effect. Let me show you what I mean. If I go over to the Layers panel, there's a cap layer right here at the top.
Turn it off if you're working along with me, just to get a sense of what the underlying artwork looks like. So notice that, I think it looks pretty sharp and everything, but it also looks fairly garish, and if it were really imprinted on a garment tag, this would just be too bright and this white text wouldn't look right and so forth. And I want all of the various objects to appear integrated with each other, which is why I went ahead and repeated that rectangle and put it on top, like so. So again, before we dive into the Brushes panel, I want to show you how that works.
I am going to start off inside of this document. It's called The word is brush.ai, and if you twirl open the base layer, scroll on down, you'll see this item called big rectangle. I want you to go ahead and meatball it, and I am going to zoom out so we can see that's this rectangle that covers up the entire artboard and goes out into the Bleed region. Now I'll switch over to the Appearance panel, and I want you to see that there's a series of three fills, only one of which is currently turned on. And if I click on that fill and then click its down-pointing arrowhead, you can see that it's a tile pattern that I've defined in advance. It's called Orange wedges.
Now, it may look yellow to you, but it's orange by comparison to the other ones-- red wedges and violet wedges, so variations on that same pattern. Now, let's say at this point I look at that pattern and I think, it's just too light, and I need to darken it up. Well, I have two options, one of which is to actually edit the tile pattern. So go up here to the Swatches panel, drag the tile pattern out, drop it into the pasteboard, let's say, and then modify it by hand--or using the Recolor Artwork function. But that still means you have to turn around and define a new version of the tile pattern and then apply it.
What a giant pain in the neck! Versus--check this out--I'll go ahead and delete that object, click on the outline of this rectangle once again. Notice that I have created this beige fill right there. I'll turn it on, so it's very light wash of beige--it's just solid beige by the way. And if you want to check out the color, you can take a look at the values up here in the color panel. Just go ahead and select this fill, go to the Transparency panel, which I have up on screen, and I'm going to change the blend mode from Normal to Multiply. That really transforms the color of that title effect. So check it out.
I'll turn it off, and then I'll turn it back on. Now let's say I want to add a vignetting effect--that is, dark corners going toward a lighter central area. Then I would add this fill, which in this case is a green-to-white radial gradient, and I would also, after selecting that fill, I would also go ahead and change it to the Multiply blend mode as well, in order to achieve this effect. So building these kinds of fill patterns on top of each other can be extremely effective. Now let's say that I take a look at these tiles, and I just think they're too dang small; I want to increase their size by 200%, let's say.
Well, what I'd like to be able to do, I guess, is go to the fill item here, inside the Appearance panel, twirl it open if necessary just so I can see what I'm adding, and let's say I want to scale just that fill. Well, of course, right, based on our knowledge of dynamic effects, you go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and then choose the Transform command, because it's so wicked great. So go ahead and choose that command, and then change, let's say, the Horizontal value to 200% and the Vertical value to 200% as well, and then turn on the Preview check box. And all I did was I grew the area that's covered by the tile pattern.
So it goes out into the pasteboard, but it does not change the size of the individual tiles. And there is no way, from this dialog box, to do that. So cancel out. This is not going to be a dynamic effect; instead what you do is you go over to your good old static Scale tool, double-click on it there in the toolbox, and change the Uniform value to 200%, like so. And then, we don't want to scale the strokes and effects, because there are none, quite frankly, and we don't want to scale the objects either; we want to scale just the patterns. So I will turn on Patterns and then I will turn off Objects, so that we're just scaling the patterns and nothing more.
So this check box on, these two both off, and then click OK. And if you have problems, by the way, turning any check box off, make sure you have the Pattern check box turned on first. Then go ahead and click OK in order to achieve this effect. I am going to go ahead and zoom back into 100%, so that we can see that artwork. This is before, by the way--this is what the tiny tiles look like--and this is after. So I will go over to the Layers panel, and I am going to create a new layer, but I want it to be up here, so I will click on type on path layer, which is the topmost visible layer, and I'll press Ctrl+Alt+L, or Command+Option+L on the Mac, in order to add a new layer, and I'll go ahead and call this guy cap.
I will change its color to, let's say, dark green, and then I'll click on the OK button. I really want it to be at the far top of the stack, so I will just go and drag it all the way upward. And I want to duplicate it to this cap layer. So there's my little selection square to the far right of the base layer. I'm going to Alt+Drag or Option+Drag it up to the cap layer in order to create a copy of it. And notice now we're covering up everything below. Go ahead and twirl closed the base layer. I am going to meatball the entire cap layer, because its one and only purpose is to darken up everything below it.
So I'll meatball that cap layer, and then I am going to change the blend mode for the entire layer to multiply in order to achieve this effect here, and then I'll go ahead and deselect my artwork by clicking randomly inside it with the Black Arrow tool. And finally, I'm going to go ahead and lock that cap layer down. And the result is a consistent texture throughout my entire artwork. In the next exercise, I'll introduce you to the Brushes panel inside Illustrator.
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