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Designs dekeConstructed, featuring best-selling author Deke McClelland, is a new series in which Deke breaks down the creation of cool designs so you can create them on your own. In this installment, Deke shows you how to make a custom gradient dot pattern with Adobe Illustrator. He begins by showing you how to load, apply, and scale the preset patterns that ship with Illustrator, and then demonstrates how to make your own gradient patterns with round and square dots. Last, he shows how to infuse your designs with energy using dynamic rotations that make your own specialized pattern wave.
In this movie, I'll show you how to assign and modify one of the custom gradient dot patterns that ships along with Illustrator. Now this, so my text still selected, and I'm looking at the contents of the Appearance panel. I'll go ahead and click on my Fill, to select it, and then I'll click on its dot pattern swatch in order to bring up the pop up panel, and then if you're working along with me, you want to once again click on the Library icon, choose Patterns, choose Basic Graphics. And then, finally, choose Basic Graphics Dots.
And that'll bring up the pop up panel that we saw in the previous movie. Notice these last five swatches here. Each one of them represents a custom gradient dot pattern. So I'll start by selecting the first one, which is 0 to 50% dot gradation. Which is to say that it starts at 0% darkness, and extends to 50% darkness, as expressed, of course, as a half-tone pattern. Now you may wonder why it stops short of the top of the letters. After all that looks like garbage. And what's happening here is that we've assigned that transform effect in a previous movie so we need to go ahead and turn it off for now, by clicking on the little eye icon in front of transform.
And now you can see that the dot pattern extends the entire height of the letters, automatically. Now if you want something with more contrast, select the next item over which is 0 to 100% dot gradation and that starts at 0% darkness and extends all the way up to 100% at the top. Now, you might disagree with me because, after all, we have some pretty dark dots at the bottom. Well, that's because Illustrator, by default, is extending the dots all the way down to the descenders that are associated with these letters.
Now I'm working with all caps so I don't have any descenders, but Illustrator goes ahead and invents descenders in its mind. So if you want to tighten things up here, you need to bring back transform by clicking on its eyeball, once again, in order to turn it on. Then, click on the word Transform in order to bring it up on-screen. And we'll still scale the pattern by 75%, let's say. We'll see if that works. But I'm going to decrease the Vertical Move value. Because when you reduce the Vertical Move value, you move things upward. When you increase the value, you move stuff downward.
Anyway, I'll go ahead and turn on the Preview check box so I can see what I'm doing. Then, I'll click inside the vertical value and I'll press shift + down arrow until I move that gradient all the way to the top of the letters and you can see that we now have a lot less darkness down at the bottom of these characters. What if you want to flip it? That is to say, you don't want the gradient to extend from top to the bottom. You want it to extend from the bottom to the top. Then, you just go ahead and turn on the Reflect Y check box right here. In which case you're going to have to increase the vertical value and I'm just going to take that negative sign in front of 50 points and press the backspace key and then press the tab key in order to assign a Vertical Move value of positive 50 points.
You can also use the rotate value here. In order to change the direction of that gradient. So, in other words, instead of having a go from bottom to top, we want it to go side to side, so I'll change the Angle value to 90 degrees and we will see we end up with. This is something of a mess of course as you can see here, so we'd have to increase the horizontal and vertical values in order to spread the gradient across the letters. Make some other modifications as well. Anyway, I like things the way they were just a moment ago with an Angle value of zero degrees, so I'll go ahead and click OK.
Now the next swatch assigns a darker gradient. It goes from 50% to 100% so it starts 50% At the top, in our case, because of the transform effect, and extends down to total darkness at the bottom. What if you want an undulating gradient? Why then, you have these undulating options right here. You can either go with Undulating Coarse Dots, which looks like this, or Undulating Fine Dots, which looks like this. I'm going to go with the coarse dots, alright? So I'll click this second to last swatch right there.
And then I'll go ahead and hide this floating panel. And of course, that's not really what I want. So I'll go ahead and click on the word Transform under Fill in order to bring up the Transform Effect dialogue box. And we don't really need to reflect the gradient anymore. So I'll turn on the Preview check box just so you can see what I'm talking about. And I'll turn off Reflect Y. Doesn't really make any difference because we were just reflecting things vertically. And this is a horizontal gradient. If you want it to be a vertical gradient though, of course, you can change that angle value to 90 degrees and you end up with this effect here.
All right. That's not what I'm looking for though. So I'll change this back to zero degrees and I'll increase the Horizontal scale value to 200% and that gives me these elliptical dots as opposed to circular ones because the Vertical value is still set to 75%. So don't we take care of that by changing the Vertical value to 200% as well, and we end up with this effect here. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change. And that, friends, is how you assign and modify one of the five custom gradient dot patterns that ships along with Illustrator.
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