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One of the great things about Adobe Illustrator is the fact that it gives you control independently of both your fill color and your stroke color. In this movie, I am going to show you how to work with strokes inside of Illustrator. As we know, a stroke is merely a border that goes around the outside of an object and in Illustrator CS6, it can actually be a solid color or a gradient color as well. In order to apply a stroke, you have to have an object selected on your artboard and then you have to gain control of the stroke and then apply a color to it. Once you've got the color applied, you can actually change several stroke options along the way to make the stroke look very different and even more artistic.
You can even use brushes inside of Illustrator as strokes as well, to make your artwork look hand-painted, or have a decorative border around the outside of it. The possibilities are endless. So let's take a look at how we can apply strokes to some artwork. I have got some artwork on my artboard here and if I hover over the top, you'll notice that I have got a shape that has no fill and no stroke. If I click on it, you'll actually see that it's a flower that's behind the R in the logo. Now I don't want a fill applied to this necessarily, because I want it to almost be ghosted behind the R. I don't want it to detract away from the R, that's the main part of the logo.
What I want to do is add a stroke to this. In order to do that, I have to make sure that I am targeting the stroke first. I can do this in a lot of different ways, but the easiest way is just to change which part I am focusing on right over here. You will notice when I hover over that it says click to activate. When I click that, I am now working on the stroke of this object. For this particular object, I think a light blue color would work nicely. So let's go over here to the Swatches panel, and I'll just pick a light blue. When I do that, I can click away and you can see the work that I've done.
I actually think this is a little too much. It's a little too bright and I might want to take it down a little bit. So how then do I work on that? Well I'll target this object again and now I have control of it again, and I am also working on the stroke, as you can see. Inside of the Control panel, I can actually change several options about the stroke. For instance, I can open up the Stroke panel right here from this link and inside the Stroke panel I get a ton of options to choose from. I can choose the Weight of the stroke, which means the thickness of the stroke.
For instance, right now it's set to 1 point, which is pretty small, but I can take that up to any number I want. If I click here, I get some preset options. I can go all the way up to something like 100 points to where it's almost unrecognizable, or I can take it down to something like .25 points, where it's a little bit more fun. I actually like this smaller stroke. If I click away, you can see that it's just sort of ghosted behind this image. If it's a little too light, that's okay. You can click on it again and just bump it back up.
Maybe something like .75 would work nicely. Let's open up the Stroke panel again, and this time I am going to open it up from the panels on the right-hand side. If you will notice over here, by default, you have the Stroke panel, but it only shows something that says Weight. You don't actually see all those options that I got from the Control panel. So how do we get those? Well let's undock the Stroke panel for a moment and bring it out. Once I have it undocked, I can then go up to the menu and click here. Once I go up to the menu and click Show Options, it expands down to show me all of the options that I had in the Control panel.
Again, this is a little tedious though having to go find this panel, expand it out and all that stuff. So I actually prefer to work from the Control panel because I can just click that little word that says Stroke. It opens up temporarily, I make my changes and boom! I am back to working. In this case I have to deal with this panel being out in the middle, moving it back, it just kind of gets in my way, but I wanted to show you how to get there, just in case you like working this way. The Weight, I can change right there again. I can also change the Cap type. If you hover over these, they will tell you; Butt Cap, Round Cap or Projecting Cap.
The Butt Cap means that the end of the stroke is actually going to butt up right against the anchor points. The Round Cap means that it will round itself around an anchor point and the Projecting Cap means that it will just simply go outside of the anchor point, if it's at a corner for instance. You can also change the Corner type to a Miter Join, a Round Join or a Bevel Join. You can also set Limits, Align the stroke to different areas and you can set things like Dashed Lines and Arrowheads. We'll cover that in a future movie though.
For now, let's take a look at the alignment options. Let me zoom in a little bit so you can see exactly what I am doing. I'll zoom in and go right out here to the corner. You'll notice on this stroke that it actually goes on both sides of the path, the inside and the outside. If I increase the Weight of the stroke, you can actually see it a little better. So there is the path and it goes outside both ways. So if I want to change that, I can change the alignment of the stroke. Right now it's set to the Center. I can actually set it to the Inside, where it goes completely inside the path or I can set it to the Outside as well, which makes it go completely outside the path.
For this particular piece of artwork, I think going on the outside of the path works pretty well. I may even take this down a little bit though, back to about 2. Now let's zoom back out. I'll move my panel out of the way a little bit, and click away. So there's my newly stroked path right there. I am going to leave that the way it is for a moment, I'll show you how to make some other changes to it in just a second. I'm then going to select this big circle in the background. Now let's talk about how we can utilize some of the more creative stroke options inside of Illustrator.
So the first thing I'm going to do is I am going to stroke it with the exact same color as I had before. So I am just going to come over here and pick that light blue color. It's going to be difficult to see, but I am going to increase the Weight of the stroke quite a bit. So let's take this up to somewhere like 10, that way you can actually see what's going on. I'm then going to add what's called a Bristle Brush stroke. So I'm going to find the Brushes panel which is right here beside the Swatches, and I'll just drag that out and dock it with my Stroke panel. We are going to cover brushes a little bit more in-depth later on, but I wanted to give you an idea of how to work with these as you're using strokes inside of Illustrator as well.
I'll go to the Library button right here at the bottom, and I am going to go down and choose Bristle Brush and I'll open up the Bristle Brush Library. This is how you can create some really realistic almost painted-like effects inside of Illustrator. I am going to drag this down and I am going to select one of these brushes. As you can see when you hover over them, you get a descriptor of what they are, Spotter Brush, Round Brush, Liner Brush, et cetera. I am going to pick the Liner Brush and watch what happens when I click. It actually changes the overall appearance of the stroke.
It's set to 1 point right now, so I need to blow that up so you can see it a little bit more. I'll increase the Weight, something kind of like that. Then when I click away, you can see that it's got almost like a painted effect around the outside. I didn't have to paint that, Illustrator did that for me and it did that simply by adding a stroke and changing the brush that was applied to it. It's pretty neat. Let's see what happens when I change the flower inside of the logo as well. I'll change that to the exact same brush. When I do that and click away, you can see that it added a pretty interesting effect, although I don't like the way it overlaps in certain areas.
So I may have to change the alignment of the stroke or maybe even back down the weight of the stroke a little bit. Let's take that back down to about .5 and see what happens. When I take it down, some of the overlapping points get a little better, still not exactly what I wanted, but I can continue to refine this and get it exactly where I need to go. Let's click on it to select it, and the first thing I am going to do is I am going to tone it back a little bit. The easiest way to do that is to tone down the Opacity. In order to tone down the Opacity of this object here, I am simply going to come up to the Control panel and I'm going to change the Opacity from 100 to about 50%.
When I do that and click away, you can see that I have sort of ghosted it into the background. You could change the opacity to whatever level you want, but in this case I think 50% works pretty good. So as you can see, if I revert back to the original here by going to File > Revert, it's going to say that it's going to revert back to the saved version of this document and you are going to lose all of your current changes and that's okay. I'm simply going to hit Revert. Watch the difference between the before and after here. Now I'll center it on screen.
Look how plain and simple this looks compared to what we just created beforehand. It's an amazing transformation and it's all done through the magic of strokes. So as you continue to work in Illustrator, take some time to explore, both the Stroke panel, as well as the Brushes panel and see what kind of creative stuff you can come up with.
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