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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Being able to modify the width of a stroke along a path using then a Width tool inside of Illustrator CS5 is incredibly powerful. However, even more amazing is the ability to save all those values as something called the Width Profile, which you can then easily apply to other shapes. Let's take a look at how that works. I'm going to use my Selection tool here to select just this part of the path, and I'm going to change the Stroke Weight to about 10 point. Now, I have a 10-point Stroke Weight applied evenly across the entire path, and maybe I want to have a little bit more of a different appearance, and instead of me using the Width tool to kind of dive in and make adjustments, I can come up here to the Control panel where it says Uniform.
If I click on this, it's telling me that right now Illustrator is applying a profile of uniform Stroke Weight across the entire path. Because I specify the Stroke Weight of 10, I basically have a 10-point Uniform stroke applied to the path. However, I can choose from some of these other Width Profiles that come with Illustrator. For example, this one, which starts at a tapered end, goes up to the full thickness of the path and then returns back to a tapered end. When I choose that, I can see that appearance automatically being applied to this flower.
I can experiment with some other profiles here, for example, this one, or even maybe if I scroll-down towards the bottom something that looks like this. What's great about working with these Width Profiles is that they're simply adjusting the stroke without really affecting anything else in the object. So if I click on this one, for example, I can apply a different profile. Maybe I'll increase the Stroke Weight here to about also 10-point, and I can see how that's been applied to this object. Of course, I can also create or define my own Width Profile. For example, I'm going to zoom in on this part of the flower right here, click on this and use my Width tool to adjust different parts of the stroke.
Maybe I'll make this area a little bit thicker here, do something really incredibly funky, maybe even have just one side of the path we adjusted, using the Option key here. And you notice that as I make these changes, I see a profile being created right here. At any time I can click on this, choose to save my own profile, and then instantly apply it to other artwork in my document. Remember that Width Profiles don't store information like color. I need to use graphic styles for that, however, if I do apply a profile to one object, and then I create a graphic style, that Width Profile will also be included inside of the graphic style.
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