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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, we'll place this square dot pattern inside the text. And we'll do so using a stylistic alternative that allows us to keep the text editable. So, for starters, I'm going to go ahead and twirl open this top layer, the one called Square Dots. And I'm going to meatball the blend by clicking on its circle right there. And then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command, or press Ctrl+C here on a PC, or Cmd+C on a Mac. And then I'll go ahead and turn off the blend. And I'll turn on ABC right there, the text, and I'll select it by clicking on its meatball.
And I'll go ahead and switch to the two column toolbox once again. And I'll drop down to the draw inside icon, click on it, you'll see those dotted corners. Then go up to the Edit menu and choose Paste in Place, and that'll paste the dot pattern inside the text. Now notice that things don't line up properly once again, you can especially see that over here inside the A. So notice how the square dots are rising above the bar of the A this time around. And we also have some obvious problems over here.
At least when we're zoomed in. Now, this might be the kind of thing that doesn't really bother you. But if it does, here's another option. I'll go ahead and zoom out. And at this point, just the square dots are selected. So, I'll go ahead and change them to white. Notice that because I'm working with a blend, I do not see my fill swatch appear in the control panel. So I'll bring up my color panel, make sure my Fill is active, and I'll click on white in order to re-color those squares with white. So they create kind of negative space effect at this point.
Then, I'll go ahead and switch back to the Draw Normal mode, very important, down here at the bottom of the tool box. And finally, I'll press Ctrl-Shift-A or Cmd-Shift-A on a Mac to deselect my artwork. Now I'm going to click on the letters to select the entire clipping group. And I'll go up to the Effect menu and choose Stylized, and then I'll choose Outer Glow. But actually what I'm looking for is a kind of outer shadow effect. So what you want to do is click on this little teller swatch there, and drag the circle all the way to the bottom left corner in order to dial in black, and click OK.
And now you want to change the mode from screen, which is the default and results in a bright glow, to multiply, which will result in a dark glow. Increase the opacity value to a 100% and then change the blur to 10 points. And turn on the Preview checkbox, and you'll end up with this interesting effect right here. It ends up being a little bit distinctive because it's a uniform shadow effect, as opposed to a standard drop shadow. Now click OK in order to accept that change.
Now that doesn't really entirely resolve the problem. If you look very closely, you can see that the square dots are still jutting out more than they should. So what I'm going to do is select the letters. So I'll go ahead and twirl open the clipping group right there, and I'll meatball ABC, which is the letters, in order to select it. And then I'll change the stroke value up here in the Control Panel, the line weight that is to say, to 2 points. And then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac, and we end up with this uniform stroke that needs to go in both directions, by the way.
Out, beyond the letter forms, and into the letter forms in order to cover things up effectively. Problem is if you zoom out, I'll press Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on the Mac to do so, you'll see that the overlapping portions of the letter forms are showing up. Because they're stroked on either side, that is we're stroking the right side of the B and the left side of the C. Now normally, what you're supposed to do about that is go up to the Effect menu, choose the Pathfinder command, and then choose Add.
But that doesn't work, even though that would work if we were just applying this command, this effect here, to standard editable text. It doesn't work with clipping masks. So, you can try it if you want but you're not going to get anywhere. So, I'll just go ahead and press the Esc key a couple of times. What we need to do is just make sure that the letters don't overlap. And you can do that by modifying the tracking value, or you can modify the text, because after all, it is editable. So I'll just press the T key to switch to my type tool, and I'll double-click inside the text to select all of it.
And I'll change it to OXO like so. Might take a moment to update on-screen, because after all, this is a pretty intense document. And then I'll press the Esc key in order to accept my modifications. And I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A, or Cmd+Shift+A on the Mac, in order to deselect my text. Let's go ahead and switch back to the single column toolbox, and I'll zoom in by pressing Ctrl+, or Cmd+on the Mac. And we end up with this effect here now. What I'm noticing at this point is that the square dot pattern isn't exactly vertically centered inside the text, and that is no problem.
All you have to do, with this clipping group expanded here inside the layers panel, just go ahead and meatball the blend. The item that's actually called blend, and then press the up arrow key one, two, three, four times ought to do it. And you may have to wait for Illustrator to catch up with you, but eventually, it will end up with this effect here. And once again, I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A Or Cmd+Shift+A on a Mac to deselect the artwork so that we can see it in all of its relative splendor.
And that is yet another stylistic approach to filling live editable texts with, in this case, a square gradient dot pattern here inside Illustrator.
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