By Lauren Harmon | Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Welcome back to Deke’s Techniques. This week Deke McClelland takes the 2D character from last week’s tutorial (inspired by the art of video game designer Dan Paladin) and adds a radiant cartoon aura in Adobe Illustrator.
Unlock the body layer. Click in the upper corner of that layer’s row in the Layers panel to select all its paths.
Now click in the upper-right corner of the head layer to select its paths and Option- or Alt-drag the Selected Art indicator to the aura layer as well.
Turn off the visibility of the body and head layers. Click in the upper-right corner of aura to select its path outlines.
Now to combine the outlines, you might use the UnitePathfinder operation. But if you do that, the clipping mask for the character will extend beyond its boundaries. Here’s the better way to join these paths.
8. Now go to the Control panel and click the Edit Contents icon. Delete the clipping mask contents by simply pressing Backspace or Delete.
Go to the Control panel and change the Fill to RGB Red and the Stroke to None.
Turn the visibility of the body and head layers back on. The aura will be hidden behind them at this stage.
Open the Appearance panel and select the Fill. Choose Effect > Path > Offset Path and change the Offset value to 4 and click OK. This expands the aura around the character.
Choose Effect > Distort & Transform > Roughen. Change the Size options to Absolute and 3 points, set Detail to 12, and select Smooth for Points.
This step gives the aura a nice irregular edge.
14. Return to the Appearance panel. The Fill should still be selected. Click Duplicate Selected Item. You’ll make three changes to this new fill.
15. To finish the illustration simply deselect everything by pressing Cmd+Shift+A or Ctrl+Shift+A and turning on the text layer.
And that’s how to add an aura of power to any character. Check out the follow-up video in the lynda.com library, where Deke shows you how to convert the simple strokes in this illustration into variable width strokes. It’s a subtle but transformative improvement.
There’s another free video coming next week that will show you how to take a photograph of a bird in flight to new heights with the Puppet Warp tool in Photoshop. Check back each week for more Deke’s Techniques.
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