By Lauren Harmon | Tuesday, March 05, 2013
This week’s installment of Deke’s Techniques returns to optical art territory. Deke McClelland starts off with some very basic path outlines in Adobe Illustrator, and then converts them into a seamlessly repeating tile pattern. Let’s see exactly how it works!
To get started, follow along with Deke in this week’s free video and use the companion text below to help with each step.
If you’re a lynda.com premium member, you can use the exercise files Deke provides with the course, or simply use the instructions he gives in the first part of the video to create your own version.
Select the diamond shape floating in the middle and choose Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center from the options bar.
Select the diamond again. Scale it 150% horizontally and 130% vertically and create a copy. Bring the copy to the front of the stack.
Marquee-select all of the paths you have been working with and press X to invert the fill and stroke colors. The paths will now be solid black.
Select both groups and choose Object > Blend > Make to blend the paths. To create more steps in your blend, double-click the Blend tool and change Spacing to Specified Steps and increase Steps to 6.
Switch to Outline mode (Cmd+Y or Ctrl+Y) and select the outermost wavy shape and the outer diamond and fill them with white.
Switch back to Preview mode. Select both wavy paths and choose Object > Group. Then group the two diamond paths.
Select both groups and blend them. Do not change the number of steps just yet.
Select the entire diamond group and press Cmd+C or Ctrl+C to load a copy in your clipboard.
Note: Resist pasting it for now.
Select the black diamond and create a scaled copy 940% larger horizontally and 870% larger vertically.
Reselect the entire diamond group and choose Edit > Paste in Front to create a copy of that original smaller diamond group.
Select the entire blend on the right-hand of your screen and change the Specified Steps to 3. This is the second group of your pattern.
Draw a rectangle with no fill and no stroke from the four outside anchor points of the remaining blend group, as shown below.
Tip: Turn on Smart Guides to snap the rectangle exactly to the points.
Deselect the artwork and switch to the empty pattern layer in your document. The entire artboard should be covered by another rectangle with no fill or stroke. Click to select it.
Fill this shape with the swatch containing your new pattern.
Center and scale the swatch within your artboard to finalize it for print or other design uses.
Now you have a piece of complex op art, achieved with the help of the powerful commands in Illustrator.
Members of lynda.com can check out the next movie in the series, Op art experiment 2b: Concentric rings, and learn how to create another op art effect that mimics the pop artist Bridget Riley. Next week Deke shows how even nonprofessional photographers can get great looking, color corrected, and white-balanced image results with Photoshop and Camera Raw. Stay tuned!
Suggested courses to watch next:
• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection
• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate
• Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate
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