Applying and editing a calligraphic brush

show more Applying and editing a calligraphic brush provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke McClelland as part of the Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced show less
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Applying and editing a calligraphic brush

In this movie, I'll show you how to both apply and customize a Calligraphic Brush, and we'll be assigning that brush to this line of editable text, which works inside of Illustrator as long as you approach it from the proper angle. So I'll start by clicking on the baseline of the text with the Black Arrow tool to select it, then I'll bring up the Brushes panel, and I'll go ahead and assign this guy right there 5 pt. Oval. Now that's not going to do anything, and the reason that this doesn't work is that Illustrator has nothing to latch the brush onto; you can't brush individual characters of type, in other words.

So what you've got to do is switch over to the Appearance panel, and I am going start by double-clicking on the word Characters in order to select the text with the Type tool. What I want to do is get rid of this fill, so I am just going to drag the fill to the Trashcan in order to set it to none. Then I'll double-click on Type No Appearance right there in order to switch back to the text object, and then I'll add a stroke by clicking on the Add New Stroke icon down here in the bottom-left corner of the panel. Now that we have a stroke to work with, I can assign a Calligraphic Brush to it.

So I'll go ahead and once again click on 5 pt. Oval, and we end up getting this effect here. Now let's say you want to go ahead and customize this brush, there's two ways to approach that. One is to double-click on the Calligraphic Brush in order to modify the settings associated with that brush as well as the selected text; and the other option is to apply a local adjustment just to the selected object. And if you want to do that, then you would click on this little icon down here at the bottom of the Brushes panel Options of Selected Object and that brings up the Stroke Options dialog box.

Now notice that we do indeed have a Calligraphic Brush. Calligraphic Brush by the way is a round brush, it can be either perfectly round or elliptical, as you see here. And it gets repeated over the course of a path outline or in a case of this editable text, the character outlines. Now notice that I have the Preview checkbox turned on so I can see the results of my modifications. You can change the Roundness of the brush by dragging on these little handles inside this brush preview, and you can change its angle by dragging on the little arrow.

What I want to do is enter some specific Angle and Roundness values. So I'll set the Angle to -30 degrees for example, and then I'll set this item which is by default set to Fixed; it's set to Random for this specific brush. I want to leave it set to Random so I have some random variation associated with the angle of my brush. And if you're working with a pressure sensitive device, such as a Wacom tablet; then you can go with any of these settings; Pressure through Rotation; depending on your stylus. For that to work however, I would've had to have drawn this path using a pressure sensitive device.

And of course that's impossible when you're working with characters of editable text. Anyway, I am going to set that item to Random and then I'll set the Variation value to 90 degrees. and what that means is the angle can now vary from -30 degrees plus 90 degrees, which would be 60 degrees, or -30 degrees minus 90 degrees, which would be -120 degrees. For the moment here I am going to set the Roundness value to 50%, leave the next item set to Random, and then increase the Variation value to 40%.

And I'll also increase the Size value here to 30 points, so we can see the difference here. And notice these little brush previews right there. The black brush is the -30. 50%, 30 pt. brush. The gray brush over here on the left is one extreme variation; the one over here on the right is another extreme variation. Now notice that the Variation value, in the case of both Roundness and Size, cannot be higher than the base value. So if I reduce the Roundness value to 25% for example, Illustrator goes ahead and automatically resets the Variation value to what it was when I first began modifying this brush.

So I can take it as high as 25% now, but no higher. And then finally, I'm going to set the Size value to 10 pt. for this effect, and I'm going to switch from Fixed to Random once again, and I am going to increase the Variation value to 10 pts. And notice what happens here--now you may get a totally different result by the way. What Illustrator is supposed to be able to do is either increase the Size as much as 10 points, so that it would go to 10 plus 10, 20 pt.; or reduce the Size as much as 10 points which would take it down to 0 pt.

In my case, it's taking the brush stroke only down; in your case, if you're working along with me, it may be merely increasing the brush size. And that's because it's happening randomly, but over the course of the entire character outlines. So it's really actually uniform, it's just that Illustrator is picking a random size on the fly, and we're only going to see one random variation while we're working in this dialog box. So I might go ahead and take the Variation value down to 7 pt. and then just click OK; or you can modify the actual definition of the brush, which gives you a little more flexibility.

Let me show you what I mean. I'll go ahead and cancel out of here and then I'll double-click on that Calligraphic Brush, 5 pt. Oval, in order to modify its definition; and I'll dial in those same values I entered a moment ago. So -30 degree for the Angle value, 90 degree for Variation, I want 25% for the Roundness, I want a Variation of 25% as well. I'll take that Size value up to 10 pt., I'll set it to Random, and then I'll change the Variation value to 10 pt. as well. And I end up getting a totally different effect this time, but it is absolutely random.

And as long as we're here, we might as well go ahead and rename this stroke as well; I'll call it 10 pt. Oval instead of 5, and then I'll click OK. Illustrator will now ask me, do you want to go ahead and apply this modification to the stroke or do you want to leave the stroke alone and just modify the definition of the Calligraphic Brush? Either one is okay, because even if you say Leave Strokes--I'll just go ahead and click Leave Strokes, so that it doesn't change from its previous appearance. Now if I go ahead and click on 10 pt. Oval again in order to reapply it, I'll see the result of my modifications.

And if you don't like this effect by the way because we're applying random strokes, then you can go ahead and click on it again, and again, and again. So every time you click on this brush, your stroke is going to change inside the document. All right! So I'm pretty happy with what I have here. Now I am going to change the color of the stroke, which is entirely acceptable by the way. Calligraphic Brushes do not in and of themselves convey any color. So if you want to change the stroke you do it like you usually do, just click the second swatch up here in the Control panel, and then I am going to select a color I've created in advance which is called OW yellow.

The naming convention is based on the fact that I've got this tile pattern called Orange wedges and I used OW, Orange wedges yellow, inside that pattern. Anyway, I'll go ahead and select it in order to change the color of my brush and then I'll click on the first swatch here in order to change the fill and I'll go ahead and set it to this shade of green right here, C=75 M=0 Y=100 K=0, which is one of the default swatches that's available to you inside of Illustrator. And there you have it. That is how you go about applying and customizing a Calligraphic Brush even to editable text here inside Illustrator.

Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
Video duration: 7m 34s 11h 2m Advanced


Applying and editing a calligraphic brush provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke McClelland as part of the Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

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