Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying a "path wiggler" to type, part of Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
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In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to a collection of dynamic effects that I call the path wigglers because what they do is they take a straight segment inside of a path and they wiggle it essentially in a variety of different ways. I've saved my progress as 3D flat fill.ai. I'm going to go ahead and click on this text once again to select it and now what I'd like you to do before we go up to the Effect menu and choose Distort & Transform which is where these commands live and here they are by the way Pucker & Bloat's one, Roughen is another one, then there is also Tweak and Zig Zag and you can play around with them as much as you want, but if you're going to experiment, don't want to be doing it in 3D because it doesn't always work out so well.
I've had problems with the program crashing. So the better idea if you're going to experiment once again with any dynamic effect is to pare down the effects that you've applied so far and all you have to do is just turn some of them off. So I'm going to turn off the 3D Rotate because that's the big one, that's the one that's really computationally intensive and then I'm going to turn off Transform. Now with those two guys off, I'll click on Type once again to make it active, go back up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform and let's try for example, Zig Zag, just so you can get a sense of what these commands are about.
If you want to see it in action, then you can turn on the Preview check box and that is pretty zigzagging there. Now Ridges per segment is going to define how many back and forth zigzags we have per line segment and you don't really know where the line segments are in live type, but they are there because every single character of type is ultimately represented as a path outline, but we must have a lot more segments over on this side for example whatever letters these are over here, on the right side of the text than we do for example in the middle there on this U or whatever that is.
However, you can reduce the number of ridges if you want to by taking that Ridges per segment value down. You also have a Size value, so how much zigging and zagging back and forth is going on, you can either enter that value as an absolute number of points for example or if you select Relative, it's going to change to a percentage, and that is the percent as measured with respect to the size of the segment in the first place. Obviously, if you want less way going which I do then you would take that value down. Finally, you can define what kinds of points are being added virtually here whether they're corner points or whether you're creating smooth points, in which case we get this very blobby effect right here.
Anyway, I don't want that. I am just showing you what's going on. I am going to cancel out. You can experiment on your own with the other guys there that is the Roughen effect and Tweak. I'm going to switch over to Pucker & Bloat because that's the command that I find to be the most successful where this specific text is concerned. And the best way to understand Pucker & Bloat is to apply the command. So I am going to click on Preview to turn it on and by default you're not going to see anything because that value is set to zero. If you make it bigger or you drag this slider over to the right, you are going to bloat. If you make the value smaller that is negative or drag the slider over to left then you are going to pucker.
We're going to start things off by bloating here. I am just going to drag this guy over quite a bit and we end up making the letters entirely illegible at such a high value. However, if you just bloat a little bit, such as in my case 13% then you end up getting some pretty interesting forms going on there. Now the text is puffy, that's not really what I want. I want the opposite. So I would pucker instead. I'll take this value down to something like this. Now if you take it down too far obviously, you're going to get these completely ridiculous spikes and then your letters appear as these tiny letters down here on the inside.
Notice the H right there, is still barely visible, but there're so much other stuff going on that I think it's highly unlikely, anyone would be able to make it out. Anyway, I am going to take this value up to -6, ends up working out pretty well, so just a little bit of puckering and you can see that that moves those edges inward and adds an almost serif defect or otherwise san serif type and I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification and now that I've applied Pucker & Bloat, I'm going to add 3D Rotate back in and that way we just have a little bit of pain associated with reapplying the command.
We don't have to wait every single time for example I move that slider inside of Pucker & Bloat. That would have been pretty bad and then finally, I'll go ahead and turn on Transform as well to move the text over to the right and to expand its height. Now a note about what's going on here inside the Appearance panel; I was telling you that the attributes build up from the bottom. So we start with this 30 point black stroke, the 24 point brown stroke is on top of it, the 18 point white stroke is on top of that and so on all way up to the fills here.
The effects for some reason go in exactly the opposite order. So Offset Path is assigned first and then Pucker & Bloat and then 3D Rotate and then Transform. Now you may wonder why in the world first of all why in the world, Adobe chose to do it that way? I have no idea, but that is the way it works. But also why does Illustrator decide to slide effects in, in different locations? So why did it put Pucker & Bloat in between Offset Path and the other effects? I really don't know. Now if you want to, you can move it around.
You could grab Pucker & Bloat for example and you could move it to after Transform and we'd end up getting this amazing effect right there. That's actually really cool, this high degree of serration that's going on as if we cut these letters with a knife, however it's not what I want. Pretty interesting, but it's also cutting off the P and you have to watch yourself by the way. Different interactions of values will produce some pretty peculiar effects. So you just need to make sure that none of your letterforms are getting cut off and that don't have weird blob showing up in the middle of nowhere.
Anyway, I'm going to grab that Pucker & Bloat and move it back to where it was. It's possible. Illustrator is just really smart about where it puts things, but I do want you to notice that you can move these effects up and down in stack and remember because sometimes it's for important. Remember that the top effects are applied before the bottom effects. In next exercise, we're going to finish off this type with a classic effect, the Drop Shadow, but we'll see that even the common drop shadow takes a very deliberate approach.
- Tracing a pixel-based image
- Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
- Creating and editing gradients
- Creating multi-colored blends
- Creating seamlessly repeating tile patterns
- Creating interlocking artwork with Live Paint
- Designing advanced type effects
- Recoloring artwork with color harmonies
- Making the most of symbols
- Integrating Illustrator with Photoshop
- Using transparency, blend modes, and opacity masks