Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a basic bevel effect, part of Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
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In this exercise, I am going to show you how to create a very basic beveling effect by adding a stroke to our type and then just slightly nudging that stroke independently of the fill. I have saved my progress as Offset type.ai and I am going to click on my red type here in order to select it, and then I am going to add a stroke here in the Appearance panel. Now, throughout this chapter you will want to keep the Appearance panel up onscreen because we'll be coming back to it a lot, and the Appearance panel is analogous to layers. So just as the layers panel shows you, all of the layers inside of your document as well as all of the object inside those layers, the Appearance panel shows you all the attributes and effects that are stacked up on top of each other associated with the selected object.
So what I am going to do here, is I am going to go over to Stroke and I am going to click on the Stroke Swatch in order to bring up the Swatches panel and I'll assign Rich black as my Stroke, and then I am going to take the line weight value up to 10 points, which may seem ridiculous because it's going to give us a very ugly effect onscreen here. Then I will click on the word Stroke, and I'll switch the Corner option to Round Join. Now at this point, you might look at the stack something, gee whiz! Why does Illustrator do that? Why does it let the stroke infringe on the actual letterforms which makes the letters quite illegible actually? Well what Illustrator is doing here, it's going ahead and centering the stroke on the letterforms on the outlines.
So we've got five points of that ten point stroke going outside the letters and five points going inward. Now normally, if this were regular path outlined, we could change our Align Stroke option from Center to one of the others, but we can't do that with types. So our choices are seemingly very limited, not so much. Watch this, it's very easy to get a better effect by grabbing the stroke and moving it under the fill, like so, that's all it takes and that way the stroke is applied first, the fill is applied second. So anything at the bottom is applied before the stuff at the top, so in other words the fill is covering the stroke just as it would if we had one object on top of another inside the layers panel and we end up getting this much better effect right there.
Now the next trick is to nudge that stroke independently of the fill, and you can do that using a dynamic effect, but first, you've got to click on the word Stroke to make it active, so that we affect the stroke independently of any other attributes. Also you might want to go ahead and twirl open Stroke, that is click on this little twirly triangle, so you can see any dynamic effects that are applied, which are currently None. We have not applied anything so far. Now go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform and choose what has to be the most useful of all the dynamic effects which is the Transform command or you can press Ctrl+E or Command+E on the Mac, if you loaded my Deke Keys; E for effect of course.
So I'll go ahead and choose that command and up comes this dialog box which allows you to scale this attribute, and rotate it and flip it if you want to, lots of different things you can do here. I don't know why you'd want to rotate a stroke. I'll go ahead and enter an angle value 50? and turn on the Preview check box, that's the effect you'd get, but you could do it if you want to. I imagine you could rotate a bunch of strokes actually in the background, if you'd like. Anyway I am going to change the value back to 0, and turn Preview off for a moment, just so that we have a better sense of the before-and-after version of the Stroke and then I am going to change the Move values which allow me to nudge the stroke, and you may recall that positive Horizontal values move the object, in this case the Stroke to the right.
Negative values move it to the left, and Vertical, where Vertical is concerned, positive values moved the item down, not up and then negative values move it up. So I am looking to move the Stroke to the left a little bit, to the tune of two points, so I will enter -2 and then I will change a Vertical value to 0.5 just half a point, and then I will turn on the Preview check box and we get this affect here. So just a slight little nudge assigned to the stroke independently of the fill, click OK, and you can now see this dynamic effect applied to the Stroke. So we have got fx icon, we've got Transform; if you want to change your mind, you click on Transform, enter new values, you've got your old values for reference and so on, and then you can turn out Preview, whatever you want to do.
Anyway, this change is just fine. I am going to cancel out. That's how you create a very basic bevel effect. In the next exercise, I will show you how to duplicate the Stroke along with its dynamic effect, and then we will edit both strokes and effects in order to build up our bevel.
- 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