This week’s Deke’s Techniques video demonstrates the relatively simple, but oh-so-useful method for filling your Illustrator type with a photographic image. The steps are straightforward, but you’ll need Illustrator CS5 or better in order to use the handy (and crucial to this technique) Draw Inside mode. With Draw Inside mode active, it’s just a matter of selecting the text you’d like to alter and placing your photographic texture of choice inside the type.
If you want a stroke or a drop shadow, you’ll need to use the Layers panel to select your text independent from your image texture, then skillfully navigate the Appearance panel in order to add stroke and drop-shadow effects to the appropriate object inside of Illustrator. (Rookie’s note from a fellow Illustrator rookie: Make sure you choose the Stylize menu item from the top of the Effects menu, not the second half.) The final result is this formerly boring text on the left turned into the editable, tweakable barn-stormin’ effect on the right.
For members of lynda.com, Deke’s also has another member-exclusive video this week called Adding strokes behind photo type that shows you how to create a double stroke around this effect. It sounds simple, but it’s Illustrator, so you’ll be happy Deke is by your side with answers to the oddly complicated nuances you’ll encounter when tackling this technique.
See you back here next week when Deke returns with another quick and useful technique!
This week’s free Deke’s Techniques is the first recorded in Illustrator CS6, but aside from the new dark interface atmosphere, there’s nothing in this technique that can’t be done in earlier versions of Illustrator. Which is to say, placing type on the top and bottom of what appears to be the same circle still requires some finesse, even in this era of Illustrator CS6. In today’s tutorial, Deke will show you exactly how it works.
This technique is ultimately a matter of understanding how to stack two different circles, using the alignment setting and Smart Guides to your advantage, and then adjusting the scale and tracking of the text to finish the effect. The result is type placed on a circular path, with the center of each letter aligned, like you see in this fiercely aligned logo:
For members of lynda.com, Deke’s got an exclusive follow-up movie called Making flared type on a circle that demonstrates how to convert your text to an art brush for those times when you need your letters to bend and flare with the curve of your circle, rather than aligning at the center of each letter. This technique is especially handy when you need to change a long word like tortellini to a word like milk that is much shorter and contains a very wide first letter.
See you back next week when Deke shares another free technique!
Styles is a catch-all term that refers to a set of particulars like font size, color, effects, etc. that can be saved and applied over and over again. With no need to re-set your style preferences every time, you can save your sanity, your wrists, and perhaps most importantly, your time. Variations on the styles feature exist in many different applications, from word processors, to graphic design applications, to web-page authoring programs. For this week’s Featured Five, I’ve selected five free movies that reveal how styles can help you work more efficiently in five different creative applications.
1. Creating your first style with Microsoft Word
It’s quite possible that the first time most of us encounter the concept of a style is in Microsoft Word, where it can be very handy to establish font type, color, and size styles for various repeating elements of a document. In Word 2010: Styles in Depth,Mariann Siegert covers the whole gamut of style tools that Word provides. Here’s an unlocked excerpt from chapter one of the course that demonstrates how to create your first style:
2. Applying styles to objects with Adobe InDesign
InDesign, Adobe’s layout program, allows you to create five different kinds of styles, depending on what kind of elements need to have repeat formatting, and you aren’t just limited to creating text styles. In this excerpt from chapter five of InDesign Styles in Depth, Michael Murphy introduces object styles, which allow you to repeat the created attributes of your specially designed frames:
3. The nuances of style creation in Adobe Illustrator
Of course, InDesign isn’t the only place you may be working with text elements that would benefit from style creation. In this video from chapter six of Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text, Mordy Golding takes a look at the particulars of working with text styles in Illustrator:
4. New styles features in Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta
For those of you who have struggled with managing your text settings and effects within Photoshop, your day has finally come. In the latest latest beta version of Photoshop, character and paragraph styles have finally arrived. As with any new feature, there’s a little bit of a learning curve. In this movie from Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview, Deke McClelland gives an overview of the new Photoshop text and style enhancements feature. (Note: For a limited time this course is completely unlocked, so consider checking it out as my featured five-plus bonus of the week.)
5. Creating styles for an entire website in Dreamweaver
You can efficiently establish a consistent look for every similar element in your entire web site by using Creative Style Sheets (CSS) in Dreamweaver. In this excerpt from chapter six of Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training, James Williamson takes you on a tour of the CSS Styles panel and reveals how much time can be saved by establishing consistent styles for your site.
Feeling inspired to explore some of the uncharted learning paths on your own to-do list? Remember, 10 percent of all lynda.com content is free to try. Just click on any of the blue links on any course table of contents page in our library.
I’ll be back next week with five more free selections. In the mean time, have you recently seen any free movies from lynda.com you’d like to share?
In this week’s free video, Deke shows you how to create train tracks in Illustrator—and not your simple Thomas the Tank Engine tracks—but real honest-to-goodness wooden ties with shiny rails. The basics of this technique involve using nothing more than a total of 19 strokes heaped into a single path outline, and the rest is just a series of colors and numerical settings applied from the Appearance panel.
The key is leveraging Illustrator’s ability to apply a multitude of attributes to a single path and carefully offsetting them so that you create the shadows and highlights that really sell the effect. The result is this authentic railroad track that will make any train nerd proud.
Just so you have an adequate appreciation of what’s going on, here’s your everyday-average Illustrator train track effect (made with just 3 strokes):
And here’s Deke’s subtly more sophisticated railroad effect (made with 19 strokes):
If you’re not a straight-and-narrow (gauge) type of artist, Deke also has an exclusive movie for lynda.com members this week called Bending the railroad track around curves, in which he shows you an alternative technique that allows you to create curvy tracks.
Rumor has it that next month Adobe Illustrator will turn 25 years old. To celebrate, Deke offers a free technique this week that uses Illustrator to make its own graphic celebratory explosion. You’ll start with some ordinary text, set in an ordinary font, and then you will attach eye-catching stroke effects around it, using a variety of commands from Illustrator’s Effect menu (including a bit of Transform goodness, some offset paths, and the delightfully named Pucker and Bloat commands). After that, Deke shows you how to fill the text and create a series of strokes to form an outline.
Eventually, you can save the whole slew of effects (accumulated in the Appearance panel) as a graphic style to be reused in the second phase of the technique.
To make the “explosion” part of the graphic, you’ll start with a single line segment emanating from the center of the drawing. Next, Deke shows you a super secret way to create a random cacophony of duplicate lines. (OK, it’s all about holding down the tilde key [~], but it’s quick and cool.) Now, you can apply the graphic style you’ve created from the text, turn off some of the options in the Appearance panel, change the fill color, and speedily create a complementary (and no less explosive) effect for the burst of lines. The results explosively speak for themselves. Meanwhile the text is editable, so you can update your center message at will (or depending on the age of your subject). Happy graphic explosion birthday, Illustrator! You’ve earned it.
Deke will be back next week with another free technique (and a couple of exclusive variations exclusively for lynda.com members).
In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques video, Deke uses the Reshape tool—an older, more obscure Illustrator feature—in an unexpected way to create a fresh, swirly typographic curve for your last-minute Valentine (or whatever other occasion you may have to make sweet swirls). You start with the Pen tool to rough in your letter S. If you’re not a wiz with the Pen tool, don’t be scared—just make a crazy polygonal not-quite-letter-Z to create the anchor points. Then using the Reshape tool, drag out each segment until you get the curves you seek. (Members of lynda.com can download the accompanying exercise file and use Deke’s S as a tracing template.)
There’s no need to figure out your control handle curves with the Pen tool or try to join spirals created by the aptly named Spiral tool, either. The Reshape tool will supply the curves and the Object > Path > Simplify command will reduce the number of anchor points to smooth out the lumps (since your valentine won’t appreciate lumps). Add a white stroke to your path, and if you’re using Illustrator CS5, use the Width tool to add some weight to your sweetness. The result will be this Valentine-worthy letter S:
For members of the lynda.com Online Training Library®, Deke takes this technique to the next step to show you how to create a hand-drawn letter effect that will help you add the “weet” to your swirling “Sweet” by manipulating existing type definitions.
This week, Deke’s free technique shows you how to use a secret Asian-language text setting (revealed to Deke by our own Mordy Golding) to create authentic-looking movie credits in Illustrator. The trick is exploiting the Warichu feature which is designed for stacking characters within a single line of type. In this technique, Deke reveals how the feature allows you to gracefully stack two words one on top of another, adjust the size, create a character style that saves those settings, and then apply your character-style down the line to all the people who helped make your imaginary movie possible.
Any designer or budding movie promoter who’s obsessed with typesetting (and doesn’t that include most of you?) knows that the standard movie credits in a promotional poster stack the two-word job title before the linear presentation of each contributor’s name. So text that initially looks like this…
…ends up looking like this:
If you were inspired by Deke’s Designing an Indiana Jones-style logo technique from December 2011, then this technique will allow you to create some credits at the bottom of your poster that will convince your audience that you know how to properly hype your latest entirely theoretical but professionally promoted cinematic endeavor. And if you’d like specific instruction on putting the two techniques together, check out the Two ways to place a pixel-based image movie from the Illustrator and Photoshop chapter (chapter 21) of Deke’sIllustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced course.
See you back next week with another free technique from Deke!
This week, you get not only Deke’s free advice for making the world’s scariest snowflake in Illustrator, but also insight into Deke’s childhood and how he came to make the scary connection between Halloween and snowflakes. The beauty of this technique is that Illustrator’s dynamic Transform effect means you can work on one-twelfth of your snowflake—creating the scariest, craziest, most intricate skeleton-ghost you can imagine—and have your work automatically repeated eleven times. The effect is this delightful, multi-seasonal creation:
It takes some work to join and properly fill the path outlines along the way, and Deke takes you through his particular ghastly machinations. You’ll see how to use the Pathfinder panel to create the proper combinations. You’ll even see how Deke has to navigate the treacherous interworkings of groups and pathfinding.
For lynda.com members, there are two more exclusive movies in the Online Training Library® this week, in which Deke shows you how to replicate your snowflake as ‘true clones’ so that you can make an entire pattern in Illustrator and then import your creation into Photoshop as a smart object in order to give it a fiery background. Fire and ice in this week’s holiday technique. Happy haunting!