7 Things You Didn't Know Adobe Illustrator Could Do
We've all seen those fancy cool looking vectors where lots of evenly spaced lines curve around some complicated graphics. It can really help to add movement and interest to a design and its really easy to do. This tool is how you do it.
Draw two lines with the pen tool (Hot key ="P"). Now select the blend tool (Hot key="W"). If you would like to set some options up (eg. how many lines will appear between the two you have drawn) then press "return". On nearly all the tools this will bring up an option window where you can play about with settings. When you are ready simply select one of the lines you have drawn with the blend tool and then select the other line.
And... Bing, you should have a blend between the two lines. Enjoy...
Ok this one can get very complicated. Some have been able to create photo realistic images using this technique. However we will just use it on a simple circle. So press "L" for the circle tools and draw yourself a circle, using the shift key to keep it from distorting into an oval shape.
Make sure the circle has a fill in it and that it is selected, then press the "U" key for the mesh tool.
Now make a selection anywhere within the circle and select a different colour. The point which you made the selection will evenly gradient into the outer colours.
You can also use the direct selection tool (Hot key "a") to select the nodes and change their colours and positions as well. Using these techniques you can create very complex meshes which can add depth and shadow to illustrations or shapes.
Did you think that Illustrator was limited to 2D flat vector shapes? Will it isn't. Adobe have recently (CS1) introduced a piece of the future into Illustrator which I'm sure will become more and more advanced as time goes on. Ladies and Gents... The 3D effect.
So press "M" and draw yourself a box. When it is selected go to Effect > 3D > Extrude and Bevel. You will now be faced with a configuration window. I'd suggest you select the "preview" option so you can see whats going on.
Have a play with the options and you can easily create simple and effective 3D objects.
If you wanted to flatten this all you have to do is go to Object > Expand Appearance and boom, you will have yourself a flattened 3D object which you can do what you want with...
Ok, create your desired pattern using normal illustrator tools and effects and simply drag it into the swatches pallet.
Next time you draw a shape select your pattern as its fill and bobs your uncle, you have a tiled pattern fill. You can also turn your pattern by using the selection tool (Hot key "v") to select your object and then by pressing return. This will bring up the "move" options pallet where you can set the angle of a pattern.
Fed up with recreating tiny details with copy and paste? The symbol tool makes little details like this easy as pie.
Make a graphic and select it. Drag it into the symbols pallet.
Now select the symbol sprayer tool (hot key shift s). You will see that it sprayers your symbol onto the artboard. If you wish to add a little interest you can click and hold the symbol sprayer icon on the tool pallet and then select the symbol sizer tool and other symbol related tools.
Tip: Symbols can be made using transparency as well.
What was that? illustrator is too straight edged for you? Well have you seen the "blur" effect?
Make a shape, select it and then simply go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. You will have a few options relating to the harshness of the blur. Select OK and your vector shape will be blurred. It will retain its blur and vector edit ability, so if you wish to change its shape it will continue to have that effect applied to it. Very handy for adding quick drop shadows or atmosphere.
This one has saved me many times. Create a vector shape and duplicate it so that some areas are overlapping (you can do this by using the selection tool â€“ hot key v) and whilst a shape is being moved press the alt key, this will duplicate it. If you want to duplicate the shape in exactly the same way again press option D).
Now to add some interest. Go to the transparency palette. There will be a dropdown menu currently selected at "normal". Click it and select "multiply". Notice the difference? Try some of the other transparency options.
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