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Stroke Weight on Path Segments in Adobe Illustrator By Dave Nagel How do you vary the weight of a stroke along a path in Adobe Illustrator? You can always split up the path with the Scissors tool, then adjust the stroke weights on the newly formed paths. But problems arise with this method when you path contains a fill. Fortunately, there is a simple workaround for this problem using Illustrator CS2. ...Read More »
Pumpkin Bat By Ko Maruyama Someone recently asked me why I had stopped writing holiday-based tutorials. 'Dunno. Here's another simple tutorial to illustrate spline based animation in MAXON's CINEMA 4D - I've made it a 'holiday' tutorial. Splines in this 3D application can be used for many different purposes, including shader creation. The ability to control the splines is key to many different animations. Here's how to do it. ...Read More »
Clipping with Patterns in Adobe Illustrator By Dave Nagel It's easy enough to create a clipping mask over raster images in Adobe Illustrator. However, when you do so, you might be left with a very inconvenient bounding box that can get in your way horribly while you're trying to work. And nothing you do can get rid of it beyond simply locking the object, which then makes it uneditable. ...Read More »
Live Paint in Adobe Illustrator CS2, Part 2 By Dave Nagel In our last tour through Live Paint in Illustrator CS2, we took a look at a simple method for generating multiple vector objects with a single path. But Live Paint can also be used to slice and dice existing objects using additional objects or paths. So in Part 2 of our series, we'll take a look at this more complex functionality, plus methods for stroking individual Live Paint path segments and additional methods for filling regions. ...Read More »
3D Charts in Adobe Illustrator CS By Dave Nagel The default graph styles in Adobe Illustrator aren't exactly awe-inspiring. Come to think of it, graphs in general are pretty boring. But they can be critical for conveying information to an audience with a short attention span. So, when the marketing department hands you some data to "jazz up" for a meeting or your editor hands you a table to format for a sidebar, it's your God-given duty as a designer to get that thing into some semblance of presentability or die trying. ...Read More »
Transparent Gradients in Adobe Illustrator By Dave Nagel We've discussed Opacity Masks in Adobe Illustrator CS before. But what we haven't discussed is Illustrator's ability to use opacity masks to create gradients with transparency. This technique allows you not only to create gradients that transition from a solid to transparent color, but to generate complex gradients as well in which the transparency gradient can cut across the color gradient. ...Read More »
Importing Splines in Maxon's Cinema 4D By Ko Maruyama If you're familiar with Adobe's Illustrator, and create splines for use within Maxon's Cinema 4D, and now use the latest version of Adobe's products - the CS versions, you might be wondering how to get your spline data into the 3D application. Additionally, if you're only using Photoshop CS and want to deliver your spline data to Cinema 4D, you might want to check these quick tips out to help economize your workflow. ...Read More »
Illustrator Objects to After Effects Layers By Dave Nagel You've created several dozen objects in Adobe Illustrator, and now you want to animate them in After Effects. Problem: No matter what you try, the objects don't come into After Effects as individual layers, but as one single layer. The preventative solution would have been to create each of your objects on its own separate layer in Illustrator. But, since it's too late for that now, what can you do short of manually moving each of your objects into a new layer? I'll tell you. ...Read More »
Distorting Gradients in Adobe Illustrator CS By Dave Nagel I get asked all the time how to create gradients that can be distorted along with an object or follow the contours of an object. One of those methods is simply to expand a gradient object and distort the expanded object. But then you're no longer working with a true gradient, but rather a series of solid-filled objects within your main object. But there are two viable options for warping gradients. We'll take a look at one of those today. ...Read More »
Ribbon Curl in Adobe Illustrator By Dave Nagel Envelope distortions are nothing new to Adobe Illustrator, having been around since version 10. As we've discussed in previous articles, they're useful for forcing artwork to conform to the bounds of path-based objects. But they can also be used to distort elements of your composition into folds or curls in (seemingly) three dimensions. We'll take a look at how to do this and how to create envelopes that can be used over and over to create distortions on other objects. ...Read More »
Linking Strata 3D CX with Adobe Apps By Leif Buckley One of the great additions to Strata 3D CX version 4.1 is its improved ability to work alongside Adobe's design applications. This includes ?live linking for textures in Photoshop and advanced importing/exporting abilities for Illustrator files. A simple method of 3D design is to start with a profile made in Illustrator that can be brought into Strata 3D CX for extruding, skinning or lathing. Here's how you do it. ...Read More »
Five Quick Tips for Adobe Illustrator By Dave Nagel Our tutorials on Adobe Illustrator tend toward either large, project-based scenarios or complex processes for creating effects or manipulating objects. But it's also good to step back sometimes and present some more simple tips that you might not know about, especially things that might just help you get your work done more quickly. So I've decided to launch a new series of quick tips for just this purpose, starting off with a fairly random assortment of five workflow timesavers. ...Read More »
Opacity Masks in Illustrator CS By Dave Nagel There are dozens of ways in Adobe Illustrator to combine objects to produce new shapes or effects. But one of the most creative--and probably least known--is the opacity mask. With this technique, you can combine an object with one or more other objects to define transparent areas of the shape. You can even use Opacity Masks to create image effects on live type. ...Read More »
3D in Illustrator CS, Part 5 By Dave Nagel We've explored just about everything there is to explore in terms of 3D in Adobe Illustrator CS, from bevels to texture mapping extruded objects. However, there's on area I haven't covered yet: wrapping one 3D object around another. (Think Saturn's rings.) It's a fairly simple technique, but one that has its quirks. It's also one that's sure be of use to many of you in your illustration work. ...Read More »
Creating Custom Brushes for Illustrator, Part 2 By Dave Nagel In our last installment dealing with brushes in Adobe Illustrator, we looked at methods for generating Pattern Brushes from vector elements. But this week we'll leave the patterned strokes behind and delve into the messier realm of Art Brushes. These types of brushes differ from Pattern Brushes in that they produce strokes that resemble, in some ways, traditional media, everything from thick, creamy, bristly paints to dry, rough materials. So strap on your smocks. It's going to get sloppy! ...Read More »
Manipulating Guides in Illustrator CS By Dave Nagel If you use Illustrator regularly, no doubt one of your first steps when working on a new document is to set up your guides. The process, though, can take some time, especially if you like to create a grid made up of guides or want your guides perfectly centered. And, even if this isn't a problem for you, well, it is redundant and at least a little time-consuming. So today we'll take a look at a few methods for manipulating guides and for setting up an automated Action for creating any number of evenly spaced guides for any size document. ...Read More »
3D in Illustrator CS, Part 4 By Dave Nagel Now that we've covered just about all the basics of using 3D effects in Adobe Illustrator CS, it's time to move on to some techniques for applying the basics to actual projects. This week we're going to take what we've learned from previous installments and combine that with transparency, lighting and faux environment/reflection mapping to create something of a glass effect--specifically a wine glass, though the technique can be applied to any sort of transparent object. ...Read More »
3D in Illustrator CS, Part 3 By Dave Nagel In our last two explorations of Adobe Illustrator, we looked at some of the basics of using 3D, including general controls and a somewhat extensive examination of the Extrude & Bevel effect. Now we'll move beyond that and into the much more extraordinary 3D Revolve tool. In Part 3 of our series on 3D effects in Illustrator CS, we'll use the Revolve function to create some basic shapes in order to get accustomed to the effect and also get a little bit into texture mapping. ...Read More »
3D Effects in Illustrator CS, Part 2 By Dave Nagel In our last installment on Adobe Illustrator CS, we explored the basic workings of the software's new 3D capabilities, with an extensive look at the Extrude & Bevel effect. What we left out though was one of the key features of this tool, namely the creation of custom bevels. In Illustrator, as in some other applications, custom bevels allow you to mold not only the edges of the face of your object, but also its sides, similar in some ways to putting your object through a lathe. It's a fairly straightforward process, but there are some limitations and caveats. ...Read More »
3D Effects in Illustrator CS By Dave Nagel We've taken a brief look at the 3D capabilities in Adobe Illustrator CS, and now it's time to go deeper and explore some of the new application's creative possibilities. So this week we're launching a new series exploring all of the details of Illustrator's new 3D tools. We kick off the series today with a look at extrusion and bevel techniques, including surface mapping and other options available for fine-tuning the look of your 3D object, including a preliminary overview of the basics of 3D in Illustrator CS. ...Read More »
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