Appearance, Effects, Styles
Ever wondered how images like this are created in Illustrator.
The Secret lies in the Appearance window and Effects. Where you can combine all sorts of strokes, fills, effects and so on. Not only practical for type but al sorts of other stuff.
NOTE: If you want to apply Styles to Text for various reasons it’s easier if you first group your text element and apply the style to the group.
To learn about the basic settings for Appearance, Styles and Effects have a look at this video. Also open up the Graphic-Styles.ai File provided in the Class-files folder and find out more by looking at the Appearance of the different elements.
Play around with Appearance and create two different “germs or microbes” like in the example image. Save a jpg.
If you have drawn some line art or sketch or you have brush strokes or other images that you want to use as vectors inside Illustrator you’ll need to trace them. Here are e few examples.
Trace Sketches and fill Areas and Outlines
I’lll show you how to get from here to there. We’ll use Trace Image, the Live Paint Bucket and create an Art Brush.
PRO TIP: How to use Opacity Masks to color in the sketched lines.
Trace Image – Noise for textured Pattern
We’ll trace an image and create a pattern out of it, then use it to texturise our image with the help of the Appearance window.
TIP: Use an Opacity Mask with a pattern inside for masking and adding little blotches to your illustration.
Sketch, trace, colour something by yourself and save a jpg.
Cut outs, sections, trimming and uniting paths. All can be done with the Pathfinder.
Special Tips & Tricks
As a general rule of thumb when drawing in Illustrator try to overlap areas as much as possible. This will let you move, scale and reshape parts of your project easily later on in your process.
Image recreated after original from Paul Tebbott
The Illustration is built up of layered elements that leave room for adjustments.
Not so good
Elements only go as far as the next element starts. This generates Problems: First you have double the work creating the forms. Second, when you want to move one element or scale it it will generate a gap.
Overlapping areas you draw also helps save time as you always need do draw one contour at a time.
From Adobe: Expanding objects enables you to divide a single object into multiple objects that make up its appearance. …
You typically expand an object when you want to modify the appearance attributes and other properties of specific elements within it.
If you want to expand things click on Object → Expand or Expand Appearance. Whichever is not greyed out. They essentially do the same 🙂
NOTE: You’ll end up with a group, so to get so the elements you have to ungroup or double click.
ATTENTION: This is a one way street. After you have expanded a pattern, stroke or similar there is no way back.
Extra TIP – Get rid of the invisible rectangles when expanding a pattern.
Select same …
Find all elements with the same Colour, Stroke, … → Super useful!
If you want to transform more tha one objects together and from their anchor points rather than a shared one use Transform Each.
AI Scripts – example
You find the Script file RandomSwatchesFill.js in the Class Files Folder → Script.
Copy it to this loacation inside your Applications Folder.
If you have the german version the Folder will be called de_DE instead of en_GB…
Then restart Illustrator.
For more Scripts have a look at Hiroyuki Satos Website with a wide range of nice and handy scripts. He has got more for CS on his Github. And they are free as well!
Or the Scripts from John Wunde. They are really helpful and fun plus you can create stuff like this fish with them.