dekePod

Deke's Techniques 510: Applying Knockout Group to a Dynamic Path in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke takes the powerful atomic symbol he dynamically drew in Illustrator last week and figures out how to make those electrons hollow so they reveal the background behind them.

You might think he'd already done that looking at where we left off last week:

A rotated red atom drawn dynamically in Adobe Illustrator

But, in fact, those "hollow" electrons are actually just filled with the background color. Fine if your background is a solid color, but the minute you change it:

The electrons are still red when you move to a new background.

And while I think the red electrons look cool, Deke and the incomparable Illustrator intellect Mordy Golding got to talking about the puzzle and, being the guys they are, had to solve it.

The answer was hidden in the Opacity setting of the Appearance panel, where a Knockout Group checkbox resides:

The Knockout Group checkbox resides in the Opacity area of the Appearance panel.

And after a few more adjustments (namely involving reducing the fill opacity settings of the circles that live inside the electrons), we finally arrive at Deke's desired goal:

The authentically transparent electrons now reveal their true background.

Thing is, Deke and Mordy, being the inquisitive Illustrator instructors they are, gave themselves yet another challenge: how to apply a drop shadow effect to the entire symbol (including the inside of the now-hollowed-out electrons).

If you're a member of Lynda.com, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he (and Mordy) finally figure the puzzle out using Illustrator's Rasterize effect.

The Rasterize effect in Illustrator allows you to get that drop shadow inside the electrons.

If you're not a member of Lynda.com, and you want nothing more than to hear the saga of a couple of Illustrator nerds work out a problem, then you can get a free 10-day trial by heading to lynda.com/deke.

Deke's Techniques, bringing illumination to Illustrator geeks and those who love them! Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 508: Make an Atom Symbol with Dynamic Effects in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 508: Make an Atom Symbol with Dynamic Effects in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke "draws" an atom symbol in Adobe Illustrator without actually drawing (well, he does make an ellipse and a circle to start with, but filling out dialog boxes doesn't really count as drawing does it?

An ordinary ellipse and circle

Nor do you need any illustration skills to use the Transform effect to copy and rotate two more ellipses around, turn the circles as guides, and then create some well-placed (some might say meticulously placed) nucleus and electrons. At one point, Deke can't imagine why you would need to zoom into 1200 percent to make your electron positioning exact, but I can imagine that Deke definitely needs to. This is chemistry after all!

An atom created with Illustrator dynamic effects

If you're a member of Lynda.com, then Deke has an exclusive movie in which he shows you how to hollow-out those electrons and rotate the whole symbol without leaving said electrons outside their designated orbits. Check out that Appearance panel where all the atomic magic is happening:

Rotated atom symbol and Illustrator's Appearance panel

Not a member? You can get a free 10-day trial at lynda.com/deke.

Deke's Techniques, making chemistry and Illustrator more fun, while still keeping some of the math! Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 507: Tracing 500-Year-Old Artwork in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 507: Tracing 500-Year-Old Artwork in Illustrator

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes a legendary 500-year-old line drawing and traces it into vectorious glory in Adobe Illustrator.

He starts with an engraving of Albrecht Dürer's intricate woodcut of what dear old Al more-or-less imagined a rhinoceros to look like from his vantage point in Germany in 1515. He based his drawing on a description and vague sketch he'd received second-or-third hand via Lisbon (where a poor beleaguered rhino specimen lived for a time with the King of Portugal).

So, since he'd never actually seen a rhino, Dürer's interpretation is closer to what I've been affectionately calling the "dinocerous." But it nevertheless did become one of the most influential nature illustrations in Western art. Here's the engraving version that Deke starts with:A 16th-century engraving of Dürer's Rhinoceros woodcut.

With a few precise passes of Illustrator's auto-trace function, and a little bit of patience, Deke arrives at this fully scalable vector-based rendition:A vector-based tracing of Dürer's Rhinocerous in Adobe Illustrator

Deke's Techniques, bringing classic artworks into the digital age. Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 505: Selecting a Snake Silhouette in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 505: Selecting a Snake Silhouette in Photoshop

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes last week's "longer snake silhouette" and shows you a couple of effective ways to turn it into a selection in Photoshop.

Side note: As I write this, I'm in Ireland, which coincidentally has no snakes. Not even shadows thereof. But it does have four men (ages almost 54 through almost 14) I have to share a car with (and they all kissed the Blarney Stone today), so it's just as potentially dangerous.

Anyway, the idea is to use some channel machinations, or if you're new to Photoshop (or teaching people who are new to Photoshop) an equally effective method using Quick Mask to copy the image into itself---to isolate the snake, preserve the detail, and yet still have it ready to do this:

If you're a member of lynda.com, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to add your snake (or any animal, really if all you're in Ireland and all you have is a common lizard) to a composition as a selection outline. If you're not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial at lynda.com/deke.

And next week, a tracing a Rhinoceros, which coincidentally also do not exist in the wild in Ireland.

Deke's Techniques, helping you select animals you can't even find on your island! Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 503: Elongating a Snake in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 503: Elongating a Snake in Photoshop

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes a snake and makes it longer. Now, lest you think a) Deke has completely lost it or b) Deke has completely run out of ideas, don't worry, the second one will never happen.

Elongating a snake before and after

But as obvious (and yet, absurd) as this exercise seems, there are some solid Photoshop skills at work here. In the movie, you'll see how Deke eschews the Clone Stamp tool, but then embraces the...Magic Wand. Maybe he really has lost it? Don't worry, he still uses a precision mask to clean the thing up.

Yes, in fact. And in all seriousness (well, as much as we ever employ around here), these kind of compositional changes are the bread-and-butter of everyday Photoshop work. In fact, the need for a longer snake arose out of creating this composition for Deke's Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One: Advanced course:

An adventure montage featuring the longer snake.

If you're a member of lynda.com (or you take advantage of the free 10-day trial from lynda.com/deke), Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how he turned this longer snake into a silhouette, again to meet the needs of his composition. Oh, and he adds a tongue because well, what adventure poster is complete without a snake tongue?

Turn the longer snake into a silhouette.

Deke's Techniques, bending and stretching (virtual) animals to your creative will every week. Read more » 

. Tagged with: