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Create CS5 Width Profile Brushes in any Version of Adobe Illustrator CS!

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Gift

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Adobe Illustrator CS5 has a new option within the Stroke window known as "Width Profile". This tutorial shows how you can create brushes and use them in any version of Adobe Illustrator CS. You will also learn how to create, save and use your new brushes!

Republished Tutorial

Every few weeks, we revisit some of our reader's favorite posts from throughout the history of the site. This tutorial was first published in July of 2010.

Introduction

Adobe Illustrator CS5 has a new feature included in the Stroke options known as Profiles. This is towards the bottom of the window.

When you Select a line and then use the drop down menu to choose and select your Width Profile, it applies a style to the line with one of the Width Profiles.

In this tutorial you will learn how you can recreate the Width Profiles, by creating new brushes in any version of Illustrator. I'll go through each shape, step by step and show you how to create a new brush to use in your illustrations. The names of the Profiles are below for reference throughout the tutorial

You wont need to create the first Profile "Uniform", as this is simply a basic line without any styles applied to it.


Width Profile 1

"Width Profile 1" is a useful style to use. It gives an impression of stimulated pressure, like you're using a graphic tablet.


Step 1

You're going to create a New document (Control + N) and using the "Basic CMYK" New Document Profile.


Step 2

You will need your Fill color to be Black (C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=0) and your Stroke color to be null. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), click once on the canvas. This will give you a dialog box. Input a 12 pt Width and 3 pt Height and click on OK. This will give you a flat circle on the canvas. Zoomed in at 1600% it should look like the second image below.


Step 3

Hold down Shift + C to get the Convert Anchor Point Tool and click once on the anchor points on the sides of the circle.


Step 4

Before you save the brush, you want to delete all the brushes you already have within the Brush palette. You do this by selecting a brush in the palette and clicking the Delete Brush button as shown below. Do this until all brushes have been removed.

Another way you can do this is by clicking on the drill down menu at the top right of the palette, then go to "Select All Unused". This will highlight all the brushes you've not used, which in this case as it's a new document, all of them. Then click the Delete Brush button. The reason you are doing this is because when you go to access the brushes later on, all you will see in the palette are the brushes you have created.


Step 5

Now that you have created your first shape and have removed all the brushes from the brushes palette, you can begin the process of saving your brush. Select your shape and click on the button at the bottom of the Brush palette which says "New Brush". Select New Art Brush and then click on OK.


Step 6

You will be presented with a window with several options.

Change the width to 30% - this will make it a similar size as the Width Profile in AI CS5. Change the Method to "Tints". This will mean that the style will take on the same color you have selected as the Stroke color. Click on OK. Below is a screen shot of the brush you should have and "Width Profile 1" from CS5 to show you how very similar they are.


Width Profile 2

"Width Profile 2" is similar to the first one you created. It gives an impression of stimulated pressure, as if you you're using a graphic pen tablet, with the pressure being applied on more than one occasion in the line.


Step 1

You should still the shape used for Width Profile 1 on your canvas. If you select it and Copy (Control + C) and Paste (Control + V). In your layer palette, hide one of the shapes, you're going to use that later. Your layer palette should now look like this.


Step 2

With your Fill color as black (C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=0) and the Stroke color as null, using the Ellipse Tool (L), click once on the canvas and put in the following numbers:

Click on OK and what you should have is a longer ellipse you had compared to before.


Step 3

Hold down Shift + C to get the Convert Anchor Point Tool and click once on the anchor points on the sides of the circle. You should then be left with the shape below.


Step 4

Hold down on Control and move your new shape to overlap the original slightly, like so.


Step 5

To make sure it is aligned properly, press Control + A to select both object on your canvas. Along your toolbar, go to Windows > Align and you will get the Align options window. Press the "Vertical Align Top" option.

Along your toolbar, go to Windows > Pathfinder and you will get the Pathfinder options window. Press the "Unite" option.

You will now be left with one shape.


Step 6

Using the Pen Tool (P) now, you're going to start adding and removing some points. You want to round off the two pointed edges. To do this, add hover over the line towards the end of the shape. You want to add an anchor point above and below the corner in equal places as shown below:

Still using the Pen Tool (P), you're going to mouse over the point in between the two new anchors you've created. You will notice your Pen Tool (P) cursor will now have a "-" minus sign. Now click the point away and you should be left with a shape like the one below.

Repeat this on both ends so you have the shape below.

Using this exact same process, you're going to use the Pen Tool (P) to create a smooth curve where the two shapes overlap. Below I will show you where to put the new anchor points and then when the middle point is removed to show a smooth curve.

You should now be left with the following shape.


Step 7

It's now time to add your new brush. Select your shape and click on the button at the bottom of the Brush palette which says "New Brush". Select New Art Brush and then click on OK.


Step 8

You will be presented with a window with several options.
Change the width to 30% - this will make it a similar size as the Width Profile in AI CS5. Change the Method to "Tints". This will mean that the style will take on the same color you have selected as the Stroke color. Click on OK.

Below is a screen shot of the brush you should have and Width Profile 2 from CS5 to show you how similar they are.


Width Profile 3

"Width Profile 3" is a more angular looking line style than Width Profile 1. It has a slight stimulated pressure appearance and less organic looking. It could be useful for more technical and uniform illustrations.


Step 1

Hide the last shape you created for Width Profile 2. Your Layer palette should look like the one below.

With the Fill color set as black (C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=0) and the Stroke color as null, using the Rectangle Tool (M), click once on the canvas and use the following numbers. Click on OK and you should have a long black rectangle on your canvas as below.


Step 2

You're going to use a similar method to the one used for Width Profile 2 by using the Pen Tool (P) to add and remove points. You first want to add the following points to the shape.


Step 3

You now want to remove the corner points with the Pen Tool (P). You should be left with the following shape.


Step 4

It's now time to add your new brush. Select your shape and click on the button at the bottom of the Brush palette which says "New Brush". Select New Art Brush and then click on OK.


Step 5

You will be presented with a window with several options. Change the width to 30% - this will make it a similar size as the Width Profile in AI CS5. Change the Method to "Tints". This will mean that the style will take on the same color you have selected as the Stroke color. Click on OK.

Below is a screen shot of the brush you should have and Width Profile 3 from CS5 to show you how similar they are.


Width Profile 4

"Width Profile 4" is another angular style which is good for uniform technical illustrations. This one is especially good if you have a line which is forked from another and want it tailing off.


Step 1

Hide the last shape you created for Width Profile 3, your Layer palette should look like the image below.

The first step to this style is very similar to the last. With the Fill color set as black (C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=0) and the Stroke color as null, using the Rectangle Tool (M), click once on the canvas and use the numbers below.

Click on OK, you should have a long black rectangle on your canvas as below.


Step 2

You're going to use a similar method to the one used for Width Profile 3 with using the Pen Tool (P) to add and remove points. You want to add a point on one of the side edges right in the middle, like below.


Step 3

You now want to remove the corner points with the Pen Tool (P) so you should be left with the following shape.


Step 4

It's now time to add your new brush. Select your shape and click on the button at the bottom of the Brush palette which says "New Brush". Select New Art Brush and then click on OK.


Step 5

You will be presented with a window with several options. Change the width to 30% - this will make it a similar size as the Width Profile in AI CS5. Change the Method to "Tints". This will mean that the style will take on the same color you have selected as the Stroke color. Click on OK. Below is a screen shot of the brush you should have and Width Profile 4 from CS5 to show you how very similar they are.


Width Profile 5

"Width Profile 5" is another brush which mimics stimulated pressure. It's style is a slow build up of pressure then a sharp decline in pressure. This could be a good brush for drawing folds in fabric and finer details.


Step 1

Hide the last shape you created for Width Profile 4 so your Layer palette looks like the image below.

This is going to start the same as Width Profile 1, with the Fill color set as black (C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=0) and the Stroke color as null, using the Ellipse Tool (L), click once on the canvas and use the below numbers.

This will give you a flat circle on the canvas. Zoomed in at 1600% it should look like this.


Step 2

Hold down Shift + C to get the Convert Anchor Point Tool and click once on the anchor points on the sides of the circle. You should then be left with the shape below.


Step 3

You're going to use the Direct Selection Tool (A) and click once on one of the corners. Note, when you do this the handle bars change on the top and bottom.

You're going to move this corner out to the side and you can do this by going to Object > Transform > Move or use Shift + Control + M on your keyboard. You're going to move this point to the left. Do this by entering the following details and then click on OK.

Tip: To help remember what is positive and what is negative.

If you remember in Mathematics, specifically in graphs you may have heard the phrase "Right along the corridor and up the stairs", this is in reference to the X and Y axis of a graph. The X axis (Right along the corridor) is in a positive direction heading to the right. The Y axis (Up the stairs) is in a positive Upward direction. So if it's not to the Right or heading Up, it will be a negative number.


Step 4

You're going to use the Pen Tool (P) now to add points and take them away to create a smooth corner like you've done in previous steps. So first add points either side of the hard corners as shown below.

Now you're going to remove those corners using the Pen Tool (P), hover over the corners until you see a minus sign and click once. You should be left with the following shape.


Step 5

It's now time to add your new brush. Select your shape and click on the button at the bottom of the Brush palette which says "New Brush". Select New Art Brush and then click on OK.


Step 6

You will be presented with a window with several options. Change the width to 30% - this will make it a similar size as the Width Profile in AI CS5. Change the Method to "Tints". This will mean that the style will take on the same color you have selected as the Stroke color. Click on OK.

Below is a screen shot of the brush you should have and Width Profile 5 from CS5 to show you how very similar they are.


Width Profile 6

Our final brush is "Width Profile 6", this brush is a bold stimulated pressure brush with shorter tails on either end. This might be good for drawing stronger lines on an illustration and deeper shadows/creases in areas.


Step 1

Hide the last shape you created for Width Profile 5, your Layer palette should look like the image below.

With the Fill color set as black (C=0, M=0, Y=0, K=0) and the Stroke color as null, using the Ellipse Tool (L), click once on the canvas and use the numbers below.

This will give you a larger flat circle on the canvas. Zoomed in at 1600% it should look like this.


Step 2

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), click once on the bottom point and you should have the below:

Press "Delete" on your keyboard and this will remove the point.


Step 3

As you can see, at the center of the shape there is a dot. You're going to use this as a guide. Using the Pen Tool (P) you want to add points on either side of this dot, on the line of the object. Don't worry if you've got it parallel as this will add to the shapes style.


Step 4

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), you want to select a point at the edge by clicking on it once and then press "Delete" to remove it.

Do the same on the other side and then you want to join these two end points together, so go to Object > Path > Join or use Control + J. You should now have the following shape.


Step 5

Using the Pen Tool (P) you're going to repeat a familiar process by rounding those two points off. You do so by adding a point either side of the corners like so.

Remove the middle points to give the round edges by hovering over the point and clicking when you see the minus sign on your Pen Tool (P). You should be left with the following.


Step 6

It's now time to add your new brush. Select your shape and click on the button at the bottom of the Brush palette which says "New Brush". Select New Art Brush and then click on OK.


Step 7

You will be presented with a window with several options. Change the width to 30% - this will make it a similar size as the Width Profile in AI CS5. Change the Method to "Tints". This will mean that the style will take on the same color you have selected as the Stroke color. Click on OK.

Below is a screen shot of the brush you should have and Width Profile 6 from CS5 to show you how very similar they are.


Saving and Using your Brushes


Step 1

You now have 6 new brushes in your brush palette.

You now want to save these brushes so they are accessible any time you wish. So go to File > Save As (Shift + Control + S) and name it "Width Profile.ai" You want to save it in C drive > Program Files > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator > Presets > Your language folder (for me it's en_GB) > Brushes > Click on the icon for "Create New Folder" and name it "Width Profile" and save it in that folder.

You'll get an options window once doing this. For ease of use in other version of Adobe Illustrator, I tend to save it under the "Adobe Illustrator CS" version. Then un-tick "Create PDF Compatible File" as this reduces the size of the file.


Step 2

Now it's time to use your new brushes without the need of AI CS5. Open a file you've been previously working on or start a new document. In this case I'm going to start a new document by going to File > New and selecting Basic CMYK

You want to open the brushes so you can use them when required. So in the Brush palette click on the drill down button at the top right hand corner.

Go to Open Brush Library > Width Profile > Width Profile and it should open a window with your 6 brushes.

By clicking on each one of the brushes in the Width Profile window, it will add them to your Brush palette and by hovering over a brush in either palette, you'll get a tool tip of the name of the brush. Close the Width Profile palette so you just have your Brush palette.


Conclusion

To use the brushes you can select a line which has already been drawn by either Control + clicking the line and then selecting the brush you wish to use from the palette. Or, try using the Paintbrush Tool (B) and start drawing your lines! This latter version I find more organic for when you use your pen tablet. Remember, when you use your new brushes, you can always adjust the weight of stroke as shown below by changing the amount in the drop down menu or adding a number yourself. I hope you enjoy your new brush collection and create some fantastic vector illustrations with them.

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