Lessons: 32Length: 4.1 hours

Next lesson playing in 5 seconds

  • Overview
  • Transcript

5.3 Vector Effects

Hey illustrators, it's Ryan and I am glad you've made it this far. Now we're gonna get into the real real juice stuff which is Effects. That big menu that's inside Illustrator that is kind of intimidating, but let's jump in. Let's make a new document and take a look and start messing around. First, let's have artwork that we want to apply effects to. We'll start pretty simple, let's just start with a square. It's as basic and as plain as you can get, right? We're gonna center it in the document and we're gonna give it a color. An orange square, and it'll have a red stroke of 20 points. Now let's apply some effects and see the things that we can do really getting an advanced look at what Illustrator is capable of. Select our square and go to the effect menu. Now there's a lot of stuff here, but we're just going to focus on a key few that I think are fun and help get you started with effects. And then from there you can go and take it to the next level and mess around and see what all these things do. We're gonna ignore 3D altogether because that's coming up in our next lesson. The first thing that we can do is convert something to a shape. Well, it's already a rectangle. A rounded rectangle is kinda nice. Not too many things that are special there. Here's where it gets real cool, we can go into Distort and Transform. Here with free distort, I'm free to pull out pieces of my square and make them into something entirely different. Now Ryan, what's the big deal? I could do that with the direct select tool, yeah, but guess what? In the appearance palette now, we can see an effect, and it has this little FX. We can go in a double click this and change that effect later on. We can even hide it and show it. And hit Command +Y and you can see this is always a square. Effects in Illustrator, or at least most effects in Illustrator, are non-destructive, and that's part of object-oriented design, right? The ability to add properties to an object, but not destroy the original object, not change it, be able to go back and fix things later, or make things different even after the fact. And direct select is great but the only way you're getting your shape back is if you hit undo. With effects, you really have a lot of power. Click here and I'll hit reset and hit OK. Or I can just drag it down to the trash if I don't want the effect anymore. Let's look at some other ones. Pucker and Bloat, you can turn on preview and see the cool things that you can do with these. Very quickly getting to some very advanced looking shapes in Illustrator. We can rough it Get crazy, wacky lines with amazing detail. Transform's one of the coolest ones. Now I'm going to scale down this entire square so you can see the power of transform. But with transform I can, say, move something around. Okay, well that's not that cool, Ryan, why do you care about that? Well, I can also make copies. So if I dial up the number of copies, you can see very quickly all the crazy things that you can do with these effects you can even rotate. Pretty neat potential when it comes to some of these things. Now it gets even better. I'm gonna do zero on my angle. Effects can also be stacked on top of each other. So I have this transform effect. I'll go to Effect, Distort & Transform, and Transform. And Illustrator says, hey, you've already got that effect on this. Do you really want to do another one? I'm gonna say yes, cuz I do. And now I'm gonna make a bunch of copies going down. And now I just made myself a really big grid in like two seconds, and now that's driving my eyes a little crazy, so I'm gonna go ahead and delete it. But you're getting the idea. Transform is one of the best effects for doing that type of thing. Half, you can outline things. You can do all sorts of things with the path finder. The path finder's technically considered an effect. So you can get to it here. Stylize is where it gets real neat. Drop shadows. Illustrator drop shadows don't necessarily have the versatility of a Photoshop drop shadow. And as you can see, they really take a toll on your processor. Every little change requires a couple seconds or more. And I like to think that my computer is no slouch. And you can change it for multiply by order. Now change the color of it to be red. You can see if I do a second square, you can see the shadows stacking on top of each other for a very cool effect there. Now I am going to warn you upfront. Adding all these effects makes your computer slower, makes your Illustrator slower, makes saving slower, makes opening slower, but some of them are just so cool. You have inner glows, outer glows. Rounded corners is a great one because if we make a rounded rectangle and we stretch it, it messes up all the corners. But, if we take a square and apply the rounded corners style, we can stretch it, and the corners stay perfectly round without any problem. Scribble is a neat one. You can see that effect that we did earlier is very easy with scribble. We can control variation, how much these paths overlap each other, how wide the strokes are. The options are endless when it comes to these effects, and they're all, all useable and useful. SVG filters for web graphics, warp alone. We can arc our square. Or we can arc just the lower. Maybe just the upper. And do we want it horizontal or vertical? Do we wanna add distortion? Vertical and horizontal, I'm gonna zero those out for the sake of showing you the other effects. An arch. This is different from an arc because it doesn't bend the sides. An arch only bends the top and bottom. Bulge is outward and inward. Shell, you can see what effect that has. Flag, there's an easy and cool one. I've used that just recently for creating an American flag no doubt. Wave is an interesting one, right, because you can't see what's happening unless there's lines inside. Fish, they are as advertised. Rise does so with a slight curve. Fish eye is, again, something for inside. Inflate. Squeeze. Twist is an inside as well. Finally, under Photoshop effects, you can do things like Gaussian blur an object, and make it very, very soft. Of course, when you zoom in here it stays smooth. But once you start getting into these types of effects you're really losing Illustrator's crispness. That being said, we could take, say, our paint brush and draw a bunch of grass, right? And I know how bad this grass is. Select it and we'll get rid of this stroke and put on some dark. We're gonna Command+C. Command+F to place another one in it's place. To give variety watch this. This is a little trick I like to do. Go to Object, Transform and Reflect it. It's just gonna flip it around. Now we'll make it a little bit taller. We'll squish it. We'll make a second set. Now these are two objects, so we'll use pathfinder and unite them. We'll make it a lighter green. We'll put it behind, Arrange, Send to Back. And then we'll apply that same blur. You can see it takes awhile. And you can add some pretty cool depth to things pretty quickly. Now that's a little too blurry, so I'll click on that effect again. 7 to 75. Why don't we do 35. And Command+C and Command+F. See all the processing, now, that's happening? Every time I go to click something. Object, Reflect, Vertical. These effects are just stacking on top of each other. Shrink these a little bit. We'll make those even less blurry, we'll go 15. And you can still change the color, and what have you, because of the versatility of Illustrator. Because Illustrator allows you to go in and edit those settings in post. And likewise, you can have this grass back here be the stuff that's in focus, and the stuff that's out of focus is the stuff that's really close. It all depends on what type of effect you're looking for and what you wanna do with it. So the effects palette is huge. Go spend the rest of the day or the rest of the month, who cares? With the effects palette, because there's so many different things you can do. And you'll probably find 1,000 uses for your video game cover of all the effects that they have. One of the coolest effects they have is 3D, and that we're going to get to next.

Back to the top