Category Archives: Blend Tool

Spiral Shell Shape Tutorial


Not much projects to work on but I may try to enter some contests we’ll see. This weekend I did receive info from the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards scholarship that I entered to find that I got an honorable mention. I’m not too upset but it does encourage me to try harder. Today, let’s create a spiral shell shape. What You’ll Be Making:

Tools:

  • Illustrator
  • Blend Tool
  • Spiral Tool

Steps: 1. A. Start out with a new document and select the Spiral Tool by clicking/holding the little arrow under the Line Segment Tool. See picture for help.   B. Click anywhere in your workspace to bring up the options for it. C. Enter 481 for the radius, 80 for the radius, 50 for the segments, and choose the Clockwise style (first one). C. Press OK and you see your spiral on the screen. D. Rotate the spiral 180° from the origin using the Rotate Tool (R).

2. A. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to draw one big circle and one small circle. Note: Hold shift to constrain the ellipse’s proportions to a circle. B. Use the Blend Tool (W) and click the big circle and then the small circle. Adjust the blend so there are 1000 steps. C. Select both the circle blend and spiral then choose Object>Blend>Replace SpineD. Now you should see

3. A. Use the Selection Tool (V) and double-click on one end of the blend (big circle) and adjust its size by holding shift+option/alt then dragging up/down/left/right to make it smaller or bigger. B. Also adjust the size of the other small circle. C. Fine tune the sizes of each circle so that there is a little space between girth of the spiral. See picture for help. D. Copy-drag by holding option/alt then release to get a replica of the spiral.

4. A. Select the spiral clone and choose Object>Expand. B. A window show pop up. Make sure the boxes for fill and object are checked then click OK. C. Now you have your own spiral shell shape to play around.

I went to play with my spiral shape by finding a texture, using a clipping mask on it, and finally adding an inner glow effect to it.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new.

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“3-D Text” Part 2


Welcome back to the second part of  the 3-D text tutorial. In this part, we will add a faded shadow to our 3-D text.

What You’ll Be Making:


Tools:

  • Illustrator CS4/5
  • Blend-Tool
  • Gradients/Fills
  • Slight experience w/ Illustrator

Steps:

1. A. Start out by locking our original text and not the blend.  B. Now you’ll be able to select the blended text.


2. A. Copy-drag a clone of the blend to anywhere else on the screen. B. Make sure that the blend is selected and go to Object>Blend>Release. C. You should see the blend being separated into different objects as you see below. D. Delete the larger text since it wouldn’t make sense for a casted shadow.

3. A. Copy-drag (holding option/alt) a clone of the new unblended text in any downward direction. B. Use the blend-tool again to make a blend with these two texts. C. Double-click the blend-tool from the tool bar to bring up the settings for the blend-tool. Give it a specified-steps spacing with 50 steps to make a smooth blend (go higher for more smoothness) so the computer doesn’t do too much work in making blends.


4. Give the most bottom text an opacity of 0% by first selecting it with the white arrow tool then adjusting it’s opacity. This will give faded shadow look. B. If the blend looks off, select one of the text and right-click and choose Arrange>Send to Back/Bring to Front. C. You should see something change. D. It is best to lock our original object before proceeding any further.

5. A. Move the shadow blend back onto our original object. B. If it’s not already behind the original text/object, then right-click and choose Arrange>Send to Back. C. You should see the “shadow” move to the very back.


6 A. Improve this blend by lower its opacity to around 50%.  B. Use the white arrow tool to move the text with 0% opacity closer to the solid-filled text. You will have achieved a 3-D effect as you see below.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned a new skill.

“3-D” Text Part 1


I wanted to post this earlier, but due to internet problems (finally resolved) I will finally post this today.

Today we will be making 3-D text as a request from a student I was helping earlier. Some applications of this tutorial can be seen here in my poster where you can see the 3-D text is combined with a faded shadow.

This tutorial will guide you in the first part of making the 3-D text. The second part is optional and only adds more interesting effects.

What You’ll Be Making:


Tools:

  • Illustrator CS4/5
  • Blend-Tool
  • Gradients/Fills
  • Slight experience w/ Illustrator

Steps:

1. A. Use the Text Tool to type out a text.  B. Give the text any color.


2. A. Copy-drag (by holding option/alt and then releasing it) the text twice to anywhere else on the screen. B. Give different colors to each of the copies but try to make them darker shades of the original text’s color.


3. A. Press W to bring up the Blend-Tool. Click one of the cloned text then click the other cloned text to make a blend. B. Double-click the Blend-Tool icon in the toolbar to bring up the settings. When the window pop ups, change the spacing to specified steps. Enter 50 for the steps to ensure a smooth blend but this will vary on how far your two blended objects are. C. You should get something like you see below.


4. A. In case your blend is facing the wrong way, adjust the arrangement of one part of blend by selecting (double-clicking the object) that part then right-clicking and choosing either Arrange>Send Backward/Bring ForwardB. You should see the blend change to your correct arrangement.


5. A. Scale one of the parts of the blend while holding option/alt+shift to maintain its proportions. This adds a sense of depth/perceptive.  B. Move the blended-objects closer together if you haven’t done so already (this insures a smoother blend).


6 A. Move the blend back onto our original text. B. Make sure the blend is selected and right-click and choose Arrange>Send to Back. C. Check to see if you’ve gotten something similar to what you see below.

We will continue off with Part 2 tomorrow.

Perspective Grid Part 2


This is Part 2 of the Perspective Grid tutorial. Part 2 consists of making our grid into a realistic library.

Materials: +Illustrator CS5 +Perspective Tool +Stock Photos +Blend Tool

Steps:

22. To leave off where we were before. We can draw some rectangles that represent the back of the shelves. Draw and group each rectangle in each row/column to fill all the “backs” of the shelves.

23. Let’s draw a black square that will be used for a clipping mask later.

24. Download some free stock textures and make sure they are wood patterns. I got these free stock textures from freestocktextures.com, go figure. I recommend download these items: http://freestocktextures.com/texture/id/698 and http://freestocktextures.com/texture/id/454.

25. In this step, we will make a clipping mask out of our front grid. To do this, send the grid to the back or front.

26. Bring the stock texture under/over our grid. Make sure that these two are both selected then right click and choose Create Clipping Mask.

27. Draw a similar black square anywhere on the screen. Stretch our second stock texture so it overlaps all of the black square. Select both of the square and texture and make a clipping mask.


28. Let’s drag our background text over our grid. Then, send this object to the back.

29. Now let’s have some fun and apply Inner Glow effects to each column/row of rectangles. Inner Glow is located in Effect>Stylize>Inner Glow. Set a shortcut for this effect or else keep clicking through the menu as we go through each rectangle. A good shortcut to set it to is PC: Shift+Ctrl+Alt+G or MAC: Shift+Ctrl+Opt+G. In the inner glow option box, choose a dark brown color, set the mode to multiply, set the opacity to 80, and blur to 15. These are recommended settings but feel free to change it.

30. Get through each rectangle and make sure they all have the inner glow effect.


31. Since we want the background texture to appear, let’s make all the squares that faces us, have an opacity of 50 or whatever you want.

32. Take some time to make sure everything is lined up and looking elegant.

33. Draw a square from one corner to another and apply a radial gradient.Make sure the color that is in the middle has an opacity of 0. See picture for reference.


34. Send this square to the back BUT in front of the texture.

And you’re down. Congratulations! This tutorial use some confusing methods but now you learned a lot more than you could’ve had.

The tutorial file will be uploaded via Box.net so you can play around with that.

Perspective Grid Part 1


Today I will show you how to make something similar as this but mostly likely this.

Materials: + Illustrator CS5  +Perspective Tool +Stock Photos +Blend Tool

 

Info: You might have noticed the part 1 in the title, that is because I broke it apart into 2 segments where 1 will get you as far the colored grid while 2 gets you as far as textures and shadows. This tutorial will also teach you a thing or two about the perspective that you’ve probably have never had experience with.

 

Steps:

1. Make a new document. Let’s have a 1000 by 1000 art board so we don’t make things too complicated.

2. Let’s choose the perspective tool from the Toolbar. If you don’t which one it is, just click the shortcut Shift+P to easily bring it up.

3. You’ll see that a 2-point perspective grid shows up. I don’t know about you but I want a 1-point perspective. So go to View>Perspective Grid>One Point Perspective>[1-p Normal View].

 

 

4. Let’s draw a long/thin, brown rectangle on the right side of the art board. Afterwards, drag-copy the same rectangle on the opposite side of the artboard.

5. Let’s select the blend tool (W).  Click one rectangle then the other. Double click the blend-tool in the Toolbar to get the option box. SelectSpacing>Specified Steps and write 10.

6. Select this blend if it isn’t select, then choose the rotate tool. Hold Alt/Option to copy while rotating. Make this copied blend perpendicular to the original.

 

 

7. Select both blends then go to Object>Blend>Expand to make them separate, editable objects.

8. Select everything, Ctrl+A/Cmd+A.

9. Now go to Window>Pathfinder. Then click the unite button under Shape Modes. Now make the united shape, light brown.

 

 

10. Select the rectangle tool. Do you notice the little perspective bubble near the top-left corner, click the left side of the cube that’s in the bubble. Or you could just click 1 (Left Grid).

11. Start from “box 1” that is inside our “grid.” The rectangle will automatically be drawn into perspective, Draw a rectangle where one side touches the left edge of  “box 1” and make this rectangle long. Also, make the rectangle dark brown. See the pictures for reference.

12. . Click and hold the Perspective Tool from the toolbar to bring up the Perspective Selection Tool. Or just click the shortcut Shift+V.


13. Using the perspective selection tool, select the dark brown rectangle. Holding Shift and Alt/Opt, drag copies of the rectangle towards the bottom. Make sure that each copy touches the left side of the grid boxes. Try to get to all the boxes in that column. Afterwards, group these brown rectangles. See pictures for reference.

14. Now this might be tricky but hold on. Select the rectangle group then hold 5+Shift+Alt/Opt to drag copies towards the right. Make sure that each copy touches the left side of the grid boxes.

15. Select all the brown rectangle groups, then click the rotate tool. Alt/Option click the exact middle of the artboard so it will know where to rotate from. So alt/opt+shift drag the rectangles 90°. Cmd+D to do the same thing again.


16. Change the colors for rectangles that are on the sides that are on the left, right, up and down. See the picture if you’re confused.

17. Now select all the rectangles and right-click and choose Arrange>Send to Back. Or click the shortcut PC: Shift+Ctrl+[ or Mac: Shift+Cmd+[.

18. Take time and adjust the positions of each rectangle so they fit precisely on the edges of the grid.


19. Take more time to see if everything is in place and every object is grouped with their similar counterparts.

20. Optional: Draw a square with a gradient, from one corner to another.

21. Optional: Close the bubble in the corner and the perspective grid will disappear. If your happy with this grid then just leave it as is here but if you want to make it look more realistic, proceed to Part 2 of this tutorial.

 

 

Part 2 coming soon.


 

“3-D” Shadow Tip


Just an easy way to make “3-D” shadows unlike regular drop shadows that don’t connect the vertices of the letters/objects.

Materials: Illustrator CS3/4/5 Blend-Tool

Steps: Follow instructions and click the pictures for reference.

1. Create some text using the Text-tool. Write anything you want, I used FaDesigns.

2. Click the text and hold (PC: Shift+Alt,Mac: Option+Alt) to drag a copy. Set it down anywhere, I prefer at the bottom of it. Also, let’s change it’s color to black.

3. Right click the copied-text and choose Create Outlines.

4. Drag another copy, preferably, diagonally to it.

5. Get the Blend-Tool(W) and click one of the black text then the other.

6. Double click the Blend-Tool in the Tool-box. Now a window should pop out. Set the spacing to specified steps.  Then set the steps to about 20. The larger the number, the smoother the blend, the more work for the computer to process. So 20 is about good enough for blends like these.

7. We’re not done yet. Right click the blended text(“3-D shadow) and choose Arrange>Send to Back (PC: Shift+Ctrl+[ , Mac: Cmd + Shft + [ ).

8. Now drag the shadow over(under) the original text and you got yourself a cool effect. Try this fun experiment yourself!

Blend Tool and Envelope/Distort Combination Tutorial Bonanza


Ok so I have you expected to see a tutorial and that’s precisely what’s on the platter. First thing I’ll mention is, this is the longest tutorial I made so far and I hope you can still managed to understand and complete these long series of steps. Second,  this tutorial will be hard if you don’t pay attention to the steps and the pictures(check the bottom) will help big time.

Requirements: Adobe Illustrator CS3/4       Knowledge of Blend Tool+Envelope/Distort+working on layers      Tutorial File(download via BOX if you want to work on it)

STEPS:

  1. Let’s start out with drawing a simple gradient background.
  2. Draw a small white circle in the corner and make sure it’s small.
  3. Option Drag(Alt Drag) the circle so a small gap is formed between the original circle and the other circle. Use the shortcuts Cmd+D(Ctrl+D) to duplicate the transformation again and again so more and more circles form at equal alignment. After first pushing Cmd+D, you only need to click D again and again. Make sure you’re going down or in the right direction.
  4. Now draw a square between one of the gaps between two circles and copy to its right side if your made your circles go down a line (see picture 2 ). This square will help you so you can get the same gap going into the other direction when your option dragging your circle to that direction.
  5. Now keep copying your circles so all of the square is filled. Now group all of the circles.
  6. Copy and Paste in Front (Cmd+F/Ctrl+F) the circles, then resize one while holding (option/alt) so you resize from the center. Also make the circle group black so you can distinguish it from the other circle group.
  7. Send the black circle group to the back.
  8. Now click the blend tool and blend the white circle group to the black circle group.
  9. Draw a circle from the center and add a radial gradient(the center of gradient should touch a point on the circle while the other end of the gradient touches another point on the other end of the circle)…see picture 9. Note: It is advised you work on layers so you can tell what’s what.
  10. Copy and Paste in Front the gradient circle you made. Then select both the blend and the gradient circle(make sure this one is on top of everything else).
  11. Now go to Object>Envelope Distort>Make with Top Object(Opt+Cmd+C/Alt+Ctrl+C). Now increase the size of this envelope by holding Opt/Alt to resize from the circle. Note: This should be the top most layer.
  12. Now copy this envelope and resize it so it’s smaller than the original circle. Now release the envelope by going to Object>Envelope Distort>Release.
  13. Double one of the smaller circles so you can only select that group (see picture 13) and make its opacity zero. Then drag it to the corner making sure the two corner circles(big and small one)touch…see picture 14.
  14. Now make the big outside circles-of the blend-black so it’ll have a shadow effect (see picture 15).
  15. Now select the blend and the big white circle and use envelope/distort (Opt+Cmd+C/Alt+Ctrl+C). Note: It is advised you set the whole envelope’s opacity to zero.
  16. Now make a new layer, send this envelope to that layer, and place the layer so it’s under the other envelope that has white circles. Also make sure to resize it so the shadows touch the bottom circles of white circle blend(see picture 18).
  17. Now you should get something as close as you see in picture 18.

I hope you followed this tutorial well and I will make a suggestion page so you guys can tell me what you’d like to see on my websites or whatever kinds of tutorial you guys want(please keep it about Illustrator as of now).

Pictures: 1st Picture=Picture 1, 2nd picture=Picture 2, etc.

Light/Shadow Effect Tutorial


Today’s tutorial is showing and guiding you and how to make a cool light/shadow effect. Simply follow these steps to produce something on the line’s of what you basically see at the end.

REQUIREMENTS: Adobe Illustrator CS3/CS4                     Slight Knowledge of Illustrator

Font VAL(just in case you want to use it-download via BOX-credits to Font Fabric for the free font)

STEPS:

  1. Use the text tool to create a simple text and name it anything (mine will be “Earth Day”).
  2. Select the text and create outlines. Add a special a gradient onto it if you want or know how.
  3. Copy and paste in front (Cmd+C then Cmd+F/Ctrl+C then Ctrl+F) the same text so you have two of them.
  4. Hold Option or Alt  and drag the text diagonally across.
  5. Use the Blend Tool from the tool menu to blend the two text that are far apart.
  6. Double click the Blend Tool so a menu comes up, then select steps and make the steps  about 25 or 50(computer works harder but it looks better).
  7. Make the bottom part of blend have an opacity of zero so you can see light/shadow effect. NOTE: You must double click the bottom part so you isolate it and it will only affect that bottom part.
  8. Select the top part now and make its gradient (if you added one) a little darker by adjusting it from the color menu on the right side.
  9. OPTIONAL: Add a Gaussian Blur to it if you want (10 should do it). Also  make the whole blend have an opacity of about 50. These help to make it have a better look.
  10. Lock the blend and “copy drag” the first text(behind the blend) up a little bit, then adjusts its colors so its light to have a highlight effect.
  11. Add a nice gradient background to have a finished masterpiece.

Blend Tool Tip 2


If you want to get a nice color transition without relying on the ineffective linear gradient or the radial gradient then it’s best to rely on the blend tool. Sometimes the gradient mesh can produce a really effective color transitions but that can be a slow and monotonous process but that’s where the blend tool comes in. For example, I will try to make a realistic pawn figure without using the gradient mesh(which took forever and didn’t turn out quite well). Just follow the steps and you will see what I mean.

  1. First make a pawn figure than copy it(holding option+shift or alt+shift) and move it slightly to the right.
  2. If you can guess right, I probably know that I will use the pathfinder to cut up the pieces together.
  3. Delete the middle part and color each of the sides different (preferably black and gray).
  4. use the blend tool to connect these parts(you’ll get an X when you hover the first part, click it then hover over the other side to get a + and then click that to connect them together).
  5. Play around with the blend tool by doubling clicking it in tools menu. I played around with the steps(click spacing and choose specified steps and then change the number on the side).
  6. You can also change one side’s color by clicking it with the white arrow(don’t use the black arrow or you will select the whole thing). I change mine to a dark gray and it turned out well.

Blend Tool Tip


As I was instructing Christian to help with the bottom part of my illustration. He was very surprised as I showed him a “new” trick. I showed him how to use the blend tool on part of my waves illustrations.

How to Use Blend Tool:

  • Make an object(normal or irregular) then just make a copy and shrink it(also change the color).
  • Select the blend tool and click the big shape then the smaller shape.
  • Play around with other Blend Tool settings (I picked steps and wrote 2.3)

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