Vectips has a quick tutorial showing you how to create gradient strokes on your type in Adobe Illustrator. This super simple technique use the Appearance panel and effects to create editable gradient strokes in Illustrator. As a bonus, you can add transparency for a very cool effect as seen above.
If you’ve ever needed to batch convert a folder full of Illustrator or .eps files to a bitmap format such as PNG or JPG, you know the frustration of doing it manually (one at a time) with Illustrator’s export function. You could set up a batch action in Photoshop, but that’s almost more trouble than it’s worth. Pongo is a tiny application that does only one thing, convert vector-based Illustrator files to either PNG, JPG or SVG format, with a single click of a button. You simply drag your file(s) onto the Pongo Icon, and choose which format you want to save the files as. Pongo actually uses Adobe Illustrator to do the work, so you will have to have Illustrator installed, but it does its job in the background. Pongo requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, and is completely free – though donations are accepted.
I recently received an email from a fellow Mac user asking how you go about changing the orientation of an Adobe Illustrator document once you’ve already created it. Previously, you could do it in the Document Setup dialog box, but with CS4 that has changed – probably due to multiple artboard support being added to Illustrator CS4. Below I’ve outlined how you change the various aspects of your document, including orientation, size, etc. (more…)
In this excellent tutorial at VectorTuts, you’ll learn how to easily create 3D springs in Adobe Illustrator using little more than a simple shape and the 3D Revolve Effect. The finished results look complex and time consuming, but the actual technique really isn’t at all. You may not have cause to create a spring in the near future, but the technique is quite handy to learn – you never know when you can apply it to something else you’re working on.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as the old saying goes. There’s also more than one way to create rounded corner rectangles in Adobe Illustrator. The Rounded Rectangle Tool in Illustrator is handy, but it’s limited in that once you create the rectangle, you can’t go back and alter the amount of the rounded corners later on if you need to. Fortunately, Illustrator offers another, more flexible method to accomplish the task. To get around this limitation, create a normal squared-edge rectangle. With the rectangle selected, go to Effect>Stylize>Round Corners… in the menubar. The Round Corners dialog box allows you to set a custom Radius to your rectangle, and tick the Preview box so you can see what your rectangle will look like. But here’s where the handy part comes into play. When you create the round corners this way, you can go back and adjust the radius amount at any time later on in your design process because the round corners are a live effect, just like fill, stroke, opacity, etc. To do that, select the rectangle and simply visit the Appearance Panel. You’ll see the Round Corners effect listed in the panel along with any other attributes applied to the rectangle. Double-click the effect and you can edit the radius of your rounded corners.
With simple shapes and gradients, this Adobe Illustrator tutorial will show you how to create an alarm clock icon. We’ll be using Illustrator CS4 for this tutorial, but those of you with older versions of Illustrator should be able to follow along as well. VectorTuts is a great site for Illustrator users to explore. Be sure to check out the community links section as well!
Logo, Web and print designers, as well as Adobe Illustrator users in general, will find the following free vector art sites to be a great resource, and a huge time-saver. Before you start squacking about “real designers don’t use clip-art,” consider that you don’t have to use the artwork as a whole. I often times use small pieces of the artwork found on these sites as logo elements, highlight graphics in brochures, etc. Because they’re vector, they’re easily manipulated and customized. None of these sites actually create the vector art. Instead they simply do the searching for you and put it all into one easy place. Because of that, you’re likely to notice that many of these sites feature the same artwork. Don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re all the same. Most of them feature artwork not found on the other sites listed. Bookmark the sites and check back often, as they’re constantly updated with free vector art. As always, check for a license or other stipulations before using commercially – though most allow it. (more…)
You may have noticed that some of the functions in the Control panel in Adobe Illustrator are blue with a dotted line underneath – they’ve actually been around since at least Illustrator CS2. Those blue words with the dotted underline mean that particular function is clickable. When you click on the function name, the appropriate panel for that function opens on the fly (see screenshot above). The panel will close when you click anywhere in the document, or select a different tool. The Control panel is already context-sensitive, meaning it changes depending on which tool you have active, but this clickable function feature makes it even more handy because you don’t have to keep as many panels open to have them readily available, nor do you have to use a keyboard shortcut.
Layers Magazine has posted a great little tutorial for Adobe Illustrator users, showing you one way to create eye-catching text in a comic book style. The technique is simple and uses little more than the Free Transform tool, some strokes and the Pen tool.