While working on a project for one of my clients, I encountered the need to make a beveled object, but I didn't want to create several 300+ dpi objects in Photoshop. So, I took some time and figured out a way to do it in Illustrator. Some of my co-workers thought I was crazy, but it worked and now I have 1.5mb files rather than 40mb. It seemed worth it.
This is my first foray into posting a tutorial. I'm sure it's not perfect, but it's where I landed and I was pleased with the outcome. If you have other tips or ideas, please post them in the comments below for all
design nerds to enjoy. Oh yeah, clicking on the thumbnails will allow you to see bigger images.
2. Offset path
This will give you the same shape at a different size -- it helps maintain the aspect ratio of everything (including curves). You can see the settings in the screenshot. Instead of going outside the shape, I went inside.
3. Add a center stroke to new shape and increase stroke weight
Adding the stroke to the center will help in a later step (that would be step 5, if you just HAVE to know), so table that for now. But the important thing here is to match the weight of the stroke to the edge of the original shape. If you don't, then your bevel will start further in from the edge.
4. Outline the stroke
Once you have the stroke weight at the correct size, it's time to outline the stroke -- this makes the stroke into a solid object.
5. Time to divide the shapes
When you outline a shape, it groups the original shape and the new outline shape together. Make sure this new group is selected and then go to your Pathfinder palette and hit the divide button. Ungroup the shapes and you should now have three shapes: 1) the original inner shape that you outlined the stroke on, 2) the outer outlined stroke, and, 3) the inner outlined stroke. By setting the stroke to the center of the object, we were able to come away with three shapes here (I played around with this and I can't explain why this is, but this is how we want it anyway).
8. Gradient work, part two
This one isn't THAT complicated, it just has a few steps. 1) Add another color square in the gradient -- from left to right, it should be a white square, gray square and a black square. 2) Click the white square and make sure the % is set to 0 (it should be as the default). 3) Click the gray square and change the % to 45. 4) Click the black square and change the % to 52. 5) Click the left diamond and change the % to 87. 6) Click the right diamond and make sure the % is at 50 (it should be as the default). Shoosh.
9. Gradient work, part three
Now we're going to replace the gray and black swatches. Make sure the stroke object is still selected. 1) From the Swatch palette, grab the color of the original shape and drag it on top of the gray square in the Gradient palette. Let go of the swatch -- the gray should change to the color of the original shape below your stroke object. 2) Repeat step one and replace the black swatch.
10. Gradient work, part four
To create the darker part of the bevel, we need to modify the right-most color square in your gradient. Making sure the stroke object is still selected, click on the right-most square in the Gradient palette (the arrow directly above the square should become black). From here, open up your Color palette. If your original color is a pantone color, convert it to CMYK. Add between 30-50% black to the color (just slide the K bar to the right)
12. Blur it
Go to your Filters menu and head down to the SVG fly-out. Select Gaussian Blur 4. The sweet thing about this filter is that it leaves your shape unaffected -- allowing you to make changes even AFTER you've applied the filter. Even if you messed up a color, or transparency, you can change that without having to undo anything. We're almost done, but we need to get rid of the halo around the object.
13. Move it
We need to work on the base shape some now, so select the stroke object and get it out of the way. I did a shift+left arrow nudge. Just remember how many times you arrowed over -- one is sufficient.
14. Make a copy
Select the base shape, copy it (cmd+c) and paste it to the front (cmd+f). Now bring that shape to the front (shift+cmd+]).
17. Move 'em back
Move the stroke object BACK over the original shape -- just reverse the shift+arrow action you did in steps 13 or 15.
That's all I got for ya. Lemme know what you think.
+ original post date: August 6, 2008 09:02 PM
+ categories: Things I've Made