I declare this week Texture Week on Vectips! No reason, I’ve just been working with a number of textures in some recent illustrations, and wanted to pass along some of the techniques. It is starting to warm up oustide, so it is only fitting I start with wading water, like in a pool. It is a relatively quick and easy technique using Illustrator’s Effects, Simplify, Offset Path and some bright colors.
This tutorial was created with Illustrator CS3.
Keyboard shortcuts are displayed in orange. ⌘ is displayed for the Command key (mac), with the Ctrl key being the Windows equivalent (not displayed).
Create a 5 inch by 5 inch rectangle with the Rectangle Tool (m). An easy way to draw an exact rectangle is to click on the artboard with the Rectangle Tool to bring up the Rectangle dialog to enter dimensions. Make the fill 100% Cyan with no stroke. Next Copy (⌘c) the rectangle and Paste In Front (⌘f). With the copied rectangle selected, make the fill white and the remove the stroke.
With the white rectangle still selected, go Effect > Texture > Stained Glass. When the Stained Glass Effect dialog comes up, change to following.
- Cell Size = 46
- Border Thickness = 15
- Light Intensity = 5
Next go Object > Expand Appearance. With the texture still selected, the Control Panel defaults to the Live Trace options. Click the arrow beside the Live Trace Button and select Tracing Options. Or you can go Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options. You don’t have to change all the options, just the ones below.
- Mode: Black and White
- Path Fitting: 1px
- Minimum Area: 1px
- Corner Angle: 1
- Ignore White: Check this box
I like to save this preset in the Tracing Options. It makes it easy to recall these setting. Next, Press the Expand button on your tool bar.
With the texture still selected, go Object > Path > Simplify. Within the Simplify dialog, change the Curve Precision to 70% and the Angle Threshold to 0 and press OK. Next, change the color of the texture to 70% Cyan in the Color Panel.
With the texture still selected, go Object > Path > Offset Path. Within the the Offset Path dialog, change the Offset to -0.03 inches and press OK. Now you can see it created a condensed copy of the original path. Ungroup (⌘ shift g) the original texture from the condensed texture by going Object > Ungroup. You will have to do this two times to completely ungroup the original texture and the condensed texture. Once ungrouped, select the condensed texture and change the color in the Color Panel to a 25% Cyan.
To give the water a little more depth, Copy (⌘c) the original texture, Paste In Back (⌘b), rotate 90 degrees form the Transform Panel, and change the color to 85% Cyan.
Now you have some nice wading water! Might not be as refreshing as being in a real pool, but at least you can illustrate one!
Later This Week
Stay tuned for the next texture tutorials!