Illustrator Effects


We can add literally dozens of visual effects to our artwork in Adobe Illustrator, some of which are vector effects and some bitmap effects.

Most of Illustrator’s effects can be found in the top Effects drop-down menu. There are various sets and subsets in the fly-out lists. To test some of these we first need to create some basic artwork, as shown in the simple example here. For example, using the basic shapes tools (Rectangle, Ellipse, Rounded Rectangle, Star shapes), we would create a yellow rectangle, a red rectangle, a blue circle and green line, etc.

In the Effects drop-down list there are two basic types of functions: Illustrator Effects and Photoshop Effects. The first set will result in vector artwork appearances, consisting mostly of hard lines, sharp edges and solid colours. The Photoshop effects subset closely resemble the various filters available in Adobe Photoshop. These result in more of a pixel-based, rasterized effect, a bit like adding graphic noise to the shape.

As we can see, there are dozens of these effects, and by far the best way to understand what they do is to test them on the simple shapes previously created. For example we could select a yellow rectangle with the Selection tool (black arrow) and apply an effect by going to the Effect drop-down menu and choosing Warp then Flag. Note that there are various setting for each effect. Make sure you have the bottom left Preview box ticked in order to see the effect update as you change the slider values.

We could then go to Effect and select Stylize and Drop Shadow. This will result in a subtle shadow appearing usually below the object, giving the effect of standing out from the page. We can change the direction, opacity, distance and even the colour of the shadow. Generally speaking, the more subtle the applied effect the better. Bear in mind also that the drop shadow direction refers to the direction of the lighting, which in most natural settings is from above, either as sunlight or ceiling lights. Therefore, for a more natural effect it’s best to cast the light direction from above, and usually at an angle of 45 or 135 degrees.

Another effect could be added to the red rectangle, for example Effect then Distort & Transform and Zig Zag. We can then add an additional effect of Effect and Stylize and Scribble. On another shape like a blue circle we could some three-dimensional effects via Effect then 3D and Extrude & Bevel. We would then tilt the view cube to the desired angle, adjust the Extrude depth, and change the Bevel parameter to Classic. This would result ina button similar to those found on website navigational commands. On a green line we may wish to add arrow-heads. Do so via Effect and Stylize and Add Arrowheads. We then experiment with the various options on the starting and ending points.

We should note that when we add an effect, this will be listed on the Appearance panel on the right-hand side of the interface. To adjust the effect at a later stage we don’t return to the Effects menu; we double-click on the effect in the Appearance panel to reopen the settings.

Tom Gillan has been training Adobe Illustrator to corporate clients in Sydney for seven years. You can learn more about Adobe Illustrator Courses when you visit this link.

36 layers selected in Illustrator
Image by jk-keller

Comenzamos con la primera práctica haciendo una ilustración, en este vídeo avanzamos vectorizando cada parte y dandole color. No te pierdas el próximo capítulo en donde terminaremos la ilustración dandole detalles.

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