If you have ever used the blend tool to blend objects or create a slip shadow, did you know you can control the spine along which it blends? You can even replace the spine with another line or object! Check it out, it's quite interesting.
Start with text or any shape. I used a letter to show this example.
Outline the type. Choose Type>Create Outlines. Fill it with a color and set this one aside for use a few steps later.
Duplicate the shape and add a fill color. Duplicate the shape again and add a different fill color.
Select both shapes and choose Object>Blend>Blend Options. From the Spacing options menu, choose Smooth Color. This just sets the options.
To make the objects blend together, choose Object> Blend> Make. This will blend the shapes/colors together. Notice how the darker color is behind and blends to the front, lighter color.
Select the shapes and you will see a connector line (a spine) that connects the two shapes and creates the blend.
Choose Object>Blend Options and choose Reverse Spine Front to Back to control the start and stop order.
This reverses the Front to Back order making the Blend look like it is going from dark to light.
Go to Outline mode under the View menu to see the two object that blend together and the spine connecting them together.
To edit the spine, use the Curvature Tool to click on a point of the Spine and move the point.
Go to View>Preview to switch from Outline mode to Preview mode and see the Blend results. (The original shape I copied and set aside I moved on top of the start of the blend to see the shape better, it is not part of the blend.)
Use the Curvature Tool to change the spine curve or change the start and stop points.
Any editing of the spin will be reflected in the blend of the objects
If you want to change out the spine, draw a new line of or closed shape. The spine will be invisible so no need to make it a color.
Select the new line or shape and select the blended object and choose Object>Blend> Replace Spine and the new blend will blend along the new spine.
Creating a halftone in Illustrator takes a few steps and the effects are quite cool. This takes a halftone effect, the Image Trace panel and the 3D effect to create these super cool looking vector creations.
Start with a circle.
Open the Gradient panel under the Window Menu.
Click on the fill icon and select the radial fill from the 3 gradient options.
Double click on the black dot on the gradient slider and set the black to 80% black.
Radial gradient from white on the edge to 80% black in the middle.
Under the Effect Menu, choose Pixelate, Color Halftone. Set the Max radius to a higher number to get larger dots. Set each channel to the same angle, here I set it at 45°.
This is the result.
To edit the halftone dot size, double click on the Color Halftone Effect in the Appearance Panel.
Select the halftone pattern and choose Object>Expand to turn the effect into an image.
Open the Image Trace panel from the Window Menu. Set the mode to Black and White, threshold to the middle, Paths at HIGH, Corners at LESS, Noise at 1, Uncheck Snap Curves to Lines, Check Ignore White.
To turn the image into actual shapes after the Image Trace you have to Expand the shape. Choose Expand from the Control bar or Expand from the Properties Panel.
Select the newly expanded shape and drag it into the Symbols Panel and add it as a Dynamic Symbol for later use.
Create a circle to make it into a sphere.
Use the Direct Selection Tool to click on the left side and delete it, leaving a half circle
Choose Effect, 3D, Revolve. This will take the half circle and revolve it into a sphere. Click on the Map Art… Button.
To map the halftone to the sphere, choose from the Symbol dropdown menu and choose the Sphere symbol that we just added. The only type of artwork that can be mapped has to be a Symbol.
Move the symbol to the area in white which is the area you see on the sphere. Gray areas are the ones we don't see on the sphere. Scale the symbol up or down to fit. Click on the Invisible geometry button to make the sphere invisible. Click OK
This is how the symbol of the halftone looks when mapped to the invisible sphere.
To make a line into a halftone, create a line.
In the gradient panel, click on the stroke icon the click on the linear gradient.
There are 3 types of gradient strokes, the first one sets the stroke from one end to another.
The 3rd option sets the stroke to on the width of the stroke. To create a side to side gradient, add a color stop to the gradient bar, then double click on the color to set it to white.
Shown here is a stroke gradient from side to side with the colors going from white to black to white.
Add a color halftone to the line to create the halftone effect. The darker the colors, the larger the dots will be. Where the gradient fades to white it will create smaller dots.
Creating a curled banner is easy, but it creates several open paths. The Join Tool works great for joining shapes but trying to create complex closed shapes is not as easy. Here is a quick trick with the Shape Builder Tool can create closed shapes from complex open paths.
Start with a circle, no fill, heavy stroke.
Duplicate the circle so the edges touch.
Move the one circle down while keeping it in line.
Select the bottom of the top circle with the Direct Selection Tool and delete it. Do the same with the top half of the bottom circle.
With the Direct Selection Tool select the inner open ends of the circles.
Join the ends together by choosing Object>Path>Join.
Duplicate the lines.
Join the ends together by choosing Object>Path>Join. Do this twice to join both open ends.
Use the Direct Selection tool to remove the 1/4 circle from the top and the 1/4 circle and line from the bottom.
This is what it will look like.
Draw lines to close the shape in the 3 indicated areas.
Use the Direct Selection tool and select each intersection and join them together. Do each one of the three steps.
Select the shape and make it narrower to create a banner
Rotate the banner. Add circles filled with the same green color as the stroke, add a white stroke around the circles, place them along the line.
If you move the parts of the banner, you will see that they are not closed paths. Even the top section looks like it is closed (on the left side) but it is not! The open ends are hiding behind the lines (shown by the red circles).
If you try to fill the areas with color, the paths are not closed. Filling open shapes creates weird tangents.
What you want to create, are 3 closed shapes. Each one being independent of the other shapes.
To make closed shapes out of each object, select the banner, then choose the Shape Builder Tool (SHIFT + M) from the Tool Bar. Click on each shape you want to create (the mesh will appear on each shape you click on),
Each section you click on with the Shape Builder Tool will make it into a closed shape. Now each object is a closed shape. (I took it apart to show each shape).