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How to add Dimension with Effects in Adobe Illustrator

February 3, 2020

– [Instructor] Hello, and
welcome to this Design Cuts video tutorial on using
effects in Illustrator. As always in these
video tutorials, I’m going to be using an element from a Design Cuts collection, and today, this element is from
our Free Watercolour Floral and Birthday Party Vectors Pack. I’m using the cake
from this pack. I just opened the
Illustrator file in the pack and copied and pasted the cake
into a brand new document, and so we’re working on it here. Now, this cake comes
as a grouped object, so I’m just selecting
over the object and I’m going to apply
a gradient fill to it, so that we have something
interesting to work with. Now, I’ve already found
a fill I want to use. It’s the pastel multicolor fill. I’m just gonna make my gradient
run at minus 90 degrees so that I get this
nice colour effect. Now, this gradient
is from a collection that ships with Illustrator. You can find it by opening
up the fly out menu on the Swatches panel. Choose Open Swatch
Library, go to Gradients, and it’s one of the
pastel gradients. So with my shape now
filled with my gradient, let’s go and have a look at some of the effects that
we can use in Illustrator. They’re here on the Effect menu, and we’re going to be using
some of the stylized effects. We’re going to start
with Inner Glow. Now, when you apply
one of these glows, you need to match the
blend mode of the glow with the colour
that you’re using. If you’re using Screen,
then you’ll need a lighter sort of colour
and white is a good colour, but you could also go and select something a little
bit different. I’m gonna select a sort of
pink colour here for my glow. I’m going to turn preview on so I can actually
see my glow effect, and you can see that
it’s inside the shape, and it’s sort of pushing the
colours in an interesting way. Now you can make it
apply in the centre or you can push it to the edge. The Inner Glow has
these two options, you can choose the
one you like best. You can increase the opacity. Zero is fully transparent. 100% is fully opaque. And you can also increase
or decrease the blur to push the effect closer
to the edges of the image. And the ideal number
of pixels for your blur is really going to depend
on how large your image is. For a small image, you may
want one or two pixels. For a larger image, you
may want to go larger. So I’ll click OK. In the Appearance panel, when we have the
shape selected here, we can see what it looks
like before and after we apply the Inner Glow. So it’s an interesting
effect which gives it a sort of almost watercolor-y
sort of appearance, and it’s all done with just
an Inner Glow and a gradient. So with my shape selected, I’m actually going to turn
the Inner Glow off for now, and let’s have a look
at an Outer Glow. I’ll choose Effect>
Stylize, and then Outer Glow. Now, my Outer Glow is
set to Screen blend mode, so that’s a sort of
lightening effect, and that’s a good
one for a glow. I’ve also got it set
to a yellow colour, but I could choose
whatever colour I like. So I might like to
apply a light blue glow. And that will make
the blue glow effect. Opacity, again, zero’s
fully transparent. 100% would be fully opaque. 75 is a nice sort of setting. And the Blur, well, you
can push the blur out, and that’s going to make
the glow a lot wider. If you bring the Blur value in, it’s going to bring the
blur very, very close to the outside
edges of your shape. So I’ll just click OK, and let’s go and put the
Inner Glow back in as well. And so this is the combined look of both those
glows on our shape. Let’s just select
over the shape. Let’s turn both of
these off for now, and let’s have a look
at a Drop Shadow. Again, Effects>Stylize, and we’re going to
choose Drop Shadow. Now, drop shadows or
shadows of any sort are generally done with
a sort of dark colour. You could use black, but
you could also set it to a sort of neutral grey. That might give you a
softer sort of shadow. Multiply is a good option to use because shadows are
normally darker. You don’t want it to interact with something underneath
and lighten it, so I would always suggest
something like Multiply as a good, safe option
for your drop shadows. The Offset is how far
the shadow is pushed. So at the moment, it’s
being pushed seven pixels in a horizontal direction and seven pixels in
a vertical direction. If you wanted to
place your shadow in the opposite direction, then you could set it
to, say, minus seven. We’re just going to drop
this down to minus seven, which is pushing it back
this direction horizontally and then minus seven on the Y
axis, which is pushing it up. And so you’re getting a
shadow that’s in completely the opposite direction
than the previous one. And in the case of a drop
shadow, the blur is going to have an effect on the
softness of the edge here. If we bring the
blur down in value, then the edge is going to
become really, really harsh. The distance is being
provided by the offsets, but the harshness of the
shadow is provided by the blur. So if you want a
less harsh shadow, you’re just going to wind
the blur up a little bit. We’ll click OK. Now, let’s go and turn the
other settings back on, ’cause there’s
something I want to show in terms of the ordering
of those options. So if I take the drop shadow and drop it above the inner
glow and the outer glow, you could end up with
an effect like this. So the ordering of these effects is really, really important. So if you get something
that doesn’t look the way you want it to look,
think about reordering these elements within
the Appearance panel, because the order of the
elements has a really big impact on what the effect actually
looks like in result. So I’m going to select
back over this shape, and I’m actually going to
remove all of these effects. I’m just selecting them and
dragging them onto the trashcan, ’cause I wanna have a
look at another effect. I want to have a look
at the Scribble effect, which is also in
the Stylize options. I’m just going to click to
apply the scribble effect, and the scribble effect
does just what it suggests. It gives the image a sort
of scribble-like look. So what I’m going to do is
I’m going to start finessing this a little bit, reduce
the size of the stroke width. I’m going to reduce the
sort of curviness a bit. I’m going to
decrease the spacing. I’m just going to reduce
the path overlap as well. So I’ve got something
I quite like here, so I’ll click OK. Now, at this point I
might look at my shape and think, oh, it might
look a little bit better if it had a stroke
on it that would sort of contain some of
these scribble elements. So I’m going to
click on the stroke, and I’m going to add a
black stroke to my image. And straight away, you
can see that we’ve got some significant problems
with this effect. What’s happening is that
the scribble effect is being applied not only to the
fill but also to the stroke. With the shape selected,
what I’m going to do is I’m just going to
trash the scribble effect. It’s going to take the image back to its gradient
fill and its stroke. Now, I want to adjust
the stroke a little bit, so I’ll go to Window
and then Stroke. I’m just going to dial down
my stroke just a little bit, to about 0.5.
I’m quite liking that effect. Let’s re-select the shape. This time, let’s
double-click on Contents, and let’s go to the fill,
because what we want to do is to add the scribble effect to the fill but
not to the stroke. And these effects that we’re
creating inside Illustrator can be limited in scope if
you pre-select what it is that you want to
apply the effect to, and in this case, it’s the fill. So let’s go back to
Effect and then Stylize and then Scribble, and
here now, we’ve got the same scribble effect
appearing inside our image, but it’s affecting only the
fill and not the stroke. So just be aware when
something happens that you don’t expect to happen, that
sometimes, just applying these effects to a limited
portion of the image, either the fill or the stroke, will change it to look the
way you wanted it to look. I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning these Illustrator
effect techniques. Let us know what you think
in the comments below, and give us a thumbs up if
you enjoyed the tutorial. Until next time, I’m Helen
Bradley for Design Cuts.


  • Reply _Sommerfrische_ Romy Schulz August 19, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Another great one! Thanks a lot 🙂

  • Reply Sneha Sangle August 20, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Loved it so much.. Thank you

  • Reply Design Cuts July 23, 2018 at 2:59 pm

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  • Reply Frank Tielemans August 12, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    you sound as Helen Bradley

  • Reply Thuy Nguyen August 24, 2018 at 3:18 am

    This is so useful. Thank you very much for this tutorial!

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