Category Archives: Illustrator

Motion Graphic: 29 Ways To Stay Creative

Motion Graphics seem to be an up and coming way of conveying data. Who wants a boring old PowerPoint presentation when you can have creative, entertaining AND informative motion graphics?

A good example of this is 29 Ways To Stay Creative. It has strong, clean composition with enough of an entertaining factor to hold your attention.

29 WAYS TO STAY CREATIVE from TO-FU on Vimeo.

Brushed Metal Graphic Styles in Illustrator

We’ve spent the last two weeks talking about nothing but InDesign so I thought I would change it up a bit and talk to you about Graphic Styles in Illustrator. Your Graphic Styles palette essentially holds premade combinations of colors, effects, etc. for a specific look. These come in very handy since recreating a style can be tedious.

In our case, we will be creating a simple brushed metal look for text using a Graphic Style we create.

I’ve already created my text in Illustrator, sized it the way I want it and left it set with the default black fill and no stroke.

Type used for Graphic Style
Graphic Styles text before alteration

Now I’m going to drag a square using my rectangle tool and give it a gradient fill… when it is selected just click on the Gradient palette and start adjusting the handles.

Gradient square
Adjusted gradient fill on square

So you don’t have to guess at how I set my gradient, here’s what the palette looks like.

Gradient palette
Gradient palette after adjustment

If you want you can add a 50% gray stroke but keep it small, around .50 to .25 of a point.

Have it the way you want it? Now we’re going to hit our Effects menu, go to Texture and Grain. It will give you a fullscreen display to work in with a preview so you can adjust it visually. Change the Grain Type to horizontal, drag the Contrast slider all the way to 0 and start fiddling with the Intensity slider (this is what really controls how rough your brushed effect will appear). I set mine low for a more subtle effect.

Grain effect
Grain effect adjustment

Done? Then just drag the square we’ve been working on to the Graphic Styles palette. You can name it as you see fit by going to the options dropdown and if you want to make some adjustments click on the Appearance palette to see the fill and stroke separately.

Gradient text with stroke
Gradient text with faulty stroke

As you can see, when I apply the Graphic Style to my type, the stroke doesn’t work out the way I want it to, so I just go to my Appearance palette, drag the Stroke to the trash and that takes care of it. Also I decided to go with more of a pronounced brush pattern, so in the Appearance palette, I clicked the “Grain” item and adjusted it (with the type selected so it would apply these changes to the type I’m working with).

These Graphic Styles can be applied to elements and then adjusted individually.