From way back, Adobe Illustrator had an Actions feature — unfortunately it is rarely used. This really powerful tool is capable of making complex and routine tasks automatic, saving you a lot of time. In today's tutorial we will learn how to create an action on the example of a complex text effect. To broaden the action options, we will be using the filters found in the Phantasm CS plugin which is also available to download as a FREE 14 day full trial.
Create a new document.
Please note that we will first be working in RGB color mode. You will learn how to create this effect for the CMYK color mode at the end of this tutorial.
Now we need to create an object with which we will be working. Take the Type Tool (T) and create some text.
Open the Actions panel.
We can see the Default Actions list, and optionally remove it from the panel by selecting Clear Actions in the fly-out menu.
Choose the New Action command.
Then click the Record button in the open dialog box. Action recording has started. You can always stop the action and think on the next stages before committing to the next step.
The buttons to resume recording, and start/play action are in the lower part of the panel.
After having stopped the action, you can rename the Set and Action by double-clicking on their names in the panel.
With the preparatory work done, proceed to the creation of the action. Click on the Record button, then go to. The entire text will be selected and the new entry will appear in the Actions panel.
Convert text into regular vector objects. To do this, go to.
In the next steps we will be using the text outline as the Clipping Mask, so ungroup itand convert the text into Compound path . By doing this, you can use shortcuts for command completion .
Copy the Compound path copy and paste it in front. The upper path will be later used as a Clipping path, but for now turn off its fill in the Tool Bar, so that it does not get in the way of seeing further changes.
Now we need to work on the lower object. If you simply select it with the help of the Selection Tool (V), then this action will not be recorded in our action. You can only create the action by using Adobe Illustrator's menus. So go to.
Our text should have texture. To create texture, go toand set the parameters shown in the picture below.
I would like to note here that live Effects are not suitable for action recording — you should use Filters instead. This is the case for both default Illustrator and Astute Graphics tools. Unfortunately, recent Adobe Illustrator releases do not have filters which restricts the possibilities of actions. Fortunately, Phantasm CS retains filters variants of its color tools.
The achieved texture resembles the mesh; let's add some variety to it.
Ungroup objects of the texture 2 times using the menu entry for this on each occasion.
Turn off the Edges of the objectsso can see better what will happen next. Then go to and set transformation parameters in the dialog box.
Now group the objects of the texture.
Fill the texture objects with a yellow color. To do this, go to. Click on the Color icon and set the numerical values of the yellow color (C = 0; M = 0; Y = 100; K = 0) in the Color Picker dialog box.
Move Shift slider to 100% mark. For getting the right color you can certainly use the Color panel. But in this case, any moving of the color sliders will be recorded in the action. So why do we need to complicate such a simple process where you can also use the color swatches from the Swatches panel? The primary reason is the issue if this panel does not have the required color swatch in the current or new document — the action will fail. In my opinion, the benefits of the Phantasm CS Shift filter to Color are obvious.
The edges of the letters, in my opinion, do not look neat enough. Select all the objects, then go to .
All of the actions continue to be recorded to the action.
Duplicate the achieved result. Go toand set the horizontal and vertical offset value, and click the Copy button in the dialog box.
Apply the Multiply blending mode to the copy in the Transparency panel.
Fill the objects of the new group with red color. Go toand set the numerical values of the red color (C = 0; M = 100; Y = 100; K = 0) in the Color Picker dialog box.
Duplicate the text again.
Fill objects of the new group with blue color (C = 100; M = 0; Y = 0; K = 0) with the help of the Phantasm CS Shift to Color filter.
I wanted to get black color in the areas of the three colors overlapping. But, unfortunately, I also got green color in the areas of blue and yellow overlapping.
Honestly, at this point I stopped action recording and started walking around the office in search of the right solution. Bingo! A solution was found (now you probably have an idea why I named this action Bingo). Go to(two times). This will allow us to select the lowest group.
Now go to. This action selects two upper groups.
Group them up.
Tick Isolate Blending in the Transparency panel for this group.
We got rid of the green color.
We only need to complete the action. Go to, then group up all the objects.
I decided to make italic text. Go toand set the inclining angle in the dialog box.
Cancel the selectionand you can now click on Stop recording.
Let's test the action performance. To do this, create a new text object and press Play.
We only have one stop within action when we apply Transform Each command.
You are offered to modify the transformation parameters. If you want the action to work non-stop, click on the Toggle Dialog On / Off icon in the Actions panel.
Now the action is working non-stop.
I created the action on the example of the text that is pretty big in size (305pt). If you need to apply the actions to the fonts of different sizes, you can always change the parameters of the applied commands. To do this, turn on Toggle Dialog On / Off icons of the commands which parameters you want to edit. Now, when the script is running, you can set the new parameters.
Now let's take a look at how to modify the action for use of this text effect in CMYK color mode. If we switch to CMYK color mode (), we will not see any black color at the overlapping of the three colors.
Go back to the RGB color mode (). Duplicate the action created earlier and rename the new one that will be modified.
Delete the last line Deselect All in the new action.
Select the group with the text, then click on the Record key.
Now go toand move the Raster/ Vector balance slider to the right end.
Go toand click on the Stop key.
Now, if we switch to CMYK color mode, the black color will not be lost.
Most likely that you will need to work more on colors before printing due to over-saturation of inks, but that is beyond the scope of this tutorial. There is plenty of pre-press material to be found on this blog.
Peculiar features of actions:
- Text must contain at least two letters.
- If the current document contains objects other than text, then they should be locked in the Layers panel.
Well, that's probably it. Now you can create a fairly complex text effect with one click of the button. The combination of actions and Phantasm CS makes magic work in just seconds!
Download the artwork and Illustrator actions
Click here for Illustrator CS5 and above (also PDF compatible)…