Illustrator CS6 Stroke Effects And Tricks

Adobe Illustrator CS6 has added many refinements and improvements, including Image Trace and Gradients on a Stroke. The stroke panel has also turned up a couple of effects that I discovered and wanted to share.

basic starCS6 has been my first upgrade for a couple of versions – and I’m surprised at some of the improvements that have been made by Adobe!

The image on the left is a basic star shape with a stroke applied. If you want to change the stroke to a Dashed line you can, but by default on a shape like this the dashes follow each other, with the same length and this gives us uneven points to our star:

Dashed Lines in Illustrator

If we change the alignment of the dashes we get a much more pleasing arrangement:

Align dashes to corners in Illustrator

Using this technique, if we take the weight of our stroke up, it is easy to create a snowflake in Illustrator:

Snowflake in Illustrator

Illustrator CS6 now lets us apply gradients to our strokes, and we can apply them in different ways over, across and along the stroke:

Illustrator gradient stroke panel

Using this new feature, our snowflake gets a new appearance:

snowflake with gradient

For another effect, taking the Dashed Lines off, with a large stroked and a gradient applied across it, we can create the illusion of a star in 3D, like an extruded shape or one that has been punched in to a surface:

3D Star in Illustrator

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What do you think?

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