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Coastal vignette - illustrator

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#1
frax

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Hi, I am just trying to do a simple coastal vignette in illustrator - having a subtle gradient from land to sea, but I can't seem to get this to look nice using "Outer glow" - how do other people do it? Blends? Gradient mesh?

With Outer Glow - it gets too much in bays, and too little at spits.
Hugo Ahlenius
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#2
erik

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Overall I've had the best looking coastal blend with the gradient mesh.

erik

#3
ELeFevre

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Frax,
Why don't you do this in Photoshop rather than Illustrator?
i.e. copy the vector work in Illustrator and paste it direclty into Photoshop...fill the coastal shape with a white-fill and apply an outer-glow...save the file as a PSD and place/link it back into the illy document (making updates a cinch). I avoid live raster effects in Illy whenever I can.



#4
MapMedia

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I sometimes create a stepped blend (align to path), for example, from a blue 20pt line to a white 0.5pt line. The white line is a general shape of the coast, and placed below/behind the land layer.
Doing this creates a depth gradient that works well with a coast with estuaries and polygon rivers that meet the coast.

You can use this technique for subtle, close to shore, effect or for entire open water depth gradient.

#5
erik

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I've used that approach too, but for a coastline that doubles back on itself as happens with a bay or peninsula, it has resulted in some really strange non-smooth singularities.

erik

#6
frax

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Erin, I was just thinking to myself about this when jogging this morning - why not do this in Photoshop instead of Illy, since it is so much easier/obvious to get it the way I want there (for me at least!). I am bringing in other layers from Photoshop anyways, so it would be easy for me to do.

:)
Hugo Ahlenius
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#7
MapMedia

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I've used that approach too, but for a coastline that doubles back on itself as happens with a bay or peninsula, it has resulted in some really strange non-smooth singularities.

erik


True enough; that can be a problem. That is why the leader line (the one starting from the coast) must be drawn by hand so as to fix those problems.

#8
mike

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Erin, I was just thinking to myself about this when jogging this morning - why not do this in Photoshop instead of Illy, since it is so much easier/obvious to get it the way I want there (for me at least!). I am bringing in other layers from Photoshop anyways, so it would be easy for me to do.

:)


going to Photoshop takes a little more time, but i think it will yield some better results. this was a project I did about 4 years ago and I used Photoshop for the vignettes and then brought it back into Illustrator to do the vector work.

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#9
ELeFevre

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Yes, it takes a little longer to do this in Photoshop initially, but you end up regaining that time when you consider the resources you save in Illustrator and how easy it is to make changes and updates to the file. Another advantage is you can use the PSD (or a copy) in other maps as long as the projection is the same. It's a win a win. Nice map Mike!



#10
frax

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I did it in Photoshop in the end - and it worked out very well! If you look at it - the amount of parameters you can play with to do the outer glow in Photoshop compared to Illustrator.
Hugo Ahlenius
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#11
rudy

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The problem with doing it in Photoshop is that you can have it set up so that your water features are on top of background land features (e.g parks that extend into the water and include some islands, for instance). What happens is that the water ends up covering anything below it. There are work arounds, of course, but you need to ensure that you resulting water image is on the bottom.

CorelDraw (which I rarely use now) has a contour feature since at least version 7 that would allow you to do in one step what it takes Illustrator to do in many steps. If you're dealing with just one or two water features, using the Path > Offset Path tool isn't too bad. It gets to be a problem if you need to do it for many lakes (10 offsets per object x 100 objects gets a little time consuming - anyone written a script for this?).

#12
rudy

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On a similar theme . . . if I wish to do a vignette on the inside of an object in Illustrator, how do I do that? For a coastal vignette as talked about below, the process is Object Path > Offset Path . . . . This expands outward from an object - great for getting coastal vignettes of islands and large land masses but what if I have a self-contained lake and wish to produce a vignette that follows the shoreline? How do I make the offset path go inward? This was easy to do in CorelDraw (contour in) but there doesn't seem to be any corresponding one step tool in Illustrator.

I know this is relatively easy in Photoshop but I want to be able to do this in Illustrator.

#13
Nick Springer

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To create an inner offset you can clone the line and then set the line width to double the offset amount, and make sure there is a fill color (any color) on the object. Then choose Object > Path > Outline Stroke and you will end up with a compound object that is an outer offset line, the original path, and in inset path. Release the compound path and the re combine just the inner path and the original path.

Also in CS2 and CS3 you can use Effects > Stylize > Inner Glow...

This essentially creates an internal raster image that is linked to your vector graphic. I have been using this and Outer Glow a lot within Illustrator and it saves a lot of time going back and forth to Photoshop.

Make sure you check Effects > Document Raster Effects Settings before you go to press. I usually leave it on 72dpi until I am done to speed up redraw.

Nick Springer

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#14
rudy

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Ok . . . I should have been more patient before posting. I've used Effects > Styllize > Inner Glow. That seems to work quite fine.

#15
Nick Springer

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I reread your post and updated my posting to add the technique to create an inner offset. I then just tried something in Illustrator, and on Offset Path you can specify a negative value which works just fine as well.

Nick Springer

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