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Adobe Illustrator: Creating text highlights

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#1
Nick Springer

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A common map design technique is to create a white halo around text to help it stand out. This is called "fat positive." Most of the time people will duplicate a text object, add a white stroke to the text (which covers some of the fill color) and then sends the duplicate to the back. There is a better way to achieve this effect with out duplicating all your text objects.

1. Select your text object.
2. Activate the Appearence palette (Shift-F6)
3. From the drop down menu on the right of the Appearence palette, select Add new fill

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4. You should now see Fill and Stroke elements in the Appearence palette

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5. Select the Stroke element and change the color to white (or whatever color you want the halo to be).

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6. Drag the Stroke element below the Fill element in the appearence palette.

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7. Change the stroke weight to whatever is appropriate for the text size,

Nick Springer

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#2
frax

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Oh, thanks, I didn't know about that -- in fact I did a highlight the 'dirty' way this morning (with a duplicated layer).
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#3
Martin Gamache

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Nick this works well in most cases except if you are trying to overprint the halo. I often make my contour label haloes a 1% tint of the contour spot color to knock the contour line out behind the label.
In this case you will need to duplicate the text on a separate layer and convert to paths. Overprint settings dont seem to work on multiple text attributes set up like you describe. Not sure why.
mg

#4
Nick Springer

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Unfortunately this method also does not work on text on a path either. It definitely has it uses and it's drawbacks. Although you can specify opacity for each item in the appearance separately so I use that to produce semi-transparent halos around text as well.

Nick Springer

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#5
Martin Gamache

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Unfortunately this method also does not work on text on a path either.

Nick,

I've been able to add strokes and fills using the Appearance Palette to text on a path (WIN AI10 & CS2)...unless I am misuderstanding what you are saying?

#6
mike

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yeah, this is a very useful technique, especially if you have a busy background where labels may get lost in.

#7
Nick Springer

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Unfortunately this method also does not work on text on a path either.

Nick,

I've been able to add strokes and fills using the Appearance Palette to text on a path (WIN AI10 & CS2)...unless I am misuderstanding what you are saying?

OK, you're right and I figured out what I was doing wrong. If you cut a text block and paste it onto a path it looses it's appearence attributes.

Also if you highlight the text using the text tool, you can add strokes and lines to the appearence but you can't change their order.

You have to select the whole line with the text using the selection tool and then add your appearences.

Good to know!

Nick Springer

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Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#8
Nick Springer

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yeah, this is a very useful technique, especially if you have a busy background where labels may get lost in.

Unfortunately Illustrator doesn't support text styles so there is no good way to quickly apply this and update a lot of text elements easily.

Nick Springer

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#9
Martin Gamache

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Unfortunately Illustrator doesn't support text styles so there is no good way to quickly apply this and update a lot of text elements easily.

This is one arena where Freehand is superior.

#10
Claude

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Nick,
You actually can save this as a Style (in CS it's called Graphic Style) and apply to other text. In CS and CS2 there is a Character style pallette where you can also save the fill & Stroke with other character styles such as leading and kerning, etc. Only prob with the character style palette is that you can't set the stroke behind the fill as in the regular styles.
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#11
EcoGraphic

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Thanks Nick,

I tried this technique to mask my map text and it works nicely. I also recorded it as an Action so that I would not have to repeat the process a million times with every text. I noticed that the only thing the Action Palette would not record however was the movement of the stroke below the fill.

PS:
I am sure everyone knows this, but in case anyone does not know how to record an Action for a repetetive task, here it is:

1. Select the text or object you are working on
2. Open the Actions Palette: Windows>Actions
3. Click the arrow and choose: New Action
4. Name the new action and hit: Record
5. Go through all of the steps required for your action (ie: masking text)
6. Once you are done, hit the 'Stop' button on the bottom of the Action Palette
7. Select the next piece of text or object you need to use the action on, select the action it eh Actions menu and hit: Play on the bottom of the Actions Palette
8. If you made a mistake during the recording process you can fix minor problems in the Actions palette by expanding the Action, or delete the action and start again


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#12
Rick Dey

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Prior to the introduction of character styles in CS all our type was spec'd using AI actions, Font, size, leading, baseline shift, color, overprint. Using the actions pallette in button mode and assigning keyboard shortcuts for the common actions allowed us to maintain consistent type specs across the board easily. Using the Character styles now with point type works wonderfully however CS has introduced other nightmarish problems because of it's penchant to destroy path type. Our workflow is appearing to increase by a magnitude in complexity when using path type.
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#13
Martin Gamache

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Here is an action that puts the stroke behind. Not sure why it works and it does result in two fill attributes....
Posted Image

Download the Action for PC CS2

#14
EcoGraphic

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Martin,

I don't suppose the CS2 Action you posted is going to work in CS is it? What would be the order of events, so I can get it to work in CS........


Gillian
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#15
Martin Gamache

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You should try it, just try loading it from your actions panel.
As for the action order, I think it goes like this:

1. Add new stroke from Appearance panel
2 Set Color of stroke
3. Add new fill
4. set color of fill

In CS2 it appears the newly added fill sits on top which is different than the previous default behavior.




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