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40 - How to make the paper cut effect in Adobe Illustrator CC


Questions & Comments

Martin - 7 months ago

My different versions of this:)

Administrator Tayla Coman - 7 months ago

Awesome work! Reminds me of camouflage

Juanita - 7 months ago

This is so much fun!

Daniel would you be ok if I put my 'J' on my Society6 account so I could make a sticker from it?

Juanita - 7 months ago

I uploaded it to Society6 and acknowledged you:
"Inspired by Daniel Scotts paper cut-out look. Check out his website at www.bringyourownlaptop.com"

Kamran - 3 months ago

Class project

Luke - 2 months ago

Heres mine.

Daniel Kyriacou - 2 months ago

Something different

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Video Transcription

Hi there, in this video we're going to make this paper cut effect using Adobe Illustrator. All right, let's jump in and do it. 

To start making this effect, we are going to use a bit of Type. One thing also, we're going to use some colors that are from the 80s. You saw it at the beginning there, so just make sure your Document Setup or Document Color Mode is 'RGB'. You just can't reach those colors with CMYK. So grab the 'Type Tool', create a letter. I'm just going to just use the letter X, like you saw. And I'm going to use a nice, big thick font. I'm going to use 'Museo Slab'. It's part of TypeKit, you can download that for free as part of your license. If you don't have Museo, you can just go into here, and go to 'Slab Serif' and just see what slabs you have in here. I feel like I have more than that, but anyway-- I'm going to turn-- I'm going to give it a Fill like-- let's go super chunky. Even chunkier, 1000, make it nice and big. And I'm going to go and outline it. You need to outline the font eventually, I'm going to make a copy over here. 

You've opened it, you've outlined it, and you can't remember what it was. So this guy here is going to be outlined, so 'Type', 'Create Outlines'. And now we're going to do some drawing. Up to you, you can be super precise with the Curvature or Pen Tool. I am not, I'm going to use the Pencil Tool but just make sure I've double clicked the 'Pencil Tool', the Smoothing is at really high, and you've unselected, keep selected. That just causes a pain while you're drawing. One thing I wish though, I wish I had my Wacom tablet with me. Again, I'm stuck inside with a snow storm. So we're filling from home, no Wacom, but that's okay. 

Now when I'm drawing, I'm going to-- it doesn't really matter what colors you picked now but it needs no Fill, any Stroke. I'm going to do three Strokes, so I'm going to do yellow, green, and Cyan for my three levels. Now when you're drawing there's nothing to it, it's-- I'm going to start from the outside end, it's totally up to you but we're going to draw all the way around, I'll show you what I mean. I'm going to kind of draw around here. I've got some loopy things, it's going to come in and out. There's a lot of work that goes into kind of guessing what it's going to look at the end. We can do some adjustments later on. You want to come back to the beginning. I shouldn't probably loop back on itself, but I'm trying to make it look fine. And you can see, with the Pencil Tool up and smoothing it made me look like I'm pretty good with my mouse here. 

So that's the first level, I'm going to draw another one. That is the green. And this one here is just going to-- so this is going to be like peeking in around this guy, in and out a little bit, but he's kind of the next level down that we saw in that Intro video. We're going to leave enough room for, I guess, whatever you decide, how many levels you're going to do. We did three in this case. Three plus the background equals four. Now I'm just coming back to the beginning. We'll speed this next bit up, I'm just going to use blue. So let's go speedy version. 

We're back, so that scribbly mess is-- that's the reason I picked colors, I guess. Now we're going to choose a set of colors to use for it. I'm going to go 'Window', 'Color Themes', just to pick awesome colors. 'Color Themes'. If you go from 'Create' to 'Explore' you get a bunch of colors. Mine's on Most Popular this month, 'Zoo' is the one I'm going to use. If you can't find it, and you want to use it, just type in 'zoom' and search, and you should be able to find it. What we need now is four squares for our four different levels. The three kind of scribbles, plus the background. 

So draw a rectangle above the thing you want to-- just needs to be bigger, doesn't really matter how much bigger. We need to decide on our levels, so I'm going to start with orange. I'm going to drag it up holding 'Alt', then hit 'Command D'. So I've got one, two, three, four. Zoom out. All right, so orange, blue, green, and pink. So I've got these guys, now I'm going to lay these guys out on top of it. Just giving them some sort of order. I'll do this top one here. I'll bring him to front so I can see him. Who is next? Green is next. 'Arrange', 'Bring to Front'. You can right click them to bring them to the front. And that guy just kind of fills in the background. 

So I've got these three, now all I need to do is make them a Compound Path. You can go to 'Object', 'Compound Path', 'Make' or select them both, and go 'Command 8', or 'Control 8' on a PC. So I've got my bits and pieces, now I want to stack them on top of each other. This can be a bit of a pain, like, I want to put this guy up the top. This guy should be right down the back. So just keep playing with your Layer order until you get something working. You really didn't know what to stick to that. One more line, perfect, and that guy is at the back. So one, two, three, four. 

So to get the 3D kind of effect what we're going to do is, have it selected, all of them, and we're going to go to 'Effects' and we're going to apply 'Stylize', and it's just a 'Drop Shadow'. Because it's a Compound Shapes, there's a hole in it. Drop Shadow is quite cool. Let's go pretty-- you can do any glow and change the mode to 'Normal', and use black. But I want this kind of 3D effect. In here, it's just a matter of playing around, right? I've kind of played around with it already, and I was kind of happy with how it looked here, maybe change this down a bit. So just a matter of playing around. Make sure your Preview is on so you can kind of see. It's got its 3Dness. Click 'OK'. 

Now another thing I like to do, when I was playing around, is I liked it when it had a second Drop Shadow that was just a little bit smaller, I'll show you what I mean. You can leave it like this totally because this next bit gets a little confusing. I want to add a second Drop Shadow. I'm going to close down Appearance Panel, what I meant to do is go to 'Effects', and let's go to 'Stylize', and add 'Drop Shadow'. And this is going to apply a second one. I'm going to click it on, and it's going to freak out a bit. That's okay. We have to play around with the Shadow order. Just take it from me at the moment, just leave it at 60. I'm going to do 1 x 1 x-- I might turn this preview off, it's freaking out. 1 x 1 x 2. Just kind of a really thin offset, and not much blur. Reasonably strong, I might have to change that. Click 'OK'. Trying to apply the shadow, and it just doesn't work. It's applying a shadow on top of another shadow, which is—

Let's go to the Appearance panel here, so there's two of them applied. Now what we need to do is just change the Layer order so I can just drag this one underneath. This is where sometimes, it doesn't want to do it, right? So we have to do it individually because they're all mixed appearances, so this is why-- yes, if you want to do it. So what I'm going to do is go to 'Wireframe Mode', which is way up, 'View'. And this top one here, 'Command Y', or 'Control Y' on a PC. I'm going to click on 'Direct Selection' tool, click on this guy. I'll drag him underneath. What is the next line? That one there, drag him underneath. These are joined individually. Not too hard, right? So that should be it, let's go back up to Wireframe Mode. 'GPU Preview'. It's kind of what I was looking to do. I might have to change that setting. It's maybe a bit too dark around here. Let's click on it, and—

You can adjust them now, so it's the bottom one we want. No, the top one we want. Dan, get on with it. It's the Opacity I'm going to turn down. Click 'OK'. It's kind of what I was looking for. Maybe the Blur's too big. I'm not going to go and change it because we want to carry on. All you need to do now is clip it inside this. So I'm going to grab my 'Black Arrow', select this guy. I'll keep a version up there. Drag it kind of roughly how we want, make sure it's at the back of the X. Get it kind of lined up. Then select them all, then hit 'Command 7'. If you're on a PC, 'Control 7'. The long way, 'Clipping Mask', 'Make', and ready, 3D, 80 is in. I think there's too much black on that shadow but I'm going to fix it afterwards. I'm not going to keep you any longer. 

Now we've done it with curves, you can do it with spikes, you can do with anything. It's just kind of basically Compound Shapes with the Drop Shadow. Gives you that kind of paper cut look. Now it's time for class exercise. And it's going to be just doing a different letter with different blobs, with different colors. You can use the same colors. I'd love to see it, because it's such a cool-- pretty simple doing it, kind of long but quite creative, I feel. I'd love to see it, if you can post it to us, social media wise, Instagram, it's bringyourownlaptop, and Twitter, it's danlovesadobe. Stick it on this site as well, as a project. So, take a screenshot, show me, I'd love to see it. Let's see what everybody makes. Cool, huh? All right, next video.

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