Calling all Illustrator cognoscenti…

oldnick's picture

I’m in the process of conglomerating all of my pi character and border fonts into a popularly-priced package, and I want to explore a particular avenue of expanding the border fonts’ ease of use by creating Illustrator brushes.

Generally, when you create a border in font mode, there's one character for the upper left-hand corner, one or more top elements, an upper right-hand corner element, one or more left and right side elements, then vertical mirrors of the corner and span elements. All of the fonts are built on a solid em—in an OTF font, a 1,000×1,000 box with a 1,000 unit spacebar—so creating a border involves reading a key, then typing in the appropriate characters and number of spaces. One the other hand, a single corner element and a single span element in an Illustrator brush will rotate into the proper positions as a rectangle is drawn.

I understand that I need to create swatches from the various elements, and then use those swatches to build the brushes. The problem is, when I convert the individual glyphs into compound paths, the bbox info goes out the window, which causes problems like this...

The top elements are the font, the bottom elements are the brush.

I freely admit that, when it comes to Illustrator, I am a purposeful dunce. So, I thought I would check online to see if there was a tutorial that would guide me through the process of setting the bounding box so that the elements fall where they are supposed to fall to make the border work. I’m thinking that there has got to be a simple way to accomplish this, but I haven’t found it so far…

HVB's picture

Not an Illustrator pro, but can't you create an 'invisible' part of the brush that would force it to align properly? A line or a square with no stroke color and no fill.

- Herb

oldnick's picture

Herb,

A line with no stroke might work—as long as Illustrator didn't exhibit its natural tendency to want to close open contours. But I am reasonably confident that a box would present a problem if the end user were to apply a color to the brush.

gargoyle's picture

Herb's got it right-- group each tile with an invisible rectangle (no fill or stroke) that defines the "bounding box." To clearly see how it works, drag one of Illustrator's preset border brushes out onto the canvas and examine the pieces. The corner tiles should be perfectly square, the side tiles should have the same "em" height but can be a different width.

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