Creating cool effects with the attribute dropper

In the last blog post we briefly talked about the attribute dropper tool attrribute dropper icon  which allows you to copy styles from a source object to a target object. The way to use it is to hover the mouse pointer over the source object, which is the object you want to copy styles from, click and hold the left mouse button. Then drag the pointer over your target object, the object to which you want to apply the styles, and release the button. It's a neat way of pasting the style from one object to another. However, there is another use for the attribute dropper tool - you can create some really cool effects with it. In this blog post, I'll go step by step over creating a cool visual effect for some text.

Start a new project in Expression Design. In your workspace, add some text using the text tool. In the example to the right, I've added the text "Acme Metals". The font I'm using is called "Neuropol" at a size of 85 pixels. With your text selected, apply the Live Effect 'bevel' with the following attributes: width - 2; contrast - 1; softness - 0.4; profile - linear; light angle - 135.

Now that you have the text in your workspace, let's add some color to it besides black. What I'm going to go for in this tutorial is a copper look and feel. So with the text selected, let's add another Live Effect, this time 'diffuse glow' which is under 'photographic'. Set the following attributes on the diffuse glow effect: graininess - 0; glow amount - 20; clear amount - 20; glow color - #C27557.

Here's what you end up with after making these changes.

So now we want to use the attribute dropper to make a cool effect. As copper ages is takes on an eerie green color. So anywhere on your workspace, create a square or ellipse with a green fill and no stroke. I'm using #00C800 for the shade of green. Now select the attribute dropper. Hover the mouse over the green square you created, click and hold the left mouse button. Now drag it down to the first letter in your text, in this case the letter 'A'. You can hover the mouse over any area of the letter, then let the button go. Pretty cool, huh? What you get is green splotches on the letter. When applied to all of the letters you end up with the following:

There's really no magic going here and the attribute dropper is only one way to accomplish the look and feel of the effect produced in the picture above. If you select your text and go to the effects window, try clicking the eyeball on the 'diffuse glow' effect. You'll see that the diffuse glow is overshadowing the green color you applied to the text. You can accomplish the same effect by setting the fill color of the text to green and then applying the diffuse glow with the settings mentioned above - though if you do it that way, you will be applying the green color to the entire block of text instead of individual letters, which is the advantage of using the attribute dropper. Perhaps you only wanted the first letter of each word to be green. In that case, the attribute dropper would be the best way to do it.

In Expression Design, you will find there are usually several different ways of accomplishing any one goal. The fun is to explore those ways as they could lead to a fun tangent that you never knew about.

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