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JRChild says

I wonder if anyone can help me -

In Illustrator is it possible to add a stroke to just one side of an object and then save it as a graphic style? I’ve tried loads of different methods but just don’t seem to be able to crack this.

Any ideas?

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Interspace says

I don’t think this is possible without cutting the path. Which defeats your purpose it seems.

Maybe the closest thing you could get to it would be adding a non-blurred dropshadow just out to one side of the object. That would save as a style – but not be quite like a stroke.

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JRChild says

Thanks Interspace! I like the idea of adding the drop shadow and might be able to use it for something else. I forgot to mention that what I intend to use is a custom brush on the stroke – which makes it even more tricky!

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dvhughes says

Yes. I believe you could do it like this:

Appearance Panel!!!!
  1. Select the object to stroke on your art board
  2. Open the “Appearance” panel in “Window”drop down menu
  3. Add an additional fill layer to the object in the appearance panel. (Just a square icon in the footer)
  4. (While in the panel, make sure you have the lower layer fill selected)
  5. Fill it with the color you want the stroke on the one side of the object. (If done correctly you actually wont see anything happen. Don’t worry)
  6. With the lower fill layer in the appearance panel still selected, click the FX drop down on the appearance panel.
  7. Select “Distort and Transform>Transform”
  8. In the Transform dialogue box, click on “Preview” in the lower right, so you can see what you are doing.
  9. Then just play with the horizontal/vertical move sliders (depending on which side of your object you want your stroke) until you have what looks like a stroke on one side of your object.
  10. When you are happy, just drag the whole object from the art board into your style panel.

That should do it. Granted, it is not a true stroke…but it should give the effect you want provided the top fill is not a transparency.

Since you want to add a custom brush, you could probably add a stroke to the underlying fill with the desired brush and play around with the offset path in the “Paths” drop down FX menu. Either way, I am certain your answer lies in the under appreciated appearance panel.

Hope this helps. (I don’t have Illustrator on this computer, so this is just from memory, forgive me if I missed something.)

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joiaco says

Wow, thanks dvhughes for this lesson! The only way i could think (being VERY new to Illustrator) is to copy the section of the path, but that can’t be selected automatically for an action.

Maybe this thread could become the Illustrator equivalent of the very helpful ‘Photoshop Tips’ thread?

What i can’t find is how to reverse the direction of a path so that the non-uniform shapes go in the other direction. So far i have been redrawing the path starting at the other end which is surely not necessary?

And how can i change or add to those non-uniform path shapes? Thanks.

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JRChild says

sorry – I must have missed your reply at the time – this sounds like it shoulld work – I’ll give it a go!

thanks!!!!!


Yes. I believe you could do it like this: Appearance Panel!!!!
  1. Select the object to stroke on your art board
  2. Open the “Appearance” panel in “Window”drop down menu
  3. Add an additional fill layer to the object in the appearance panel. (Just a square icon in the footer)
  4. (While in the panel, make sure you have the lower layer fill selected)
  5. Fill it with the color you want the stroke on the one side of the object. (If done correctly you actually wont see anything happen. Don’t worry)
  6. With the lower fill layer in the appearance panel still selected, click the FX drop down on the appearance panel.
  7. Select “Distort and Transform>Transform”
  8. In the Transform dialogue box, click on “Preview” in the lower right, so you can see what you are doing.
  9. Then just play with the horizontal/vertical move sliders (depending on which side of your object you want your stroke) until you have what looks like a stroke on one side of your object.
  10. When you are happy, just drag the whole object from the art board into your style panel.

That should do it. Granted, it is not a true stroke…but it should give the effect you want provided the top fill is not a transparency.

Since you want to add a custom brush, you could probably add a stroke to the underlying fill with the desired brush and play around with the offset path in the “Paths” drop down FX menu. Either way, I am certain your answer lies in the under appreciated appearance panel.

Hope this helps. (I don’t have Illustrator on this computer, so this is just from memory, forgive me if I missed something.)
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