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Library: Creative Design


Stumped by SVG Filters? Try this technique and remove the mystery

Added on Thursday 4th of June 2009 09:23 am EST

Application > Adobe Illustrator CS/CS2
Operating Systems > Macintosh, Microsoft Windows

Illustrator comes loaded with over four dozen filters that enable you to apply all kinds of creative looks to your drawings. Some such as Drop Shadow, Outer Glow, and Feather you see commonly used in ads, brochures, and other publications. Others such as Charcoal, Chrome, and Graphic Pen you see less often, but are still commonly used. There is a group of effect filters you hardly see utilized, but are a powerful set of creative tools you shouldn't shy away from, such as shown in Figure A. The group of filters is the SVG Filters and if you‘ve avoided using them because of the SVG moniker, we'll reveal their secrets.

SVG – 101
SVG, which is short for Scalable Vector Graphics, is a language for describing two-dimensional graphics and graphical applications in XML (Extensible Markup Language). When SVG code is applied to a vector object, such as a path, via the SVG Filter, the resulting effect is applied to the target object rather than to the source object. Because of this, the SVG format is ideal not only for print, but for web use as well.
Illustrator comes loaded with a set of default SVG effects that you can use as is. But one little-known feature of SVG filters is that they're open source. This means that you can not only edit the code, as shown in Figure B, you can also create your own original SVG filters. But, before we do that, let's first see how to apply a SVG filter to an object.

Create a set of objects
Because SVG filters affect vector objects, we must first create one. Since all the shapes and paths you draw with Illustrator's tools are vector objects, let's use one of the Shape tools to create a set of object examples.
1. Launch Illustrator and open a new file.
2. Choose a Shape tool, such as the...


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