2.1 Floating Shadows, Converting Text, and Combining Shapes
In this first lesson we’ll learn how to create floating shadows, convert editable text to a path, and apply gradients. We’ll also see how to combine multiple objects into a single shape.
1.Introduction1 lesson, 00:34
2.Adobe XD Tips and Tricks6 lessons, 1:13:44
3.Conclusion1 lesson, 00:17
2.1 Floating Shadows, Converting Text, and Combining Shapes
[MUSIC] Righty-ho, I believe we're live. Hi everyone, thanks for joining the stream. My name is Daniel White, some of you know me as Dansky. I am an instructor with Envato Tuts+. And this evening, we're going to be jumping into Adobe XD. This is gonna be really cool. We've got 15 time-saving shortcuts for Adobe XD. So if you've never used XD before and you're a complete beginner, welcome, first of all. If you've used XD a little bit or you're an absolute pro, hopefully there's gonna be something here for everyone to learn. Whether you learn one thing or all 15, it's gonna be really, really cool. So it's a nice little bit of variety as well. Hello to everyone in the chat. If you do have any questions as we go through the stream, please do feel free to ask them. And I will do my best to answer them at a few different points throughout the stream. So yeah, let's kick this off. So you can see on screen I've got a bunch of different artboards. These are a little bit of tease as to what we're going to be doing. And if I just jump to the first one. We're first going to kick this off with floating shadows. Now these can be especially useful if you're designing something on an app or a site in XD and you just want to lift your image or an icon, whatever it is, off the page a little bit, or make it seem like it's levitating. So let's just zoom into this artboard a little bit. And I'm just going to grab the ellipse tool, just left-click and hold shift. And we're going to draw a circle. So we've got a red circle. What we're going to do now is grab that ellipse tool again and we're going to draw an ellipse underneath. Something that's very narrow in height, that matches the width of the shape here. Now this could be a graphic or an icon, or whatever it is. In fact, let's just grab that rectangle tool and we'll put this inside a card of sorts. So we'll give this a color. Let's make this a bit more interesting, we'll get a bit more creative. And I've got some images here all ready to go for this very reason. So we can click on the art board name, and we can also change the background color. So I'll make this ever so slightly off-white. We're gonna go for a super-light gray. And that means that I can then select the color of this card, and this will stand out. And I'm just going to duplicate this image layer. We'll scale that up, holding Alt and Shift to scale from the center. And we'll just give this a border with a width of, let's go for three. And we could even eye drop something from the scene, so we can pick a similar color. And remember scaling towards the center, you just drag from a corner and hold Alt and Shift. And then we can group this circle and the image together by holding Shift and left-clicking on both of them and going to Object and Group. Okay, so that's a bit more interesting now. We'll just group our entire card together and center that in the middle of the artboard. So that's gonna make this floating shadow look a little bit more interesting. So let's just disable that border. Now for this floating shadow, we're going to give this a fill of black. So that's all the way in the bottom-left corner of the color picker. Don't worry about adjusting the opacity yet. We can do that in a little bit. Now there's a few different ways you can do this. We can select the tick box here and just change that drop-down from Background Blur to Object Blur. And what this does is it allows you to grab this slider here and really quickly and easily, just effectively blur the shape. So a really quick way to mock this up to see if this is an effect that you'd like to use, is to do something like this. And there we go, we've got a floating shadow. And we can drop the opacity as well, if we like. But we can actually make this look a little bit better in XD. And if you've got the latest update, it also introduces Radial Gradients, which is awesome. So first of all, I'll do this with linear gradient. And what this allows you to do is add a fill to the shape that graduates from one color to another color. So you can see here in the color picker, we now have the gradient slider. And we can pick one end and pick any color we like. Of course, for this to be a shadow, we're going to be running along this very left axis here. Just so we're not playing in the space with any color. Unless of course you do want to add color to your shadow, and then by all means, feel free to add some color. So what we're going to do is we've got black on the one on the left and we can click the swatch on the right here, and we're going to add white. And if we click in the middle, we can then add black. In fact, this one on the left does need to be white as well. So to add a swatch, you just click anywhere on that gradient bar and just drag it off if you want to get rid of it. So it should go from white to black to white. Now if we zoom in at the moment, our gradient is actually running vertically, which is no good. We need this to go from left to right, horizontally. So we can just grab these anchor points here and you can see in real time, it will adjust our gradient. And in fact, we can actually grab this middle point here. And you can see on the gradient bar, in real time, we can actually adjust the central position of this color here. But I think for now, we'll probably go back to leaving that in the middle. So let's just position that in the middle like so. Now what this does is, using a linear gradient, this actually darkens the center area. And we can actually select this and pick a slightly lighter color. We don't have to go for this kind of bottom-left corner black. We can make that ever so slightly lighter, so this color here for example. But because it fades out to white, it just creates a much more realistic shadow. And of course, depending on how wide your object above is, or your graphic, or your card, whatever it is, you can extend this from both sides by holding Alt and clicking on these outside anchor points. Because of course, if we have our shadow very small like this, it looks a little bit unrealistic with this being so wide. So we can extend that out and we can bring this down. So we can make it a bit narrower. And you can just fine-tune your shadow, and even the distance as well. So we could have this here, and just go Object>Arrange>Send Backwards. So it sends it behind it, so rather than creating an effect where the shadow appears to make this card levitate, it actually looks more like it's just the card is bending off the page. So you can really use these shadows, to just give a bit more depth to something as well. And we could even copy this up here, so you can go Edit and Duplicate to create copies nice and quickly. And you can see what I mean. We've kind of added that same shadow up there as well. So you can get super creative, we can make that one a bit less so it's a bit more subtle. Now the other way of doing this is with a radial gradient. So again, from the color picker, we can just go up to that linear gradient drop-down and change that to radial. And I'll just put this back to how it was, so we'll remove that middle swatch. And we just have one that goes from black to white, let's change that back to radial again. And that's the wrong way around, so just click on a swatch, select the color. That will change it like so, so using the radial gradient, I find that it's a little bit more subtle. It's not so much, kind of this darker area in the middle. So if you want something that is a bit more consistently subtle, you can even introduce more colors, as we've done before. So if you want to do something really, really subtle, you could add another lighter color here. So it goes from white to a very light grey to then go to the black. Or you can go for something like the linear gradient, or you could just add tons of different swatches. So those are a few different ways that we can use shadows to both create depth, and also make objects or graphics appear to levitate in Adobe XD. Or you can just go for the good old solid fill, and we'll just add an object blur here as well, drop that opacity. So you can see there's three different ways that we could create that effect, so it just depends what your object is and the kind of effect that you're looking for. Okay, number two, so this is how to convert text to a path. So of course in XD, we have a type tool, we can left-click, and we can start typing some text. Come on down, let's be a bit more creative, awesome. [LAUGH] It's that moment you need to be creative. I'm gonna type some text, what can I type? Text, brilliant, okay, but we can at least add some color, come on, let's add some color. There we go, that's creative, isn't it? Okay, so we've typed some text, and at the moment, this is editable text. There's so many things that we can do with it, well, only so many things we can do with it. So we can still combine this using the path finder tools. But if we wanted to add a gradient to this, we can't, because it's text. So that's something that may come in a future update, I'm not sure. But if for any reason in XD you need your text to be no longer editable. Similar to Illustrator when you go object type and convert to outlines, what you can do is go to Object, Path > and Convert to Path, and what this does is essentially turns your editable text in XD into a graphic. So it's very similar to the create outlines function in Illustrator. This is now just a shape, you can't edit this text anymore, but you can do a few other things, like you can apply a gradient to this text. So at the moment, if you do have any text in XD, and you're thinking, I just really want to add a gradient to this but I can't add it to the text. If you're happy to kinda check that your fonts are all good and everything's great, just go ahead, Object > Path > Convert to Path. And it will turn that text into a path, and then you can apply gradient effects. And you could always just keep an editable version of your text, just somewhere else outside the art board, just in case you need to double click or change the font or make any other changes in future. You've got that editable version there, you can reference the font, so you have that flexibility. That's what I like to do just as a backup, if I'm not sure about something. Just because it means I've got something to fall back on. So there we go, let's go and give this a really nice gradient. So you can see we can get a bit more creative, and you can do this with icons as well, if you have a logo or something. And there we go. Look at that awesome text, there we go, we're getting creative now. So here's the editable one, we've got that. This is the one that is converted to a path. Okay, number three, so we're gonna look at combining and creating shapes. Now, the XD UI is very streamlined, [LAUGH] in fact, when you first open it up, you may be thinking, where are all the tools? Because Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, all of these programs have been developed for years. They've got a huge selection of tools in the toolbar, and XD is very streamlined in that regard. However, using these basic tools, they give us everything we need to go and create more advanced shapes or icons or even logos. So let me demonstrate, so let's just grab the ellipse tool. Left click and hold Shift to draw a circle, and for now, I'm just gonna give this a black fill, just easier to work with. Now we can then select the rectangle tool and just left click and draw a rectangle, and again, give this a black fill as well. And you can see XD has these smart guides that mark where the center of things are, which is really helpful for lining stuff up. But if you're not sure, I mean, it looks off-center like this one, you can just drag over everything you'd like to align. And then from these alignment options at the top, just click this one here, Align Center Horizontally, and it will snap that in place. Now we're actually going to create a cog or a settings icon. We don't want this to be completely rectangular. So if we double click on the shape, we can now select individual anchor points. And we can then use the arrow keys on the keyboard or the mouse to just move these around. So for example, I could use the right arrow key on my keyboard and go one, two, three, four, five, yeah. We'll go with five, and then just click on the opposite side and use the left arrow key, and go one, two, three, four, five. Just so I know they're equal, it's a bit easier than using a mouse. And if you want to move with a bigger increment, just hold Shift before you press your arrow keys and it will make a larger jump. Now this is sticking out a little bit to me, so I'm gonna bring this down. In fact, I'm gonna double click again and do the same for the bottom. So use that left arrow key, one, two, three, select the right anchor point, and then use the right arrow key, one, two, three. So because I'm going to be repeating this round for the settings cog icon, I just want to make sure this first one is correct. And I can move this up and down, it doesn't really matter. I could even skew this a little bit, like so, maybe scale up. And then just select this circle, go to Object, and nope, go to Edit > Duplicate. And we'll give this a fill color that matches the background, so in this case white. And we'll scale down from one of the corners holding Alt+Shift. Now this is where we can determine the width. Of our cog icon. So this space in the middle, is it going to be really small or is it going to be quite large? I think we'll go for something in between like this. And then what we can do, in fact, what we can do is we can select the white circle, hold Shift and select the black circle. And then from the path finder options at the top here, we've got a few different options. So we can add these together or we can subtract them. Now, I want to subtract them because what this will do is it will take these two shapes and it will subtract whichever shape is on top. So in this case the white circle, it will subtract it from the other shape selected, the black circle. So if I just lay a color behind, just so you can see what I'm about to do, For the moment this is a white circle, we want it to be transparent. This is going to be the center of our cog settings icon. So again, we'll just select them both and use that subtract option, it's the second one in. And it will knock out that middle piece. And you can see here it's highlighted in blue now as well, so we know that we have applied a subtract effect to that, and we can actually click it and it will return our shape to us. We may need to color it up again, but it separates those back. Which is quite nice, because in Illustrator it's a very permanent thing, using those path finder tools. In XD it's not permanent, you can reverse it if you need to. So that's super cool, but this is now one shape, it's treated as one shape in Illustrator. And I can select this little guy at the top here, go to Edit > Duplicate, and just rotate from one of the corners. Now I'm going to rotate and hold Shift just so it snaps to those increments. And then drag this down. Now what I want to do is, I don't know, let's just make this really, really unbalanced. You can do this by eye, but for me I'm all about the precision, so what I like to do is group these two points together. And then select the circle as well. And just align these to the middle vertically. So you'll see it snaps those in place. So the amount of these parts of the cog here sticking out is equal both on the top and on the bottom. Now, the reason that we want those to be right like that is because, well, one, it's just really, really good to have that level of attention to detail. But also because we're going to be duplicating this and rotating it and using it multiple times. So if the first one's wrong, then the rest are all gonna be off and you might end up with a cog that just looks a little bit skewed off. So we're gonna go Edit > Duplicate, because we've done this all perfectly with the alignment tools now. And we're going to rotate from the corner, again holding Shift. And then we can hold Shift and select all four of these now. Again, we're going to duplicate that, hold Shift, and this will snap to a 45 degree increment as well. And we can even scale down these ones if we want. So while we have those selected, we can leave them exactly the same, or we can just scale them down ever so slightly. It depends entirely on what kind of cog icon you're going for. And you can do this with a whole bunch of different icons, but as you can see, we've created this cog icon, settings icon, whatever you want to call it, just using these two tools. The square or the rectangle, and the ellipse, and then a few path finder tools and alignment tools. It's pretty, but in terms of the toolbar it's literally just these two tools. And when you look at a lot of UI design, or if you're wire framing or prototyping or whatever it is you're doing, you can actually create an amazing amount of things just with these basic shapes. And what we can do now is, well, we don't need this red background anymore. We know that the center of the cog, the settings icon is transparent. We can just drag over everything. We can just check it's aligned, if it's not aligned, just to double check, so we'll just align it there both horizontally and vertically. And we can select this one here. Now this is Add, what this will do is it will take all of these individual shapes, all of these kind of cog pieces around the edge, the circles, and it will combine them into one shape. But of course, it's selected now so we can undo that if we need to go back. But I don't think we do. And there we go, we've got a cog icon. Now we can scale this, and it doesn't skew out of shape or anything. And there we go. We've created a cog icon, a more advanced, complex icon just out of some basic shapes.