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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
In this movie we're going to take the jaunty six-pointed star that we created in the previous movie, and we're going to turn it into a pair of interwoven triangles, as you see here, using Illustrator's Live Paint feature, and we're going to add some gradients as well, which is quite the trick when you're working with Live Paint. And then in the next movie, we'll go ahead and add some shadows, cast onto the background, as well as from one triangle onto the other. I'm going to go ahead and switch to the illustration so far. Now I've got this shapes layer, and if I twirl it open, you can see that it has a couple of compound paths.
The top one is the upright triangle, the bottom one is the upside-down triangle. I need to keep these shapes around--they will be useful for creating the shadows--so I'll go ahead and make a copy of this layer by clicking on it, here inside the Layers panel. Then I'll bring up the Layers panel flyout menu, and I will choose Duplicate Shapes, and I will twirl close the original shapes layer and then I'll double-click on an empty portion of the shapes copy layer. I'll call it live paint and then I'll change its color to, let's say, Light Red--up here at the top--and then click OK.
Now, if you want to update the colors associated with the compound paths, then you need to twirl the live paint layer closed and then twirl it back open, just one of those things in the Illustrator. Let's go ahead and hide the shapes layer-- very important--so we don't mess it up. And then select both of the objects in the live paint layer by Alt-clicking on it, or Option-clicking on it, here inside the Layers panel, and now let's assign some strokes here by clicking on the second swatch in the Control panel and selecting a shade of blue that I've created in advance, C=85, M=50, Y=0, and K=50.
That goes ahead and adds this kind of dark blue stroke, and just so we can see it better, I'll change the Line Weight value to 4 points, and we end up with this effect here. Now we need to merge these two compound paths together into a Live Paint object, and the easiest way to do that is to go up to the Object menu, choose Live Paint, and then choose Make, and that makes no difference to the appearance of the star inside the document window here, but you can see that we now have a Live Paint object inside the Layers panel.
Now what we want to do is make sure that we have as many strokes as possible to start off with. So drop down to what is, by default, the Shape Builder tool, click and hold on it here in the Toolbox and select the Live Paint Selection tool, which you can also get by pressing Shift+L. And now click on one of these invisible strokelets here, that is to say, the outline where two paths are intersecting each other but there is not actually a stroke visible. So I'm going to click right at this location here, and you'll see this sort of dotted line pattern--I'm hovering over it so that obscures it--but now you can see it.
Now we want to select all of the similar strokelets, and you do that by going up to the Select menu, choosing Same, and choosing either Stroke Color or Stroke Weight, but Stroke Weight is probably the safest. I'll go ahead and choose that, and we end up selecting a bunch of other invisible sub-strokes as well. I want you to change the color of those strokes by clicking on that second color swatch and selecting that same shade of blue once again, and then I'm going to increase the Line Weight value to 4 points, and press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac.
Now press Ctrl+Shift+A, or Command+Shift+A on the Mac, in order to deselect all those sub-strokes, and I want you to go ahead and switch over from the Live Paint Selection tool to the Live Paint Bucket. We're going to need to use this tool to adjust a bunch of the sub-strokes. The tool isn't set up to do that by default, so in order remedy that problem, double-click on the Live Paint Bucket tool icon, that will bring up the Live Paint Bucket Options dialog box, turn on the Paint Strokes check box and then click OK.
Now what we'll be able to do is change the strokes. Now hover over one of the strokes to see if you see a bunch of swatches above the cursor, and if you don't, then what you want to do is go up here to the Control panel and change the Stroke swatch--the second swatch in--to None. That's not going to affect the shape, because for one thing, it's not selected, and for another thing, you can't actually change the stroke or fill of a shape when you're working with the Live Paint Bucket tool until you actually click on the shape.
Now hover your cursor over this little stroke here, and you should see a little None swatch above it. Click in order to get rid of that stroke and then click to get rid of that one, and you can see now this portion of the upside-down triangle is overlapping this area of the right-side-up triangle. Now it's the right-side-up triangle's turn to be on top over here, so you want to click with that brush cursor at this location and at this location. Make sure you see the brush cursor. If you see the bucket cursor, you're going to change the fill, which is not what you want to do.
Now the upside-down triangle should be on top, so hover over this location, click, and then click. Now the upright triangle should be on top, so click on each of these guides in order to get rid of them. Now it's the upside-down triangles turn, so click on each one of these sub-strokes, and then finally, the upright triangle should be on top at this location and this one as well. So now we have a pair of interwoven triangles, which is totally awesome, but I want to fill them with a gradient that I've created in advance here.
So I'm going to switch back to the Live Paint Selection tool, and you just want to click on some filled area, like this very here would be fine. And you see a little dot pattern indicates that area is selected. Now go up to the Select menu, choose Same, and choose Fill Color in order to select all of the overlapping regions of white, and press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac in order to hide that selection pattern just for the moment here. By default, the fill is going to be active. So you can assign a swatch directly from the Swatches panel.
I've created this light blue gradient in advance here, so I'm just going to click on that swatch in order to apply it, and we've got a bunch of radial gradients that are applied independently within each and every intersection, so every area where the paths intersect each other and where they don't intersect each other as well. We need to change that, so what I'm going to do is press Ctrl+H, or Command+H on the Mac, to bring back my selection pattern. I'll twirl open my Gradient layer down here at the bottom of the Layers panel, and you're going to see a bunch of guides up here toward the top, and then down toward the bottom you're going to see this thing called Path that's filled with a dark blue radial gradient.
And notice that it's locked. You want to go ahead and click on that lock in order to unlock it. Press the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool and press Ctrl+A, or Command+A on the Mac, in order to select all of the objects inside of the illustration, including that background rectangle. And next, what I want you to do is select the Gradient tool, which you can get by pressing the G key. And you'll see this Gradient Annotator right here, you can safely ignore it. What you want to do is start the gradient from the center of this area that I'm indicating with my cursor.
I'll drag from this location all the way down to the bottom-right point in the star, and I'll release, and that goes ahead and establishes a common start point and endpoint as well as an angle for the gradients inside all the selected shapes. So, now I'll return to this path as gradient path here inside the Layers panel, and I'll click in the second column in order to lock it down once again. Now we've ended up kind of losing our stroke where this path is concerned, as a result of changing the angle of the gradients.
It's just one of those things that happens inside Illustrator. Click on the second color swatch up here in the Control panel and change it back to that shade of blue, C=85, M=50, Y=0, and K=50, and then we want the Line Weight value to be 1 point. You're done, you can go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+A, or Command+Shift+A on the Mac, in order to deselect the artwork. We have now managed to create interwoven but still very jaunty six-pointed star that is filled with this sort of reflective radial gradient.
In the next movie, I'll show you how to add a series of interacting shadows.
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