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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, here I'm back in Illustrator for a moment taking a look at the Final advertisement.ai found inside the 20_ images folder. Notice the final effect includes a kind of line art rendering. So that we have a really super graphical treatment associated with this image and part of the way I was able to achieve that effect is by flattening out certain regions and when I say flattening out certain reasons, I mean that many neighboring pixels are exactly the same color. So for example, inside of her skin, this entire region that I'm tracing over is almost all exactly the same color, much of it is exactly the same color and then same goes for some of the areas inside of her hair and inside of her pupils and so on.
Now the reason that this is so necessary is because it makes for a more flattering effect for one thing because we are getting rid of some of the fractal in her skins, so we are not calling quite so much attention to the pigment variations and we are not calling attention to the micro wrinkles either and also it just happens to give the image a more graphical effect and of course, it just happens to give our photograph a more graphical appearance, which is what I'm looking for for my final advertisement. So how do we achieve that? Well we convert many of the Luminance Level to black and white using a Levels adjustment layer and let me show you how that works. I'm going to Alt+Tab or Command+Tab on the Mac back to Photoshop and you can see what I'm talking about. I have exaggerated all kinds of stuff inside of her skin tones and normally it's great that we have all of these volumetric detail. Meaning that we have these nice shadows transitioning evenly into the highlights continuous tone variations. However, if we are trying to achieve a graphical effect, that's not what we want. We want a flatten areas away.
All right, now if we are going to apply a levels adjustment layer, which we are, we need to apply it underneath the Gradient Map layers because the Gradient Map layers are responsible for assigning color to the luminance variations. We need to define those luminance variations before they occur and everything in Photoshop occurs from the bottom up and especially where adjustment layers are concerned. All right, so I'm going to click on the smart object layer right there and by the way, I'm working inside of a progress document. It's called Gradient map layers.psd found inside the 20_images folder.
All right, now having selected this layer, I'm going to go ahead and press the Alt key or the Option on a Mac and click on this little Levels icon. So Alt-click or Option-click brings up the New Layer dialog box. I'm going to call this B or W because I'm changing many of the Shadows to black and many of the Highlights to white and then I'll click OK. That brings up this tiny little Histogram right there inside the Levels panel of the Adjustments palette and actually you know what, just for a moment I'm going to switch back to the smart object layer, so I can show you something.
Notice here inside my Adjustments palette, if I go up to the fly-out menu, I have turned off this function right there, Add Mask by Default and I recommend that you turn this off because it just gives you more flexibility inside the program but you may have had it turned on, which it is by default and I'm going to go and switch back to the Levels Adjustment layer now. If you had it turned on then you will see a little blank layer mask sitting right next to B or W. All right, I want it to appear though. We do wanted there. So go ahead and add it if it's not already there. If it's already there, don't worry about it but if it's not there, click on Add Layer Mask to add that guy like so.
All right, we'll be painting in it in just moment is the idea. All right I want to be able to see at full version of my Histogram. So I'm going to click on this little folder icon to expand my view like so. It does mean that the Adjustments palette grows and crushes the Layers palette below it, in the case of my dinky little screen but it's all for the larger cause don't you know. All right, I'm going to change a bunch of colors to black. So all the Shadows over here on the left-hand-side of the Histogram and this is the bar graph of the luminance information inside the image. So we have got quite a big lump of Shadows over here and this stuff over here is the Highlights and we do have some just straight-out whites. That's what this lines means and those are the whites inside of the eyes but really those are inside the lips and then we have all these mid-tones in between.
So black fading over toward white, just a distribution graph, nothing to be frightened of. Now here is how this works, if drag this black slider triangle over to the right, to say 25, then I'm saying anything with the Luminance Level of 25 or darker becomes black and you can see how the image just darkened up on screen. Now I'm going to drag the white slider handle over to 205 like that, notice that she brighten ups dramatically and this means that anything with the Luminance Level of 205 or brighter becomes white and that succeeds in flattening out these regions inside of her skin.
Now the reason they are quite flattening out like this, let's go ahead and collapse the Adjustments palette so that we can focus in on the Layers palette so it's not so squished, is because of these Gradient Map layers right there. If I turn those layers off, you can see that I have made a mess of this woman for all intents and purposes, thanks to this Levels command right there, we now have some very hot Highlights which we wouldn't want. It looks like she is like three feet from the surface of the sun here and she is just being blasted away and we have some ultra dark Shadows. So that makes for a less flattering effect of anything but then we follow it up with Sepia #1 which goes ahead and calms down those Highlights dramatically same with the Shadows and then when we add in Sepia #2, we get very nice effect indeed.
All right, so then one thing I don't like is how bright the lips are getting. So with my layer mask active and you can see it's active because it kind of has a double box around it, then I want you to go ahead and get your Paint Brush. It's your plain old Brush tool here, you can get it by pressing the B key if you want and I'm going to switch the foreground color to black by clicking on this little swap icon right there. So you want that first swatch there to be black and the second one to be white. That's fine. Or you can click on this little black/white but if you click on little black/white icon then you are going to have to follow up with the X.
Anyway, that's because we are working inside of a mask and that is by the way for this little guy, you can press the X key if you want to, swap your colors back and forth just as it if you are swapping your Fill and Stroke colors inside of Illustrator and now I'm going to reduce the size of my brush. I want to go ahead and paint with something like a Master Diameter of let's say 150 pixels. So I'll nudge that down a little bit. It's not necessary you get the exact value. I just want you to be able to follow along and I got to this little drop-down palette by clicking on this down pointing arrowhead and then my Hardness value is set to 75%. That's fine, you would have to adjust yours because that's not the default.
Then I want you to paint over the lips in order to paint away the effect in the lips and notice you are going to get a very bad effect if you are painting the way I'm painting. So I'm basically painting some clown lips on her at this point but you will see the black appear here inside of the little layer mask and just remember what this looks like because this is going to remind you so much. There is going to be a sense of deja vu when we take a look at opacity masks in the very next chapter. Anyway, so black is painting the effect away, white is leaving the effect intact. Now I want you to click on that little swap icon and let's paint away the bad portion of the clown lips like so, because it's easier to paint these away then to paint them in the first place in order to really do a good job of painting in the lips, you would need like a pressure sensitive stylish and Wacom tablet or something along those lines but if you are just using mouse, the way I am, then it's easier to just paint in that black and then paint it in away with white and now we have this effect here. So this is looking pretty nice.
So this is what would happen if you Shift-click on this layer mask icon right there, this is the effect we got with the lips originally so you can see there are a little too harsh. Then Shift- click again to mask them back and they look quite a bit better. That is the effect my friends. However, we have some additional preparation to do. So far, we have just seen a bunch of effect work inside of Photoshop, how we achieve this very specific graphical Sepia tone effect. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to now prepare this image for import into Illustrator.
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