Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Adding contrast and color


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Adding contrast and color

In this movie we're going to take this skull, this adjusted skull art, and we are going to increase the contrast so that we have jet blacks against an absolutely white background, and then we're going to add in all the red that's required to paint the background flag. The red that occurs out here in the larger background that shows up inside of the various elements here, inside of the handles of the saber, inside of the earrings, and then of course the ghostly red eyes. We need to paint those in as well. I've gone ahead and saved my changes from the previous exercise as Adjusted line art.tif.
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  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
14h 53m Intermediate Nov 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Tracing a pixel-based image
  • Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
  • Creating and editing gradients
  • Creating multi-colored blends
  • Creating seamlessly repeating tile patterns
  • Creating interlocking artwork with Live Paint
  • Designing advanced type effects
  • Recoloring artwork with color harmonies
  • Making the most of symbols
  • Integrating Illustrator with Photoshop
  • Using transparency, blend modes, and opacity masks
Deke McClelland

Adding contrast and color

In this movie we're going to take this skull, this adjusted skull art, and we are going to increase the contrast so that we have jet blacks against an absolutely white background, and then we're going to add in all the red that's required to paint the background flag. The red that occurs out here in the larger background that shows up inside of the various elements here, inside of the handles of the saber, inside of the earrings, and then of course the ghostly red eyes. We need to paint those in as well. I've gone ahead and saved my changes from the previous exercise as Adjusted line art.tif.

I'm going to take this artwork and the first thing I'm going to do is increase its contrast by going up to the Image menu and choosing adjustments and then choosing the Levels command or you can press Ctrl+L, Cmd+L on the Mac. Bear in mind that this applies a static color adjustment. So that we're really modifying the pixels inside of this image, which is perfectly acceptable. There's no reason to resort to an adjustment layer for this effect. Now, I want you to check out this histogram here. The histogram shows all the luminance levels from black over here on the left-hand side to white over here on right-hand side.

These lumps are populations of Luminance levels. So we have a lot of dark Luminance levels right over here and then we've got a bunch of light ones over here on right-hand side. What we want is absolute blacks and whites. So we want to clip all of this shadow detail and all this highlight detail. So when you're increasing the Contrast of a piece of line art like this one, you want to go ahead and take this black point slider all the way over to the right-hand side of the shadow lump. So you want to isolate where that shadow lump is and take this guy well to the right of it, so a few clicks over.

So in my case I'm settings this black point value to a 100, which means that any Luminance level of a hundred or darker is going to become black, which is zero, by the way. Then I am going to take this white point slider all the way to the left-hand side of the big highlight hump over here on the right. So, I'll take it over to about 200 let's say. So anything with a Luminance level of 200 or brighter is going to become white and as a result we have some very black line art against a very white background. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification.

Then what you want to do is go ahead and zoom in on your art and make sure that you don't have any jagged transitions. There should be nice sharp transitions but you don't want any jagged pixels. In our case we're fine. If you do have jagged pixels, you would want to go ahead and undo the application of Levels and take a new approach in which you don't quite make as much black or white. So you'd want to clip fewer colors, so that you'd have more gray pixels in between. All right, I am going to go ahead and zoom out to that Fit in Window display once again and I need to clean up this background junk.

I'm going to do that by grabbing my Lasso tool and I am going to Alt+Click to take advantage of the polygonal function there, this is an Option+Click on the Mac, and I'm just more or less surrounding my artwork like so, so that I am isolating the good part of my art from the bad stuff out here in the background. Now let's go ahead and select the bad stuff by going up to the Select menu and choosing the Inverse command or press Ctrl+Shift+I, Cmd+Shift+I on a Mac. Now you've selected that area that was formerly deselected and you want to fill it with white which is a background color.

So you press Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+ Delete and now we have black line art against an absolutely white background. Now at this point, we still need to fill in the red and we're going to do that using independent layers, because that's going to be the best approach. But first of all, I remember painting this at the time or drawing it that is, I remember that I took this edge a little too close. So I am going to carve it out a little bit using my Lasso tool, like so. That's really great that you have this kind of control inside of Photoshop. So you can altogether modify your artwork after having created it.

I'll press Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd +Delete on the Mac in order to fill that area with white. So we get that thicker highlighted edge right there. You might also want to select a few of these little sort of light schnivels that are showing up inside the image. I'll go ahead and press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that area with black, and I believe we've got another little guy right there. So you can sort of hunt him down if you want to, that's a Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+Delete to fill that one with white. So it's up to you how much you decide to sort of finesse these edges. It can be useful, although Illustrator is liable to get rid of most of these little blemishes here, because they'll fall under its live trace threshold as we'll see.

Anyway, I'll press Ctrl+Backspace, Cmd+Delete to fill that area with white just to touch it up a little and I'm going to zoom back out. What we want to do is we want to select this black line art, I'll show you why. I'll switch to the final version of the image right here and notice that the black lines are isolated on one layer, so we are seeing black against this checkerboard background. Checkerboard represents transparency. So if I turn off the red we can see just the black and if I turn off the background layer then we are seeing just the black line art against a transparent background.

All the white is being contributed by the background layer here and then we've got this red layer in between. Well, what I need to do is select those black lines independently of the rest of the art. And the mistake a lot of folks make, is to whip out the Magic Wand tool and think, okay I'll grab my Magic Wand, and then I will click inside the black lines and that will enable me to select them. Not so, what you're going to do is you're going to lose the integrity of those edges. Those nice sharp but not jagged edges will turn either dull on you or very possibly jagged as well.

It can go either way. In any case you are not going to get the right results. What you want is to use the image to select itself. So the image is effectively already selected, just sitting there waiting for you to use the selection that it's made available to you. To get to that selection you go over to the Channels panel. This is a grayscale image because I scanned it in grayscale to keep the file size down. So I just have one channel of Gray. What I am going to do is press the Control key or the Cmd key on the Mac and click on that channel and that goes ahead and selects all the white stuff. It does not select the black, it just selects the white.

So let's go back to the layers panel and I am going to go up to the Select menu and I am going to choose Inverse or press Ctrl+Shift+I, Cmd+Shift+I in order to reverse that selection. Now I've selected all the black stuff and I haven't selected the white, the white is deselected. I'll create a new layer and the easiest way to do that is to press Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac and I'll call this line art and then I'll click OK. Now I'll fill the selected area with Black. Black is my foreground color so I press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete in order to fill this selection with black.

You can see that I have the black line art now here on the line art layer. I need to get rid of those black outlines here on the background layer. So I'll just press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on a Mac after selecting the background layer, to deselect my artwork. So nothing's selected. Now I'll fill the entire layer with white by pressing Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+Delete on the Mac. So we've got a white background layer, the line art is now isolated to this line art layer and we should have exactly the same visual results as we had before.

If you're curious you can zoom in on your artwork and test those edges, make sure that they still look good, which they do. All right, the next thing to do is to fill in the red and we are going to need another layer for that once again. So I am going to click on the background layer to make it active. Press Ctrl+Shift+N, Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac in order to create a new layer, call it red fill and then I'll click OK. Now the red that I am looking for would be nice if I could dial it in, but I can't get to it here inside the Color panel. RGB sliders and all the other color sliders are unavailable to me to because I am working inside of a grayscale image.

So I need to go to the Image menu, choose mode and switch out to RGB Color. At which point in time Photoshop is going to gripe at me and it's going to suggest that I flatten my artwork. After all this I am supposed to flatten my artwork and that is the highlighted button, I don't think so. Don't Flatten. It's not going to change the appearance of a single layer. So go ahead and click Don't Flatten and everything is going to look the same as it did before, so no changes whatsoever. Now I'm going to switch in the Color panel, I am going to switch to my HSB sliders just because I find that to be the easiest way to dial in colors.

The Hue value is already at 0 degrees, so that's fine, which is red, incidentally. I'm going to change the Saturation value to a 100 and the Brightness value to 65 and then, and this is going to really surprise you, I am going to grab the Paint Bucket of all things, which is located in the same flyout menu as the Gradient tool. I will grab the Paint Bucket and I want to make sure that I'm filling with the foreground color, so that's fine. Normal, Opacity 100%. I've raised the Tolerance value to a 100, so you really want it cranked up there. Anti-alias is on by default, turn it off.

Leave Contiguous on, and then turn on All Layers as well, that's not going to affect all layers that's going to take all layers into consideration as you paint away here. Then you just click in the areas that you want to fill. Now you're going to notice these little white edges around your fills, don't worry about them, we'll take care of those. Then I'll click inside of that wedge. Click there as well, click there and then inside of the eyes need clicking, and then inside of this earring as well. All right, the next step is to fill in the slight white edges.

I will go ahead and zoom in on them, so we can see them, and the way that we are going to do that is by stroking this red fill. And so I am going to drop down to my fx icon, click on it, choose the Stroke command, and then inside this Layer Style dialog box, I am going to change the color from black to that same color we were just using a moment ago, that is, the Saturation of 100% and a Brightness of 65%. Hue is zero as by default, click OK. Then I'm going to take the Size of my stroke up to something like 10, let's say, and make sure that I am stroking to the outside.

Now I don't want the stroke to get so thick that it starts showing through other portions of my artwork, but this is looking good, I am not seeing it poke through inside the earrings or anywhere else. I will go ahead and click OK. If I want to test that layer I could drag it on top of line art, like so, and then I could just sort of hunt around and make sure that the stroke never creeps beyond the black outlines. This actually looks very good. So I will go ahead and zoom back out. Then I don't want to leave things that way, I don't want the stroke encroaching on the black outlines, so once I've confirmed that everything looks good, I'll go ahead and move it back in back of the line art layer.

And I now have created something that's worthy of tracing inside of Illustrator. Next time around we'll see how to make that tracing happen.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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