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In Illustrator CS5 Web and Interactive Design, Mordy Golding shows how to create pixel-perfect graphics for use in web sites, video compositions, and mobile apps. This course covers a wide range of workflows, from creating online ad campaigns, web sites, icons, to taking art from Illustrator to Flash Professional. Sharing tips, tricks, and creative techniques along the way, Mordy provides insight and instruction for taking projects from initial concept straight through to production. Exercise files accompany the course.
A common design effect used these days on the web are reflections, making something look as if it's sitting on top of a piece of glass, for example. So I would like to show you two techniques that you can use to actually apply reflections pretty easily inside of Illustrator. I have a file open right now. It's called reflections.ai, and I have two objects here. I have some art, which is basically a group, and then I have some text, which is some live text right over here. So let's start off by applying this reflection to a text object. The benefit of applying the reflection while the object is still a text object and not converted to outlines is that even after you have applied reflection, we could still make a type change to this, and the reflection will update accordingly.
This will also allow us to easily convert this to any use as we need to later on. We are going to use the Appearance panel to actually create this reflection here, so I am going to come over on the Appearance panel. With my type object selected, I am first going to add a new fill to my type object. I am going to change the fill right now. Instead of a solid black, let's change this to a gradient. So I am going to open up my Gradient panel here, and just simply click on the default gradient, which right now goes from white to black. One of the thing that I just want you to note: by default, the Gradient setting inside of Illustrator is set to the grayscale color mode.
Now that black is black inside of grayscale is not as black as an RGB black. So what I want to do in this case over here is I want to change some of the settings in this gradient. First of all, I want, over here, I am going to double-click on this color stop right here, and I am going to click on this black right now, which is in my document, That right now is an RGB black. Notice how it is a darker black now. Now likewise, I want this gradient to work on any kind of background that I am dealing with. So I don't want the black here to fade to white, because let's say I am working with a colored background. So, one of the great things that Adobe added in Illustrator CS4 is the ability to actually have gradients fade to transparent.
So, I am simply going to go ahead now and select the white color stop, and I am going to change its Opacity value to 0. Notice over here that you can see that the gradient goes from that rich black that I now specified, to a transparent color. Perfect, so I have my gradient set the way that I want it. Now let's go ahead now and create reflection. So back in the Appearance panel here, I am going to make sure that the fill is actually highlighted here. I am going to come over here to the fx, and I am going to choose Distort and Transform, and then I am going to choose Transform. Now I am going to click on the Preview button, so I could see what's happening here.
I have the ability to reflect this fills, so I am just going to click on Reflect Y, and I would like it to reflect it from the bottom part of the object, which is right here. So you can see that I have created a reflection. The only thing though is that right now the gradient is going in the wrong direction. So, let's go ahead now and fix that. I am going to click OK. We've basically applied that reflection. Now I am simply going to come back to the gradient. Note, by the way, the fill is still highlighted, so that means that the changes I make now will be applied to that fill. I am going to change this over here to say -90. Let's hit Enter and see how that looks.
Maybe I want to kind of make it not so strong, so what I can do is I can basically take this gradient slider right here, and adjust its opacity to maybe around 50%. So now I have created a reflection for the text itself. Pretty simple, pretty easy. And again, the benefit here is that if I take this right now and I change this type to something else - let's say I call this the Tours page - you can see that right away that reflection updates to match the new type that I just added. So this works well with an object that has a single, colored fill. Right now, it has black fill, so I just had the gradient basically match that.
However, in this case here, if I wanted to reflect this logo, that is going to be how much different objects and colors that might get reflected here, so just adding a new fill here won't actually cut it for me. So what I need to do is employ a few different techniques here. So let's see how that works. I am going to take my regular Selection tool and select this. Now the important thing here is that I have actually turned this into a group already, so in order for you to achieve this, you need to make sure that the artwork that you want to reflect is all grouped together. That way, when I start to make my reflection, Illustrator will look at that entire group as a whole.
Next, I am going to go to my Appearance panel, and I am simply going to come over here to where it says fx, and I am going to choose Distort and Transform > Transform. Now this time, once again, I am going to click on the Reflect Y, I am going to click on the Preview button, so that I can see this, and I want to reflect it from the bottom. But notice that over here, right now it's reflecting the actual piece of art. I no longer have the art visible here anymore. So what I want to do is I want to reflect a copy of the art, so I am going to change the value here from 0 copies to 1 copy.
Notice now I have my original piece of art and the piece that's reflected beneath it. So now I am going to click OK. Great! So I have created this piece of art. The real reason why I have done this in this way, instead of just making a copy of the art and flipping it around, is that now if I go ahead and I make changes to this artwork, any tweak or adjustment that I make to this, for example, I take this and I adjust it, that's automatically going to happen in the reflection also. Remember, this is now basically a copy of that original piece of art. So anything I do to my original piece of art, if I change its color, for example, or make a last-minute edit, that change is also going to happen in the reflection.
So now that I have done that, I now need to somehow make this artwork fade out. Now I can't just use a gradient here, because I have many different objects here. I'd have to start thinking about coloring all those things with different gradients. So instead, we are going to use something inside of Illustrator called an opacity mask. So let's see how that works. I am going to take this piece of art right now, and I am going to start by drawing a rectangle, and I want the rectangle to kind of cover over the bottom part of this graphic. It should be a little bit bigger than the graphic, just the way that I am creating it right now, and then I am going to fill this with a gradient.
Now it's important to realize that in this case here, I don't want us messing around with transparency in the gradient itself. I want the gradient to be a regular, plain, solid gradient. So what I am going to do is come back here to the Gradient setting here and reset its opacity to 100, click on this color stop, set its opacity back to 100. I now have a black-to-white gradient. I do want to make sure that this is going to be the RGB black, not the grayscale black like we had seen before, and I am going to change this to 90 degrees. So basically I now have an area that's black that now kind of fades here to white. Perfect! I am now going to take my regular Selection tool and select both of these elements, and I am now going to create an opacity mask to get the reflection effect that I am looking for.
Now the Opacity Mask setting actually lives inside of the Opacity panel, which you can access very easily right here from the Control panel by clicking on Opacity. This is also known as the Transparency panel, and from the flyout menu of this panel, there is a setting here called Make Opacity Mask. I am going to choose that option, and I am also going to invert the mask. In this case here I see the stronger part on top, and then it kind of fades out to nothing. But notice that again I have kind of lost the top here. That's because, by default, Illustrator also has the mask set to clip.
So I actually don't want it to clip, so I am going to uncheck that option, and now I can see that my gradient kind of makes this piece of art fade out as a reflection, and I have my full-strength art over here. I do think right now it's a little bit too strong though, so let's talk about how we might want to kind of dial this back somewhat. If you want to edit the actual mask itself, which is what we need to do to make that happen, I am going to come here inside of the Transparency panel and click on the mask. Notice if I click on the mask, I am now editing the mask shape. If I click on this piece of art, then I will be working on the art that I am dealing with here.
But I want to deal with the actual mask itself, so I am going to click on the object here to select it. Let's go to the Opacity panel and click on the mask. Now you can see that I have the rectangle here selected, this lovely rectangle that has the gradient inside of it, and all I need to do is now adjust the values of the gradient itself. See right now, it's set to black, which means I can see it. If it's set to white, that means I can't see it. So what I need to do is make an adjustment. I can start to bring the white gradient up a little bit over here, as you can see, and I could also bring this gradient this way, so I start to get a nice reflection effect that way.
I should also take this and kind of bring down the gray value somewhat, to maybe somewhere about over here, and now I start to see a beautiful effect. So now I have been able to create a reflection for the text that is right here, and using a combination of both the transform effect and also an opacity mask, I have been able to now also create a reflection effect for this logo as well.
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