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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, I have to gone ahead and saved my progress as Super woman.psd, so called because all of our pixels are fully protected. They will resist all destructive modifications and you can always turn these filters on or off and you can change their settings any time you like and so on, thanks to the fact that we converted her to a smart object. This image is found inside the 20_ images folder. If you take a close look at this woman, I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on some details inside of her here.
You can see that her eyes look pretty darn good. Now she is way over-sharpened. These are not the sharpening settings I would recommend if we were just trying to sharpen the image for output or get greater clarity or anything like that, because we are really bringing out the blood shot nature of her eyes, even though she has just got gorgeous eyes. Also we are bringing out a lot of skin details we might not want to call attention to, little micro wrinkles inside of her skin, little hairs underneath her lip and then finally if you take a look at this region over here, you can see that we have all kinds of striated patterns going on and some banding as well here in the shadows. That's something that already existed inside of this photograph but I have made it much worse with these sharpening filters here and both Smart Sharpen and High Pass are sharpening algorithms even though they exist in different Submenus under the Filter menu.
All right, so what do we do about that? Well, in order to get rid of these patterns over here, I mean that's really the problem at this point. I want these Super Sharp details inside of her eyes and her skin and so on. That's going to serve me very, very well as we'll see, even the blood shot stuff. That's not going to be a problem. But down here where this junk is concerned, that's terrible and we want it out of there. So we want so mask that area away where the filters are concerned, so we need to add a filter mask. Now currently we have got a solid white filter mask.
That's not going to do us any good. So what I want you to do is right click inside of that White thumbnail and I want you to choose Delete Filter Mask, just to get rid of it, because it's easier to remake it then to work inside of the white area. All right, then I'm going to go ahead and zoom out here a little bit, scroll her over. Photoshop is behaving a little slowly for me right now. Now I'm going to go over to the Channels palette and notice here inside the Channels palette, by default lives next door to Layers and of course, if you are trying to find the palette in Photoshop, you do it exactly the same way you do it in Illustrator. You go up to the Window menu and you choose the palettes and they are listed in alphabetical order.
So anyway, here is Channels and that's your primary masking palette inside of Photoshop. Even though you think it was Masks, it's not. It's Channels. All right, so I'm going to go over to the Channels palette here and you will notice two so called alpha channels, Hair Mask and Filter Mask, and they are both masks that we can grab at a moment's notice here. In order to load that mask as a selection outline, which is how we'll get it over to the filters, you press the Ctrl key here on a PC or the Command key on the Mac and you click on Filter Mask.
Just click anywhere on it and you will load that mask as a selection outline as we are seeing right there and when we are talking about masking, just so as you know and I know I'm going through this stuff just so fast, but I don't want to turn this into a big Photoshop masking discussion, because we could talk about masking for days. In fact, I have a series that's called Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks and don't let that bother you. It's just as accurate for Photoshop CS4 and it is more than a day long. It's like thirty hours long or something. That just gives you a sense of how long I could and actually have talked about masks inside of Photoshop, but the Cliff Notes version here is that White represents the selected region and Black represents the deselected region.
So we are going to sharpen inside of the selection and we are going to lose the sharpening outside the selection and there's this nice soft border between the two extremes, something we can't really achieve inside of Illustrator and when I say we can't really achieve it, I mean we can't even sort to do it. We can apply gradient opacity masks as we'll see in the very next chapter, but that's just not the same thing and you can't apply those to effects. Anyway, go back to the Layers palette, having loaded that as a selection by Ctrl or Command-clicking on that Filter Mask thumbnail and then I want you to right click on the word Smart Filters and if you don't have a right mouse button on the Mac, you would press the Ctrl key and click and then choose Add Filter Mask, and it's going to Add a Filter Mask based on the selection and that way we are going to introduce that exact mask we saw just a moment ago, there inside the Channels palette.
We are going to introduce it here into the Layers palette and I should say, by the way, in case you are seeing tiny little itsy-bitsy thumbnails inside of Photoshop, what you are going to do is right click down here in the empty area below the Layers and you choose Large Thumbnails and that's the same thing you do inside the Channels palette. Down below in the empty area, you right click and you choose Large or you can always go over here to the palette flyout menu and you can choose Panel Options and then you can select this largest thing right here at the bottom of the dialog box and click OK.
That thing is a bunch of tiny, little Merlins on a palette, but I won't go into that. Anyway, that's set. We have now done a brilliant job of masking the filter settings and let me show you what that looks like. Let's go the Layers palette once again and zoom in, so I'll zoom in on this area down here that was so alarmingly bad before. It's still bad, they are still banding there, but it's not nearly as pronounced as it was before. So if you Shift-click on a Filter Mask thumbnail here, you will turn it off temporarily. Take a look at that bending and notice all these horrible color aberrations and everything else is going on. Color aberrations by the way are aberrant colors, colors that don't belong inside of the scene that the camera's somehow added or Photoshop's somehow added, thanks to the editing process.
Then if I Shift-click again, keep an eye on this banding right there, Shift-click again on this Filter Mask to turn it back on and we get something resembling a smother transition. That's by no means smooth but it's not as bad as it is when we exaggerate the problem. All right, so I'm going to go ahead and zoom out here to more reasonable level, so I can see her entire face. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to introduce a mask to this object right here, to this layer, so that we get rid of all the stuff on the left hand side of the image. Stay tuned.
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