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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.
In this final exercise, rather than adding an Opacity Mask to an entire layer or group or sub-layer or some big container, we're going to create an Opacity Mask for a single object specifically this reflected line of type. I'm going to click on this bottom line of type, just somewhere in the middle of it in order to select it and I'm seeing this baseline that looks like, it's the baseline for the top type, bear in mind however, that it might just as easily be the baseline for the bottom type because it's reflected vertically. How do I know the difference? Well it's showing up as Brown and Brown is a color assigned to the reflection 2 layer whereas violet is assigned to bulb and lines.
So I know I've got the right object. Also notice that a little selection square appears with the reflection 2 layer. However, if I go up to the Transparency panel, I'm not seeing my Opacity Mask because by the way it's assigned to the entire layer. I'd have the meatball the layer in order to see its Opacity Mask which is just fine because I want to add a new one. So you can have Opacity Mask nested inside other Opacity Masks in Illustrator. So I'm going to go up here to the Transparency panel flyout menu and choose the Make Opacity Mask command and incidentally notice, it will once again come in as black, meaning that we're clipping the contents of this object by default and then I would turn off the Clip check box because I'd really like this Opacity Mask to come in white or if you would like to change the default setting, do this, press Ctrl+Z, Command +Z on the Mac to undo the addition of that Opacity Mask, then go up to the flyout menu once again and choose New Opacity Masks Are Clipping which is the weird phrasing for this option, but anyway it's turned on, go ahead turn it off and then from this point on, when you make a new Opacity Mask as I am now, it will come in white instead of black which I personally much prefer.
Anyway, next we're going to draw a gradient inside the Opacity Mask which means I need to switch over to the Opacity Mask by clicking on it and then I'm going to grab my rectangle tool or I could press the M key of course and I'll draw a rectangle around that text like so and the rectangle comes in white which is just fine. I'll switch over to the Gradient panel. The last gradient, I used, was this black to white one. So I should just be able to click on this Gradient Swatch in order to restore that last used gradient and sure enough, it starts as black over here on the left hand side and it ends with white over on the right-hand side.
And now I'm going to grab my Gradient tool. If you like, press the G key and then I'm going to drag from the bottom of this text to the top like so and I'm pressing the Shift key in order to constrain the angle of my drag to exactly vertical and I end up getting this effect here and that's exactly what I want. And I'm going to end things with a little bit of a tip here. Switch back to the Transparency panel and if you want to see the contents of the Opacity Mask independently of everything else inside your illustration, then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on that Opacity Mask thumbnail and then you'll see the Gradient against the white background which is exactly what's going on inside this Opacity Mask.
To escape back out, you Alt+click or Option+click again on that thumbnail or you can just click on the illustration thumbnail as well and that will take you out of the Opacity Mask back into the larger illustration and that my friends is how you work with the opacity value, blend modes, knockout groups and the opacity masks here inside the Transparency panel in Illustrator CS5.
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