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Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Adjusting blend options


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Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

with Mordy Golding

Video: Adjusting blend options

So we understand the basic concept of a blend. We can take two objects we'll refer to as two key objects and morph them into each other. Illustrator generates the steps that belong to that blend automatically. Now a blend is also live, meaning as I update or modify those key objects, the steps inside of that blend automatically update. Now one of the most important settings inside of a blend though are specifically those steps, those middle areas, that Illustrator generates automatically to create the blend. So let's take a look at how we can actually control those steps very easily.
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  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 33m 20s
    1. Introducing Live Paint
      38s
    2. Drawing in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    3. Creating a Live Paint group
      2m 54s
    4. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      3m 17s
    5. Using Live Paint with open paths
      2m 29s
    6. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      4m 17s
    7. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      3m 41s
    8. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      5m 44s
    9. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 55s
    10. Understanding how Live Paint groups work
      3m 4s
  3. 49m 36s
    1. Introducing the trace options
      39s
    2. Setting expectations: Live Trace
      2m 26s
    3. Using the Live Trace feature
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding how Live Trace works
      5m 41s
    5. Making raster-based adjustments
      5m 52s
    6. Tracing with fills, strokes, or both
      2m 55s
    7. Making vector-based adjustments
      6m 12s
    8. Adjusting colors in Live Trace
      4m 39s
    9. Using Photoshop with Live Trace
      5m 22s
    10. Releasing and expanding Live Trace artwork
      2m 58s
    11. Saving and exporting Live Trace presets
      2m 36s
    12. Tracing in Batch mode with Adobe Bridge
      1m 35s
    13. Turning an image into mosaic tiles
      2m 28s
    14. Tracing an image manually
      4m 22s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introducing 3D
      33s
    2. Setting expectations: 3D in Illustrator
      2m 53s
    3. How fills and strokes affect 3D artwork
      4m 43s
    4. Applying the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect
      6m 25s
    5. Applying a bevel
      5m 40s
    6. Showing the hidden faces of a 3D object
      4m 49s
    7. Applying the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 22s
    8. Visualizing the revolve axis
      3m 5s
    9. Applying the 3D Rotate effect
      1m 35s
    10. Adjusting surface settings
      9m 33s
    11. Understanding the importance of 3D and groups
      3m 24s
    12. Preparing art for mapping
      10m 19s
    13. Mapping artwork to a 3D surface
      14m 21s
    14. Hiding geometry with 3D artwork mapping
      4m 0s
    15. Extending the use of 3D in Illustrator
      8m 7s
  5. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing transformations and effects
      32s
    2. Using the Transform panel
      12m 37s
    3. Repeating transformations
      5m 23s
    4. Using the Transform Each function
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Convert to Shape effects
      5m 49s
    6. Using the Distort & Transform effects
      5m 12s
    7. Using the Path effects
      6m 58s
    8. Using the Pathfinder effects
      4m 18s
  6. 28m 23s
    1. Introducing graphic styles
      33s
    2. Applying graphic styles
      10m 8s
    3. Defining graphic styles
      8m 46s
    4. Previewing graphic styles
      2m 10s
    5. Modifying graphic styles
      3m 30s
    6. Understanding graphic styles for text
      3m 16s
  7. 22m 49s
    1. Introducing advanced masking techniques
      32s
    2. Understanding clipping masks
      7m 15s
    3. Using layer clipping masks
      6m 30s
    4. Creating opacity masks
      8m 32s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Introducing color
      40s
    2. Considering three types of color swatches
      7m 7s
    3. Managing color groups
      2m 58s
    4. Understanding the HSB color wheel
      3m 57s
    5. Understanding color harmonies
      2m 57s
    6. Using the color guide
      3m 54s
    7. Limiting the color guide
      3m 17s
    8. Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature
      6m 25s
    9. Using the Edit tab to adjust color
      5m 44s
    10. Using the Assign tab to replace colors
      8m 37s
    11. Making global color adjustments
      2m 17s
    12. Using Recolor options
      7m 3s
    13. Converting artwork to grayscale
      3m 23s
    14. Simulating artwork on different devices
      3m 18s
    15. Accessing Kuler directly from Illustrator
      2m 7s
    16. Ensuring high contrast for color-blind people
      2m 42s
  9. 53m 19s
    1. Introducing transparency
      40s
    2. Understanding transparency flattening
      2m 31s
    3. Exercising the two rules of transparency flattening
      10m 53s
    4. Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening
      4m 50s
    5. Exploring the transparency flattener settings
      8m 37s
    6. Using transparency flattening and object stacking order
      6m 39s
    7. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      6m 31s
    8. Creating and sharing Transparency Flattener presets
      2m 25s
    9. Working within an EPS workflow
      5m 3s
    10. Understanding the Illustrator and InDesign workflow
      5m 10s
  10. 50m 1s
    1. Introducing prepress and output
      23s
    2. Understanding resolutions
      8m 27s
    3. Discovering RGB and CMYK "gotchas"
      5m 42s
    4. Using Overprints and Overprint Preview
      7m 43s
    5. Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors
      8m 1s
    6. Collecting vital information with Document Info
      2m 28s
    7. Previewing color separations onscreen
      1m 12s
    8. Making 3D artwork look good
      2m 16s
    9. Seeing white lines and knowing what to do about them
      2m 41s
    10. Creating "bulletproof" press-ready PDF files
      3m 45s
    11. Protecting content with secure PDFs
      2m 48s
    12. Using PDF presets
      2m 47s
    13. Moving forward: The Adobe PDF Print Engine
      1m 48s
  11. 35m 43s
    1. Introducing distortions
      27s
    2. Using the Warp effect
      4m 20s
    3. The Warp effect vs. envelope distortion
      3m 48s
    4. Applying the Make with Warp envelope distortion
      2m 45s
    5. Applying the Make with Mesh envelope distortion
      2m 41s
    6. Applying the Make with Top Object envelope distortion
      3m 45s
    7. Editing envelopes
      5m 0s
    8. Adjusting envelope settings
      4m 2s
    9. Releasing and expanding envelope distortions
      1m 44s
    10. Applying envelope distortions to text
      1m 27s
    11. Using the liquify distortion tools
      3m 5s
    12. Customizing the liquify tools
      2m 39s
  12. 28m 56s
    1. Introducing blends
      32s
    2. Blending two objects
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting blend options
      5m 47s
    4. Blending anchor points
      5m 36s
    5. Blending three or more objects
      2m 9s
    6. Replacing the spine of a blend
      4m 32s
    7. Reversing the direction of a blend
      2m 15s
    8. Releasing and expanding a blend
      1m 47s
  13. 46m 54s
    1. Introducing charts and graphs
      35s
    2. Setting expectations: Graphs in Illustrator
      3m 19s
    3. Creating a chart
      8m 2s
    4. Importing data
      3m 34s
    5. Formatting data
      5m 1s
    6. Customizing a chart
      10m 21s
    7. Combining chart types
      2m 40s
    8. Creating graph designs
      6m 0s
    9. Styling and updating graphs
      5m 33s
    10. Ungrouping graphs
      1m 49s
  14. 26m 36s
    1. Introducing Gradient Mesh
      23s
    2. Understanding the Gradient Mesh feature
      9m 34s
    3. Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading
      6m 14s
    4. Using Gradient Mesh to create photorealistic effects
      10m 25s
  15. 8m 18s
    1. Introducing flare effects
      25s
    2. Drawing a lens flare
      3m 28s
    3. Modifying a lens flare
      1m 27s
    4. Using a mask with lens flares
      2m 58s
  16. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
9h 42m Intermediate Apr 03, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Tracing artwork both automatically and manually
  • Mapping artwork to complex 3D surfaces
  • Using pressure-sensitive distortion tools
  • Recoloring artwork across a document
  • Using Excel data to create charts and graphs
  • Understanding how transparency really works
  • Creating high-quality, press-ready PDFs
  • Building efficient files with graphic styles
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Mordy Golding

Adjusting blend options

So we understand the basic concept of a blend. We can take two objects we'll refer to as two key objects and morph them into each other. Illustrator generates the steps that belong to that blend automatically. Now a blend is also live, meaning as I update or modify those key objects, the steps inside of that blend automatically update. Now one of the most important settings inside of a blend though are specifically those steps, those middle areas, that Illustrator generates automatically to create the blend. So let's take a look at how we can actually control those steps very easily.

So I'm going to start off by just clicking on this regular blend right over here. And I have this example where I have two key objects, one in the left, which is a stroke that has a very narrow width of 1 point weight, and then I have on this side a stroke that has a 10 point weight on it. It's about the same color. So I'm basically seeing this appearance from one to the other. As you can tell, right over here, these particular shapes start to get thicker. As they get thicker, because the amount of space that appears between them gets smaller and smaller, at about the half way point, I get almost a solid appearance. Even though these are individual strokes that are over here, because their thickness is so high, I basically do not see any space in between them at all.

So what I'm going to do now is change the actual number of steps in my blend. By reducing the number of steps, I'll have the ability to see more of the space in between them. More important, I'll have far more control over the appearance of the blend that I'm trying to create. So I'm going to go over here with this object selected to the Object menu. I'm going to choose over here Blend and I'm going to choose this setting here called Blend Options. I'm going to go ahead and select that to open up the Blend Options dialog box. Now notice over here by default Illustrator uses a setting here for Spacing called Smooth Color. Now again the Spacing refers to the amount of steps that are defined here inside of this blend. In other words, right now from this edge to this edge, the Space is set to Smooth Color. Now Illustrator does that automatically, it thinks that you want to create a Smooth Color blend. So it automatically figures out how many steps in the blend that needs to create.

Now, I'm actually going to change that Spacing option to one of two other settings. There is one that's called Specified Steps. That allows you, as a designer, to specify the exact number of steps you want to occur inside of the blend. So for example, if I choose Specified Steps right here, right now it's set to 120, but I can go on and I can change that for example to 12. I hit the Tab key just to accept that value without clicking OK. Because I have the Preview checkbox turned on right now, I can really see exactly what this blend is doing. I have one stroke, which is 1 point weight over here on this edge. I have a 10 point weight on this edge.

And I can see that the strokes that are created for me, the steps inside of that blend, go and graduate from a very narrow stroke to a much thicker stroke. Now again, because the blend is live I can anytime come back to this particular dialog box and adjust the number of steps in that blend. So if I want more steps, for example 50, I'll type that value and hit the Tab key and I'll get a nice texture like this. So I can very easily control exactly how I want my blend to look by specifying a number of steps that I want in that blend. I also have the ability to choose the amount of distance that appears between each of the objects. I can do that by choosing this option called Specified Distance. Here I type in a value, for example, maybe 40 points, and now the amount of space that appears between each of these is going to be 40 points.

Now this amount of space that appears from here to here has to be divisible by this number. If not Illustrator just modifies it somewhat, tries to make it as close to that particular value as possible. Now you also have two other options here, which is called Orientation. One is called Align the objects to the Page and one is called Align the objects to the Path. Now we are going to get to those shortly. We are going to actually delve into that in a separate movie. We learn more about the spine inside of a blend inside of Illustrator because we'll see that that really comes to play a lot more importantly in those cases. But let's talk little bit more about the different settings you have here for spacing. I'm going to cancel this option here. I want to focus on this blend right over here. Now, we refer to a blend having steps, or the amount of distance, or the amount of objects that are created, between the two key objects.

So now what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this blend over here, which has that kind of nice, gradiated look. I'm going to go the Object menu, I'm going to choose Blend > Blend Options again and over here for Smooth Color, I'm going to change it to Specified Steps. And maybe something on a small range, maybe around seven steps for example, hit the Tab key and you can actually see here if you look closely, I don't get a smooth gradation. Now this is important because depending on the types of blends that you create, you may want to create a lot of shapes because you want that smooth gradation, or you may want to have just a few shapes and actually see the steps of the blend itself.

Now if you want to assimilate some kind of a gradiated effect or a shading effect, you really don't want to see the actual steps themselves. And if you do, sometimes when you create even some of the gradients of yesterday, when before Illustrator started adopting PostScript 3 and something called Smooth Shading allowed you to have smooth steps in a gradient. You were sometimes able to see the steps, or what we call banding inside of a gradient. Well, that's because it was made up of these blends in these specific shapes. So a lot of times when we want to create some kind of a shading effect using a blend inside of Illustrator, you just want to make sure that you are using enough steps in your blend. You could of course use the Smooth Color setting, or you could specify a specific number of steps and you go up like 200 steps or something like that. Again, it does increase the complexity of your file because you have that many more objects, but you are ensured that you get a smooth transition between those colors.

So I'll click OK here and finally let's take a look at this blend over here. Now here I have two instances of the same symbol, but this particular symbol has been scaled to be smaller. Notice that the blend actually goes ahead and scales that object as well. Now once again, it's really important to set the number of steps that you want in your blend. If you intend to use-- Such as in animation for example, the more frames that you have in your movie, the smoother that the result is going to be. Again, at the cost of having a more complex file. So it's important to remember that just because you create a blend inside of Illustrator, it doesn't mean you need to use the settings that Illustrator automatically chooses for you.

You can use any of the settings inside the Blend Options dialog box to get exactly the number of steps that you need for your blend.

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